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Hillary Clinton Rebuffs Comic’s Question on Candidacy

July 15 (Bloomberg) -- A super-political action committee backing Hillary Clinton for U.S. president collected $2.5 million in the past three months -- 47 percent more than it raised in the first quarter of the year. Bloomberg's Jonathan Allen and Phil Mattingly discuss on "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)

Hillary Clinton rebuffed a late-night comedian’s repeated attempts to get her to say whether she would run for U.S. president -- though she allowed that she’d prefer working in a place with “fewer corners,” a reference to the White House’s Oval Office.

In an interview yesterday on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” she said she’s “amazed” by a “cottage industry” built around speculating on her future.

Clinton, 66, also made her first remarks about renewed violence between Israel and Hamas, the militant movement that controls the Gaza Strip, and discussed comments she made last month about her wealth.

She appeared on the comedy show as part of a promotional tour for “Hard Choices,” her recently published book on her tenure as U.S. secretary of state.

Stewart, who often humorously goads his guests, said, “I think I speak for everybody when I say, no one cares” about the book.

“They just want to know if you’re running for president,” said Stewart, who asked playfully whether she prefers to work in a room with corners or without.

Clinton, who for months has been saying she’ll make a decision on a presidential bid by the end of this year, responded that she would prefer “fewer corners.”

Photographer: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Volunteers from the Ready for Hillary super-PAC hand out posters and bumper stickers with images of the former U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, D.C., on June 13, 2014. Close

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Photographer: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Volunteers from the Ready for Hillary super-PAC hand out posters and bumper stickers with images of the former U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, D.C., on June 13, 2014.

Speaking about the conflict in the Middle East, Clinton said: “We’re really in a terrible dilemma.”

Launching Missiles

Referring to Hamas, she said, “They have leadership that is committed to resistance and violence, and therefore their actions are mostly about how do we get new and better missiles to launch them at Israel.”

Clinton faced criticism last month after a televised interview in which she described herself and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as “dead broke” when they left the White House in early 2001. They’ve since made millions of dollars from books and paid speeches to companies and industry groups.

Some Democrats worry that Clinton’s personal finances put her out of touch with the party’s middle-class base -- particularly in an era of rising income inequality -- and that her “dead broke” comment would fuel such an image.

Clinton, in discussing the issue with Stewart, said she and her husband “worked really hard” for their success.

As young people, “We believed we could pretty much make our way up the ladder,” she said. Now, many young people “don’t believe that anymore. That bothers me a lot.”

‘Inartful’ Comments

As she has said previously, Clinton said her comments about the couple’s financial status after leaving the White House were “inartful,” and she then stressed the importance of expanding economic opportunity.

“We have to change both our economic and our political systems,” she said. “That’s a big business.”

Also yesterday, Ready for Hillary, a super-political action committee urging a Clinton White House bid, disclosed its donors in filings with the Federal Election Commission in Washington.

Those identified as giving $25,000 to Ready for Hillary in the second quarter include billionaire homebuilder Eli Broad; Marilyn Simons, the president of the New York-based Simons Foundation; Stewart Bainum, chairman of Silver Spring, Maryland-based Choice Hotels International Inc.; and Donald Sussman, the founder of Paloma Partners LLC.

The super-PAC raised $2.5 million during the three-month period ended June 30, according to a filing today with the Federal Election Commission in Washington. The PAC’s receipts increased 47 percent compared with the first quarter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Lerer in Washington at llerer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net Justin Blum, Don Frederick

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