The Clintons are the wealthiest living family to leave the White House, but Hillary Clinton said in an interview released over the weekend that she doesn’t think her wealth will turn Americans against her if she runs for president in 2016.
The former secretary of state was critized earlier this month for saying she and husband Bill Clinton were ‘dead broke’ when they left the White House in 2001 – despite making $12 million that year.
And since leaving the Obama administration, Clinton has charged $200,000 on average for paid speeches.
However, she told the Guardian on Saturday that she doesn’t find her income level problematic because she and Bill pay ‘ordinary’ taxes.
‘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,’ Clinton said.
‘And we’ve done it through dint of hard work.’
America Rising PAC Executive Director Tim Miller mocked Clinton’s statement in an email to reporters over the weekend.
‘If Hillary is going to run for President she might be advised to take a lengthy sabbatical from her $200k per pop speaking tour and private shopping sprees at Bergdorfs to try and reconnect with what’s happening back here on Earth,’ the GOP operative said.
The Clintons have made an estimated $155 million since leaving the White House in 2001, according to financial disclosure statements, which makes them the wealthiest former first family in America.
Clinton told Diane Sawyer earlier this month that she and her husband charged such steep speaking fees because they were in debt after leaving the White House.
‘We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,’ Clinton said. ‘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.’
Hillary was swiftly attacked as ‘out of touch’ after the comment, and the morning after the interview aired she clarified that she and her husband had racked up ‘something like $12 million’ in legal fees by the end of Bill’s presidency.
‘Bill and I were obviously blessed. We worked hard for everything we got in our lives and we have continued to work hard. And we’ve been blessed in the last 14 years,’ Clinton told Good Morning America host Robin Roberts.
The financial ‘struggles’ the Clintons faced at the end of Bill’s second term more than a decade ago are but a distant memory, however.
In the first year Bill was out of office, the Clinton’s made $12.3 million.