Another Question Planted by Clinton Campaign

An Ill. minister tells ABC News that a staffer asked him to pose a war question.

ByEloise Harper

Nov. 10, 2007— -- One day after Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign confirmed that a staffer planted a question for the presidential candidate at a recent campaign stop, another person has come forward with a similar story.

Geoff Mitchell, a minister who recently moved to Hamilton, Ill., from Iowa, told ABC News that he was approached this spring by Clinton's Iowa political director Chris Haylor to ask Clinton a question about war funding.

Mitchell, 32, said that the request "did not sit well with me in the tradition of the Iowa caucus."

"I grew up in Iowa and I value the tradition of the caucuses of answering the questions of the people," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he introduced himself to Haylor because he had heard of him before and knew that he had worked on Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh's campaign.

Before the campaign event, Haylor asked Mitchell if he would pose a specific question about Iraq. The question was about how Clinton would be tough on President Bush about funding the Iraq war, Mitchell said.

The event, however, ran out of time before reaching a question-and-answer period.

Mitchell said he figured that the Clinton campaign was looking for an opportunity to highlight the difference between her position on Iraq and her Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama's position on the war.

The Clinton campaign confirmed to ABC News that Clinton's staffer and Mitchell did speak about a possible Iraq question.

"Chris Haylor and Geoff Mitchell knew each other and they started talking and the subject of Iraq came up," Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said, "and Chris suggested that he ask a question about Iraq."

The revelation today about a campaign-prompted question comes just one day after the Clinton campaign admitted to planting a question this week in Iowa.

That instance involved an unidentified Clinton campaign staffer who approached a female student from Grinnell College and asked her to pose a question about global warming at a campaign stop at a biodiesel plant in Newton, Iowa, on Nov. 6.

The story was reported by the Grinnell College newspaper, in which the student told a reporter that the Clinton camp "wanted a question from a college student."

Elleithee told ABC News yesterday that "on this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question about Sen. Clinton's energy plan at a forum. However, Sen. Clinton did not know which questioners she was calling on during the event. This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again."

The campaign did not comment on whether this is the only time they have planted questions among audience members.

Elleithee also stressed that Clinton has taken hundreds of questions throughout the campaign -- from reporters as well as citizens.

"Many of those have been tough questions," Elleithee said. "She continues to do well [in Iowa] because as she answers the questions, people see she has the strength and experience to bring change."

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.

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