Let’s do the math. Hillary Clinton has been paid $21.6 million dollars for 92 speeches in the past few years. That’s roughly $235,000 per appearance. An hour at each event would be $3,917 a minute. At 160 words per minute, that’s about $24 per word.
So “Hi, I am Hillary Clinton. Thank you for having me here tonight,” equals $288 – or just about a week’s work at minimum wage. And her campaign wonders why people are curious about what she said in those speeches.
But when pressed to release transcripts – especially of her speeches to the big banking firms she promises to be tough on - her answer in the most recent Democratic candidates’ debate was: “I will look into it.”
Her campaign’s handling of this whole matter seems to be the political equivalent of smearing yourself with Nutella and jumping into a cage of howler monkeys. Why? First, when your Democratic opponent is not so subtly suggesting you are deep in the pocket of Wall Street, you don’t want to be caught carrying a suitcase full of cash out of a private meeting with the little Monopoly-player-men – even metaphorically.
Second, when you just got ripped in New Hampshire in part because many voters don’t exactly trust you, you can’t make it look like you’re hiding something.
And third, when you’re pounding on the idea that income disparity is a serious issue, it’s hard to hear you when the chartered Gulf Stream is revving its engines to take you home.
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Clinton insists that there were no shenanigans; she did not exchange favors or influence for those whopping checks. She gave her speeches, ate some chicken and went on her way. Fair enough. So far there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.
But why she took any money from such groups while even flirting with a possible presidential bid is baffling. The optics are simply a mess. Advice to Camp Clinton: You’re looking into it? Look a little faster. Because a lot of people, including many of your fans, can already tell you it doesn’t look good.