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Hillary Clinton says she understands 'hard life'

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:18 a.m. HST, Jun 10, 2014

WASHINGTON >> Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that she and former President Bill Clinton "fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans," seeking to refine remarks she made about the pair being "dead broke" when they left the White House.

The remarks came amid a series of interviews and Clinton's book tour throughout which the former secretary of state has dropped hints that she's seriously considering running for president in 2016. She said Republican inquiries over the 2012 attack on Americans in Benghazi gave her "more of a reason" to run. In an interview Monday with ABC News, Clinton said she and husband Bill were "dead broke" at the end of his presidency, with legal bills that dwarfed their income. Republicans pounced, calling her out-of-touch with average Americans who struggle with personal finances.

Clinton's tour for "Hard Choices" began Tuesday morning in the friendliest possible setting: A sold out autographing event at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan's Union Square. Around 1,000 people, some of whom slept on the sidewalk the night before, lined up for an autograph and the chance to shake her hand and say hello. The crowd was a politician's dream of young and old, male and female, white and nonwhite. Many wore "Ready for Hillary" buttons or stickers and counted down the hours, then the minutes, until she arrived and briefly told the crowd about her book.

"It's written for anybody who wants to think about, and learn about, what is happening in the world today -- why America matters, and why the world matters to America," she said. "And we have a lot of hard choices ahead of us in our country to make it as brave and as strong as it should be."

Earlier, she told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she and her husband left the White House roughly $12 million in debt at the end of his second term in early 2001. But she also acknowledged that "we've continued to be blessed in the last 14 years."

She said the couple have "gone through some of the same challenges that many people have" and that they "understand what that struggle is."

In response to a question, Clinton told anchor Robin Roberts she wants "to use the talent and resources that I have to make sure" others have the same opportunities.

Clinton's Senate financial disclosure forms, filed for 2000, show assets between $781,000 and almost $1.8 million. The forms allow senators to report assets in broad ranges. The same form, however, showed that the Clintons owed between $2.3 million and $10.6 million in legal bills to four firms for work performed on investigations into the couple's financial dealings during Bill Clinton's two presidential terms.

"I think she's been out of touch with average people for a long time," said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, pointing to Clinton's estimated $200,000-per-speech speaking fees and million-dollar book advances. "Whether she was flat broke or not is not the issue. It's tone deaf to average people."

Clinton's remarks about helping people to find greater economic opportunities marked the second time in as many days that she suggested an interest in making a second run for the presidency in 2016.

Clinton had said in an earlier interview with ABC News that Republican inquiries into her handling of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, gave her more of an incentive to run. While she said she's still undecided about her political future, Clinton cited the Benghazi probe as an example of a dysfunctional Congress.

"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 emphatically, leaning forward in her chair during her interview aired Monday with ABC's Diane Sawyer. "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."

On Benghazi, Clinton said Tuesday she believed "there were some systemic problems within the State Department. And if we had known that earlier, perhaps we could have done some changes."

But she also said, "You can't always sit in an office in Washington and say this and that will happen."

Clinton said she has no lingering health issues from a concussion she suffered last year. And she also said "no" when asked if she would have to distance herself from some of President Barack Obama's foreign policy decisions if she runs for the White House. Clinton said she made clear in the book there were areas where she and Obama disagreed. In a campaign scenario, she said, "I will be clear" where she disagrees with Obama.

In another interview, Clinton revealed that shortly after Sarah Palin was nominated as the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, the Obama campaign proposed that Clinton go on the attack against her. Clinton said she refused.

"The Obama campaign did contact me and asked me if I would attack her," Clinton told NBC in an interview that aired on the "Today" show Tuesday. "I said, 'Attack her for what, for being a woman? Attack her for being on a ticket that's ... trying to draw attention?'"

Clinton said she told the campaign, "There'll be plenty of time to do what I think you should do in politics, which is draw distinctions."

On Monday, Palin tweeted a page from Clinton's new book that contained Clinton's description of the episode. In it, Clinton says that the Obama campaign suspected Palin's nomination "was a blatant attempt to scuttle their hope of welcoming the women who had vigorously supported me" in Clinton's own unsuccessful presidential campaign.

"They immediately issued a dismissive statement and reached out to me in hopes I would follow suit," Clinton writes. "But I wouldn't. I was not going to attack Palin just for being a woman appealing for support from other women. I didn't think that made political sense and it didn't feel right. So I said no, telling them there'd be plenty of time for criticism. A few hours later the Obama campaign reversed itself and congratulated Governor Palin."

That page prompted Palin, the former Alaska governor, on Monday to tweet: "Look who fired the 1st shot in the real "war on women". Hint: it wasn't the GOP. See this excerpt from Hillary's book."

Associated Press writer Hillel Italie in New York contributed to this report.

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loquaciousone wrote:
Hilary's idea of dead broke is two have only two, 10 million dollar mansions instead of seven like John McCain.
on June 10,2014 | 07:22AM
Winston wrote:
Heh. It's hard out there for an ex president. Poor, poor Bill and Hil, struggling to make ends meet with the meager leavings of eight years in office, serving the nation (weep, weep). Sadly they had exist on multi-million dollar book advances and eek by on Bill's $400k pension and live hand to mouth giving speeches (for multiples of the average American's annually wage, each). So hard. They probably look back on the early 2000s as the "lean years".

Sarcasm off: Democrats. Is Hillary really going to be your populist champion, the one to put it to the evil fat cats, to lead the charge on income inequality? If so, I'm looking forward to you all trying to cast this woman, with $100milion plus in the bank, as a person for the little people.

on June 10,2014 | 07:51AM
ISCREAM wrote:
One might note that income inequality is greatest in Progressive states....the Progressive Party has indentured servants...
on June 10,2014 | 08:25AM
Winston wrote:
To the collectivist progressive elite mindset, all citizens are indentured servants, desperately in need of their loving guidance (and discipline if the guidance thing doesn't work out).
on June 10,2014 | 09:53AM
st1d wrote:
"Clinton said she and husband Bill were "dead broke" at the end of his presidency . . ."

they were morally and intellectually bankrupt before they entered the white house.

on June 10,2014 | 07:45AM
cojef wrote:
Kudos to you for saying it like it is. Their lives are filled with lies, for the truth is alien to them. Politicians always enrich themselves if the were poor. Those that are rich and enter politics have learn how to keep what they have.
on June 10,2014 | 07:52AM
Winston wrote:
Heh. The truth, along with the constitution, is a living document.
on June 10,2014 | 09:51AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
Well said! Mahalo! Folks, our country is going down the toilet. After HW, Bill Clinton, GW and, now the worst, BO, I doubt our survival with what we have looking at us. We will soon be second world on the way to third world if we have any of the potential candidates on the radar for President. Hillary or Crazy Uncle Joe Biden on one side, and airhead soccer mom on the other?
on June 10,2014 | 08:16AM
Paulh808 wrote:
I would take the soccer Mom any day (I for one do not buy into the medias portrayal of her), Charlie you need only look at the person not what the MSM wants you to think. People that I know from Alaska love her, she actually put money back into the taxpayers pocket, something a dem will never ever do!
on June 10,2014 | 10:18AM
makiki123 wrote:
How can anyone believe someone like the Clinton's? Hillary is an out and out liar and cheat and so is her husband. Why is Bill a respected statesman? I will never forget how he waved his finger at us on national TV saying that he did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky and then later admitted that he did. What a joke of a family and that includes their talentless daughter who can't get a job on her own.
on June 10,2014 | 07:49AM
lee1957 wrote:
At this point what difference does it make?
on June 10,2014 | 11:38AM
AhiPoke wrote:
She's preparing herself to replace the current "liar-in-chief". Talk about being out of touch with reality.
on June 10,2014 | 08:01AM
Meleana22 wrote:
Here we go again---lies, lies and more lies. What a joke--despite their shady past, It is still hard to believe that Hilary Clinton would stoop so low to say that she understands hard times... The Clinton's are worth over a $100,000,000 million dollars.
on June 10,2014 | 08:58AM
st1d wrote:
anyone see the uncanny similarity in hilarious' book signing promotion and the episodes of "veep" with selena's book signing to promote her presidential campaign?
on June 10,2014 | 08:59AM
st1d wrote:
not sure why the first comment went into censor orbit. second try:

"Some New Beginnings: Our Next American Journey" by selina meyer, "veep" episode, skewers this book signing tour by hillary. absolutely spot on.

on June 10,2014 | 09:26AM
MakaniKai wrote:
At a loss for words............as we fall further down the rabbit hole!
on June 10,2014 | 10:17AM
pridon wrote:
Yea, someone who never did an honest days work in her life understands the hard life. Love to see her pick pineapples for a day, or barn tobacco inside a 130 degree barn.
on June 10,2014 | 11:03AM
loio wrote:
barf. To quote David Geffen: "Everybody in politics lies, but the Clintons do it with such ease, it's troubling." this is one ruthless, phony, lying person. and she's been that way for years and years and years. Please God: not her as President.
on June 10,2014 | 11:37AM
st1d wrote:
don't know why s/a won't allow mention of "veep's" lampooning of hillary's book tour on its season opener.
on June 10,2014 | 04:48PM
st1d wrote:
"Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that she and former President Bill Clinton "fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans," seeking to refine remarks she made about the pair being "dead broke" when they left the White House."

oh, oh, caught in another lie: according to hilarious' senate disclosure forms: in 2001, they reported earning nearly $12 million. Most of that came from Bill Clinton's speechmaking, and the rest came from an advance for Hillary Clinton's book.

congenital liar.

on June 11,2014 | 01:20PM
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