Some Democrats fear Clinton’s Wealth and ‘Imperial Image’ Could Be Damaging in 2016Posted: June 23, 2014
For The Washington Post, Phillip Rucker writes: When Hillary Rodham Clinton said this month that she was once “dead broke,” it was during an interview in which she led ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer through her $5 million Washington home, appointed like an ambassador’s mansion. Mahogany antiques, vibrant paintings and Oriental rugs fill the rooms. French doors open onto an expertly manicured garden and a turquoise swimming pool, where Clinton recently posed for the cover of People magazine.
“Every time that she tries to talk in some populist voice, it’s completely inauthentic…”
On her current book tour, the former secretary of state has traveled the country by private jet as she has for many of her speaking engagements since stepping down as secretary of state last year. Her fee is said to be upwards of $200,000 per speech; the exceptions tend to be black-tie charity galas, where she collects awards and catches up with friends such as designer Oscar de la Renta and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
“…At a time when the country is anti-Washington and anti-Wall Street, she represents both.”
— Matthew Dowd
Such scenes reveal a potentially serious political problem for Clinton as she considers a 2016 presidential run: She and her husband are established members of the 1 percent, leading lives far removed from the millions of middle-class voters who swing elections.
Clinton has underscored the contrast with a series of stumbles in discussing her finances — the latest in an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper published Sunday, in which she compared herself with other multimillionaires. Unlike the “truly well off,” Clinton said, she and former president Bill Clinton “pay ordinary income tax” and have amassed their fortune “through dint of hard work.”
Some influential Democrats — including former advisers to President Obama — said in interviews last week they fear that Clinton’s personal wealth and rarefied, cloistered lifestyle could jeopardize the Democratic Party’s historic edge with the middle class that powered Obama’s wins.
What Hillary Clinton line made one of The Post’s reporters say, “Oh, snap?” Diplomatic correspondent Anne Gearan and The Fix’s Chris Cillizza add their context and commentary to Clinton’s interview with ABC News’s Diane Sawyer. (Julie Percha / The Washington Post)
“I don’t know whether it’s just that she’s been ‘Madam Secretary’ for so long, but she’s generating an imperial image,” said Dick Harpootlian, who recently stepped down as Democratic Party chairman in South Carolina, which hosts an early presidential primary.
Harpootlian, who backed Obama over Clinton in 2008 and is a longtime ally of Vice President Biden, added: “She’s been living 30, going on 40 years with somebody bringing your coffee to you every morning. Is it more ‘Downton Abbey’ than it is America?”
Multiple Obama campaign advisers — who spoke only on the condition of anonymity to avoid alienating the Clintons — said they fear Clinton’s financial status could hurt her as it did Republican nominee Mitt Romney, whom Obama portrayed in 2012 as an out-of-touch plutocrat at a time of economic uncertainty…. (read more)
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