Archive for November, 2007

Senator Clinton, planted question, and what we should expect of candidates

November 12, 2007

Senator Clinton’s campaign has been accused of planting at least one question at a rally in Iowa. See the story at the BBC’s web site at this address:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7090475.stm

Senator Clinton states, as reported in the story, that “It was news to me and neither I nor my campaign approve of that, and it will certainly not be tolerated.” I am glad that she does not approve of question planting. The practice is dishonest. It does not give us an accurate view of the candidate in an extemporaneous situation. It’s only purpose is to provide another venue for the candidate’s rhetoric.

I wish that she had said one more thing about this incident. I wish that she had said that while she didn’t know about the plant, and while she didn’t approve of the plant, that she was responsible for the actions of her campaign and her campaign staff in trying to further her cause. I think she needed to say that. Perhaps it’s harsh to believe that the good senator should accept responsibility for something that a campaign worker did under personal initiative. Nevertheless, the candidate is responsible for setting the direction of the campaign and for establishing the values under which the campaign will operate. At least, that’s my view.

The candidate should be ensuring that the campaign knows, among other things, that fundamental principles of fairness, justice, and honesty are to be followed. The candidate needs to set the example and the campaign workers need to follow it. We need examples of strong character, of willingness to take responsibility. We need these examples not only in our presidents but also in our candidates.