Some questioners at Obama town hall were plants (SEIU, donors, etc.)
At yesterday's Barack Obama town hall meeting, some of those who asked questions live at the event - as distinguished from those who submitted questions online - were plants with connections to the White House or other Beltway establishments. Garance Franke Ruta of the Washington Post says:
the five fully identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room were anything but a diverse lot. They included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union, a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama among Hispanics during the primary; a former Democratic candidate for Virginia state delegate who endorsed Obama last fall in an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama's campaign in 2008.
Those involved were: Sergio Salmeron, Tom Sawner, Carlos Del Toro, Linda Bock, and Bonnee Breese. Bock was invited through the Nurse Alliance Leadership Council, and Breese through the American Federation of Teachers.
He said he was invited to the White House town hall through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Executive Council.
Del Toro also has unspecified ties to that Council.
The above shouldn't come as much of a surprise; at the recent Obama townhall in Orange County, one of those called on was - chance of all chances - a union official. And, this is similar to the plants at a CNN debate in November 2007.