Politics & Policy

The Corner

‘That’s What They Offered:’ Clinton Explains Why She Took $675,000 for Three Wall Street Speeches

Hillary Clinton said she took $675,000 for three speeches to powerful Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs because “that’s what they offered,” adding that she wasn’t really thinking about running for president when she took the money.

During a CNN town hall in Derry, New Hampshire on Wednesday night, moderator Anderson Cooper pointed to Clinton’s compensation for the three speeches, now a common point of criticism from Bernie Sanders and other progressives opposed to Wall Street influence.

“Was that a mistake?” asked Cooper. “Was that an error in judgment?”

“Look, I made speeches for lots of groups,” Clinton said. “I told them what I thought, I answered questions.”

“But did you have to be paid $675,000?” Cooper continued.

“Well, I dunno. That’s what they offered, so . . .” Clinton replied, drawing gasps and laughs from the Democratic audience. “You know, every secretary of state that I know has done that.”

Cooper asked whether she should be judged by a higher standard than other secretaries of state, considering her ambition to run for higher office.

“To be honest, I wasn’t committed to running,” she said. “I didn’t know whether I would or not.”

“You didn’t think you were going to run for president?” Cooper asked.

“I didn’t,” Clinton said, explaining other people later convinced her to run for president to stop Republicans from regaining control of the White House.

“I mean, [Goldman Sachs is] not giving me very much money now, I can tell you that much,” she continued, pointing to her campaign’s haul of donations from small donors and women.  

“So that’s not something you regret, those three speeches?” Cooper asked again.

“No I don’t, because you know I don’t feel that I paid any price for it,” Clinton said. “And I’m very clear of what I will do, and they’re on notice.”

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