April 11th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
13 years ago

Clinton laughs off Colombia questions


Watch Clinton laugh off a question on Colombia.

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Hillary Clinton used her trademark laugh Thursday to deflect a question about the $800,000 her husband earned in 2005 giving speeches for a Bogota-based group that supports the Colombia free trade agreement - the same trade deal she currently opposes.

Asked by CNN if those earnings represented a conflict of interest given that she has dipped into her family's pocketbook to pay campaign bills, Clinton threw up her hands and laughed loudly for several seconds.

"How many angels dance on the head of the pin?," she responded, continuing to giggle. "I have really, uh, nothing to ... I mean, how do you answer that?"

The New York senator explained there are different sides to the argument over trade, and re-emphasized her own opposition to the trade deal, assailing the Colombian government's "outrageous" record of "targeting labor leaders."

"I am against the Colombia free trade deal," she said. "It doesn't matter who talks to me. It doesn't matter any circumstances. I have been against it. I am against it. I will be against it absent the kind of changes in behavior that I have been calling for from the Colombian government."

Earlier in the press conference, describing her husband's advocacy for the trade deal, Clinton said: "Everyone is free to express their opinion."

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Pennsylvania
soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. Jane

    HILLarious! No, not her joke, but her awkward response to the situation. Sounds like she was caught off guard on that one...

    April 10, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  2. Democrat for Unity

    "Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale of moonlight?" ~The Joker

    Seriously, what a crazy quote, Ms. Clinton

    April 10, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. MD in CT

    I want more information on who else payed Bill Clinton for his talks, how much per speech, and how many times Hillary Clinton's vote "coincidentally" helped that company within 6 months before or after the speech.

    I want more information on the Clinton donations because most of them seem very "self-serving."


    April 10, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  4. Peter Paul

    Wow this lady and 40% of her prejudice supporters, love the hard working American people losing there jobs and think it's joke.

    It's not me Hillary, it's my husband and Mark Penn LMAO.

    Hey Mark bring home the Lobster and I will have Bill bring home the Fine Wine and We can laugh it up when the CAFTA deal is complete and more of the dumb America's who vote for me can lick my heels!

    You think that Hillary "Misspoke", just keep this real lady.
    If my daugter was shot at, I would remember the rest of my life, spare us lady and she remembers throwing a book bag at a wall 40 years ago when MLK died.
    Please people Wake up and smell the bombs that killed so many people, if you vote for Mcinsane. This is just the tip of the Ice burg, trust me.
    P.S. he is a "Warmogerer", he claims to hate war, what?
    The people that get there head kicked in by the government against the war protesting, hate war.
    McCain and his family have been apart of war for over 6 decades, it reminds me of a person who was in prison for 40 years of there life and then all of a sudden get released in the real word.
    They are scared and do not know anything else accept prison and don't know anything about life and what is going on at home.
    He is lost and confused, so you the American people don't get lost and confused!

    April 10, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  5. Lincoln

    Flip....new event....flop.....new event....flip....new event.....flop

    April 10, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. Xavier

    Here we go again,
    the media digging up something that happened in 2005.
    Hillary Clinton's position is clear, she is against a Columbian trade agreement at this time.
    By having strong position on this topic, she is showing that she is independant of Bill. This is her campaign, and her supporter's campaign. Lets ask the questions that do matter: Iraq, the Economy, rising student loans, and many more.

    Unlike the silence of the other candidates, Hillary Clinton continues to voice her strong opinions on the Economy, Health Care, Iraq, and "free" trade, even if they aren't the easiest to tackle. She is a candidate with clear views, and a clear stance on what she wants to get done for the US.

    Xavier, California

    April 10, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  7. Terry

    When your husband effectively becomes a paid lobbyist for the Columbia Trade Deal, a deal you supposedly oppose – that's no laughing matter.

    April 10, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. seanwhit

    We are watching a very disturbed individual implode. She actually believes she is some sort of victim and any probing question is an attack. She completely neglects the reality that she was the presumtive favorite with dozens of superdelegates on her side before the race even began. This was her nomination to lose and because of her toxic nature, her lies and her horrible management of her campaign she is losing. It has nothing to do with her gender it has everything to do with her failings as a candidate and person. So quit laughing at your perceptions and answer the question!

    April 10, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  9. woman

    " Laughed loudly for several seconds " .......... it was only $ 800.000 ...Big Deal.!

    April 10, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. Jane


    No, not her joke, but her awkward response to the situation. Sounds like she was caught off guard on that one. Good thing it wasn't 3 AM or we'd be in DEEP trouble! Whew....

    April 10, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. Madtown

    Yep, just try to laugh it away Hillary! Nice try! This is such a major conflict of interest, I can't even believe anyone would fall for your act.

    April 10, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Okay CNN,

    Let's be truthful here. Sen. Clinton reaped the benefit from all of those free trade deals which her husband backed! Do you guys really believe that she is going to stop now? Come On! She is going to continue squeezing every dollar out of these deals. Why do you think she stayed with Bill through the years after his impeachment etc? She could have left him but she didn't, why? because she would have lost out on all of those millions.

    Really this is a woman who is constantly talking about Sen. Obama and the Rev. Wright. She stayed with Bill, she did not distance herself from him, even though she had a young child, who could be easily influenced, but she was so in love with the almighty dollar that nothing else mattered. I just don't understand her arguments!

    April 10, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. Spider

    No obomination

    Hillary '08

    April 10, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  14. Belle

    Would be kind of funny to see Senator Hillary Clinton become President Clinton and undo NAFTA, sign the bills that Bush vetoed, Veto the Columbian Trade deal...while Mr. Laddie has to watch it happen....

    Of course, Replublicans will hate her as much as they did Mr. Clinton,
    but she has a LOT of Spunk, don't you think?

    I believe under Senator Clinton's leadership, she may just turn this country around in a good way. I am glad she doesn't let Penn have a stanglehold on her campaign...too bad she didn't ask for him to resign sooner....

    April 10, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. Matt

    WHAT?! This is amusing to her? Really?

    People are going to ask me about my repeated lies about sniper fire? I'll just go on late night TV and make a joke about it.

    Someone wants to ask me if it's a conflict of interest that my husband's money, which is helping me pay for my campaign, came from a source that I "oppose"? I'll just laugh and make a joke about it.

    I don't know about any of you but I don't find her particularly funny.

    Good job CNN of asking her the tough question. Now I suggest you don't back down until we get an answer on this and all other "opinions" her and Bill differ on (NAFTA, Dubai, etc).

    April 10, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. Tony

    Oh really, you are against it but you financed your campaign with the money from them. It's not funny and your stupid supporters should finally see that.

    April 10, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. fair tax in la.

    WHAT A JOKE THEY ARE!!!!!!!!

    April 10, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. MA Voter

    What was it that Ross Perot used to say re: NAFTA? That 'giant sucking sound you hear is jobs going to Mexico and Canada' (I am sure that is misquoted but it was similar to that). He might not have been your candidate or choice (or mine either). But let's face it folks, Senator Clinton was 'for this before she was against it' (or was that from the millions of words she says a day causing her to mis-speak) all of those times (a) one of the most notable contributions of 'Bills' term was NAFTA (her book), (b) NAFTA has done much for NY (during Sen. run) and I'm sorry but IF she didn't support Pres Clinton's position on trade agreements there were plenty of POWERFUL women in the White House (remember Pres. Clinton wanted diversity) who could have EASILY done the 'dirty work' that she didn't want to do.

    And as an FYI: I am not a registered Democrat (or Republican) I am an Independent voter and vote with the person who shows me the most during primary/election season. None of the candidates are particularly impressing me at this time.

    April 10, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |

    Typical Clinton response. Everything appears to funny or a joke to her when the American people want answers. She made a joke about sniper fire on Jay Leno's show. Lets see will she laugh that loud and long when the Dem. nomination is given and her name is not the one being called.

    April 10, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  20. Avatar826

    Hillary’s whole campaign is built on Bill Clinton’s time in the white house. It’s really ironic how she tends to use everything the public thinks is positive about his presidency to her advantage but every time something negative comes up about it she’s apathetic and says she condemns it. (I.e. NAFTA/Columbia)

    If you really condemn the Columbia free trade agreement why is it that your husband Bill Clinton is a paid advocate pro-free trade, as well as your top campaign manager Mark Penn? Who is STILL there day to day providing the same services as before even though you said he was fired? I guess that was all talk to right?

    I started these elections with respect for you, but due to the series of lies and deception you’ve committed I can no longer respect or support your presidency.


    April 10, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  21. Right

    Yeah, keep laughing. You will have to pay for it. I realize no candidate is perfect. I have three reasons I support Obama over you.

    Number one, he's at least less dishonest than you are.

    Number two, he believes in bottom-up approach for politics

    Number three, he simply has more delegates than you, has won more contests (states) than you, and has more popular votes than you do.

    Any questions?

    April 10, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    She handled that well!

    April 10, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. V in CA

    Good job, Hillary. It's all just laughable, ridiculous stuff out there. I wish we had journalists who went for the tough questions, who really got after all the candidates, who held them accountable.

    You know what? I think it's about time to re-watch "Network." Come on, everyone, "I mad as h*@l and I'm not going to take it anymore!!!!!!"

    April 10, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  24. Sara

    Ha, Ha Ha Hillary. These people are so corrupt.
    OBAMA 08'

    April 10, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |


    April 10, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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