Brennan Leach, 15, had appeared at a town hall with Clinton in Haverford, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb, on Sept. 4, accompanied by her parents. Her father, Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat, represents suburban Montgomery County, which has a substantial Jewish population, and has campaigned for Clinton in the swing state.
Leach and her father appeared on CNN on Sept. 8 to deny the allegations that the question was prearranged. Brennan Leach said she asked her father to review the question, as any teen would ask of a parent.
“In no way was I approached by Hillary’s campaign or asked to ask a question,” she said. “She didn’t know I was going to ask a question, she didn’t know what I was going to say at all.”
Brennan Leach’s question was about girls’ body image and the damage that could be caused by statements by Clinton’s rival, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Clinton has attacked Trump for disparaging women, most recently focusing on his comments in 1996 when Trump owned the Miss USA pageant and made comments about the winner’s weight gain. She answered Brennan Leach’s question with gusto.
Afterwards, Brennan Leach told reporters she had consulted with her father about the question, leading to a flurry of speculation in conservative media that she was a plant at the town hall asking a softball question. Town hall events with a single candidate generally attract followers and not skeptics, and questions tend not to be confrontational.