Pumpkin Spice Latte Questioner Worked on Clinton 2008 Campaign

Campaign admitted to planting questions in 2008

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Hillary Clinton, who is now "spontaneous" and shows "self-effacing humor," garnered attention for her answer to whether she is a "pumpkin spice latte kind of gal" during a Facebook Q&A on Monday.

"Ha! The true answer is I used to be until I saw how many calories are in them," said Clinton, in a response that got the media to temporarily "move on" from talking about her private email server. The Washington Post wrote two nearly identical posts on it within 30 minutes.

The source of the inquiry, Claire Celsi, who brought about this rare public relations success for the Clinton campaign, raises questions about whether this interaction was in fact spontaneous.

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Celsi is a public relations professional in Iowa who worked on the Clinton campaign in 2008 as a precinct captain. Celsi says she can help "the average become extraordinary" through the use of social media.

Celsi, who still keeps mementos from Clinton’s 2008 campaign, has also become a go-to Clinton supporter to talk to for media covering Clinton's Iowa campaign. She was quoted in April by WeAreIowa.com and again in August by NBC News.

"She's the most qualified candidate we’ve had other than a sitting president, why would we not give her our full support?" Celsi told NBC. "Sorry Bern boy. Don’t get me wrong, I love Senator Sanders—but she's the Eleanor Roosevelt of our time."

Celsi has also penned an article, as the "Public Relations Princess," for the Iowa Business Journal, giving an insider perspective citing her campaign experience on Clinton’s "smart media relations strategy" during her current campaign.

"Full disclosure: I am a Hillary Clinton supporter," she wrote at the close of the article.

Celsi said in a phone interview with the Free Beacon that there was no coordination with the campaign, and also that the media is misrepresenting Clinton’s stance on pumpkin spice lattes.

"The funny thing is that everybody is saying she is against pumpkin spice lattes, but she clearly likes them," explained Celsi. "She just can’t drink many of them."

Celsi said that she has not been able to help the campaign as much as she did in 2008 as a volunteer, but is contributing by writing letters to supporters in Iowa that have committed to caucus.

The Clinton campaign came under fire during the 2008 campaign when it was caught planting questions for her to answer at town hall events.

Although the Clinton campaign initially denied the allegations of planting, it later confirmed to the Associated Press that the allegations were true.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to an inquiry into whether there was any coordination with Celsi.

Celsi remains a passionate and devoted supporter of Clinton.

She fired back at Facebook critics upset that her question was not about a real issue. "I already know where she stands on all the issues," wrote Celsi. "That's why I’m supporting her."

She was vocal in the face of critics in 2007 as well. She responded to a critic on a YouTube video she posted of Clinton speaking in Iowa that the man must be angry due to his "small penis."

UPDATE 2:20 P.M: This post has been updated to reflect comment from Celsi.

UPDATE 3:13 P.M.: Celsi said she was a volunteer for the Clinton's 2008 campaign. The title has been updated to reflect the fact that she was not a paid staffer.

Brent Scher   Email Brent | Full Bio | RSS
Brent Scher is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Virginia, where he studied foreign affairs and politics.