June 24th, 2014
04:35 PM ET
6 months ago

Hillary Clinton on wealth missteps: 'My record speaks for itself'

Updated 2:35 p.m. ET, 6/25/14

(CNN) – A day after former President Bill Clinton defended his wife against wealth attacks, Hillary Clinton said in an interview what while she is appreciative for the defense, she thinks her record "speak for itself."

"My husband was very sweet today," Clinton said in an interview with PBS NewsHour's Gwen Ifill that was taped on Tuesday night. "But I don’t need anybody to defend my record, I think my record speaks for itself."

Clinton later added, "Bill and I have had terrific opportunities. Both of us have worked hard but we have been grateful for everything that we have been able to achieve and sadly that is just not true for most Americans today."

Instead of expanding upon her wealth comments, Clinton then turned to the state of the economy.

"So many Americans are feeling shut out, shut down. The great recession hasn't ended for too many Americans. Wages are flat, families are struggling, not enough new jobs or new business are being created. And it is important that we all try to figure out what we are going to do and that is what I have done my entire life," Clinton said.

Bill Clinton rated his wife's much-talked about "dead broke" comment from earlier this month as "factually true," in an interview with NBC's David Gregory on Tuesday, and defended his wife as someone who isn't "out of touch."

The former president also pushed back against calls that his wife doesn't understand the average American, noting that she has worked "all her life" on "things that were good for ordinary people."

At the start of her book tour, Hillary Clinton told ABC News that her family was "dead broke" when they left the White House in 2001. Clinton added later that her family had "no money" at that time and "struggled to piece together the resources" for mortgages and her daughter Chelsea's college education.

Though the statement is correct – the Clintons did leave the White House with considerable debt – the former first lady left out the fact that the couple had a sizable government pension, two large book advances in the works and the prospect of making millions on the speaking circuit.

Although Hillary Clinton quickly looked to clean up her first slip-up on wealth a few days later in Chicago, the former secretary of state stepped in it again a week later during interview with The Guardian.

Contrasting herself to other "truly" wealthy individuals, Clinton said, "We pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we've done it through dint of hard work."

Clinton's full comments to the question about income inequality were not included in the story, though.

A source backing Clinton provided CNN on Wednesday with her full answer to the question, which included more about the former secretary of state feeling "blessed" for the "kinds of opportunities" her family has "worked really hard for."

"All one has to do is look at my record going back to my time in college and law school to know not only where my heart is, but where my efforts have been," Clinton said, according to the transcript provided by the source.

"I want to create a level playing field so that once again, you can look a child in the eye and you can tell them the truth, whether they’re born in a wealthy suburb or an inner city or a poor country community; you can point out the realistic possibility that they will have a better life."

She later added, "I’m willing to have that debate [over income inequality] with anybody."

Clinton aides lament the fact that The Guardian did not include the full answer in their article that posted on Saturday, according to the source.

Hillary Clinton admitted the comments were "unartful" during the PBS interview. "I shouldn’t have said the five or so words that I said," she told Ifill.

But in the interview that will air on Wednesday, the former first lady added that the missteps don't "change who I am, what I’ve stood for my entire life, what I stand for today."

A text preview of the Clinton interview was posted online on Wednesday morning as part of the PBS NewsHour Morning Line.

Although the couple had large legal bills from their last few years in the White House, Bill Clinton has brought in over $100 million on the paid speaking tour since leaving the presidency and Hillary Clinton has brought in upwards of $200,000 per speech since leaving the State Department in 2013.

"It is factually true that we were several million dollars in debt," Clinton said with a smiling Hillary and Chelsea Clinton watching on. "Everyone now assumes that what happened in the intervening years was automatic. I am shocked that it happened. I am shocked that people still want me to come give talks. I am grateful."

The former president said that despite their wealth, which he is "grateful for," the Clintons still "go to our local grocery store on the weekend" and "talk to people in our town."

"We know what's going on," he said.

On Tuesday, Bill Clinton admitted that Hillary Clinton's response to the wealth question was "not the most adept answer to a question," but said context was needed to understand Clinton's views on income and wealth.

"What I'm saying is the debate's the wrong debate," he said. "You need to be able to show, by their policies and their statements about current conditions, how candidates of both parties across the spectrum feel about the central challenge of our time, which is the demise of the American dream."

Bill Clinton on Hillary's 2016 decision: 'I’m a bit player'

Republicans and even some Democrats have faulted Clinton, who is admittedly considering a run at the presidency in 2016, for the wealth missteps. Republicans have said that they comments show Clinton is out-of-touch with average Americans, while Democrats have begun to grimace at the growing narrative.

Biden touts modest finances as Clinton wealth controversy swirls

And though the former presidential candidate told PBS that she is still thinking about another run at the job, she admitted that, "You have to be a little bit crazy to run for president."

 

 

 

 


Filed under: 2016 • Bill Clinton • Colorado • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Tommy G

    "She was joking about it the other day," Bill Clinton said. "Half the time somebody asking a question couldn't even vote when I was president."
    --

    Exactly!! She is an out of touch Democrat DINOSAUR!! Michelle and Valerie Jarrett call her Hildabeast but she could just as easily be called Hillasaurus. Now the Democrats are expecting the country to vote for an old rich white person when they have spent the last 8 years attacking that demographic as the source of all the evils in the country.

    June 24, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Lizzie

    Got to laugh at Pres.Clintons "I'm a bit player" or that people will pay to hear him talk, he WAS the President of the USA and there will always be people who pay for his time.

    June 24, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Say WHAT???

    Who is dressing Billy Bob these days? A striped suit, with a stripped tie and a checkered shirt?? Time to spend some of those millions on a fashion consultant Willy.

    June 24, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Winston Smith

    No more out of touch than say a former governor from Texas, that insisted (Weapon Of Mass Destruction), were the basis for invasion of a sovereign nation. Or that there was still a jury out, when discussing evolution versus creationism. It was hard to listen to this for eight years, without a box of crayons handy to color outside the lines.

    June 24, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Hugo

    Haaaahahhhahahahhhaaahahhaha! Whew, good one!
    There is no defending the Benghazi Butcher, the architect of the Muslim brotherhood Middle East Peace plan for Egypt, Libya and Syria.

    Next up, Pochofauxntus Warren...

    June 24, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Crane Kick

    No, a person who murdered someone so that her illicit real estate dealings wouldn't be uncovered isn't out of touch at all!

    June 24, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    It has to be exhausting for republicans to stand on the sidelines and do nothing, while Obama and the democrats work to fix the problems they inherited from the previous occupant of the White House.

    June 24, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. Tampa Tim

    A lot of brain dead responses from the Fox sheep today.

    June 24, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Crane Kick

    Hwy Winston Smith, Hillary Clinton said there were WOMD in Iraq BEFORE GWB! Get a new talking point!

    June 24, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Sonny

    What ? Bill is defending Hillary ? I am shocked !

    June 24, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Donna

    "What I'm saying is the debate's the wrong debate," he said. "You need to be able to show, by their policies and their statements about current conditions, how candidates of both parties across the spectrum feel about the central challenge of our time, which is the demise of the American dream."
    --

    And nobody would know more about the demise of the American dream than the Democrats lead by the Clintons. NAFTA ring a bell??? American jobs flooding to Mexico thanks to Bill Clinton while their open borders make sure the USA is flooded with illegal immigrants. The last 5.5 years of Obama and his jobless economy has them trying to extend unemployment benefits 5 years after the recession ended. Record debt, record food stamp recipients, record poverty. Another Democrat like Hillary Clinton in the White House will be the final nail in our coffin.

    June 24, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    Crane – So you are saying Hillary convinced Shrub Bush there were WMDs in Iraq? You are a hoot.

    June 24, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Tampa Tim

    Crane – You have truly mastered the art of lying. Congrats on getting your black belt in fabricating stories.

    June 24, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. Hillary Izexi

    Lol! What's next... Bill calling a press meeting to tell everyone that they are meanies and shouldn't pick on Hillary?!

    June 24, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. just asking

    I wonder how many houses they own? how many cars? i wonder how many of our kids gets paid $600,000 a year after getting out of college? $200,000 a speech?! if broken down to an hourly rate, that is probably more like $400,000 an hour. yes, i'm sure she can related to all of the unwashed masses. next joke.

    June 24, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. carter

    With a all time low approval rating, name 5 elected offcials that ARE in touch

    June 24, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Chris-E...al

    Most dems are out of touch with reality and are just not up to the job for the kind of complex and complicated world we are part of these days man they just dont have no backbone anymore and are just into and worry about weird stuff in these turbulent times its like a fish with a hook in its mouth an in trouble and swimming up stream and not knowing which way to go or really whats important .

    June 24, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    Crane, even if she did say that, she was one of 100 Senators and it was GWB who gave the order to go in, based upon wishful thinking and a pack of lies. I suggest you learn the meaning of the word " context". Tommy G, none of the wunderkinds on the Right can hold a candle to Hillary in terms of credibility: its only in the fevered minds of those in the Right-wing echo chamber where Hilary is viewed as out of touch. After all, your lot nominated Mr car-elevator-binders-full-of-women last time out, so please don't criticize our party when your lot have nominated loser after loser.

    June 24, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Hillary Clinton: Butcher of Benghazi

    Well we know for sure that she was very out of touch with one of her direct reports at the State Dept. and it cost him his life, as well as three others. Hillary Clinton is in it for the raw power, nothing else. She give a flying F about people.

    June 24, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. Silence DoGood

    @Crane Kick
    Hwy Winston Smith, Hillary Clinton said there were WOMD in Iraq BEFORE GWB! Get a new talking point!
    ----------–
    Typical low-detail conservative revisionist history.
    A lot of people thought there were WMD because Bush LIED to THEM.

    June 24, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. Bruce Cox

    Hillary Clinton will never get the free ride from the media that Obama has enjoyed. And I do wish someone would post a copy of her pushing her grocery cart through the local Whole Foods.

    June 24, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    @Crane Kick
    No, a person who murdered someone so that her illicit real estate dealings wouldn't be uncovered isn't out of touch at all!
    -------------
    And of course this was proven during the arch-conservative Ken Starr hearing.
    Oh no wait – he found nothing.
    But thanks for keeping the conspiracy theory alive. I know – the Truth is hidden in Area 51......
    This next presidential election will be amusing / creepy.

    June 24, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    I'll take an out of touch Hillary ANYDAY, over anyone the whining, juvenile, envious, traitorous, misogynistic GOP could ever put up.

    June 24, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. Jodo

    The only US President to be impeached for lying under oath is just not believable... on anything.

    I want to vomit when I see the klintons

    June 24, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  25. Silence DoGood

    @Hillary Clinton: Butcher of Benghazi
    Well we know for sure that she was very out of touch with one of her direct reports at the State Dept. and it cost him his life, as well as three others. Hillary Clinton is in it for the raw power, nothing else. She give a flying F about people.
    -------------
    A brutal power hungry future dictator currently executing a brilliant cover up of the Benghazi affair;
    And all this time as a senile brain damaged frail old lady.
    Is it any wonder that conservative rants and tin foil hat conspiracy theories are met with rolling eyes.

    June 24, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
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