Clinton Makes Mistake Planting Question In Year When Voters Want Change

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has admitted that they planted a question which was asked by a college student at a recent campaign event.

Grinnell College’s “Scarlet and Black” newspaper reported a student’s account of being pulled aside before a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa and asked to pose a specific question.

“They were canned,” Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff claimed in an interview with the newspaper. “One of the senior staffers told me what [to ask].”

Gallo-Chasanoff said she was told that the campaign wanted the question, about what Clinton would do for the environment, to be asked by a college student. She said Clinton was prompted to call on her as well as another student seen in conversation with staffers prior to the event.

This follows a recent poor debate performance and a tightening in the New Hampshire polls. Clinton certainly remains the front runner but her nomination cannot be assumed to be inevitable. As we saw in 2003-4, early polls, including in the early primary states, mean little. Many voters are paying far less attention to the election that blog readers and many of those who are paying attention have not made up their minds.

Sometimes there is almost a default candidate for those who have not really decided but prefer to give a name to pollsters. In 2003 those who opposed George Bush and opposed the war typically gave Howard Dean’s name to pollsters after he received all the media hype but this does not mean they necessarily voted for him when given other choices. Similarly Hillary Clinton’s name may be first to come to mind by many voters who want a Democrat to win in 2008, but that does not mean that other Democrats cannot win their votes.

While I continue to think that second tier candidates such as Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd might be better choices than those in the top tier, events such as this demonstrate that Barack Obama might be positioning himself best as a candidate of change. After eight years of George Bush, many voters will prefer an alternative who does not attempt to manipulate the public in this manner, or one who so transparently is willing to change his positions and say anything to get votes such as John Edwards while lacking any signs of integrity or conviction.

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