“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…The real enemy, then, is humanity itself….Bring the divided nation together to face an outside enemy, either a real one or else one INVENTED for the purpose…”
– The First Global Revolution: A Report by the Council of Rome
· Team asked student to raise climate issue
· Second incident lifts veil on campaign management
Planted question damages Clinton in key primary state
by Ed Pilkington
Hillary Clinton’s reputation for calculated political orchestration has been enhanced after a member of her staff was caught out in the crucial primary battleground of Iowa planting a tame question in the audience.
The Clinton campaign operation in Iowa was forced to admit that it had set up the question on climate change at a town hall rally in Newton last Tuesday. The meeting had been an important set-piece for Clinton, with several members of the national media present.
After Clinton spoke, a student in the crowd was invited to pose a question. “As a young person, I’m worried about the long-term effects of global warming. How does your plan combat climate change?” the student asked.
Clinton replied: “Well, you should be worried. You know, I find as I travel around Iowa that it’s usually young people who ask me about global warming.”
The cover was blown on the orchestrated nature of the exchange a few days later when the Grinnell college website reported that one of its students, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, had been encouraged to asked the question by a Clinton employee. “One of the senior staffers told me what to ask,” she said.
Clinton’s spokesman admitted the question had been arranged but said: “This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again.”
Over the weekend, a second case emerged of an Iowan apparently steered towards a tame question, on this occasion about Iraq at a campaign event in April.
Any appearance of crowd manipulation is highly sensitive for Clinton, as it plays to her negative image – keenly projected by her Republican opponents – as a robotic politician who will stop at nothing to get her point across.
It is particularly incendiary in Iowa, a state deeply proud of its homely caucus style of elections and suspicious of outside interference. The revelation of planted questions is also a rare insight into the nature of the election process, which has been meticulously stage-managed by all the serious candidates in both main parties. The race is more heavily funded and closely choreographed than any previous American election, yet the campaigns maintain the illusion that they are engaged in organic dialogue with voters.
This is nowhere more apparent than in Iowa, whose first count in the primary calendar on January 3 has led it to be swamped by candidates. Clinton alone has more than 200 full-time staff in the state.