Forget the transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s quarter-million-dollar speeches to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms. Instead, where are the audio and video recordings of those speeches?
During last week’s Democratic debate, Clinton was asked by MSNBC moderator Chuck Todd whether she would agree to release transcripts of all the paid speeches she has given. Her answer, “I will look into it.” This exchange came a day after Clinton stoked controversy during a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. When asked about why she had accepted $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, she lamely answered, “I don’t know. That’s what they offered.”
The link below provides a list of high-priced speeches Hillary and her husband made between January 2013 and May 2015.
Note all the Wall Street firms who paid big bucks to hear her speak. Among them are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and UBS.
The problem, of course, is that Clinton promised during her presidential campaign to take on Wall Street abuses and rein in the big banks. The optics of making lucrative private speeches to Wall Street firms while decrying their behavior in public is disturbing, to say the least.
Remember when a recording of Mitt Romney’s talk at a closed-door fundraiser was revealed publically about a month and a half before the presidential election in 2012. He was heard saying this about his opponent, President Obama, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what … These are people who pay no income tax.”
Many say Romney’s private speech to a bunch of well-heeled supporters sank his chance of being elected president. He was caught saying one thing to a private audience that was at odds with his public statements. Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly, once said, “Hypocrisy is the Vaseline of political intercourse.” It may work for clever politicians but the public has never been more attuned to double-dealing bought-off politicians than it is today. One need only look at the rise of non-politicians like Donald Trump to sense the public’s disdain for bullshit career politicians.
Certainly, there were some people in the audience at several, if not all, of Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street firms, who recorded her precious words for posterity. After all, if you are going to pony up big bucks to hear someone like Hillary Clinton speak, you would might want to listen to her again later on. Some of those people might also want to share his or her recording of the event with members of the media for whatever reason, just like someone did with Romney’s revealing talk at a private fundraiser. In fact, one attendee at a Hillary Clinton speaking engagement in 2013 for Goldman Sachs told Politico, “It was pretty glowing about us. It’s so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now. It was like a rah-rah speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.” The audience member also said Clinton never mentioned anything about her plans to stop Wall Street abuses during her address.
For the time being, the media may only be asking Clinton to release transcripts of her Goldman speeches. But they might not have to bother with transcripts if they can get their hands on the actual tape recordings of her speeches at any number of financial institutions. A transcript is simply a bunch of dry words on paper, whereas a tape recording captures the tone and inflections of a speech and the reaction of the audience. People with short attention spans are more apt to watch a compelling video than read a prosaic transcript.
Hillary Clinton may have her very own Romney moment sooner rather than later, if tapes of her private speeches to Wall Street firms ever see the light of day. In this day and age, there is very little that a presidential aspirant says, which isn’t recorded.
Apparently, Clinton has a blind spot when it comes to the power and seeming omnipresence of communications technology to document everything she says or does. No one appreciates it when a politician is caught saying one thing in public and another thing in private. It is particularly troublesome when private firms are paying ridiculous amounts of money to influence a politically powerful decision-maker. The hypocrisy is palpable and it’s offensive to Main Street Americans.
If past is prologue, Hillary’s speeches to white-shoe bankers will show up in the form of a tape recording. Hillary Clinton better hope she didn’t say something she will bitterly regret. The same applies to all those emails she thought she deleted.