Hillary Clinton’s personal wealth is being scrutinized following a series of clumsy remarks – that her family was “dead broke” upon leaving the White House and that she and husband Bill Clinton aren’t “truly well-off” compared to the richest Americans. Clinton, whose family is worth tens of millions, has since conceded the comments were “inartful,” but her opponents on the right have pounced, pointing to the interviews as evidence that she’s out of touch with ordinary people.
As the presumed 2016 presidential front-runner makes more public appearances, she’ll undoubtedly be tasked with speaking more comfortably about her wealth and not appearing tone-deaf to the average American.
Clinton is certainly not the only well-off American considering higher office who has made remarks about personal wealth that they probably wish could be taken back.
Here’s a look.
Sargent Shriver, 1972: Pass the Cognac
The wealthy Democratic vice presidential nominee notoriously committed a gaffe while meeting steelworkers at a bar in Ohio. Instead of ordering beer like the rest of the group, he declared: “Make mine a Courvoisier!” Then-Speaker Tip O’Neill was reportedly floored by Shriver’s request for the fancy brandy – he left the bar and said, “There’s no hope here.”
Ross Perot, 1992: Money is ‘overrated’
The Dallas billionaire who ran for president said that “once you pay the bills, money is the most overrated thing in the world.” Perot, of course, dumped tens of millions of dollars of his own money into his race as an independent candidate.
John McCain, 2008: Not sure how many houses I own
As a Republican presidential candidate, the Arizona senator acknowledged that he wasn’t sure just how many houses he and his wife owned. “I think – I’ll have my staff get to you,” McCain told Politico. It turns out the wealthy couple owned eight houses at the time. McCain’s remark came days after he suggested that being rich in the U.S. meant raking in at least $5 million a year.
Harold Ford Jr., 2010: I’ve visited all of NYC’s 5 boroughs…by helicopter
The former Memphis congressman was weighing a run for a New York Senate seat when his acknowledged mode of transportation raised some eyebrows. Asked by the New York Times if he had been to all of New York City’s five boroughs, including Staten Island, the Democrat answered: “I landed there in the helicopter, so I can say yes.”
Newt Gingrich, 2011: Really, I’m ‘frugal’
During his presidential bid, the former House Speaker’s finances came under scrutiny after it was revealed that at one point he owed more than $250,000 in a credit account to luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. Gingrich, who then had an estimated net worth of $6 million, told CBS when asked about the revelation: “We are very frugal. We, in fact, live within our budget.” Gingrich was derided as being out of touch, especially after he left the campaign trail to take a cruise in the Mediterranean.
Mitt Romney, 2012: My wife drives “a couple of Cadillacs"
During his 2012 presidential bid, the former Massachusetts governor came under scrutiny while giving a speech to Detroit’s economic club. Romney, whose net worth was estimated at $250 million, noted that he drives a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck while “Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs." Romney of course, was notorious for making several wealth gaffes on the campaign trail, including a suggestion that he was not concerned about the “very poor,” that he likes “being able to fire people,” and that $374,000 wasn’t a lot of money. He also told rich donors that nearly 47% of Americans who pay no federal income taxes think they are “victims.”