The definition of a “gaffe” in politics, the columnist Michael Kinsley observed, “is when a politician tells the truth.” Hillary Clinton told the truth today, and she probably regrets it.
Clinton’s first gaffe of the day was revealed in a clip of an interview she gave ABC’s Diane Sawyer. In that interview, Clinton attempted to relate to the working man by saying that, in spite of her family’s current multimillion dollar annual income, they were “dead broke” and “struggled” after leaving the White House.
They were so broke that they couldn’t afford the mortgage on multiple houses, including the house Hillary had to purchase in New York in order to run for U.S. Senate.
“Is it fair to say that this is a gaffe?” CNN host Jake Tapper asked his guests. He noted that, similar to an attack on Sen. John McCain in 2008 over multiple houses, this statement suggests that Clinton is not tuned in to the concerns of average Americans.
“I’ve been writing about Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches for almost a year, and a question that keeps coming up is, ‘Why do the Clintons need so much money?’” New York Times political reporter and Hillary hand Amy Chozick revealed.
The answer Chozick gets to this question is, apparently, perfectly unsatisfying. “It’s expensive being a Clinton,” she said.
BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith was asked why, without there being a true anti-Clinton in the Democratic Party, a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 58 percent of those surveyed do not want Clinton to run for the Democratic nomination unopposed. Even among those who lean Democratic, 55 percent say they want other Democrats to challenge Clinton for the nomination.
“People like her, but it’s sort of unclear whether she is intensely popular,” Smith observed. Maybe Hillary is just likable enough.
But it wasn’t just the sloppy answer to a question about personal finances that has irked political journalists. Tapper noted that Sawyer posed a question to Clinton about the Benghazi attack which also seemed to trip her up.
“I’m not equipped to sit and look at blueprints to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be,” Clinton said when asked if she could have done anything more to prevent that deadly attack.
Chozick said that the Clinton’s strategy when dealing with issues relating to Benghazi is to treat anyone concerned about that attack as a conspiracy theorist. “Could that answer have been better, maybe,” Chozick conceded.
Smith closed by noting that both these supposed gaffes are perfectly Kinsleyan. Clinton is not a blueprint expert. She and her husband were financially broken by the legal debts resulting from the fallout surrounding the accusation that Bill Clinton perjured himself. Nevertheless, both responses to these legitimate questions cast Clinton as callous and out of touch.
Hours ago, The Los Angeles Times characterized Clinton’s “minutely orchestrated book tour” as being executed virtually flawlessly. Maybe “a bit too perfect.” Man, the news cycle moves fast these days.