Life sure was tough for Hillary and Bill Clinton after his presidency ended, as the former First Lady recalled how she and her husband were “dead broke” after they left the confines of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to return to a life of destitution and struggle.
During a teaser of Diane Sawyer’s interview with the former Sectary of State on Monday, Sawyer pressed Clinton on her need to charge a whopping $200,000 speaking fee, which led the former First Lady to recall years of financial hardship after she and Bill Clinton left the White House.
“We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” Hillary Clinton recalled. “…We struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea’s education, you know, it was not easy.”
That’s “houses” — plural — which include a $1.7 million home in Chappaqua, N.Y., where the Clintons claimed residency so Hillary Clinton could run for the Senate in 2000, and a $2.85 million home in Washington, D.C.
According to financial disclosures, the couple did owe more than $10 million in legal fees following investigations into Whitewater and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. According to CBS News, those debts were paid off in 2005, as reported on then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s financial disclosures.
And their life of destitution didn’t last long.
Since leaving the White House, Bill Clinton has raked in close to $100 million, and Hillary Clinton, herself, made a whopping $5 million in the last 15 months on the speaking circuit. Additionally, the former Secretary of State made $2.8 million from her book “Living History” in 2001, and Bill Clinton received a bevy of perks from the federal government that are enjoyed by all former presidents.
According to an April report from the Congressional Research Service, the 42nd president received $950,000 in FY2014 from the government to cover his pension, office space and personnel, and close to $16 million total since leaving office.
But Hillary Clinton told Sawyer that despite their millions, they had to work hard to “make double the money because of, obviously, taxes, and then pay off the debts and get us houses and take care of family members.”
Sawyer pushed back, though, and asked the former Secretary of State if Americans could understand why she needs to charge a fee that is “five times the median income in this country for one speech.”
“I thought making speeches for money was a much better thing than getting connected with any one group or company as so many people who leave public life do,” Hillary Clinton responded.