Hillary Clinton is still trying to downplay the significance of recent gaffes about her personal wealth, which Republican critics have pounced on as evidence that the presumed 2016 presidential front-runner is “out of touch.”
“I shouldn’t have said the five or so words that I said, but my inartful use of those few words doesn’t change who I am,” Clinton told PBS NewsHour‘s Gwen Ifill on Wednesday, referring to comments she made that she and her husband Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House. She later tried to clarify her comments by saying the couple was different from others who are “truly well off” and don’t pay “ordinary income tax.”
In the interview, Clinton accused others of taking her comments out of context or trying to “create some caricature.” When Ifill noted that such a strategy “sticks sometimes — ask Mitt Romney,” Clinton emphatically rebuked the connection.
“That’s a false equivalency,” Clinton said. “People can judge me for what I’ve done. And I think when somebody’s out in the public eye, that’s what they do. So I’m fully comfortable with who I am, what I stand for and what I’ve always stood for.”
Ifill pressed back: “What I meant by Mitt Romney is there’s a bubble problem sometimes where you can be cut off from people in a regular way. George H.W. Bush, you remember, had that with the gallon of milk. How do you avoid that?”
Clinton was undeterred. In response to the “out of touch” label, she said: “If you come from where I came from and where I have always been, I’ve always been reaching out and whether it’s talking with our neighbors or going shopping or standing, talking to people in these bookstores and hearing what’s on their minds, or even the work I did for eight years as a senator to bring new jobs to New York and stand up for the people I represented.”
Clinton might have faith that her record “speaks for itself,” but that doesn’t mean the GOP is not going to hang on her every word for — potentially — the next two and a half years, listening closely for her “47 percent” moment.