Hillary Clinton claims her family was “dead broke” and saddled with legal bills after she and Bill Clinton left the White House — a comment that drew ridicule Monday from Republicans.
According to a Fox news report, the former first lady made the remarks to ABC News in an interview that aired Monday.
“We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” Clinton told ABC News. “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.”
The Clintons, though, did all right for themselves, and quickly — Bill Clinton almost immediately hit the speaking circuit, making millions along the way.
Meanwhile, despite the family’s debt, they got help back in 1999 from fundraiser Terry McAuliffe (now, the governor of Virginia) to secure a loan for a $1.7 million home in Chappaqua, N.Y. The home helped Hillary Clinton claim residency so she could run for Senate.
By 2009, when Hillary Clinton was preparing to join President Obama’s administration as secretary of State, the Clintons’ wealth was somewhere between $10 million and $50 million.
Republicans seized on the “dead broke” comment and said it demonstrated that Clinton, the Democratic Party’s strongest contender for its 2016 presidential nomination, was out of touch.
“How out of touch is Hillary Clinton when `dead broke’ (equals) mansions & massive speaking fees?” tweeted Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.
Since leaving the White House, former President Bill Clinton earned a fortune in speaking fees.
Hillary Clinton’s Senate financial disclosure forms, filed for 2000, show assets between $781,000 and almost $1.8 million at the time. The forms allow senators to report assets in broad ranges.
The same form, however, shows the Clintons owed between $2.3 million and $10.6 million in legal fees to four firms. The Clintons paid off their legal bills by 2004, though, according to Senate disclosure forms.
Clinton also said that she feels emboldened to run for president because of Republican criticism of her handling of the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. She has said she has not yet decided if she will run.
Clinton said the Benghazi inquiry from Republicans gives her a greater incentive to run for president because she considers the multiple investigations into the attacks “minor league ball” for a country of the United States’ stature.
“It’s more of a reason to run, because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball. We ought to be in the majors,” Clinton said. “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.”
Multiple independent, bipartisan and Republican-led investigations have faulted the State Department for inadequate security in Benghazi, leading to four demotions. No attacker has been arrested.
Obama and Clinton allies alike have argued that there is no new information following more than a dozen public hearings and the release of 25,000 pages of documents.
In her book, Clinton calls the accusations plainly political, writing that she will not be “part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans.”
Asked whether she will testify before a new congressional committee investigating the attacks, Clinton would not make any commitments, saying it depends on how the inquiry is conducted.
“I’m not going to say one way or another,” Clinton said. “We’ll see what they decide to do, how they conduct themselves: Whether this is one more travesty about the loss of four Americans or whether this is in the best tradition of the Congress, an effort to try and figure out what we can do better.”
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