DES MOINES, IA.—The Clinton campaign got caught planting a question in a Newton, Ia. town hall meeting. The story has been ping-ponging on the web since Friday night, to the delight of the Obama forces.
White House hopeful former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) slammed Clinton during a press availability here Saturday afternoon, linking her to President Bush. Edwards took a few questions after addressing the Iowa Farmers Union meeting here earlier today.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is speaking now. She is very subdued. Seems the day off she took to rest her voice worked. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) were on the stage earlier. This is all in a warm-up to the Iowa State Party's big Jefferson Jackson dinner tonight where they will be expected to deliver stemwinders.
Asked to react to the Clinton question plant story, Edwards let it rip.
Here’s the Edwards' verbatim…..
“My response is that’s what George Bush does. George Bush goes to events that are staged, where people are screened, where they are only allowed to ask questions if the questions are favorable to George Bush. And set up in his favor.
“That’s not the way Democracy works in Iowa. And that is not the way it works in New Hampshire. I mean if you actually want to be president of the United States you go out, you face people, which I’ve done in every one of the 99 counties in Iowa and answered their
questions that are asked.
“And that’s the way it is supposed to work in the caucus process and I think this is the kind of thing George Bush himself has done.”
The Clinton camp was working Friday night to kill the story. But it did not succeed and it snowballed.
Asked to react to Edwards, Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee pushed back at Edwards. “Attacking other Democrats is what George Bush does and I think Iowans and the people of Iowa and New Hampshire are going to have to decide whether John Edwards’ total abandonment of positive campaigning is the way they want to see things run in their state.”
I mentioned that planting questions is not exactly kosher either. Elleithee said put things in perspective. “Hillary Clinton has taken hundreds of questions from reporters and Iowans during the course of this campaign…a lot of tough questions…I think people know that Hillary knows how to take touch questions.”
Will this hurt Clinton? Elleithee said, “At the end of the day I don’t think this is going to hurt us.”