Audience Member at Dem Town Hall Appears to Admit CNN Wrote His Question


An audience member who attended CNN's Monday night town hall for Democratic presidential candidates appeared to unintentionally admit that CNN wrote questions beforehand for audience members to ask the candidates.

The televised forum was hosted by Drake University and the Iowa Democratic Party and took place one week before Iowa voters head to the caucuses as the first state to help determine the primary. It was a chance for potential voters to ask the Democratic candidates questions to help determine their choice this Monday.

One audience member named Brett Rosenberg began to ask a question to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton but initially misspoke.

"Secretary Sanders … Clinton … Sorry," Rosenberg began.

"That's okay," Clinton responded.

The audience laughed at the mistake while Rosenberg said with an embarrassed smile, "I can see why they gave you this question. I just wanted to know which of our previous presidents has inspired you most and why."

Rosenberg's comment appeared to suggest that his question was prepared by someone else and fed to him to ask rather than his own original question.

CNN and the Democratic Iowa Party were the two organizations directly involved with holding and organizing the event.

Clinton's answer to the question was Abraham Lincoln, jokingly apologizing to her husband and former president Bill Clinton and current president Barack Obama.

CNN's Chris Cuomo hosted the town hall.

The Hill reported Tuesday that Rosenberg's question was his own, but CNN elected for him to ask it to Clinton:

After the forum, Rosengren said that the network didn’t provide him with the question, but that CNN decided to have him ask Clinton.

"It was my own question that I had submitted on Saturday night and directed towards any candidate," Rosengren told US Uncut. "They chose that candidate to be Clinton."

The forum gave Democratic candidates’ one last chance to deliver their final pitches to voters in the Hawkeye State one week ahead of the caucuses, where Clinton and sanders are locked in a tight race.

Update: (5:37 p.m.) This article has been updated to show The Hill's report on the questioner.

Aaron Kliegman

Aaron Kliegman   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Aaron Kliegman is the news editor of the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, Aaron worked as a research associate at the Center for Security Policy, a national security think tank, and as the deputy field director on Micah Edmond's campaign for U.S. Congress. In December 2016, he received his master's degree from Johns Hopkins University’s Global Security Studies Program in Washington, D.C., with a concentration in strategic studies. He graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2014 and lives in Leesburg, Virginia. His Twitter handle is @Aaron_Kliegman. He can be reached at

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