Thankfully, when Anderson Cooper asked Hillary Clinton about her Wall Street ties at tonight’s Democratic town hall, she didn’t try to invoke 9/11 this time. She did, however, mar what would have otherwise been a notably personable performance with one of her worst Goldman Sachs justifications yet.
Clinton seemed genuinely flustered by the question—which is odd considering she had to have guessed she’d be fielding the controversy in some form tonight. Her acceptance of $675,000 for three speeches made to the investment firm in 2013 has been a major sticking point for Sanders throughout the debates, and Clinton potentially being beholden to Wall Street one of her biggest criticisms.
But when Cooper asked if her speeches constituted an “error in judgement,” Clinton responded glibly, “I made speeches to lots of groups.” And when he pressed her on the hundreds of thousands of dollars she accepted from the firm, Clinton offered perhaps the worst answer yet:
Well, I don’t know. That’s what they offered. Every Secretary of State I know has done that.
“That’s what they offered.”
An answer that A) doesn’t explain why she thought it prudent to accept that sort of money from Wall Street and B) doesn’t make any sense considering Hillary’s minimum for paid remarks is actually just (“just”) $200,000. She also claimed that she’d done the speeches under the pretense that she maybe probably wouldn’t be running for president in a few years—which seems absurd to anyone who was even moderately awake that year.
Hillary then went on to assure us that Wall Street has absolutely no influence over her whatsoever:
But anybody who knows me, who thinks that they can influence me—name anything they’ve influenced me on. Just name one thing. I’m out here every day saying i’m going to shut them down. I’m going after them. I’m going to jail them if they should be jailed. I’m going to break them up. They’re not giving me very much money now, I can tell you that much. Fine with me.
Of course Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is making sure to stay out of the Democratic primaries as far as the public is concerned, knowing full well that his endorsement could seriously hurt his candidate of choice.
Finally, Cooper asks if she regrets giving the speeches, to which Hillary responds, “No, I don’t.” But if Hillary’s not ashamed of her Wall Street money (because why would she be when she’s beholden to no one!), then why, as Open Secrets points out, did she conveniently misstate that just three percent of her donations comes from the finance and investment world when it’s actually somewhere closer to eight percent?
And either way, according to The New York Times, Hillary and Bill “have earned in excess of $125 million in speech income since leaving the White House in 2001" with Hillary’s “own speechmaking [being] a veritable tour through high finance.” So those ties were already put in place well before this election, and they run deep.
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