Neither, we’re guessing.
When Hillary Clinton spoke to Goldman Sachs executives and technology titans at a summit in Arizona in October of 2013, she spoke glowingly of the work the bank was doing raising capital and helping create jobs, according to people who saw her remarks.
Clinton, who received $225,000 for her appearance, praised the diversity of Goldman’s workforce and the prominent roles played by women at the blue chip investment bank and other tech firms present at the event. She spent no time criticizing Goldman or Wall Street more broadly for its role in the 2008 financial crisis.
“It was pretty glowing about us,” one person who watched the event said. “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.”
At another speech to Goldman and its big asset management clients in New York in 2013, Clinton spoke about how it wasn’t just the banks that caused the financial crisis and said that it was worth looking at the landmark 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law to see what was working and what wasn’t.
“It was mostly basic stuff, small talk, chit chat,” one person who attended that speech said. “But in this environment, it could be made to look really bad.”
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon dismissed the recollections a “pure trolling,” while the Clinton campaign declined to comment further on calls for her to release the transcripts of the three paid speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs, for which she earned a total of $675,000.
But the descriptions of Clinton’s remarks highlight the trap in which the Democratic presidential front-runner now finds herself. In a previous election cycle, no one would much care about the former secretary of state’s comments to Goldman. They represent the kind of boilerplate, happy talk that highly-paid speakers generally offer to their hosts. Nobody pays nearly a quarter of a million dollars to have someone criticize their alleged misdeeds. But 2016 is different.
Clinton is under relentless attack from Vermont Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders for her ties to Wall Street, including paid speeches and campaign fundraising events. And she is now under intense pressure from the media and some on the left to release transcripts of her remarks to Goldman and other banks.
The problem is, if Clinton releases the transcripts, Sanders and other progressive candidates could take even seemingly innocuous comments and make them sound like Clinton is in the tank for Wall Street. And if she doesn’t, it makes her look like she has something very damaging to hide.
We wish she would just go and hide.