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Hillary Clinton Defends Being 'Dead Broke'

June 10th 2014

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday defended, but clarified recent comments she made about leaving the White House in debt in 2001.

“Let me just clarify that I fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans today,” Clinton said in a live interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I want to use the talents and resources I have to make sure people get the same chances.”

Host Robin Roberts asked Clinton if she can understand why people are questioning why she’d describe her family's finances as a struggle.

“Yes, I can, but everything in life has to be put into context. As I recall, we were something like in $12 million in debt,” said Clinton, adding that she soon entered the Senate and couldn’t do much to help reverse that at the time.

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, she said, was born poor and has worked hard after receiving opportunities like a good education.

“We understand what that struggle is because we had student debts both of us, we had to pay off, we had to work, I had a couple jobs in law school, he had lots of jobs,” she said.

“We have a life experience clearly different in very dramatic ways from every American, but we also have gone through a lot of the same challenges as many people have,” Clinton added.

In an interview Monday night on ABC News, Clinton explained that she and her husband left the White House “dead broke.”

"We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt," Clinton said. "We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea's education. You know, it was not easy."

Clinton has received some criticism for the remark because it could be seen as out of touch. Clinton has delivered many paid speeches, which reportedly average about $200,0000 per appearance.

The potential Democratic presidential candidate for 2016 kicks off her book tour Tuesday to promote her memoir Hard Choices. 

Rebecca Shabad writes for The Hill, from where this article is adapted.

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