January 24, 2016

Clinton Cites Bin Laden Raid Rather Than Answering Paid Speech Question

During “Meet The Press” this morning, host Chuck Todd asked Secretary Clinton about her exorbitant speaking fees. In the context of an increasingly competitive Democratic primary, Todd asked, “Why do you think one of these big banks paid you over $200,000 for a speech?” Similar to her invoking of the September 11 attacks, Clinton tried to deflect by citing the bin Laden raid rather than answer the question:

CHUCK TODD: Your opponent, Senator Sanders, has been hitting you on Wall Street contributions, and including some paid speeches that you did for Goldman Sachs, among other banks. Let me ask you this: Why do you think one of these big banks paid you over $200,000 for a speech?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, look, I gave speeches to a wide array of groups, from health care groups to auto dealers and many, many more. And I think what they were interested in, because what we talked about, was the world, coming off of four years as Secretary of State, in a complicated world, people were interested in what I saw, what I thought. They asked questions about matters that were on their minds. A lot of interest in the bin Laden raid, how such a tough decision was made, and what I advised the President. You know, I think Americans who are doing business in every aspect of the economy want to know more about the world. I actually think it’s a good conversation to be having.

Clinton regularly earned $250,000 per speech, accruing more than $25 million in 2014 and 2015 alone from speeches given by Clinton and her husband. In addition to the $300,000 she requested from public university UCLA for example, Clinton’s paid speech appearances required specific riders like lemon wedges, crudité, and “room temperature sparkling and still water.”

Her representatives asked for a case of still water, room temperature, to be deposited stage right. They also asked that “a carafe of warm/hot water, coffee cup and saucer, pitcher of room temperature water, water glass, and lemon wed­ges” be situated both on a table on stage as well as in another room where Clinton would stand for photos with VIPs.

For the green room, Clinton’s representatives requested: “Coffee, tea, room temp sparkling and still water, diet ginger ale, crudité, hummus and sliced fruit.” They also asked for a computer, mouse and printer, as well as a scanner, which the university had to purchase for the occasion.