June 24th, 2014
04:35 PM ET
7 years 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."

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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)

    Hitlery is a disgrace to America.

    June 24, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. butch006

    Sorry but if she is in touch with middle and low income Americans what the hell was she doing sitting on the on the board of Walmart.Tell me ANYTHING that her tenure on this board did to improve the wages of that workforce .She is about as in touch with the average American as "WE do the work of God' Lord Blankfein and Jamie Dimon'Whats the big deal about 5 billion in bad investments.'At least the republicans admit they are WAY OUT THERE.

    June 24, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    " NAFTA ring a bell??? "

    Yeah, you mean that agreement signed by Bush 1 on December 17, 1992, supported fully and vehemently by the GOP and arguably the single most "free market" ideological piece of legislation a Dem has ever supported in the history of this country. Heck, you can even still find Heritage Foundation's webpage gushing over the "free trade" aspects of it from 1993. So again, what we're really talking about hear, just like with repeal of Glass-Steagall is the mess that is created when Dems support GOP ideological policies.

    June 24, 2014 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  4. Sara

    Receiving $200,000 for an afternoon hour-long 'talk' in a vacated corporate office over an over again until you amass $124,000,000 is so far out of touch words really cannot capture how out of touch it really is.....but, alas, there are Democrat voters out there making $17 per hour who see Hillary as an equal. Go figure.

    June 24, 2014 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. Greg C.

    It all depends on what the meaning of "is" is...seriously, she was trying to float the narrative that she's one of the us...barely scraping by, dead broke, etc. etc....problem is she is as phony as a 3 dollar bill. Americans didn't buy it and her arrogance and indifference to those she stepped on, maligned, and murdered as a result of her gross negligence or in some cases intentional actions are of public record and Americans know better.

    June 24, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  6. Thomas

    They both are out of touch with 90% of the real world .

    She will be the first female president of the United States of America in 2016 if she finds some humility , doesn't loose her temper and keeps Bill at a hands distance .

    June 24, 2014 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Apparently a right -winger who is touch with the people is someone like Ted Nugent...just asked all the underage girls he banged. I guess thats legal in TX

    June 24, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  8. Winston Smith

    @ crane kick:

    Okay, new talking point.

    The complete stoppage of genetic research, for religious reasons. How many people could have been helped with more and more medical research, if the absolute worst president since Hoover, hadn't stopped it dead cold due to his so called faith. Give me a break.

    June 24, 2014 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. Hooper

    She runs. She wins. I hope it happens with such completeness that various factions of the republican party have a get together, to try and figure out why they are so despised by the voting public. This is the only way they'll ever get the point that they are truly out of touch, hit them in the wallet and purse.

    June 24, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    @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."

    Unlike Mittens, Hilary wasn't born with a platinum spoon in her mouth. And do you say this about all the repub/tea bags who came from humble beginnings?


    June 24, 2014 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  11. drtodp

    I am middle of the road, sometimes leaning Democrat and I do not like Hillary. Anyone who can smile and laugh about being driven around for the last 20 years and in the same breath say they are in touch is not what I want in the White House.

    June 24, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  12. Hugo

    As opposed to
    That will make eight votes for Hellary, counting the Clintions and yours...your all being Democrats I know you will vote twice.

    June 24, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Bill Clinton defends Hillary: 'She's not out of touch’

    "I" care
    "I" will fight for you

    You will be on my heart as "I" vacation at Martha's Vineyard
    TRUST "Me"

    Remember "I" came under sniper fire when we landed in Bosnia.
    TRUST "Me"

    June 24, 2014 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  14. 1776usa2016

    Hilary is very much in-touch with the middle-class and the issues facing families.

    She needs to show that and just forget about what the financial situation is personally.


    June 24, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  15. American Worker

    Keep clicking the heels.

    "I'm not out of touch. I'm not out of touch. I'm not out of touch ..."

    June 24, 2014 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |

    Really can't wait to see Kevin McCarthy,Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Karl Rove,Lindsey Graham,John McCain,Hayley Barbour,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down. Straight no chaser. Hillary will drink to that.

    June 24, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  17. kenman14

    Wow, Bill's sickly looks aside, why would anyone take HIS word for anything!? He probably sees less of her than we do!

    June 24, 2014 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  18. tess

    he's a sick old man living in the past and she's a complete and utter fool! i finally know why they stay together – nobody else in their right mind wants either one of them!

    June 24, 2014 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  19. Rogue351

    Who is out of touch ?
    1. Bobby Jindel advocating violence against our own people, that is criminal.
    2. The Tea Party for being so stupid, anti science, anti government, pro gun = Americas version of the Taliban.
    3. Dick Cheney, war criminal tied with John McCain, war monger.

    June 24, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. Paul

    So much hatred an anger against a successful woman. I wonder why Republicans are obsessed with fear tactics and personal attacks. The party of blame should begin to work. It is no longer what it was at its beginning. It has evolved into the party of No and hidden racism. It is time to open our minds, work together, reduce the deficit and embrace our immigrants. Hatred does not solve anything

    June 24, 2014 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  21. Rogue351

    I might vote for a Rep that does not take money from the NRA and can answer the question. Why we have had 74 school shootings since Newtown, and give us some idea of what they are going to do about the problem. If gun owners are so responsible how are the guns getting into the hands of all these crazy people ? The Tea Party is anti police so they cant help. The Tea Party is anti ATF so they cant help. So what is the Tea Party answer to all of these shootings ? Gun sales have been at record numbers for years. More guns on the streets is clearly not the answer. It certainly didn't help the man killed in Las Vegas. So what is the answer ? Speak up GOP / Tea Party.

    June 24, 2014 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  22. Rogue351

    Our Choices are –

    1. A woman who was first Lady for 8 Years and knows how things work in our government.
    2. A man who will discriminate against women, gays and basically anyone with brown skin that is not christian. And all answers are found in one book.
    3. A man that believes the answer to every problem is solved with a gun. And, the government is bad unless he is running it. And also believes that science is lying to everyone about everything. And all answers are found in one book.

    June 24, 2014 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  23. Smitty

    Obumbles is a total failure, Hillary has been too. msnbc couldn't even list 1 achievement from Hilly. Fact is things are worse under Obumbles numbers prove it, welfare/food stamps up, income down. It has be a bummer still making excuses for the BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR. Excuses are getting old for the inept one.

    June 25, 2014 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  24. CryBabies

    Too much liberal spin, too much liberal lying. Move on Hillary and may your followers sip goat soup.

    June 25, 2014 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  25. CryBabies

    SDG...You're old and tired......get some relevant material.....Snore.

    June 25, 2014 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
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