Bill Clinton on Meet the Press (screenshot)

Bill Clinton defends Hillary on "Meet the Press": "She's not out of touch"

Bill Clinton responds to Hillary's "dead broke" comment, and record of public service


Sarah Gray
June 29, 2014 8:23PM (UTC)

This morning Bill Clinton appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press." Right out of the gate he was faced with defending Hillary Clinton's comments about the couple being "dead broke" after leaving the White House.

"Look you're in politics," Bill Clinton said to David Gregory. "One of the things that's a challenge for us is that somebody is always trying to change the subject. And the subject is 'how can we get this economy going? how can it work?'"

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"It is factually true that we were several million dollars in debt," Bill continued. He then went on to address the wealth the couple amassed post-White House. "Everybody now assumes that what happened in the intervening years was automatic. I'm shocked people still want me to come give talks. So, I'm grateful."

Gregory pushed back, asking Bill Clinton if he could understand how the American people could perceive Hillary as out of touch.

"Yeah, but she's not out of touch," Bill countered. "She's advocated and worked as a senator for things that were good for ordinary people."

The former president also brought up Hillary's work as a lawyer, and attempts to get paid leave for expecting mothers in the 1970s. In somewhat garbled speech, Bill Clinton explained Hillary's answer.

"I think if you don't give the most adept answer to a question, because you immediately remember what you felt like the day we left, as opposed to what it looks like now to everybody who is having trouble, you can say 'yeah, OK, I've got to clean that up,' which she did."

Bill Clinton also discussed the "American dream" and the loss of the middle class.

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"The real question is," he said, "if you've been fortunate enough to be successful, are you now out of touch and insensitive to the agonizing struggle that people are facing?"

Hillary, who has not even declared herself a presidential candidate, has been making the media rounds in support of her new book "Hard Choices." The tour has not been free of gaffes and subsequent criticism. The one in question was during an interview with Diane Sawyer, where Hillary was faced with a question about her speaking fees.

The comment "dead broke" is the soundbite du jour. Bill Maher advised her to "just go away" for a little while, but President Obama believes that the blunder will fade away. The entire "Meet the Press" interview can be viewed below:


Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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