Ward Room
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Hillary Clinton Explains 'Dead Broke' Comment in TV Interview

The "Hard Choices" author says she and Bill left the White House $12 million in debt

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    AP

    Hillary Clinton, making the media rounds to promote her new memoir "Hard Choices," sought to explain herself on Tuesday amid criticism over her earlier assertion that she and Bill left the White House "dead broke" and in debt.

    "Well, let me just clarify that I fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans today," Clinton told Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America." "It's an issue that I have worked on and cared about my entire adult life. Bill and I were obviously blessed. We worked hard for everything we got in our lives and we have continued to work hard. And we've been blessed in the last 14 years."

    In an ABC News interview that aired Monday night, the former Secretary of State defended making millions on the speaking circuit alongside her husband, saying: "[We] came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. 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."

    Roberts asked Clinton whether she regretted her choice of words in the Diane Sawyer sit-down, and if she understood the negative reaction from critics who "don't have a book" or opportunities to make big money overnight.

    "Well, yes I can, but I think, you know, everything in life has to be put into context and as I recall, we were something like $12 million in debt," said Clinton. "And I was in the Senate, and could not do anything to help us meet those obligations. And I'm very grateful that my husband who's always been a hard worker since he was born, poor, and given opportunities with a good education and strong values to work hard and take responsibility, he did that."

    Going on, she said she and Bill "understand what that struggle is because we had student debts, both of us, we had to pay off. We've had to work."

    Clinton, riding a wave of buzz over a possible presidential run in 2016, was bound for her native Chicago on Tuesday for a series of events to promote "Hard Choices," which delves into her experience in the State Department. Last week, a who's who of Illinois Democrats including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin sang Clinton's praises at a pair of "Ready for Hillary" fundraisers in the Windy City.