Comparisons between Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney have been greatly exaggerated, Hillary Clinton says.

Clinton practically rolled with laughter when PBS’ Gwen Ifill noted humorlessly that her own husband has been “forced” to defend her recent comments about being “dead broke” after leaving the White House. What was humorous in that remarks is known only to Clinton.

“I shouldn’t have said the, I think, five or so words that I said,” the former secretary of state said. “My inartful use of those five words doesn’t change who I am.”

Later in the interview, Ifill asked if Clinton had become the Democratic adaptation of the cartoon version of Mitt Romney drawn by the president’s allies in 2012. “That’s a false equivalency,” Clinton protested. “People can judge me for what I’ve done. And I think when somebody’s out in the public eye, that’s what they do. So I’m fully comfortable with who I am, what I stand for and what I’ve always stood for.”

Clinton is subject to a degree of scrutiny over this comment that is unwarranted on its merits, but she is also creating the conditions which have led to that scrutiny with her unending displays of inauthenticity and defensiveness.

Clinton insisted, as is apparently a prerequisite for any Democratic presidential candidate in the post-Romney world, that she has a legitimate claim to hardship and poverty. That painfully misleading self-appraisal is met with incredulity from the press. This then leads Clinton to mount a nearly three-week long campaign simultaneously apologizing for and defending that remark.

An entire universe of insecurities were revealed in Clinton’s mechanical, nervous belly laugh in the first 10 seconds of this clip. The air of inevitability she cultivated for over five years is slipping away, retreating from her grasp the harder she tries to hold onto it.