WASHINGTON (WNEW) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to questions about growing U.S. income equality by saying that she and former President Bill Clinton are not like the “truly well off.”
In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, the potential 2016 presidential candidate said that she and her husband earn their income through hard work, and not from investments. Asked whether the family’s wealth could be seen as a negative leadership factor, she responded that the Clintons are not “part of the problem.”
“But they don’t see me as part of the problem because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work,” she told The Guardian, amid “another burst of laughter.”
This comes after a series of controversial comments Clinton has made regarding her family’s wealth. Earlier this month, Clinton told ABC News that the family was more than “dead broke” after leaving the White in 2000.
“We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” Clinton said in an interview with Diane Sawyer. “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.”
She added, “Bill has worked really hard — and it’s been amazing to me — he’s worked very hard. First of all, we had to pay off all our debts, which was, you know, he had to make double the money because of obviously taxes and then pay off the debts and get us houses and take care of family members.”
According to The New York Times, Hillary Clinton’s individual speaking fees average $200,000 per appearance. And according to a Mother Jones report, she earned at least $5 million in speaking fees since leaving her secretary of state position in 2013 – with some of that money being channeled in through Wall Street firms and trade associations.
In her final days as the first lady, Clinton landed an $8 million advance for her 2003 memoir, “Living History.”
In response to many conservatives “waking up” to attack her 2016 presidential possibilities, Clinton told The Guardian she’s prepared to stand her ground.
“It started with the visceral negative reaction towards my husband’s success. Because I am outspoken about inequality and economic opportunity, they transferred a lot of that feeling to me, and if you add to that I’m a woman saying these things, and that I’m prepared to stand my ground, well it’s a recipe for lots of back and forth.”