NEW YORK – A series of emails leaked on Monday show that Hillary Clinton, while confident that she will mount a bid for the White House in 2016, is experiencing doubt and uneasiness about certain aspects of campaigning for president. In the correspondence, Clinton says she worries that “the huge financial burden” of a two-year campaign “will jeopardize [her family’s] middle-class status” and leave them “destitute and broke, like any run of the mill doctor, lawyer, or hedge fund manager.”
The emails, mostly written to her daughter, Chelsea, and her brother Tony, show that the former secretary of state believes she can and will be elected in 2016, but is deeply worried that she will have to spend money out-of-pocket on her campaign—a situation that might “alienate [her] from the middle-class” she is hoping to represent.
“I feel I’m destined to become president,” Clinton admits in one email. “Everything’s been pointing to it for a long time, and I know I’m ready to serve. But at what cost?”
“We’ve worked hard to scratch and climb our way into the middle-class,” Clinton continues. “Giving speeches and touring to promote ghost-written books is hard work, and for it all you’re compensated with a mere pittance.”
“And yeah—I’d like to be president. But I’m not so sure, if it means having to spend what little money we have to make it happen,” Clinton says.
Speech-making and book sales have earned the Clintons more than $100 million since 2001. Hillary Clinton herself has a net worth of about $50 million.
“If we’re no longer in the middle-class, how can America trust me?” Clinton wonders in one email. “Everyone knows that the rich are greedy and the poor are lazy. Only middle-classers like me are worth anything in this country.”
The leak comes only a day after Clinton drew criticism for saying that she and former president Bill Clinton are “unlike a lot of people who are really well off,” arguing that they are members of the middle-class because they “pay ordinary income tax.” Clinton had previously stated that she and Bill were “dead broke” after leaving the White House in 2001, a characterization that has since been proven hyperbolic.
The emails show that Clinton’s idiosyncratic conception of class dynamics in America is not new. In one email, penned in November 2013, Clinton expresses “sympathy and heartbreak” over a “close friend of the family” who had recently lost money in a failed investment.
“He’s been totally wiped out,” she reported to her daughter. “He’s down to only three houses, and only one is a penthouse in Manhattan. I feel for him—what will his family think when he starts collecting welfare?”