Who ISN'T Planting Questions These Days?

If planting questions is part of the Clinton ouevre, it's still surprising that a flood of questioners haven't outed themselves (although they might be embarassed).

The Nation's Ari Melber thinks he may have found the Clinton plant disease in Salem, New Hampshire.

One of this examples:

The other YouTube clip, which appears to be from the same Salem event, features a young woman asking about Social Security. “Hi, my question is about Social Security reform, and I’m glad you mentioned it today. And, I’m asking because I feel like my generation has given up hope that we’re going to receive a Social Security check when we retire. So, with the current state. And I want to know, as president, what’s your specific plan to fix Social Security for my generation? Specifically, would you protect the Social Security trust fund, that’s running a surplus right now– but right now Congress can dip its hand into it and spend on other programs that has nothing to do with Social Security.” The YouTube clips, which were posted Wednesday night under the account meldoecase, include Clinton’s answers to both questions.

Sounds like a planted question, indeed.

But it probably wasn't a Clinton plant -- the question was probably crafted by one of the innumerable outside interest groups who are funding issue advocacy campaigns in the early primary and caucus states.

Divided We Fail, a project of the AARP, SEIU, NFIB and the Business Roundtable, aims to "engage the American people, businesses, non-profit organizations, and elected officials in finding bi-partisan solutions to ensure affordable, quality health care and long-term financial security – for all of us." Their supporters often ask candidates what seem to the human ear to be questions derived from a focus group. (What normal people use the phrase "financial security" when discussing retirement?)

Then there's Ed in 08, one of the two Bill Gates-funded groups operating this cycle. Ed stands for EDucation; Ed questioners (Eddies?) typically ask candidates for "specific answers" about how to "turn around" America's schools and lay out comprehensive K-12 reform proposals.

The ONE campaign is like the presidential motorcade of outside groups and is a full employment service for non-aligned political operatives. Arguably, it's the most effective of the bunch. Its questioners ask about poverty, AIDS and global health.

The League of Conservation Voters has "The Heat Is On," which vows to make global warming a priority issue for candidates.

Candidates are visiting early voting states in search of public support. This is our chance to place the issue of global warming before the candidates. Check out the Event Calendar to attend a candidate event near you

Then there are the 9/11 conspiratorialists, the Lyndon Larouchies, the anti-monetarists, the questions planted by rival candidates....

All of which is to say that it's impossible to participate in a totally pure town hall meeting where the agenda of the questioners and the wording of their questions are derived entirely from their own experiences.