Hillary Clinton told Wall Street she’s ‘kind of far removed’ from the middle class
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has refused to release transcripts of paid speeches she delivered to big banks on Wall Street firms in recent years. But remarks from the speeches apparently have surfaced through an email included in a hack published by WikiLeaks on Friday.
The email leaks posted online are reportedly from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The campaign has not confirmed or denied the validity of the emails. One of the key emails, first reported by BuzzFeed, includes several excerpts from different Wall Street speeches Clinton made in 2013 and 2014.
Campaign researcher Tony Carrk sent the note on Jan. 25, 2016, to high-level staff like Podesta with the subject line “HRC Paid Speeches.” In the email he outlines “flags” from the speeches, writing that there were “a lot of policy positions that we should give an extra scrub with Policy.”
Here are some of the highlights.
Clinton admits she’s “kind of far removed” from middle-class struggles.
Speaking at an event for investment bank Goldman Sachs and investment management company Black Rock in February 2014, Clinton discussed what she called a growing anxiety and anger in the U.S. “that the game is rigged.”
While saying that she never felt those sentiments growing up, the former first lady admitted her father “loved” complaining about big government and big business.
“We had a solid middle-class upbringing. We had good public schools. We had accessible health care,” she said, continuing to describe her childhood in Illinois. “And now, obviously, I’m kind of far removed because of the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy, but I haven’t forgotten it.”
Financial reform “has to come from the industry itself.”
Several of the flagged comments involved Clinton saying Wall Street should be involved in the reform of the financial industry.
In remarks to Deutsche Bank in October 2014, the candidate drew inspiration from former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt for taking on “excesses in the economy” while also standing against “excesses in politics” in his signature Square Deal domestic policy, which sought to balance public and private interests.
“Today, there’s more that can and should be done that really has to come from the industry itself, and how we can strengthen our economy, create more jobs at a time where that’s increasingly challenging, to get back to Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal. And I really believe that our country and all of you are up to that job,” Clinton said to Deutsche Bank.
Clinton took a similar tone in a 2013 speech at a Goldman Sachs symposium as she discussed striking a balance for financial regulation, saying, “Too much is bad, too little is bad.”
“How do you get to the golden key? How do we figure out what works?” she asked. “And the people who know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.”
On her campaign website, Clinton outlines her plan to tackle risks in the financial system, including giving regulators more authority, taxing certain types of trading, holding senior managers accountable when their firms suffer major losses, and closing loopholes that allow risky investments with taxpayer money.
Dreaming of “open trade and open markets”
In 2013, Clinton addressed Brazilian bank Banco Itau and spoke of increasing international trade in the Western Hemisphere. She said there was much more the government could do to make it easier while avoiding “protectionism” and other trade barriers.
“My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders,” she said. “Some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”
Trade has been a major issue during the 2016 campaign, with both parties trying to court votes from sections of the country impacted by the loss of manufacturing jobs to overseas markets in recent decades. Clinton opposes the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade agreement put forward by President Barack Obama’s administration.
She’s received criticism, however, for allegedly changing her position on it. As secretary of state during Obama’s first term, she said the agreement “sets the gold standard in trade agreements.” The apparent flip-flopping became a central theme in the Democratic primaries as she competed against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“I did say, when I was secretary of state, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard,” Clinton said during a debate in October 2015. “It was just finally negotiated last week, and in looking at it, it didn’t meet my standards.