In a new interview with NBC, former President Bill Clinton has now joined wife Hillary Clinton in claiming that they were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001. He also said his wife is “not out of touch” over her claims that they aren’t really rich even now, despite having amassed a $100 million fortune.
Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton appeared on ABC and told Diane Sawyer that they were “dead broke” when they left the White House. But a perusal of the Clintons’ tax returns demonstrates that Mr. and Mrs. Clinton earned a combined income of $358,000 in the year 2000. That number jumped to $16 million in 2001, the year they left the White House.
Trying to backtrack from her initial comments, Hillary Clinton changed her point to say that she and her husband weren’t really “well off.”
Now, in an interview with NBC’s David Gregory, the former chief executive is coming to his wife’s defense concerning her comments about their finances.
“It is factually true that we were several million dollars in debt,” Clinton told the journalist.
Clinton also implied that reporters were maligning his wife on the issue and said that “the people asking her questions should put this in some sort of context.”
The couple is not alone in their assertions of being just like common poor folks. On June 22, the Clintons’ daughter Chelsea noted that she just doesn’t care about money and would rather work for her parents’ charity than be rich, notwithstanding the fact that she is making $600,000 a year in a no-show journalism job.
But after these comments, a long list of left-leaning journalists and TV personalities slammed both Mrs. Clinton and her daughter for being “tone deaf” and “out of touch.”
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin said Hillary Clinton’s crying poor was “not just a little tone deaf.”
Fellow MSNBCer Krystal Ball agreed with that assessment.
Joe Scarborough also mocked her for the comment.
Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman called the comments “disastrous” and “insulting.”
Politico’s Roger Simon advised Hillary Clinton to “stop poor-mouthing.”
Even The Daily Beast ridiculed the comments as examples of what the rich say in a desperate attempt to sound “just like you.”
It should also be noted that even as the potential 2016 presidential candidate claimed she and her husband were “dead broke” and owed millions of dollars to creditors and service providers, the pair was spending millions on luxury homes in D.C. and New York in the years around the end of Clinton’s last term in office.
This certainly does not appear to be the record of people who are “dead broke.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.