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Clinton takes 3 whole questions ... at one stop

December 29, 2007 | 12:02 am

Reversing the no-question approach she had adopted mid-week, Hillary Clinton invited queries from voters at a campaign stop Friday in Story City, Iowa. But the change was short-lived.

She took three questions before leaving her first campaign event of the day. But at two later stops, the Q-and-A was dispensed with. Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said she was running behind schedule as the day proceeded.

After she had finished her speech in Story City, Clinton told her audience that the best questions she gets tend not to be those asked for all to see.

"I want to meet as many of you as possible and have a chance to hear from you," she said. "I often hear the best stories and the best questions one-on-one.''

Of course, when she takes questions while working the rope line -- with campaign songs typically blaring in the background -- it is difficult for the media to hear the exchanges.

Clinton's three questions in Story City dealt with education, the cost of the Iraq war and depleted uranium. Carson said he anticipated more opportunities for audience questions before the Iowa caucuses next Thursday.

One of Clinton's main rivals in the state, John Edwards, put out word -- perhaps with a contrast in mind -- that he is open to as many questions as voters want to ask as next week's big day nears. His campaign, in fact, not only announced that voters were welcome to ask him questions directly at rallies, but they could pose them through a new website or by phoning his Iowa headquarters.

-- Peter Nicholas