Why Planted Questions Matter

060307-1vWhy it matters: planted questions deny your right to question candidates asking for your vote. It’s like trying to buy a car, and the dealer telling you only certain questions may be asked of him if you wish to make a purchase. You can’t ask the final price, you can’t ask about fuel economy, you can’t ask about reliability, or about any particulars of the car’s engine or maker because the dealer has arrogantly assumed you have no choice.

Methinks Thou doth Protest Too Much

After the Hillary camp admits to planting questions in Iowa appearance, we recall Iowan Randall Rolph, whom was falsely accused by Hillary of being a plant.

An Earlier Case of Planted Questions

Infamous staged FEMA press conference.

On November 9, 2007, the Clinton campaign admitted to planting questions at her appearance at a biodiesel plant in Newton, Iowa, four days earlier. The ABC News article, “Clinton Camp Admits To Planting Questions”, makes an ironic reference to an earlier accusation by Hillary that an audience member who questioned her had been planted.

The Iowan, Randall Rolph, had questioned her support of a resolution to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, which prompted a fiery exchange between Clinton and Rolph.

Now we have the Clinton camp admitting that they planted questions in Iowa earlier this month, and not unlike FEMA’s staged press conference, they were softball questions to accommodate a canned response. To quote ABC’s Eloise Harper:

“The staffer still remains with the Clinton campaign and they would not reveal his or her name. The campaign did not comment on whether this is the only time they have planted questions among audience members.

“Last month Clinton got into a tough exchange with Iowan Randall Rolph at an event in New Hampton, Iowa. She accused him of being a plant from another campaign and the two engaged in a heated back and forth. The exchange prompted extended media coverage. “

Pot, meet kettle.

Herein, for your perusal, is a list of planted questions at the Clinton event, starting with the question student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff was supposed to ask….

  1. As a young person, I’m worried about the long-term effects of global warming. How does your plan combat climate change?
  2. How do you plan to confront the president on the war in Iraq, specifically war funding?
  3. As First Lady during one of the most prosperous administrations in American history, what did you learn from watching your husband interact with world leaders, global business titans and Congress?
  4. I am the president of the Hillary Clinton National Fan Club. What advice do have for those who want to start their own chapters of the fan club, and what can members whom are too young to vote do to help your presidential run?
  5. Like you and many Americans, I have cankles– unsightly calves that go straight into my ankles. Yet, you are proof that a woman horribly afflicted with cankles can be sexy even outside the fetish fringes. What is your secret? Are you some mysterious enchantress? What spell have you cast on us? and what is your national plan to combat the growing threat of cankles in America?

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Normal Ankles and Cankles

Uppity Peasants!

Establishment nobility like Cokie Roberts betrayed either senility or a profound and arrogant contempt for your right to question candidates asking for your vote when she said the practice of planted questions was much ado about nothing.

How CNN Ruined an Objective Story

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Student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff describes how she was approached by Clinton staffers. See video here
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To diffuse the story Steffen Schmidt, an irrelevant pundit and implied authority figure, claims planted questions are no big deal. Like Cokie, he belittles the gravity of your right to question candidates asking for your vote. He injected opinion into a story that hitherto remained confined to the facts.

Why it Matters: Planted Questions Deny Your Right to Question Candidates Asking for Your Vote

After the fallout from the scandal, a predictable lot of partisan douche bags circled their wagons around their candidate. Cokie Roberts, either betraying senility or a profound contempt for “American peasantry”, had the gall to say it was much ado about nothing and ask “Who cares?”

Alan Colmes intimated that if Bush did it, the Dems could do it too. Under Colm’s cross-eyed, apologist reasoning, if the GOP wants to be corrupt and deceitful, the Dems should have that right also. But in truth, how different was this event from the staged FEMA news conference? In both cases, the speaker only called on people known to have scripted questions. Hillary may not have worked with the audience, as in the case with FEMA, but you still have pretty much the same effect. If you or I were in the audience that day and had a question, and if you knew what you know now, do you think she would call on us?

And as for Cokie Robert’s arrogant dismissal of this voter affront let me say this: “Who cares?” I do. I care, Your Highness, and more Americans than you are willing to admit care deeply about such fraud and are offended. Moreover, your disdain for the American’s right to question a candidate’s platform and credentials has been laid bare. Same goes for Colmes, but from him it’s to be expected. He works for FOX News, with Sean Hannity.

If the audience of any given presidential candidate is reduced to asking only scripted questions, how can they challenge a candidate’s platform? how can they truly participate in their elective franchise?

Clearly, the most important factor in choosing a candidate is his or her willingness to take on the hard and sobering questions we need to know. It’s a given candidates will be asked stupid questions based on erroneous or slanderous assumptions, time and time again. Candidates will be frustrated and tired of dealing with those, anyone would. But they will also be asked good questions, important ones that resonate with, and reflect a larger national sentiment. A candidate worthy of your vote would dare not shun these queries, they would welcome them.

And it is apparent, now, at least one candidate believes you have no right to ask why she deserves your vote. That is, aside from Rudy Giuliani. He was busted a long time ago staging phone calls from his wife and the thought he may also make a habit of planting questions and staffers in the audience is anything but far-fetched.

UPDATE One week after promising not to plant staffers or questions in future events, the Clinton campaign is nailed by the New York Times and others for rigging the CNN debate.