Hillary Clinton Says Wealth Remarks Don’t Diminish RecordLisa Lerer
Hillary Clinton said that while remarks she made about her personal wealth were “inartful,” she doesn’t need help explaining her record -- not even from her husband.
The former secretary of state was reacting to former President Bill Clinton’s defense of the statements she’d made recently, telling an audience at the Clinton Global Initiative on June 24 in Denver that his wife is “not out of touch” with the struggles of most Americans.
“My husband was very sweet” in making those comments, “but I don’t need anybody to defend my record, I think my record speaks for itself,” Clinton, a potential candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, said in a recorded interview broadcast yesterday on “PBS NewsHour.”
Clinton, 66, has been on tour promoting her new book, “Hard Choices,” an account of her time as secretary of state during the first four years of President Barack Obama’s administration.
Clinton said in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer two weeks ago that she and Bill Clinton were “dead broke” when they left the White House in January 2001. She told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that the couple isn’t “truly well off.”
“I shouldn’t have said the five or so words that I said,” she told the PBS program. “But my inartful use of those few words doesn’t change who I am, what I’ve stood for my entire life, what I stand for today.”
Mentioning her support for a higher minimum wage, paid family leave and pay equity for women, she said she has “a very long record” fighting for those issues.
She also said she and her husband “have had terrific opportunities,” and that “sadly that’s just not true for most Americans today. So many Americans are feeling, you know, shut out, shut down.”
Asked if she was concerned that, as hindered Republican Mitt Romney in his 2012 presidential campaign, the image would stick that she was disconnected from most Americans, she said: “That’s a false equivalency.”
Speaking at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco last night as part of her book tour, she said that middle-class incomes declined as poverty increased and most of the benefits of economic growth have gone to those at the top.
“So we need to work together again for the common good, to create more jobs that reward hard work with rising wages, dignity and a ladder to a better life,” Clinton told an audience that greeted her with a standing ovation.
Clinton, who also served as a U.S. senator from New York, leads early polls of potential candidates for president in 2016. She’s said she’ll decide whether she’ll run by the end of the year.
“I am not going to make a decision until I have a chance to really sit down and take stock of what I want to do for the rest of my life, and what I think I could uniquely bring to a presidential race,” she said. “You have to be a little bit crazy to run for president.”
She sought the office in 2008, losing the Democratic nomination to Obama, then a U.S. senator from Illinois. Shortly after Obama won the White House that year, he selected Clinton for the secretary of state’s job. She served in the post until early last year.
Sales of her book dropped 44 percent in its second week on the stands, according to Nielsen Bookscan data released yesterday. Even with the declining sales, her memoir remained the top-selling volume last week, with sales reaching 134,000.
Bill Clinton said yesterday that he plans to continue his charitable work at the Clinton Foundation, even if his wife should become president.
“If she were to run and become president, the last thing she needs is for me to be underfoot,” he said at a policy forum sponsored by Bloomberg LP.
His foundation will set up rules to ensure transparency, said Clinton, similar to those established when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. During that period, he cleared all his speeches in advance and paid close attention to foundation donations, particularly those from abroad.
An interview with the former president will air June 29 on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program and in an excerpt released today, he said former Vice President Dick Cheney has been “unseemly” in his criticism of Obama’s handling of the turmoil in the Middle East, including Iraq.
“Mr. Cheney has been incredibly adroit for the last six years or so attacking the administration for not doing an adequate job of cleaning up the mess that he made,” Clinton said, referring to the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. “And I think it’s unseemly.”
Clinton added that he gives former President George W. Bush “a lot of credit for trying to stay out of this debate and letting other people work through it.”