Still railing against Barack Obama’s “elitist” comments, Hillary Clinton has found some of her own alleged words about the working class coming back to haunt her. The candidate’s campaign has denied that she said the following about blue-collar voters, as reported by the Huffington Post: “Screw ‘em. ... You don’t owe them a thing, Bill. They’re doing nothing for you; you don’t have to do anything for them.”
Author Benjamin Barber relates the scene, which he says he witnessed at a 1995 retreat. MSNBC reports that Barber, himself a Clinton supporter who has contributed to the current campaign, stands by the report but it offers some caveats.
In January 1995, as the Clintons were licking their wounds from the 1994 congressional elections, a debate emerged at a retreat at Camp David. Should the administration make overtures to working class white southerners who had all but forsaken the Democratic Party? The then-first lady took a less than inclusive approach.
“Screw ‘em,” she told her husband. “You don’t owe them a thing, Bill. They’re doing nothing for you; you don’t have to do anything for them.”
The statement—which author Benjamin Barber witnessed and wrote about in his book, “The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House”—was prompted by another speaker raising the difficulties of reaching “Reagan Democrats.” It stands in stark contrast to the attitude the New York Democrat has recently taken on the campaign trail, in which she has presented herself as the one candidate who understands the working-class needs.
In the spin room after last night’s debate, NBC/NJ’s Athena Jones reports, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said Clinton was quoted inaccurately and that she did not say it. Wolfson reiterated that on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “It ain’t so. It ain’t so,” he said. “This is not something that occurred.” Wolfson dismissed it as a sign of the “situation” that the Obama campaign is in. “It did not happen,” he said again.
First Read, however, spoke with Barber, who confirmed the “screw-em” remark but wanted to add some context. ...