CNN Pressured College Student to Ask Hillary Insulting "Diamonds or Pearls" Question

Steve Benen: The UNLV student said later the a classmate approached her after the debate and said, "you gave our school a bad reputation."
This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

The very last question in last night's debate for Democratic presidential candidates was probably the dumbest of the year.
MALVEAUX: Maria, would you stand, please? Give us your full name.
Q: Maria -- (inaudible) -- and I'm a UNLV student. And my question is for Senator Clinton. This is a fun question for you. Do you prefer diamonds or pearls? (Laughter.)
CLINTON: Now, I know I'm sometimes accused of not being able to make a choice. I want both. (Laughter.)
MALVEAUX: Do we get to ask any of the other candidates or, I suppose, just Senator Clinton? (Cross talk.)
Q: It's the only thing shiny up there.
MALVEAUX: Okay, thank you so much.
BLITZER: All right, so on that note, diamonds and pearls, I want to thank all of the Democratic presidential candidates for joining us....
Now, as regular readers know, I'm not a prude when it comes to frivolous questions. Sometimes, off-the-wall inquiries can force candidates to be creative on the fly, and think quickly on their feet.

But this was just dumb. Worse, it was insulting -- the first credible woman presidential candidate in U.S. history is fielding a question about her preferences in jewelry? Please.

What viewers at home did not know, however, is that Maria Luisa, the UNLV student who asked about this wanted to pose an entirely different question -- but CNN "encouraged" her to go with the "diamonds or pearl" question.
Steve Benen is a freelance writer/researcher and creator of The Carpetbagger Report. In addition, he is the lead editor of's Blog Report, and has been a contributor to Talking Points Memo, Washington Monthly, Crooks & Liars, The American Prospect, and the Guardian.
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