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Arment Dietrich

The Politics of Planting

By: Arment Dietrich | December 3, 2007 | 
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Is Hillary Clinton giving students a negative outlook on politics? That is what 19-year-old Muriel from Grinnell College thinks. Muriel said she was asked by a Clinton staff member to ask Clinton a specific question after her energy saving speech. Clinton’s camp admitted that it planted the question and said it would never happen again. However, this might just be another blow to the campaign. Muriel originally wanted to ask Clinton how her energy saving plan compares to other candidates’ plans, but the staffer said, “I don’t think that’s a good idea, because I don’t know how familiar she (Hillary) is with their plans.”

I understand that planting questions with audience members is not unheard of in political campaigns. I do think Hillary should have avoided this because it is embarrassing and suggests that a candidate is uncomfortable facing tough questions, therefore easy questions and prepared answers need to be planted. Hillary was trying to answer questions she thought were relevant to her speech. It ended up with spin on how she and her campaign are manipulative and scheming and that they have to bend the rules to maintain her lead in the polls. For me, honesty and trust are such huge issues when looking at political candidates. Bill Schneider, CNN’s senior political analyst said Clinton’s husband had this same issue and was referred by critics as “Slick Willy.” Will her critics start referring to the New York senator as “Slick Hillary?” — Kristina Burn

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