By Dick Morris - 06/09/14 06:26 PM EDT
There she goes again...
Hillary Clinton likes to present herself as an “every woman,” facing the same challenges that bedevil all families, living in sync with their trials and tribulations, overcoming adversity as we all try to do. The latest iteration of her wish to downplay her wealth so as to be just plain folk was her bald assertions to Diane Sawyer that she and Bill were “dead broke” and “in debt” when she left the White House, struggling to “you know, piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, Chelsea’s education, you know, it was not easy.”
Her joint tax return with Bill for 2001 showed a $16,165,110 income for her first year out of the White House.
Even before they left the White House, their joint income for 2000 was $359,000, scarcely in the “dead broke” category, particularly when you consider that the Clintons had none of the normal expenses that the rest of us do, such as housing, cars, child care, insurance, electricity, landscaping, healthcare — all covered by the taxpayers. All they had to pay for was dry cleaning, food and college tuition for Chelsea. Most people could make that work.
Hillary signed a book contract with an $8 million advance in the closing weeks of Bill’s presidency and Bill inked a $15 million deal at about the same time. She got more than $2 million of this in 2001. Is that dead broke?
The Clintons bought a house in September of 1999 in Chappaqua, N.Y., for $1.7 million. In December of 2000, they also purchased a $2.85 million house in Washington, D.C. before Bill left office. Do people who are dead broke and in debt do this?
Before leaving the White House, the Clintons registered with a Midwest department store so their friends and donors could provide them with expensive household gifts to start a new home — like any blushing newlyweds. They carted away $190,000 of the gifts they received during their White House years. These included expensive china, flatware and home furnishings. Ultimately they had to repay the donors $86,000 for what they had plundered.
Chelsea had graduated from college by the end of Bill’s term and her tuition for graduate work at Oxford for the year 2001 could not have been too burdensome for a family that would earn $16 million that year.
So why does Hillary Clinton do this? Why make up stories of poverty when they were verifiable multimillionaires?
The former first lady has always felt the need to adjust the truth of her extraordinary circumstances — up or down — to suit her political needs of the moment. She wants to be just like us. So, for example, she’s spoken of the burdens of providing child care for Chelsea, even as the Clintons had the luxuries of an extensive staff of taxpayer-funded state police and babysitters during Chelsea’s early years and a full White House and Secret Service staff afterwards.
She’s also said she wanted a private kitchen in the White House so that when her “husband [is] coming home after a golf game” she can “throw something together “for him to eat.” She avoided mentioning that she would have to elbow aside the dozens of cooks, butlers, waiters and servants assigned to prepare the meals for the first couple — and that she never cooks.
Why does she find this protective coloration necessary? Why must she hide in the herd, pretending to be just one of us? And does her need to misrepresent her circumstances on the public stage bespeak a fundamental disregard for the truth and a confidence that she can manipulate our feelings as surely as any soap opera actress?
With Hillary Clinton, it is not just the big things that she tries to spin: Benghazi, the prisoner exchange and so forth. It’s also the little things that she misrepresents ... and that gives her game away.
Morris, who served as adviser to former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and former President Clinton, is the author of 16 books, including his latest, Screwed and Here Come the Black Helicopters. To get all of his and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to dickmorris.com.