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Clinton: ‘Dead Broke’ Comment Was Not ‘Artful’

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a crowd during a book signing for her new book, "Hard Choices" at a Barnes & Noble on June 10, 2014 in New York City. (credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a crowd during a book signing for her new book, “Hard Choices” at a Barnes & Noble on June 10, 2014 in New York City. (credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBSDC/AP) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she should have worded her “dead broke” comment a little better during a public discussion with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday to promote her new book “Hard Choices.”

“‘Dead broke?'” Emanuel deadpanned early in the discussion before several thousand people. “Really?”

“That may have not been the most artful way of saying that Bill and I have gone through a lot of different phases in our lives,” Clinton said. “That was then, this is now. Obviously, we are very fortunate. We’ve been given great opportunities.”

She added: “We have gone through ups and downs like a lot of people. But, clearly, we’re very grateful for the opportunities we’ve had.”

During an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer earlier this week, Clinton said that her and former President Bill Clinton were “dead broke” due to legal bills and debt after they left the White House in 2001.

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

Republicans immediately seized on the comment, two years after their presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, was dogged by accusations of being out-of-touch because of his wealth. GOP officials pointed out that Hillary Clinton received an $8 million book advance for her 2003 memoir and said the comments reflected her insulation from the daily problems of average Americans.

“I think she’s been out of touch with average people for a long time,” said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, pointing to Clinton’s estimated $200,000-per-speech speaking fees and million-dollar book advances. “Whether she was flat broke or not is not the issue. It’s tone deaf to average people.”

Hillary Clinton’s Senate financial disclosure forms, filed for 2000, show assets between $781,000 and almost $1.8 million. The forms allow senators to report assets in broad ranges. The same form, however, showed that the Clintons owed between $2.3 million and $10.6 million in legal bills to four firms.

Democrats noted that the Clintons gave away $10 million after departing the White House and during the 2008 campaign, Mrs. Clinton released tax forms that showed a total of $1.1 million in book proceeds went to charities between 2000 and early 2008.

According to USA Today, the Clintons had an estimated net worth of $55 million in 2013.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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