Hillary: Bill and I 'obviously blessed'

 

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday sought to clarify a remark she made this week about leaving the White House "dead broke" in 2001.

“Let me just clarify that I fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans today,” Clinton said in a live interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “It’s an issue that I’ve worked hard on and cared about my entire adult life.”

"Bill and I were obviously blessed. We worked hard for everything we got in our lives. We have continued to work hard. And we have been blessed the last 14 years. But I want to use the talents and resources I have to make sure people get the same chances."

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Host Robin Roberts asked Clinton if she could understand why people are questioning why she’d describe her family's finances as a struggle. 

“Yes, I can, but everything in life has to be put into context. As I recall, we were something like in $12 million in debt,” said Clinton, adding that she soon entered the Senate and couldn’t do much to help reverse that at the time.

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, she said, was born poor and has worked hard after receiving opportunities like a good education.  

“We understand what that struggle is because we had student debts both of us, we had to pay off; we had to work; I had a couple jobs in law school; he had lots of jobs,” she said. 

“We have a life experience clearly different in very dramatic ways from every American, but we also have gone through a lot of the same challenges as many people have,” Clinton added.

In an interview Monday night on ABC News, Clinton said she and her husband left the White House “dead broke.”

"We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt," Clinton said. "We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea's education. You know, it was not easy."

Clinton has received some criticism for the remark because it could be seen as out of touch, given the substantial wealth accumulated by the couple since leaving the White House. Clinton has delivered many paid speeches, which reportedly average about $200,0000 per appearance.

The potential Democratic presidential candidate for 2016 kicks off her book tour Tuesday to promote her memoir Hard Choices.  

— This story was updated at 10:33 a.m.