To recap: The Clintons did face some financial hardships when they left the Whitehouse. There was a 7 figure legal bill funded by a 7 figure legal defense fund, which probably left a balance due, albeit one with flexible payment terms allowed by lawyers who understood the unique nature of having the Clintons for clients. Also, the necessity to buy a multi-million $ house in NY so that the open senate seat there could be credibly carpet bagged. That’s probably a stretch to do on Mrs. Clinton’s $8 million dollar book advance in 2000 and Mr. Clinton’s $400k a year salary at the time. They struggled. They probably had to delay payment on concierge invoices at times in 2001. Like an average middle class family.
Not really, of course. A middle class household ‘struggling to make ends meet’:
- Puts off grocery shopping until payday
- Has a process for managing its overdrafts
- Juggles the mortgage payment, letting it go until the end of grace because something else came up
- Lets accrued medical bills / deductibles slip into collections
- Is behind on utilities, because utilities don’t engage in punitive credit reporting
That’s what ‘struggling to make ends meet’ means. Even granting that the Clinton’s may not have been very liquid in 2001, I doubt they suffered any of that.
So is Hillary lying? Yes, but it’s not completely mendacious, ya know, such as ‘if you like your plan / doctor you can keep it”. Here Mrs. Clinton is guilty of merely conversational fabulism of the ‘bullshitting / out of touch’ variety.
It’s something though, and these little dings can add up. It’s an unforced error that could have been avoided.
Sawyer basically asked her (I paraphrase in order to provide context), “why does Bill rack up tens of millions on the corporate chicken dinner circuit, it seems unseemly …”
A great answer does not require construction of some hollow analogy to the middle class. There’s one good answer, and it’s simple. The response is “you know, it’s a job that pays well for him, and we’re blessed. But the big thing is, we never felt like we were ready to stop working for people. He felt he still had a lot of things to say, and there’s a lot of initiatives we want to support. Him speaking is a way to get those ideas out and then fund some of those initiatives we’re part of.”
Easy. If they haven’t understood they would get asked that, then yes, they are out of touch. But I would figure they have a decent PR / speech person on staff who would be attuned to both Sawyer’s question and the weakness of the middle class analogy. If not, I am available.