When Will Hillary Clinton Recover Her Political Footing?

Around the 12th of Never. Maybe. If she’s lucky:

Hillary Clinton is facing a backlash over her paid speeches, with students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas calling on her to reject the $225,000 that the school is paying her family charity, and Republicans saying her lucrative engagements demonstrate that she is removed from everyday voters.

Mrs. Clinton, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, has been giving a mix of paid and free speeches since leaving the State Departmentearly last year. She collected $300,000 for a speech at UCLAin March, a spokesman for the school said Friday, adding that the money came from a privately funded endowment.

She has also given paid speeches at Hamilton Collegein New York and the University of Miamiwhich wouldn’t disclose her fees. A Hamilton spokesman said a private endowment covered her appearance on campus last year.

The UNLVfee for her appearance this fall will go to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation

The dispute at UNLV comes as Mrs. Clinton is making the case that she can empathize with struggling American families whatever her net worth.

Earlier this month, she told an interviewer that she and her husband left the White House in 2001 “dead broke.” Yet they had put together the money to buy two houses in upscale neighborhoods and were never at risk of real financial distress.

I’ve written before, and will write again that we should all have the Clintons’ financial troubles:

Over seven frenetic days, Bill Clinton addressed corporate executives in Switzerland and Denmark, an investors’ group in Sweden and a cluster of business and political leaders in Austria. The former president wrapped up his European trip in the triumphant Spanish Hall at Prague Castle, where he shared his thoughts on energy to a Czech business summit.

His pay: $1.4 million.

That lucrative week in May 2012 offers a glimpse into the way Clinton has leveraged his global popularity into a personal fortune. Starting just two weeks after exiting the Oval Office, Clinton has delivered hundreds of paid speeches, lifting a family that was “dead broke,” as wife Hillary Rodham Clinton phrased it earlier this month, to a point of such extraordinary wealth that it is now seen as a potential political liability if she runs for president in 2016.

Bill Clinton has been paid $104.9 million for 542 speeches around the world between January 2001, when he left the White House, and January 2013, when Hillary stepped down as secretary of state, according to a Washington Post review of the family’s federal financial disclosures.

Although slightly more than half of his appearances were in the United States, the majority of his speaking income, $56.3 million, came from foreign speeches, many of them in China, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom, the Post review found.

The financial industry has been Clinton’s most frequent sponsor. The Post review showed that Wall Street banks and other financial services firms have hired Clinton for at least 102 appearances and paid him a total of $19.6 million.

Since leaving the State Department, Hillary Clinton has followed her husband and a roster of recent presidents and secretaries of state in this profitable line of work, addressing dozens of industry groups, banks and other organizations for pay. Records of her earnings are not publicly available, but executives familiar with the engagements said her standard fee is $200,000 and up, and that she has been in higher demand than her husband.

Let me take this moment to address all of you who habitually whine about the parlous state of your finances, and about how difficult it is to put food on the table, keep a roof over your head and the heads of the members of your family, save for your children’s education, and perhaps–just perhaps–go out for a nice night on the town, or a vacation from time to time: You lot should now realize–if you haven’t already–that there is no reason on Earth why your economic situation should be so precarious. All you have to do to go from the poorhouse to the mansion is to either serve as president of the United States, or as a U.S. senator or secretary of state, and then go around giving speeches at hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop until your net worth is in the nine figures. And heck, if you can’t be a U.S. president, senator or secretary of state, all you have to do is marry someone who was.

There. Now isn’t this just about the best financial advice you have ever received? Oh, don’t thank me for this information, thank the Clintons. Without their courageous willingness to share the story of their struggle and travails, none of us would have known how to turn a few dollars and cents into more money than you can shake a stick at.


Since the start of Hillary Clinton’s book tour, the former secretary of state has been dogged by questions about whether or not she is out of touch because of comments she made about the state of her finances after leaving the White House in 2001.

Clinton rejected those calls in the Wednesday interview, telling [PBS journalist Gwen] Ifill that she had always “been reaching out” to other people, “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.”

At the start of her book tour, Hillary Clinton told ABC News that her family was “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001. Although Clinton quickly looked to clean up her first slip-up on wealth a few days later in Chicago, the former secretary of state stepped in it again a week later during interview with The Guardian when she compared herself to other “truly” wealthy individuals.

“We pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work,” Clinton said in the Guardian interview.

Shorter Hillary Clinton: “I know what is going on in the minds of ordinary Americans, because I speak to a self-selecting group of my fans at bookstores promoting my book.”

And speaking of the book, the former first couple ought to be thanking God for the existence of those paid speeches, because . . . well . . . this:

Sales of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new memoir, “Hard Choices,” declined 43.5 percent to 48,000 copies in its second week on the shelves, according to Nielsen BookScan.

The sales figures put pressure on the publisher, Simon & Schuster, which paid Mrs. Clinton a multimillion-dollar advance to write about her time at the State Department and has invested heavily in the book’s rollout, one of the biggest of the year.

About 85,000 copies were sold in the week after the book’s June 10 release, according to BookScan, a subscription service that tracks sales at over 80 percent of book vendors in the United States. Those figures do not include e-books, which increased sales by about 15 percent, to roughly 100,000 electronic and hardcover copies.

First-week sales typically account for about 30 percent of the total, thanks to the publicity blitzes that accompany publishers’ biggest releases. That means “Hard Choices” could fall far short of the one million copies that Simon & Schuster shipped to bookstores, industry executives said. (Publishers sell books on consignment and must take back copies that do not sell in the stores.)

(Emphasis mine.) Perhaps this is a sign that betting on Hillary Clinton is a bad idea.

%d bloggers like this: