The Millionaire Pauper? Hillary Clinton’s Claim On Being “Dead Broke” Falls Flat With The Facts

225px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropWe previously discussed Hillary Clinton’s claim that she and Bill understand economic hardship because they were “dead broke” after leaving the White House. The claim has been widely ridiculed after it was shown that within one year, not only were legal fees paid off by supporters but the Clintons amassed nearly $12 million. What is most striking however with the coverage of this statement and the problems in Clinton’s book is, again, the lack of much neutral coverage in the media which has become robotically programmed along liberal and conservative lines.

As we discussed earlier, Clinton was using the legal fees to claim that she and Bill were virtually indigent and struggling to pay for the tuition of Chelsea and their mortgage. However, these were heavily Democratic firms that would never have pursued the Clintons for payment. This was debt on paper only. Politicians in Washington routinely run up such debts that are paid off by friends and lobbyists in fundraisers. Indeed, there was coverages at the time on how lobbyists and supporters were lining up to pay off the Clinton’s bill to curry favor with the powerful couple. That reportedly happened within roughly a year.

When the Clintons left and filed their 2000 forms, they reported assets between $781,000 and almost $1.8 million — and liabilities between $2.3 million and $10.6 million in legal bills. However, the wolves were hardly at the door for those legal fees. In addition, Clinton was guaranteed a large annual salary and had promises of millions in speaking fees. Moreover in 1999, the couple bought a five-bedroom home in Chappaqua, N.Y., for $1.7 million and then in 2000, they bought a seven-bedroom house near Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. for $2.85 million.

Faced with a backlash over the clueless claim, Clinton insisted that “we’ve continued to be blessed in the last 14 years.” She repeated this spin later in stating “We were obviously blessed and worked hard for everything.” However, she still maintained that they “fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans.” It is hard to see how this life lesson was learned while the couple was racking in millions while friends paid off millions in debts and secured their loan for a mansion in New York.

The Clintons rank as one of the richest couples ever to occupy the White House. USA Today reported “former President Bill Clinton, has made millions on lucrative book deals and more than $100 million on the speaking circuit. Secretary Clinton has recently begun to earn that kind of money as well.”

As with Romney’s disastrous “47 percent” statement , it is amazing to see candidates (particularly notoriously scripted candidates like Clinton and Romney) make these mistakes. This is a comment which is likely to be replayed for months just as Romney’s comment was replayed. For people who are struggling to pay their mortgages (and do not have Terry McAuliffe to pony up the scratch), Clinton’s claim of being broke will reaffirm the view that Clinton lacks authenticity and honesty. It was also remarkably dim to even try to suggest some “rags to riches” or “hard times” narrative.

While Democratic sites have struggled to somehow convince people that Hillary really was dead broke, the Pultizer Price winning organization Politifact found her statements largely false and implausible. Some of the pro-Clinton reviews of her book seem to take the flaws pointed out by others and convert them into curious strengths or at least excusable half-truths. The breathless pro-Clinton review by Sharon Poczter in Forbes is an example. Poczter writes of Clinton’s book Hard Choices:

[Her] book is not a completely truthful account of everything that has happened. It can’t be and it’s not meant to be. It’s an autobiography. It is a personalized account of what happened, written by a politician in a political way. By construction, this means it may not be the entire truth.

It is a depressing spin that we now do not expect politicians to be truthful. They get a type of moral Mulligan on the truth because that is their nature. I actually thought that autobiographies were reviewed on the basis of their honestly and completeness. Instead, Poczter heralds the book as showing “how much she loves her country.” Indeed, one of the most important aspects of the book for Poczter is not the discussion of Bergdahl or Benghazi but how the jacket of the book shows Clinton smiling and laughing and that the book (which she concluded is less than truthful) was Clinton’s brave stand that “she will not make the mistake of letting others be in control of how people see her.” It is a telling measure of our review of candidates today that the fly-leaf is highlighted as the counter to criticism of the content of a politician’s book.

Then conversely on the conservative side, commentators are returning to conspiracies of how Clinton is behind every catastrophe since the Hindenburg. Ironically, the hate is so great, that her critics tend to inflate her role and significance in many of these crises. The result is the usual “night and day” coverage between the liberal and conservative media. It is either spin or attack. We have lost the core of independent coverage. People want to watch news that is an echo-chamber of their own views and follows stations and blogs that give them a reaffirming narrative. The result is not magnify the hate on both sides and push people away from any fair dialogue. Clinton consciously put out this image and narrative as part of the rollout for her book (and possible campaign) and the statement is worthy of ridicule. However, like all contemporary issues it must be cycled through partisan spins in the media. It is possible to criticize Clinton for her statement or her book without supporting the other side. Yet, as with the Romney statement, it is either radio silence or endless chatter depending on your source for news. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Richard III (my favorite Shakespearean play) when the Queen mother explains to her daughter-in-law how to hate:

Compare dead happiness with living woe;
Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were,
And he that slew them fouler than he is.
Bett’ring thy loss makes the bad-causer worse;
Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.

194 thoughts on “The Millionaire Pauper? Hillary Clinton’s Claim On Being “Dead Broke” Falls Flat With The Facts”

  1. “Clinton also performed well in head-to-head matchups with many Republican candidates. In one-on-one matchups, voters preferred her to Christie, Paul, Huckabee, Bush and Ryan by anywhere from 7 to 9 percentage points. Clinton maintains a clear advantage among women, who gave her at least a 16-point edge in each of those matchups.

  2. Thanks Karen
    (The diff is Obama said this regarding some working class voters he did not say all repubs., And it is true of some. Romney said 47% dependent on gov’t etc., He wasn;t talking party. He was talking 47% of the US population.

  3. Lee – that’s terrible that a lawyer’s bad advice got you in a tough situation. It’s hard when you trust someone as an expert and he lets you down.

  4. Lee:

    Romney’s comment about 47% deserved a rebuke. It was poorly worded. Any politician who alienates his proposed constituents does so at his peril.

    I only add that politicians basically do the same thing to a similar percentage of people, when they call Republicans ignorant racists, etc. It sends the message that they neither care about nor understand them.

  5. The family lived rent free in one of the largest and most luxurious public housing available, had a full and very expensive domestic staff, a four-star chef and staff to provide free food to the family and all of their guests all the time, complete free personal jet travel, chauffeurs, bodyguards, free hotel rooms, free phone, postage, internet, cable TV, electricity, free underground parking, secret hiding places through secret tunnels, etc., etc. for EIGHT years.

    If she didn’t fund a generous IRA, and cash savings through that, she must be the stupidest woman to ever run a family. She deserves all the ridicule and derision that she is now getting. She earned it, as Dick Cheney would say, “Big Time.”

  6. Annie the right (as a group) seems to lack empathy in their pronouncements, attempts to regulate, and disdain and even hatred of those in need. I have long said the dems say I have mine and I also want to help get yours while the repubs say I’ve got mine and to heck with you.

  7. Leej, when I hear folks pass judgment on other’s without knowing their circumstances, I know right then and there that they aren’t the sort of people who have ever walked in another’s shoes. Or are simply so small minded they couldn’t even imagine that “there for the grace of God go I”.

  8. Very true Nick, Not to take it off course (just was explaining that I am one of those for whom circumstances were forced on me and when there was a way to fix them so I did not need aid from the state, the powers that be turned their back (including the guy who could have made a lot in commission as opposed to the middle 5 figure he got for contingency) but these kinds of situations are part of the problem. When those who cause the circumstances that result in someone needing state help get away from their behaviors it hurts us all in the long run. bad attorneys, bad doctors as starters.

  9. leej, I have worked both sides of med malpractice, but mostly defense. It is a small, incestuous relationship between both sides. A good ol’ boys club. I always suspected conversations over cocktails between “adversaries” being, “Give me this case and I’ll give you the other one we are working on.” These specialized attorneys often have drawers full of files they are working “adversely” on together. But, we’ve discussed this. Proving collusion on a handshake is next to impossible.

  10. Hillary Clinton will forever be the junior carpet bagging senator from NY.

    Hillary was gifted the opportunity to run an election campaign to win Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s senate seat as a perverse form of quid pro quo from the Democratic National Committee to thank her for standing by her husband during his two terms as president while enduring Bill’s repeated public sexual indiscretions. Prior to September 1999 Hillary had never lived within NY nor had she ever held an elective office.

    Just a cursory examination of Hillary’s voting record in her capacity as the junior carpet bagging senator from NY exposes her as an unabashed supporter and rubber stamp for the warfare state, the surveillance state, the indefinite detention without charges state, the torture state and was/is an enthusiastic supporter of corporate welfare and too big to fail bank and insurer business models encompassing trillions of dollars of public money for private businesses bailouts.

    Hillary is out for herself and her benefactors at her constituents expense.

  11. (Thank you Karen. The saddest part is part of the reason is because of a lawyer who stabbed me in the back forcing me to take a settlement in a malpractice case (that caused some of the reason I remain disabled) that was bupkis.)

  12. Karen, I think making a remark about republicans is quite different then massing 47% of the country into one ball and saying essentially theyre bums “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. … “. … and so my job is not to worry about those people.” So if you become president 47% of the population know you will not do anything for them or their needs. Many of them are working poor who paid taxes, who work hard to make a living. Many of the 47 are seniors, disabled, trying to make better lives for themselves, even those who may be living on welfare may be doing shortterm while they get back on their feet, getting state help as an adjunst to their terrible wages, may only be parttime because they could not get falltime disabled who had to be disabled for a certain length ot fime, when I applied 18 months, before they could qualify for disability and had to be on assistance. I grew up in a white bread middle upper class community. My siblings and family were not on hard times but absent my father paying for my apartment and insurance, thank G-d, (or I would have been homeless) they turned their backs on me. As a result I had to go on assistance. There are a lot of reasons you may be in the 47% but Romney just lumped all together and dismissed us.
    You provide nothing about Obama’s remarks so I am going to assume you mean this:
    “It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” –explaining his troubles winning over some working-class voters
    He was talking about some voters not lumping everybody together. And he is right that is what some people do. The right then made it he is talking about every republican and right winger.

  13. Steve Kellam

    Thanks for the link. I’ll stop my Haldol and revisit it in a few days.
    Remember the crusader propaganda while so doing:

    Although Urban freely spoke of the wrongs done to Christians by Muslims in the Holy Land, other sources suggest Christians in fact enjoyed a relatively peaceful existence in these Muslim communities. Christians indigenous to the region were treated with “remarkable clemency. The Muslim faith acknowledged and respected Judaism and Christianity, creeds with which it enjoyed a common devotional tradition and a mutual reliance upon authoritative scripture. Christian subjects may not have been able to share power with their Muslim masters, but they were given freedom to worship. All around the Mediterranean basin Christian faith and society survived and even thrived under the watchful but tolerant eye of Islam.” (Asbridge 18)

    (links upthread).

  14. jonathanturley

    Dredd, you have had another comment deleted for violation of our civility rule.
    I will have to take your word on it.

Comments are closed.