Hillary Clinton would kinda-sorta like to amend her comments about businesses and jobs
posted at 9:31 pm on October 27, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham
Did someone get a 3 a.m. phone call from Goldman Sachs? After her comments this week at a rally for Martha Coakley (whose campaign is touting an internal poll in which she’s down 2!) got her in some “you didn’t build that” trouble, she sought to clarify in New York:
SOMERS, N.Y. — When Hillary Clinton fumbled a line at a rally last Friday — “Don’t let anybody tell you that corporations and businesses create jobs” — the comment caused a minor outrage among political observers. Republicans said she’d been pandering to liberals. Democrats wondered if she’d been trying too hard to channel Elizabeth Warren, the populist senator who also spoke at the event.
On Monday, Clinton went out of her way to correct the comment at a rally for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democrat up for reelection in this Hudson Valley district.
Clinton said in her speech that corporations that outsource jobs or move profits overseas should not be granted tax breaks. The clarification made clear that the remark was a botched line — not new messaging from Clinton, who has honed a new stump speech during a series of rallies ahead the election next month.
“The Republican alternative is a discredited economic theory that will hurt middle class families,” Clinton said. “So-called trickle-down economics has failed.”
“I short-handed this point the other day, so let me be absolutely clear about what I’ve been saying for a couple of decades.”
“Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in America and workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out — not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas.”
An unnamed Clinton aide said this is the context that justifies her original remarks. And she has moved on to somewhat less populist rhetoric on the trail this week. The lede on the Politico piece is chuckle-worthy. Is this self-awareness about politics and the silliness of covering it or just a Kinsleyan gaffe?
Hillary Clinton on Monday mopped up her botched statement from a rally in Massachusetts last week, making it clear she’d misspoken and hadn’t intended to deliver a fresh economic policy message.
Clinton’s cleanup came as she campaigned with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in Somers, about 90 minutes north of New York City, after two days in which Republicans bandied the likely White House candidate’s Friday comment, made in the context of talking about trickle-down economics, on social media and the single sentence began gaining traction…
A Clinton aide later said the former secretary of state had meant to talk about tax breaks for corporations and businesses in that sentence, which led into a line about how trickle-down economics had “failed spectacularly” — a sentiment she has long held. The overall context was clear that she had left words out of a sentence; the comment made little sense without it.
Some Democrats worry she’s trying a little too hard to fly that Warren freak flag for progressives, and liable to trip herself up again:
But some Democrats who back Clinton said privately she appeared to be trying too hard to capture the Warren rhetoric and adjust to the modern economic progressive language — much in the way President Barack Obama did during a campaign rally in 2012, when, discussing businesses’ relationships to the infrastructure of cities, he said, “You didn’t build that.”
And it highlighted a problem that has plagued Clinton in the past: overshooting in her language when she is outside her immediate comfort zone.
Brit Hume and John Harwood argued today over the import of her comments, with Harwood in mop-up mode along with Politico.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) October 27, 2014
Her words were clear, and she has motive to go all Warren.
Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report” with a reminder that she’s just not that good at this:
“Well, sort of the guru of this kind of argument is Elizabeth Warren who is very articulate in saying that the government is instrumental, society is instrumental in creating success and jobs and a successful economy. And not so much entrepreneurs or individuals. she is — Remember there was an attempt to recapitulate this Obama made in 2008— If you built it, if you have success, it’s not you. He botched it and now she got it worse. Hers was like a D on a scale of D to A. She was trying to take a stab at this idea that government, that it’s not sort of individual capitalism and corporations is evil corporations but it had no elaboration and it is going to haunt her… Chuck had it exactly right it will be shown over and over again. it does show you how much the Democrats overestimate her skill as a politician.”