5 top findings from the Hillary Clinton speech transcripts released by WikiLeaks
On Friday, whistle-blowing website Wikileaks released what they claim is partial transcripts of private speeches Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton gave to financial-sector giants like Goldman Sachs, buried within thousands of emails involving Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
One particularly revealing section of the leak involves emails from Hillary For America research director Tony Carrk containing "flags" of positions Clinton expressed during a two-year period from 2013 to 2015 in which the now-nominee was paid over $20 million for speeches. Carrk, writing to other senior campaign officials including Podesta, was apparently concerned the passages would be politically damaging in a primary season defined by vigorous opposition from Clinton's left in the form of Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"There is a lot of policy positions that we should give an extra scrub with Policy," Carrk wrote.
Here's some of the things Clinton said behind closed doors.
Clinton says big banks and investment firms are part of the solution, not the problem
In two speeches, Carrk flagged instances where Clinton appeared to suggest Wall Street insiders needed to be part of the solution to the industrial corruption and dysfunction which helped lead to the economic crash of 2007 to 2008.
Here's an excerpt from an October 2014 speech to members of Deustche Bank:
"Remember what Teddy Roosevelt did. Yes, he took on what he saw as the excesses in the economy, but he also stood against the excesses in politics. He didn't want to unleash a lot of nationalist, populistic reaction ... 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."
And here's another excerpt from a speech in October 2013 to a crowd of Goldman Sachs employees:
"There's nothing magic about regulations, too much is bad, too little is bad. How do you get to the golden key, how do we figure out what works? And the people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry."
Clinton says she's "kind of far removed" from everyday Americans
In 2014 remarks to Goldman Sachs and BlackRock employees, Clinton explained she had been brought up middle class, and had never forgotten what it was like, but was now a member of a much more privileged economic class:
"My father loved to complain about big business and big government, but we had a solid middle class upbringing. We had good public schools. We had accessible health care. We had our little, you know, one-family house that, you know, he saved up his money, didn't believe in mortgages. So I lived that. And now, obviously, I'm kind of far removed because the life I've lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy, but I haven't forgotten it."
Clinton endorses "hemispheric" open market
While Clinton has flipped back and forth on free trade during her long public career, in one speech to Brazil's Banco Itau in May 2013, she was frank about her desire for a hemisphere-wide open trade market:
"My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, 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."
Clinton really liked the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan
The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, often called after its co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, was lambasted by progressive economists like Paul Krugman for feeding public anxiety about the national deficit. Its recommendations include ideas not beloved by the left, including raising the Medicare eligibility age, lowering Social Security adjustments for inflation and significantly cutting corporate taxes.
While Clinton has not made her support for the deal a secret, an April 2013 speech to Morgan Stanley contains a remark calling it the "right framework":
"But Simpson-Bowles — and I know you heard from Erskine earlier today — put forth the right framework. Namely, we have to restrain spending, we have to have adequate revenues, and we have to incentivize growth. It's a three-part formula."
Clinton says she has a public and private position on the issues
In remarks to the National Multi-Housing Council in April 2013, Clinton explained her interpretation of political reality, describing President Abraham Lincoln's long and difficult attempts to get the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery passed before adding:
"I mean, politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody's watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position."