Politics in the 21st Century is a money making profession no matter what the politicians have us believe, and why not?
If you have real value and contribute to society why shouldn’t you be paid well after you have re-entered everyday life.
Hillary Clinton gives some insight into her family’s success on the speaking circuit and the value of Brand Clinton in the marketplace.
Clinton targeted after crying poor
Phillip Rucker | 11 June 2014 | Washington Post
On the eve of a cross-country book tour seen as her opening gambit in the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton has caused a political flap by saying her family was “dead broke” upon leaving the White House in 2001 and “struggled” to pay their mortgages on two homes.
Republicans seized on the comments to argue that the Democrat – now a multimillionaire who charges $US200,000 ($214,000) per speech – is out of touch with middle-class Americans. The episode is the latest reminder of the increasingly partisan aura that surrounds the former secretary of state as she gets closer to making a decision about 2016.
During a one-hour prime-time special on ABC, Mrs Clinton also told news anchor Diane Sawyer that she considers the sharp criticism of her role in the terrorist attacks on US outposts in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 an argument in favour of a campaign.
“Actually, it’s more of a reason to run, because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball,” she told Sawyer. “We ought to be in the majors. I view this as really apart from – even a diversion from – the hard work that the Congress should be doing about the problems facing our country and the world.”
Mrs Clinton said there was nothing she could have done differently to prevent the attacks.
“I take responsibility, but I was not making security decisions,” she said.
To promote her new memoir, Hard Choices, which hits stores Tuesday, Mrs Clinton is travelling from coast to coast this month giving speeches, signing copies and sitting for network television interviews. The first, with Sawyer, aired on Monday night.
Sawyer asked Mrs Clinton about reports that she has made an estimated $US5 million delivering speeches since she left the State Department last year and that her husband, Bill Clinton – who earned $US200,000 annually during his eight years as president – has made more than $US100 million since leaving the White House in 2001.
“You have no reason to remember, but we came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt,” Mrs Clinton said. “We had no money when we got there and we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.”
Sawyer followed up with a reference to Mrs Clinton’s typical speaking fee of about $US200,000.
“Do you think Americans can understand five times the median income in this country for one speech?” she asked.
Mrs Clinton answered: “I thought making speeches for money was a much better thing than getting connected with any one group or company, as so many people who leave public life do.”
Her comments bore echoes of comments that caused political trouble for the past two Republican presidential nominees. In the 2008 campaign, Senator John McCain said he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, owned. Four years later, Mitt Romney – a successful private equity investor – was criticised for making a $US10,000 wager during a debate and other wealth-related gaffes.
Shortly after portions of Mrs Clinton’s interview were previewed on ABC’s Good Morning America, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus tweeted: “How out of touch is Hillary Clinton when ‘dead broke’ = mansions & massive speaking fees?”
America Rising, the leading Republican super PAC attacking Mrs Clinton in the run-up to the campaign, posted pictures of the Clintons’ “multimillion-dollar mansions” in Chappaqua, New York, and Washington on its website.
When the Clintons left the White House in 2001, they had accrued an enormous amount of legal debt, much of it owed to Mr Clinton’s attorneys during impeachment proceedings.
In 1999, the couple bought a house in Chappaqua to establish Mrs Clinton’s residency in New York before her 2000 Senate campaign. But they had so much debt that they needed a friend and campaign fund-raiser, Terry McAuliffe – now Governor of Virginia – to put down $US1.35 million as collateral on their $US1.7 million loan.
Soon enough, however, both Clintons cashed in. In December 2000, Mrs Clinton signed an $US8 million advance to publish her first memoir, Living History. Mr Clinton hit the paid speaking circuit and received a reported $US15 million advance for his memoir, My Life.
By 2004, according to federal financial disclosure forms, the Clintons had paid off their debts. During the 2008 campaign, the Clintons released tax returns showing they had earned $US109 million over eight years.
©2014 Washington Post | This article first appeared in the Washington Post on 11 June 2014.