Hillary Not Taking Audience Questions, And Neither Is Obama

This seems a very stupid thing to do:

Iowans have noticied that Democrat Hillary Clinton is not taking public questions from audiences during her final-push campaign rallies. . . . Clinton took no questions from audiences at any of her stops earlier Sunday, in Vinton, Traer and Cedar Falls.

Now I imagine the questions from the audience will be rather inane and stupid. Unlike many of you, I thought the YouTube debates were ridiculous. But just for the sake of image, taking a few questions seems a no brainer.

Update [2007-12-31 11:49:43 by Big Tent Democrat]: Apparently, neither is Obama:

The New York senator took heat last week for not inviting voters to ask questions, even though Obama hasn't answered questions at his last eight events.

< Populism (Edwards) On The Rise In Iowa | Grumpy Old White Men, Or David Boren (?) Makes A Threat >
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  • Display: Sort:
    Fear of a making a misstatement in the last days? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Maryb2004 on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 10:29:25 AM EST
    Not a way to win over undecideds or second choices.   Although everyone seems to agree that she won't pick up many second choices anyway.  

    The Account I Read (none / 0) (#2)
    by BDB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 10:33:04 AM EST
    Said that she did take questions at a couple of stops, but that she was basically trying to fit so many stops in that she didn't have time to take questions.

    I do agree it's a mistake.  Although which is a bigger mistake getting to fewer places or taking no questions, I'm not sure.  I think the real mistake was made earlier in the primary season when she wasn't getting out and holding smaller events and taking questions there.   They seemed to think that press from larger events would carry them through and that didn't happen.   If they hadn't made that first mistake, they wouldn't have to rush around now.

    Each of the candidates have made what could be critical mistakes, IMO.  Edwards going personally negative on Clinton, Obama failing to take Edwards seriously enough, and Clinton not really understanding Iowa.   The question is do these balance each other out or will one of these mistakes cost someone the necessary delegates to win.

    On a lighter Clinton note, I found this Onion editorial on her ambition hilarious.   From it:

    Sen. Clinton always wants to be throwing her opinion around about this bill or that law. I saw her on Meet The Press  just last week. Every time Tim Russert would take her to task on one issue or another, she'd come right back at him with some sort of smart answer. She needs to learn that sometimes you need to just accept your place; it's not polite to always act like you know things. Not to mention the fact that, as a working woman, she should take those precious Sundays to spend some time with her family, not to meet with the press on national television.

    Barak does it too (none / 0) (#3)
    by dk on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 10:43:49 AM EST
    Of course, Barak is doing the exact same thing.  See:

    I'm not saying this as a criticism of BTD at all, but I really do think this is one more demonstration about anti-Hillary media bias.  If even BTD can get fooled into thinking that this is something that Hillary does and Obama doesn't do, it shows how pernicious the anti-Hillary-at-all-costs MSM narrative is.

    I'm going to vote for Hillary, but this has nothing to do with whether you're a Hillary supporter, Barak supporter, etc. etc.  At some point, of course, everyone has to trust their gut and vote for the person they think would be the best president.  But please, let's try to get real facts, and not be duped by media narratives on all thus stuff.

    Thanls will update (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 10:47:49 AM EST
    i beg to differ. (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 12:02:49 PM EST
    i'd say sen. clinton understands iowa completely, if jeralyn's state stats are correct. it's nearly homogenous; go from one town to the next, and unless someone tells you otherwise, i doubt you'd notice the difference.

    what "new and challenging" questions are going to be asked, of any of the candidates, at this juncture, by such completely undiverse audiences?

    Iowan Entitlement Problem (none / 0) (#6)
    by BDB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 12:47:03 PM EST
    While Yepsen likes to talk about how seriously Iowans take their role in choosing a president, I think the flip side to it is that there is a feeling of entitlement in Iowa.  They expect candidates to take their questions and kowtow to them.  

    Some of that is a good thing.  It is kind of cool to see folks who could be the next president of the United States standing with a group of 30 voters, signing things, answering questions and posing for photos.  There's something so American about that image.

    But at the same time, some Iowans clearly hold it against candidates who don't spend a lot of time in their county or at their event.  They've come to expect to be able to ask their questions.  The fact that a candidate has other things they need to do to win over other states or to do their regular job doesn't seem to matter much to them. It seems ridiculous, but that's what happens when you let a few thousand voters in one state decide the nominee.


    I do recall the national press (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 06:34:09 PM EST
    reporters covering the early days of the campaigns in Iowa.  Some very tough questions about Iraq, how we get out now, etc.  The campaign reporters seemed quite surprised a person living in Iowa could ask such a question.

    Of course they don't take questions (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dadler on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:02:41 PM EST
    Unfiltered questions from the public would require these candidates to be imaginative and quick witted, which none of them is remotely close to being.  If they were smart, they'd take some improv classes.  And I'm entirely serious.

    Except of course, Obama does take questions (none / 0) (#8)
    by joejoejoe on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 03:35:13 PM EST
    Newton, IA, 12/30:
    Obama concluded his normal remarks by saying he would take three questions, and he wanted the questions to be from undecided voters.

    The first question came from a young woman who began the question sounding like a Valley Girl...The second question from an audience member addressed the penal system and the United States' position as Number One in incarcerated prisoners....The third question was "How are you going to better the Special Education program?"...A fourth and final question was: "All candidates are talking about the middle class. How am I really going to be helped?"

    Clinton Takes Them, Too (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by BDB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 05:33:31 PM EST
    But they've both seemed to cut down on them as they try to move faster from place to place.  Also, understandably, no one wants to have something embarrassing happen or say something inartfully (read stupid) so close to the caucuses.  

    I wonder if both Clinton and Obama expect to (none / 0) (#9)
    by JSN on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 04:50:35 PM EST
    be treated unfairly? Another problem is the person they call on may try to give a speech instead of asking a question and cutting them off can have negative consequences.

    Obama took questions in Newton Iowa (none / 0) (#12)
    by hebcyde on Tue Jan 01, 2008 at 12:50:27 PM EST
    Newton, Iowa

    I attended the Obama appearance Sunday at Newton High School that joejoejoe wrote about.  The 26 year old woman who asked the question about special education remained standing during Obama's answer, he answered her directly, and the staffer with the microphone handed it down to the questioner for a followup.  Obama heard her out, encouraged her efforts to improve her education, and gave her normal midwestern courtesy.  

    Of course, the lights and cameras were on, Tim Russert and other reporters watching, but Obama handled it about as perfectly as could be done, and gave a coherent answer that responded to the questioner and gave good information to everyone else.

    The next day Monday (yesterday) at the Community Center (former Aldi store) Biden appeared with his mom, two daughters and a daughter in law, a son (not the AG) and four or five grandchildren.  Biden gave a terrific answer with a sensible, workable plan for illegal immigration, one that Richardson should have given when I gave him the chance to at Berg Middle School in December.