As Hillary Clinton begins her publicity push for Hard Choices, the potential 2016 candidate's soundbites are becoming instant ammunition for nasty hashtags. We should expect a lot more of that.
On Monday, The Wire noted that Clinton's book blitz had begun with the commentariat weighing in early and often about whether Hard Choices is honest, good, or interesting, and, more urgently, what could be divined about Clinton's 2016 intentions from it.
One of the teasers placed ahead of Clinton's interview with Diane Sawyer last night featured Clinton defending her cushy speaking gigs by explaining that she and her husband (What's his name again?) were "dead broke" and in debt coming out of their eight years in the White House. Here's some of what she said:
Well, you have no reason to remember, but we came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt. We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea's education. You know, it was not easy."
Some evidence of that, including the plunking down of $1.3 million by Clinton fundraiser Terry McAuliffe to secure a loan on their house in Chappaqua in 1999, found its way to the light of day once again. But saying "houses" or claiming hardship remain a dangerous game for an American politician. And the sneering internet seized upon Clinton's comments.
This is outrageous. http://t.co/uUMrOwQ9Um How out of touch is Hillary Clinton when "dead broke" = mansions & massive speaking fees?— Reince Priebus (@Reince) June 9, 2014
Quickly and inevitably, #HillaryIsSoPoor went viral. Not strictly a collection of scornful comments about Clinton wealth, the hashtag also brought decades of Clinton baggage back to the surface.
#HillaryIsSoPoor she had to stay married to a cheater just to be elected Senator to pay her bills.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 10, 2014
#HillaryIsSoPoor she had to exhume Vince Foster so she could re-use the bullet.— Katharine Gillespie (@Athens1106) June 10, 2014
#HillaryIsSoPoor that Bill had to pay off their Whitewater fraud debt to Susan McDougal with a measley pardon.— greybeard (@greybeard411) June 10, 2014
#HillaryIsSoPoor she anchored her yacht in Rhode Island to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes. Wait, that was John Kerry.— Patriot-Instigator (@Patriot_Musket) June 9, 2014
You get the picture. It didn't just come from the right either:
Hillary's "broke" comment is another reason why Elizabeth Warren needs to run. Family dynasties are by nature out of touch #HillaryIsSoPoor— Swiss Kim (@TheSwissKim) June 10, 2014
This seems to be a natural upshot of any renewed focus on someone who is both super famous and in the middle of a public reinvention/reintroduction. But it seems safe to say, we'll be seeing a lot more of this in the coming months and possibly years.
By the way, Clinton walked back the comment on live television this morning:
Let me just clarify … I fully appreciate how hard life is so for many Americans today. It’s an issue I’ve worked on and cared about my entire adult life.”
She added, rightly, that she and her husband were both blessed and had worked hard.
We have a life experience that is clearly different in very dramatic ways from many Americans, but we also have gone through some of the same challenges many people have.”
Fortunately for her, #wehavealifeexperiencethatisclearlydifferentinverydramaticwaysfrommanyAmericans is an entirely too long a hashtag.