On Sunday, Hillary Clinton took questions from an Iowa audience and got into a spat with a would-be supporter over her vote to declare Iran’s army a supporter of terrorism. The audience member compared the vote to her vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq and asked why she hadn’t “learned from your past mistakes.” Clinton then accused the man of being a plant, saying of the question, “somebody obviously sent it to you.” On Monday, Hillary took no questions at any of her four major events scattered throughout the state.
This morning, her spokesman, Jay Carson, responded to speculation that the Iran exchange had caused the campaign to clamp down on audience interaction. The events yesterday “were rallies,” he explained, saying that “at some events we take questions, at some we don’t,” and that some situations are appropriate for questions, others aren’t. (The difference between a “rally” and an event where questions are “appropriate” maybe tone, but not content: The senator gave essentially the same speech Sunday as she did Monday.) Asked if the senator would take questions today — she is unveiling a proposal for a “universal 401K” — Carson said she would take question at the two events following her policy speech, but not this morning. (Mocking what he characterized as the press’ new-found concern over the issue, a staffer later joked that Adam Nagourney must be the “most powerful man in journalism.”)
UPDATE: Hillary JUST announced that she would, after her speech, be “throwing it open to the audience” after all. Adam Nagourney is, indeed, the most powerful man in journalism.
UPDATE: The vote is controversial — she’s been dinged on it by Biden, Richardson, Dodd, Edwards, and Obama (and Gravel!) — because it could be interpreted as a step towards allowing Bush to start a war with Iran; hence the parallel made by the questioner to her Iraq vote.