New York Times political reporter Nicholas Confessore said Thursday that it seems “almost obscene” how much money Bill and Hillary Clinton have received from speaking fees in the last few years, and that even fellow Democrats are in disbelief.
Confessore appeared on MSNBC to discuss his new article, which details how the Clintons have earned more than $125 million in speaking fees since leaving the White House, and how this has become a lightning rod in Hillary’s battle with Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination:
The scale of the money, Craig, a quarter of a million dollars to chit-chat for 40 minutes, is just unbelievable to most people. It seems almost obscene.
The speaking fees have provided fodder for Bernie Sanders, who told a crowd of supporters in Iowa on Wednesday that “You got to be really, really, really good to get $250,000 for a speech.”
Confessore told MSNBC’s Craig Melvin that he spoke to former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell—a Clinton supporter—who said that “for a family that makes a quarter of a million dollars in seven or ten years combined, it just seems weird.” Confessore added that he thought it was a very potent line of attack because “people just don’t understand how she gets all that money.”
Melvin told Confessore that “Even people who earn a decent wage in this country, they can’t get their heads around why anyone would get a quarter of a million dollars to give a speech. We should note, that a lot of this money was for giving speeches to people who make a lot of money.”`
Clinton is struggling to defend her huge speaking fees, which fly in the face of her attempts to portray herself as the champion of “everyday Americans.” She promises to fight income equality and increase regulation on many of the same Wall Street firms that paid her to speak to them.
The speaking fee issue is just one of the myriad problems Clinton is facing in her bid to win the Democratic nomination and ultimately the White House. Her candidacy, which many assumed was inevitable, has proven to be anything but, as the possibility of an indictment hangs over her head for the mishandling of classified materials, and Sen. Bernie Sanders surges in the polls.