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Clinton can’t stop gaffes on crony capitalism

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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CLINTON CAN’T STOP GAFFES ON CRONY CAPITALISM
Can Hillary Clinton, who says she and her husband went on from being “dead broke” in 2001 to rake in an estimated $155 million, run for president as the nominee of a party that is obsessed with income inequality? No problem, she told The Guardian, because the Clintons pay their taxes. The Democratic 2016 frontrunner dismissed the idea that voters would see a corporate-connected candidate with a nine-digit income in the past decade as part of the problem: “‘But they don't see me as part of the problem,’ she protests, ‘because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we've done it through dint of hard work.’” The name she was not naming, presumably, was that of Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee famously called “a vampire” by President Obama’s re-election campaign for his work in private equity. Untold billions of pixels were slain in the name of discussing Romney’s tax payments, with Team Obama arguing that Romney paying the lowest possible tax rates was an unpatriotic act.

[In a new Quinnipiac poll, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton slips a bit among Iowa voters, although they continue to choose Clinton when matched against each of the top potential GOP 2016 contenders.]

Worse than Romney - Clinton’s holier-than-Mitt stance misses two things. It wasn’t Romney’s taxes that did him in. It was the “out of touch” label. The tax stuff was a painful jab, but what hurt Romney was the coverage of car elevators, horse dancing and Romney’s own penchant for gaffes in his bid to relate to ordinary voters – some of his best friends own NASCAR teams, etc. Romney’s tax rate was important not because of the percentage paid, but because of the idea that he was using his status to beat the system with Cayman banks, etc. Clinton, who claims that giving speeches and writing books is earning $155 million “through dint of hard work” is already blowing past the famously awkward Romney for an inability to talk about her riches. And we also know that the Clintons do plenty to exploit loopholes in the tax code, even as they call publicly for their closure.

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Chris Stirewalt

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