Feature

The significance of Hillary's planted question

It's tempting to dismiss the uproar over a planted question at a Hillary Clinton campaign event as a "phony" controversy, said John Dickerson in Slate.com. But exchanges between voters and the candidates are supposed to be the "antidote&#03

What happened
The Grinnell College student who said she asked a planted question at a forum with Hillary Clinton continued to fuel the controversy on Tuesday, saying that she overheard another person who claimed to have also been given a question to ask by Clinton’s staff. Clinton has said it was “news to me” that the campaign planted questions, and vowed to make sure it doesn’t happen again. (The Boston Globe, free registration)

What the commentators said
It’s tempting to dismiss this as “a phony, media-generated controversy,” said John Dickerson in Slate.com. “Except that exchanges between voters and candidates are supposed to be the antidote to the failings of the mainstream media—free of all of the gimmickry and game-playing.” Break the rules and you should "pay a price.”

Americans deserve better than this, said Leonard Pitts in The Miami Herald (free registration). We need the next administration to be beyond reproach so it can repair the “massive damage” left behind by its predecessor. “Instead we get flim-flam.”

Presidential politics made a joke of the “town hall meeting” long before Hillary Clinton arrived on the campaign trail, said Michael Scherer in Salon.com. These days, every campaign is followed by political professionals call “bird doggers”—people sent by interest groups to ask planted questions “under the guise of normal citizenry” to “pin their issues on the ‘town hall’ billboard.”

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