Here’s the Top Softball Questions and Comments from Monday’s CNN Democratic Town Hall

CNN’s heavily-promoted Democratic presidential town hall finally aired Monday night from Iowa and while they featured a number of questions that challenged Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders, there were plenty of questions that skewed to the left. 

Leaving aside questions posed to longshot candidate Martin O’Malley, here are a sampling of the most liberal inquiries from the evening (along with a cheap-shot question to Bernie Sanders and a comment by a voter about beating up Trey Gowdy). 

In the first question to the socialist Senator from Vermont, moderator and New Day co-host Chris Cuomo started easy by asking Sanders if he was been “surprised” by his support and the hashtag associated with the “Feel the Bern” phrase:

So do you remember when we first started talking about this election many months ago, you weren't sure that you wanted to run. You were not sure, you said, that there was an appetite in this country to discuss the problems between rich and poor. How surprised are you by #FeelTheBern and all that has followed?

Later on, Cuomo jumped in for a follow-up question after a female college student wondered if Sanders could elaborate on how he’d support “women’s issues” (i.e. abortion) considering he’s having to run against possibly the first female president: 

How do you think you'd be as helpful to women as a woman president would? What about that aspect? That's what Hillary Clinton represents on one level to voters, that's she would be the first female president, and there is something special in that especially when it comes to women's issues.

Citing an interview Sanders’s brother gave to CNN in which he wondered how their late parents would react to their son’s success, Cuomo closed with this to the Vermont senator:

He was saying, boy, would our parents be proud of the success that Bernie has had. You have to think about that as well. When you think about why you are doing this and what it means, what does it mean to you about what your parents would think if they saw you now?

Hillary Clinton went last in the two-hour town hall following O’Malley and Cuomo led with a multi-part question teeing her up to praise President Obama in light of his kind words concerning his former secretary of state (as well as two newspaper endorsements she had received): 

CHRIS CUOMO: Interesting weekend for you. Boston Globe, endorsement. Des Moines Register, endorsement. Maybe the best accolade, President Obama gave an interview, talked about this race, seemed to get more into it than he has in the past. He said, you're quote, “wicked smart,” “knows every policy inside and out.” Sounds like and endorsement to me. 

(....)

CUOMO: He says also in there, you get undue criticism and he says, by the way, I have regrets about my campaign and some of the things we did. Was that surprising?

Speaking of providing her an upper hand, Air Force veteran and Muslim-American Erum Tariq-Munir wanted to know from Clinton how she would “protect the constitutional rights of all groups of people without marginalizing any one community” and give her solace “that this country is the best place on Earth to raise my family.”

>> Find Scott Whitlock's piece on the most obnoxious questions from NBC's Democratic Debate here <<

In the next question from a prospective Iowa caucusgoer, a law student at Drake University inquired what she “will say to Republican voters” “when you are elected” and Clinton used the occasion to reach out to Cuomo by invoking his late father and former Democratic New York Governor Mario Cuomo: “You know, Chris Cuomo's — Chris Cuomo's father said one of the smartest things, well he said many smart things about politics, but you might remember he said you campaign in poetry, you govern in prose.”

Tell the Truth 2016

Going back to when Sanders was on-stage, Chris Cuomo used his second-to-last question to parrot an attack by a Hillary Clinton ally questioning the health of Bernie Sanders and the demand that he release his full medical records: “You would be the oldest person elected president. You have medical records. You say you're going to release them. Should you release them to be fair to the voters of Iowa before they vote?”

In what was perhaps the longest statement by a voter (before actually posing a question), Dick Goodson of the Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations made a snarky comment about hoping Donald Trump could have “punch[ed] [Trey] Gowdy out” following the Benghazi hearing and how he became a supporter of hers upon watching it: 

Madame Secretary, before I ask my question, I have a quick comment, and that is that I was a lukewarm person for you before the Benghazi hearings, I watched all 11 hours, every second of it and came away from that a gung ho supporter of yours.  I woke up one night thinking that maybe I could see if Donald Trump was sitting here, maybe he'd punch Gowdy out. I wouldn’t mind that.

The relevant portions of the transcript from CNN’s Iowa Democratic Presidential Town Hall on January 25 can be found below.

CNN’s Iowa Democratic Presidential Town Hall 
January 25, 2016
9:04 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS CUOMO: So do you remember when we first started talking about this election many months ago, you weren't sure that you wanted to run. You were not sure, you said, that there was an appetite in this country to discuss the problems between rich and poor. How surprised are you by #FeelTheBern and all that has followed?

(....)

CUOMO [TO SANDERS]: How do you think you'd be as helpful to women as a woman president would? What about that aspect? That's what Hillary Clinton represents on one level to voters, that's she would be the first female president, and there is something especially in that when it comes to women's issues.

(....)

CUOMO: You would be the oldest person elected president. You have medical records. You say you're going to release them. Should you release them to be fair to the voters of Iowa before they vote? 

SANDERS: Absolutely. I mean, they’re sitting — where are they, Jane? On our table right now? All right. We will release them. That's my wife. Yes, of course, we'll release them. 

CUOMO: You going to do it before Iowa?

(....)

CUOMO: Something else your brother said. He got emotional. He was saying, boy, would our parents be proud of the success that Bernie has had. You have to think about that as well. When you think about why you are doing this and what it means, what does it mean to you about what your parents would think if they saw you now?

(....)

CUOMO [to HILLARY CLINTON]: Interesting weekend for you. Boston Globe, endorsement. Des Moines Register, endorsement. Maybe the best accolade, President Obama gave an interview, talked about this race, seemed to get more into it than he has in the past. He said, you're quote, “wicked smart,” “knows every policy inside and out.” Sounds like and endorsement to me. 

(....)

CUOMO: He says also in there, you get undue criticism and he says, by the way, I have regrets about my campaign and some of the things we did. Was that surprising?

(....)

DRAKE UNIVERSITY LAW STUDENT MARIA DIAZ: Secretary Clinton, when you are elected the next president of the United States, what will you say to Republican voters? 

HILLARY CLINTON: That I want to be the president for everyone and I believe that is exactly what any president should do. You know, Chris Cuomo's — Chris Cuomo's father said one of the smartest things, well he said many smart things about politics, but you might remember he said you campaign in poetry, you govern in prose.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center