The hard times of Hillary Clinton

With very few exceptions, national politicians are not typical Americans.

They lead a privileged life and when they enter rooms, people stand and applaud. That alone can skew a person’s view of their place in the world. For someone who lives in the White House, the danger of assuming you’re like most Americans can be particularly dangerous.

Hillary Clinton proved that with the release of her new book, “Hard Choices,” which hits the stores today. In an interview with ABC, she claimed she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House, thanks to the legal bills they’d run up while Pennsylvania Avenue occupants.

“We came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt,” Clinton said. “We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.”

They ended up buying an estate in Chappaqua, New York for $1.7 million. The property taxes, alone, ran $50,000.

The Clinton daughter had to settle for an undergraduate degree at Stanford University, and then a master’s from Oxford University and then Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. And, finally, a doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2014.

If you’re keeping score, that’s four degrees. And somehow the Clintons afforded the $27,000 a year for her tuition at Sidwell Friends School in Washington.

The Washington Post looked at Clinton’s campaign finance documents and found the claim was mostly nonsense. Although they had less than $10 million in assets, the Clintons cashed in on their biggest asset — the presidency — and wiped it away in a year, eclipsed by a massive increase in wealth.

Washington Post

Perhaps mindful of the gaffe she made yesterday, Clinton tried to smooth things over today, saying she and her husband “fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans.” She changed her self-evaluation from “dead broke,” to “obviously blessed.”

Clinton, of course, isn’t the first presidential candidate with a fat bank account to bemoan the tough times of the rich. But, unlike several previous Republican candidates, strategists don’t think her wealth will be an issue, CBS reports.

Related: Only a rich person could go as broke as Hillary Clinton (Vox).

What's needed to 'move on up' in Minnesota? (Twin Cities Daily Planet).

  • Gary F

    Buying ramen noodles and store brand mac and cheese at Costco. Wiener water soup. The screen door doesn’t get fixed. The lawn isn’t getting mowed. Bill having to buy cigars at Walgreens. Chelsea having to go to junior college. Setting the thermostat down to 60F in the winter.

    They are just regular people.

  • Gary F
  • Dave

    She’s never struck me as a genuine person; she’s a consummate politician in that regard. It’s like she’s always on. Everything she says, I feel like there’s a different message behind her eyes.

  • Uh, not sure if I’m reading that chart correctly, but it does appear they were pretty heavily in debt when leaving the WH.

    • David

      While in a lot of debt, their prospects were very good (speaking fees for former presidents). The economic outlook for them getting out of that debt was probably better than more ordinary Americans.

    • Which the piece notes. But, as David points out, the assets they listed didn’t include the biggest one they had. But, yeah, million dollar homes, multiple colleges and a rich lifestyle will certainly make the bottom line look bad. For one whole year.

      It’s also worth pointing out though that President Clinton wasn’t required to list how much he made from his book. also, it doesn’t include the former president’s speaking fees. He received about $200k per speech. So the income section is inaccurate.

      These folks were doing just fine start to finish. any assertion to the contrary is pretty much an insult to those who really are “flat broke.”

      • Gary F

        The media will forget this quote ever happened once she declares that she is running for President.

        • BJ

          I call Bull on that. The media will remember, no one else (except Republican insiders) will care. Name anything the public remembers for more than 2 weeks.

          • “Name anything the public remembers for more than 2 weeks.”

            Something…something…Kardashian…

            /Benghazi?

  • Mike C. Miller

    The snarky tone of the article is ridiculous if you look at the
    data. Apparently, they were worse than dead broke. They were about
    $9+M in debt. Granted, they had the wherewithal to make sure that they
    didn’t stay broke, which distinguishes them from many other who are dead broke,
    but that doesn’t make the statement untrue.

    I do think that those who have substantial earning capacity
    approach being broke differently that those who don’t have substantial earning
    capacity. I’ve never heard one of the latter ever say, “There’s nothing
    wrong with being broke. There’s only something wrong with staying
    broke.” I have heard that said dozens of times by folks with substantial
    earning capacity. Folks who have substantial earning capacity look at
    being broke or in debt as a very temporary situation. Most others who aren’t
    in their boat, can’t look at it that way, because the reasons that they are
    broke are more likely to persist. But that doesn’t change the fact that
    when you’re broke, you’re broke.

    • The only time debt makes you broke is when it’s due. There’s no such thing as being “broke differently.” You either are or you aren’t. Theoretically, under the Clinton definition, everyone who buys a home is “dead broke.” but, of course, they’re not because the debt isn’t due.

      You are broke when the debt is due and the assets and earning power no longer can service the debt. The Clintons were never in that position.

      In the context of mrs. Clinton’s comments, she said she was dead broke in answer to a question about the incredible fortune they’ve amassed and the way it was amassed.

      Broke is not having money, and not having money coming in.

      And as I mentioned earlier, none of this data INCLUDES the money Mr. Clinton actually earned, since he didn’t have to report it publicly.

      They didn’t get that $1.7 million estate on their good looks.

      by the way, THIS is what broke is:

      http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2014/06/undocumented-health-care-mcinnis-house

      compare and contrast.