Hillary Clinton Was "Dead Broke" When She Left the White House: Top 5 Interview Highlights
Hillary Clinton was an open book with Diane Sawyer on Monday, June 9. Promoting her new memoir, Hard Choices, the former First Lady and Secretary of State discussed a range of topics including battling debt, Monica Lewinsky, and the current state of her marriage to former POTUS Bill Clinton. Us Weekly recaps the top five highlights from the interview and her subsequent Tuesday appearance on Good Morning America.
1. The Clintons Left the White House "Dead Broke" in 2001
Hillary, now 66, told Sawyer that her family was "dead broke" and overwhelmed by legal bills that totaled between $2.28 million to $10.6 million when she left the White House in 2001. "We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt," Clinton revealed. "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."
Defending the hefty fees she and her husband request for speaking engagements, Clinton said that the couple quickly was able to pull out of debt through this route. According to CNN, the two were able to pay off their legal fees by 2004. Critics, including Republican National Committee spokesperson Jahan Wilcox, said Clinton's "dead broke" comment made her "out of touch"; The backlash prompted Hillary to clarify what she had meant to Robin Roberts Tuesday morning. "What we faced when he got out of the White House meant that we just had to keep working really hard," she explained. "We have a life experience that is clearly different in very dramatic ways from many Americans, but we also had gone through some of the same challenges."
2. She Wishes Monica Lewinsky Well
"Monica Lewinsky is back in the news," Sawyer pointed out. (Lewinsky was suddenly catapulted back into the spotlight last month, after she broke her silence in a Vanity Fair essay detailing the aftermath of her White House affair with then-President Clinton.)
"Well, she's perfectly free to do that," Hillary responded. "She is in my view, an American who gets to express herself however she chooses, but that's not something that I spend a lot of time thinking about."
According to an earlier, unconfirmed report from February 2014, Clinton allegedly called Lewinsky a "narcissistic loony-toon." When Sawyer asked her about the alleged statement, Clinton said: "I am not going to comment on what I did or did not say back in the late '90s." The former First Lady said, "I wrote about it in my book, Living History. I dealt with it at the time, I have moved on, and that's how I see, you know, my life and my future."
As for what she would say to Lewinsky today? "Well, I would wish her well," Hillary said. "I hope that she is able to, you know, think about her future and construct a life that she finds meaning and satisfaction in."
3. She Discusses the State of Her Marriage
With her husband's late '90s affair long behind, Hillary said her 39-year marriage to Bill, 67, is now happier than ever. "It's never stopped, and we make each other laugh," Clinton told Sawyer. "We support each other. It's really another one of my blessings."
"Now, since I'm not also traveling endlessly a lot, we are together a lot," shyer further explained to Roberts on GMA the following day. "I mean, we just have a lot of time and it's probably as much time as we've had together for a number of years. Because we're always working hard, we like to work hard, but we also really relish the time together."
4. She's Thrilled About Chelsea's Pregnancy
The political power couple are preparing to tackle yet another role in their lives—as grandparents! Clinton told Roberts that she hasn't decided what she wants to be called. "I'm going to wait. I want this to kind of develop organically," Hillary said. "I could not be happier," she added of her daughter's pregnancy. This is something that I've looked forward to for a long time."
Hillary also revealed which politicians she would entrust to babysit the tot. "Women of the Senate," the former U.S. senator (who served from 2001 to 2009) said without hesitation. "I am very close to a lot of women in the Senate and I'm putting out the offer right now: If any of them want to babysit, all they need to do is call. They've got my number. I'd be thrilled to have them."
5. She Would Work As Hard As an "Underdog" If She Runs For Presidency in 2016
"If I decide to pursue it, I would be… working hard as any underdog or any newcomer," Clinton said of her possible 2016 presidential bid. "I don't want to take anything for granted if I decide to do it."
Clinton also told Sawyer about experiencing the mega "disappointment" of losing the presidential nomination to Barack Obama in 2008. "It was personally painful," Clinton said. "My mother's crying, and my husband's looking very sad, and my daughter's looking very sad. I felt like I had let people down."
Though she has not yet decided on whether or not she'll run in 2016, Clinton said she will "probably likely" make the choice next year. "I really like my life, I like what I'm doing," Clinton said of her current life. "I'm thrilled about becoming a grandmother in the fall. I have lots of hopes—for what that means—to me and my family."
"I mean, we have one life to live," she said. "This is…. this is it. It's not a dress rehearsal."
Hard Choices hit bookstores on Tuesday, June 10.