Yesterday's ABC News interview with Hillary Clinton tossed her a softball about her $200,000-a-pop speaking engagements before various business groups. She defended her speaking fees this way:
"Let me put it this way," Clinton told [Diane] Sawyer. "I thought making speeches for money was a much better thing than getting connected with any one group or company as so many people who leave public life do."
Since leaving the State Department, Clinton has spoken before a wide-variety of businesses and trade groups -- from corporations like Goldman Sachs, to a scrap recycling conference in Las Vegas, to a group of Silicon Valley technology leaders. However, not all of the speaking appearances have been paid. For example, earlier this year, Clinton waived her fees and travel expenses to address the United Methodist Women Conference in Kentucky.
Wow, that was nice of Hillary to waive her usual fee for the Methodist ladies. Good thing there is always a multinational investment banking firm willing to pick up the slack.
Speaking of investment bankers, Hillary has had a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Goldman Sacks. That's been noted by journals of opinion on both the left (Mother Jones: Hillary Clinton's Goldman Sachs Problem - she talks populism, but hobnobs with Wall Street) and the right (National Review Online: Hillary Clinton’s Lucrative Goldman Sachs Speaking Gigs).
The left-populist Mother Jones published a list of Hillary's paid and unpaid speaking engagements (here) in yet another article critical of her money-for-access-and-influence business. That article also had this tidbit about what exactly it is that Hillary speaks about during these engagements:
The New York Times reported last summer that Clinton's typical speech features "pithy reflections" and lessons from her tenure as secretary of state such as "Leadership is a team sport," "You can't win if you don't show up," and "A whisper can be louder than a shout."
Those are "pithy?" Pithy like a fortune cookie, maybe, and just as trite. The Methodist ladies ought to be relieved that Hillary didn't charge them anything for that wisdom.