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. Karen S

    Dredd:

    You are confusing the Spanish Inquisition with the Muslim Expansion. You cannot ignore one and focus on the other.
    ============================
    I am quoting a source that uses the better historians — plural — on the subject.

    Your quarrel is with history and historians who are superior to your opinion and your desires for it to have been different.

    Ergo:

    The Latin crusaders attained their first victory at the Turkish stronghold of Nicaea and celebrated by sending a thousand decapitated heads to the Greek emperor in Constantinople as proof of their victory.(Carroll 241) Those Christians who cut off the enemies’ heads also brought them back to their tents and tied them to their saddles. Others were stuck on the ends of spears and paraded before the city walls and some catapulted into the city ‘in order to cause more terror among the Turkish garrison.’ (Asbridge 126) The “ravening Latin mobs soon began to trawl the surrounding countryside in search of plunder …

    At one point during this long siege, the crusaders came to realize there were several spies amongst them. To deal with this problem they set an example that would result in all other spies fleeing the crusader’s camps. This example consisted of killing one such spy, roasting him on a spit, eating his flesh, and then threatening a similar fate would befall all those who were discovered to be spies. (Maalouf 29) “These acts may appear to be utterly barbaric by modern standards, but they were a staple feature of medieval warfare and become a consistent theme of the siege of Antioch. Within the context of a holy war, in which the Franks (crusaders) were conditioned to see their enemy as sub-human, Christian piety prompted not clemency but, rather, an atmosphere of extreme brutality and heightened savagery.” (Asbridge 168)

    Soon after the crusader’s captured Antioch, they found themselves in another battle from within the city’s walls. A few days after their victory a Turkish relief force had arrived. The crusaders were besieged within the city’s walls and were facing famine. “At first they (crusaders) had cut open Moslem bodies to see if the victims had swallowed gold coins before being killed; now they “cut off the flesh in pieces and cooked it in order to eat them.” (Moynahan 234) The starving crusaders also resorted to eating dogs, horses, goat innards, the leaves of fig trees and the dried skins of camels. (235).

    (First Crusade). Torture by U.S. military and it being “justified” is evidence that the neoCrusade ideology is warming up.

    The next president will participate, whether Hillary, Mitt, Ted, or some Brat.

  2. Dredd:

    Stalin and Hitler killed millions of people. As for claiming that Christianity has killed the most people – you cannot make something true simply by saying it.

  3. Lee:

    “Explaining his role in the botched firing of federal prosecutors, Gonzales uttered the phrase “I don’t recall” and its variants (“I have no recollection,” “I have no memory”) 64 times. Along the way, his answer became so routine that a Marine in the crowd put down his poster protesting the Iraq war and replaced it with a running “I don’t recall” tally.”

    I HATE that selective memory loss that politicians use to “get out of trouble.” WHY does it work?

  4. Dredd:

    You are confusing the Spanish Inquisition with the Muslim Expansion. You cannot ignore one and focus on the other.

    Hundreds of years ago, Muslims forcibly converted and murdered those who would not, and Christians converted or killed non-Christians in a fight to defend Christendom. If they had not, then Moorish architecture would not be a remnant in Spain. We would ALL be under Sharia Law today. Because the Muslim Expansion would not have been satisfied with less than the whole world. So, you’ve hopefully read the news.

    What’s the difference? Christians stopped doing that hundreds of years ago. Muslims did not. They still, today, forcibly convert non-Muslims and murder non-Muslims and apostates.

    So, tell me, are you happy or disappointed that you do not live under Sharia Law, where they build walls to crush gays, kill teenagers for having Western haircuts, cut off hands for stealing, stone women for being raped or adultery? Because if you are against those things, then you are grateful that we had the Crusades, which were the only thing that STOPPED the Muslim conquest of Europe.

    Was the destruction of the library of Alexandria a monumental tragedy? Yes! But I am SO glad the Crusades happened. Because I would not enjoy living under an abaya or having to wear a raincoat in summer. Or getting arrested for wearing nail polish.

  5. Paul C. Schulte

    Dredd –

    Christian nations have killed en-masse more than any other nations in very modern history.

    This is just the silliest historically inaccurate thing you have said in some time. How soon we forget Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. Not a Christian among them. We could include Hitler, too. Although raised Catholic, he certainly was not a practicing Catholic.
    ============================
    The winners of wars are determined by who killed the most, the losers are determined by who lost the most.

    Pol Pot was an instrumentality of U.S. policy and arms, like al-Qaeda and other mujahideen.

    Hitler was a crusader.

  6. Lee:

    I think the Cantor loss was a vote of no confidence in the establishment politicians, and a huge NO to immigration amnesty that has caused a huge increase in unaccompanied children crossing the border.

    I think a lot of people share the opinion of “throw them all out and start afresh.” Don’t forget that Congress has a lower approval rating than cockroaches and taxes. It probably ranks lower than finding a hair in your food at a restaurant.

  7. Lee:

    She lied by omission. She failed to mention the $4.6 million in the Clinton Legal Defense Fund, and the long line of donors waiting to pay off that debt, and the friend who helped her buy a NY mansion so she could run for Senator. And that she had a loooooooong line of lucrative opportunities that real people on real hard times do not have.

    Saying she had a big legal debt was the truth. Saying she was on hard times was an offensive dishonesty. How many days was it until Bill’s first pension check, his first speaking engagement check, advances on her book, etc? 8 days? Were they between paychecks for 8 days? 8 hours?

    I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but in my book, you are not in “hard times” when you buy 2 mansions and make $12 million that year.

    She deserves a severe rebuke just the same as Gwenyth Paltrow earned herself a rebuke for complaining being a wealthy actress mother was so much harder than a mother who worked a regular job. Or that reading entertainment magazines was like a soldier at war dodging bullets.

    Don’t defend the indefensible.

  8. leejcaroll

    Dredd, I don’t know what Cantor spent or did while running in the primary but the thing about primaries is that only the most vehement come out to support their candidate. I wonder if too much is being made of this and it was more Cantor’s folks felt they didn’t need to make the effort.
    =========================
    Their internal polling was worse than KKKarl Rove’s polling for Romney.

    And worse than the polling and strategies Hillary had in her run against Obama.

  9. Karen S

    Some might not be aware that Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, North Africa, and Jerusalem were overwhelmingly Christian. Islam put them to the sword, and Crusaders impoverished themselves trying to rescue Christians and turn back Muslim Expansion.
    ————————
    Karen S

    Paul – I hate that selective memory loss that politicians use as a “get out of trouble” card!
    =============================
    The first victims of the Christian Crusades were Jews:

    How did a war of re-conquest against Islam turn into attacks on Jews? Characterizing Muslims, the expedition’s projected enemies, as a sub-human species, the pope harnessed society’s inclination to define itself in contrast to an alien ‘other’. (Asbridge 85) However, the Muslims had played no part in Christ’s Passion, but the crusaders’ Jewish neighbors were descendants of those who had (Moynahan 229). The Jews were easily stigmatized in this hostile environment and their close proximity made them targets. “The hated Jew of the crusader’s imagination was unrelated to the actual Jews he came upon…The crusaders, suddenly obsessed with the ‘infidel’, projected onto Jews a fantasy tied to an ancient memory that had little enough to do with the Jews of that bygone era, and nothing whatever to do with Jews as they existed in the crusader’s time.” (Carroll 249-250) The crusaders were convinced that in the ‘present tense of the liturgical cycle’ Jews were still partaking in the murdering of Jesus in Jerusalem. (Carroll 254)

    These crusader attacks on Jews amounted to Europe’s first large scale pogroms, and the hostilities spread east through Germany in the cities of Speyer, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Cologne, Worms, Mainz and seven other locations. (248) Followers of Judaism were subjected to a ruthless program of violence, extortion and forced conversion. (Asbridge 86) The number of Jews murdered or forced to suicide in those weeks is estimated by scholars to have been as low as 5,000 or as high as 10,000, perhaps a full third of the Jews living in northern Europe.” (Carroll 257) What follows is a sample of the atrocities committed during this time.

    (First Crusade). Thought you might like to know.

    Hillary will be a faithful crusader when called on to do so as presidents are wont to do.

    The neo-Crusades are in full swing but not in the news much, so who is president is not very relevant to those dynamics.

  10. Dredd, I don’t know what Cantor spent or did while running in the primary but the thing about primaries is that only the most vehement come out to support their candidate. I wonder if too much is being made of this and it was more Cantor’s folks felt they didn’t need to make the effort.

  11. Karen as the Priofessor pointed out they left the WH with a big debt. She did not lie, the numbers bear it out. Was it a bad way to put it, yes, She did not claim to be a pauper. she put very poorly what their financial situation was when they left the WH.

  12. And what was Attoney General Alberto Gonzales excuse (this man who enforced the law of the nation)?
    “Really deplorable,” said John Cornyn (R-Tex.). After this blow, from an administration loyalist and an old Texas friend, Gonzales stuttered in his reply.

    Gonzales had weeks to prepare for yesterday’s hearing. But the man who sat at the witness table sounded like the sort of person who forgets where he parked his car.

    Explaining his role in the botched firing of federal prosecutors, Gonzales uttered the phrase “I don’t recall” and its variants (“I have no recollection,” “I have no memory”) 64 times. Along the way, his answer became so routine that a Marine in the crowd put down his poster protesting the Iraq war and replaced it with a running “I don’t recall” tally.

    Take Gonzales’s tally along with that of his former chief of staff, who uttered the phrase “I don’t remember” 122 times before the same committee three weeks ago, and the Justice Department might want to consider handing out Ginkgo biloba in the employee cafeteria.
    Funny I google “Alberto Gonzales testimony I don’t remember” and a bunch of cites come up. I google that with Hillary Clinton’s name and only an article from an uber right wing source comes up (www.americanthinker.com/…/hillary_clintons_legacy_)

  13. Karen S

    … moderate Muslims can live peaceably with other faiths, in a secular government. But Muslim Expansion was not perpetrated by moderate Muslims. And moderate Muslims do not rule the Middle East …
    ======================
    Yep.

    The liberal Cantor lost the election to conservative right-wing t-baggers.

  14. Hearing ultra-ight-wing Republicans (but I repeat myself) call You-Know-Her a “leftist,” sounds like Ghengis Khan calling Atilla the Hun “insufficiently barbarous.” As Gore Vidal truthfully said, “the United States has only one political party, the Property Party, and it has two right wings. So let’s hear it for You-Know-Her, the junior right-wing candidate who will do her damndest to see that no genuinely working-class movement ever develops to challenge the Republicans where it hurts the most: namely, in the overstuffed off-shore bank accouints of the corporate oligarchs who own and operate both major right-wing factions. Let’s hear it for:

    Buffaloed Girl
    (Somewhat after the traditional song of a similar name)

    Buffaloed girl, won’t you come out tonight?
    Bask in your fright; hide in plain sight.
    Buffaloed girl don’t you put up a fight;
    Just dance to the right with the goons!

    Buffaloed girl, don’t you burn any flags;
    Marry some fags; count body bags.
    Buffaloed girl, wrapped in riches not rags,
    Just keep raking in those doubloons!

    Buffaloed girl, send our troops to Iraq!
    Then leave them there! Don’t bring them back!
    Buffaloed girl, cover George Bush’s back,
    And scrape up a few more platoons!

    Buffaloed girl, just stay out of the fray.
    Keep your mouth shut! Keep making hay!
    Buffaloed girl, while the cat is away
    Just keep playing mice with buffoons.

    Buffaloed girl, don’t you hear the troops cry?
    Wounded for wrongs; dead for a lie
    Buffaloed girl, look in everyone’s eye
    And then soil your own pantaloons

    Buffaloed girl, under Lieberman’s wing
    Saving his job, that’s the main thing
    Buffaloed girl, you and Holy Joe sing
    The duet of right-wing spittoons

    Buffaloed girl, rail at video games
    Focus group that; spout the right frames
    Buffaloed girl, don’t you name any names
    Just save children from their cartoons

    Buffaloed girl, take a “listening” tour
    If you don’t know; if you’re not sure
    Buffaloed girl, voters like their fake “pure”
    Like war debt that simply balloons

    Buffaloed girl, when it counted you hid
    Don’t try to lie. That’s what you did
    Buffaloed girl, Dubya made you his kid
    When you bought the crap that he croons

    Buffaloed girl, your irrelevance mounts
    Even in small, measured amounts
    If “it” takes a village, by all your accounts
    Then take “it” to Mars and its moons

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2006

  15. @ Dredd, Paul C. Schulte, Karen S

    Re: baby-eating

    Wikipedia is often not a reliable source, contrary to popular belief, but it seems to boil down (sick pun intended) to two chroniclers of the Siege of Ma’arra: Radulph of Caen (Gesta Tancredi) and Fulcher of Chartres. The former was not present at the event and it is not clear if the latter was present.

    Wikipedia includes this text: “some of the starving crusaders at Maarat reportedly resorted to cannibalism, feeding on the dead bodies of Muslims.” This was followed by the words of Radulph of Caen: “Some people said that, constrained by the lack of food, they boiled pagan adults in cooking-pots, impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.”

    This is inconsistent: were the victims Muslims or pagans? This is typical of the terrible writing at Wikipedia.

    And more importantly, both chroniclers are derived from a single book: “Edward Peters, The First Crusade: The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres and Other Source Materials.”

  16. Nick Spinelli

    There are Christian nuts but they haven’t killed en mass like the atheists and Muslim nuts have in modern history.
    ====================================
    Sober history about when “christianity” became a vassal of warmongering jingoists who propagandized the notion of the just war exceptionalism:

    In autumn of 1095, Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade by calling upon his fellow Christians to reclaim the Holy City of Jerusalem, and to seek revenge on the followers of Islam, whom he accused of committing horrendous crimes against Christendom (Asbridge 16). As Urban preached throughout Europe, he ushered in a new era of Christianity, that which readily used violence for its ‘just’ causes. Soon after Urban’s preaching tour thousands of Christians were ready to take up the mission and destroy everything that stood in their way. This paper will review the atrocities set forth by the first crusaders against both Jews in Europe and the Muslims of the eastern Mediterranean region.

    Pope Urban’s call to crusade was made possible by the earlier work of St. Augustine on Christian violence. After all, on the surface Christianity appears as a faith of pacifism, demonstrated by Jesus, whose life reflected the rejection of all violence, as well as the Hebrew Bible in which the commandment “Thou Shall Not Kill” is revealed. How is it that St. Augustine and then Pope Urban II enabled violence to be an option for Christians? “From the fourth century onwards, Christianity underwent a gradual but deep-seated transformation as it fused with a Roman ‘state’ for which warfare was an essential feature of existence.” (Asbridge 13-24) Urban secured thousands of participants for his cause when he promised rewards in the afterlife, including a guarantee of eternal salvation to those who died in the struggle. “For the first time in Christian history, violence was defined as a religious act, a source of grace.” (Carroll 239-340)

    For St. Augustine a ‘Just War’ is one that contains three components: 1) it must be proclaimed by a ‘legitimate authority,’ 2) it ought to have a ‘just cause,’ 3) it should be fought with ‘right intention.’ (Asbridge 24)

    (1st Crusade).

    Christian nations have killed en-masse more than any other nations in very modern history.

    1. Dredd –

      Christian nations have killed en-masse more than any other nations in very modern history.

      This is just the silliest historically inaccurate thing you have said in some time. How soon we forget Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. Not a Christian among them. We could include Hitler, too. Although raised Catholic, he certainly was not a practicing Catholic.

  17. Paul – I hate that selective memory loss that politicians use as a “get out of trouble” card!

  18. Some might not be aware that Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, North Africa, and Jerusalem were overwhelmingly Christian. Islam put them to the sword, and Crusaders impoverished themselves trying to rescue Christians and turn back Muslim Expansion. We know that the Middle East and North Africa remains Islamic Extremist.

    Of course, moderate Muslims can live peaceably with other faiths, in a secular government. But Muslim Expansion was not perpetrated by moderate Muslims. And moderate Muslims do not rule the Middle East.

    http://www.thearma.org/essays/Crusades.htm#.U5omwF6fspE

  19. Lee:

    No kidding! The problem is when those wealthy people claim to be paupers “like the rest of us.”

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