The PJ Tatler

'Unscripted': The Return of Hillary's Plants

Spring is in the air and for those of us who love to garden that means only one thing: Plants!

And according to David Martosko, the U.S. politics editor for the Daily Mail, a full garden was on display at Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first campaign stop in Iowa which her campaign dubbed an “unscripted event.”

Hillary Clinton’s astroturf candidacy is in full swing in Iowa.

Her Tuesday morning visit to a coffee shop in LeClaire, Iowa was staged from beginning to end, according to Austin Bird, one of the men pictured sitting at the table with Mrs. Clinton.

Bird told Daily Mail Online that campaign staffer Troy Price called and asked him and two other young people to meet him Tuesday morning at a restaurant in Davenport, a nearby city.

Price then drove them to the coffee house to meet Clinton after vetting them for about a half-hour.

The three got the lion’s share of Mrs. Clinton’s time and participated in what breathless news reports described as a ’roundtable’– the first of many in her brief Iowa campaign swing.

Bird himself is a frequent participant in Iowa Democratic Party events. He interned with President Obama’s 2012 presidential re-election campaign, and was tapped to chauffeur Vice President Joe Biden in October 2014 when he visited Davenport. 

‘What happened is, we were just asked to be there by Troy,’ Bird said Wednesday in a phone interview.

‘We were asked to come to a meeting with Troy, the three of us, at the Village Inn.’

The other two, he confirmed, were University of Iowa College Democrats president Carter Bell. and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland employee Sara Sedlacek. 

‘It was supposed to be a strategy meeting,’ Bird recalled, ‘to get our thoughts about issues. But then all of a sudden he says, “Hey, we have Secretary Clinton coming in, would you like to go meet her?”‘

‘And then we got in a car – Troy’s car – and we went up to the coffee house, and we sat at a table and then Hillary just came up and talked with us.’

Bird said ‘we all were called.’

‘I mean, Troy asked us all to do – to go to a meeting with him. And we didn’t really know what it was about. I mean, he did. He knew.’

News reports described Bird as a “student” even though he is a hospital government-relations official who interned with Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign and, judging from his Facebook page,  an enthusiastic Democrat political activist and ardent Hillary Clinton supporter.

Martosko notes that “it’s unclear how many Iowans featured in photographs with Clinton that rocketed around the country on Tuesday were planted.”

Who knew Hillary had such a green thumb? Well — anybody who was paying attention in 2007/2008 when her campaign was repeatedly castigated by the right for using plants at her campaign stops.

Here’s an example  from November 2007:

One day after Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign confirmed that a staffer planted a question for the presidential candidate at a recent campaign stop, another person has come forward with a similar story.

Geoff Mitchell, a minister who recently moved to Hamilton, Ill., from Iowa, told ABC News that he was approached this spring by Clinton’s Iowa political director Chris Haylor to ask Clinton a question about war funding.

…Mitchell said he introduced himself to Haylor because he had heard of him before and knew that he had worked on Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh’s campaign. Before the campaign event, Haylor asked Mitchell if he would pose a specific question about Iraq. The question was about how Clinton would be tough on President Bush about funding the Iraq war, Mitchell said. The event, however, ran out of time before reaching a question-and-answer period.

Old habits are hard to break, I guess.