It took a little less than a month, but Hillary Clinton finally answered questions from the media after a discussion with business leaders in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Tuesday.
Clinton, who took questions for four minutes from members of the traveling press, took inquiries on her personal wealth, the Iraq War, and news that her State Department emails will be released next January.
REPORTER: Given the situation in Iraq, do you think that we’re better off without Saddam Hussein in power?
HILLARY CLINTON: Look, I know that there’s been a lot of questions posed to candidates over the last week. I’ve made it very clear that I made a mistake, plain and simple. I have written about it in my book, I’ve talked about it in the past, and what we now see is a very different and dangerous situation. The United States is doing what it can. But ultimately, this has to be a struggle that the Iraqi government and Iraqi people are determined to win for themselves. We can provide support, but their going to have to do it.
REPORTER: On your income disclosure recently that came out Friday, you’re in the tip-top echelon of earners in this country. How do you expect Americans to relate to you?
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, obviously, Bill and I have been blessed and we’re very grateful for opportunities we had. But we’ve never forgotten where we came from and we’ve never forgotten the kind of country that we want to see for our granddaughter, and that this means we’re going to fight to make sure everybody has the same changes to live up to his or her own god given potential. So I think most Americans understand that the deck is stacked for those at top. I am running a campaign that is clearly stating we want to reshuffle that deck. We want to get back to having more opportunities for more people so that they can make more out of their own lives, and I think that’s what exactly what America is looking for.
REPORTER: Can you explain your relationship as secretary of state with Sidney Blumenthal. There’s a report out this morning that you exchanged several emails. Should Americans expect that if you were elected president, you would have that same type of relationship with these old friends that you’ve had for so long?
CLINTON: I have many, many old friends. I always think that it’s important when you get into politics to have friends before you got into politics and understand what is on their minds. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. He sent me unsolicited emails which I passed on in some instances, and I see that’s part of the give and take. When you’re in the public eye, when you’re in official position, I think you have to work to make sure you’re not caught in a bubble and you only hear from a certain small group of people. I’m going to keep talking to my old friends whoever they are.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: We learned today that the State Department might not release your e-mails until January 2016? A federal judge says they should be released sooner. Will you demand that they are released soon. And to follow up on the questions about the speeches, was there conflict of interest in your giving paid speeches into the run up to announcing you’re running for president?
CLINTON: The answer to the second is no. And the answer to the first is I have said repeatedly I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do. I respect the state department. they have their process that they do for everybody, not just for me. But anything they might do to expedite that process, I heartily support. I want the American people to learn as much as we can about the work that I did with our diplomats and development experts because I think it will show how hard we worked and what we did for our country during the time that I was secretary of state where I worked extremely hard on behalf of our values and interests and our security, and the emails are part of that. I have said publicly, I’m repeating here in front of all of you today. I want them out as soon as they can get out.
WELKER: Will you do demand it?
CLINTON: They’re not mine. They belong to the State Department. So the State Department has to go through the process, but as much as they can expedite the process, that’s what I’m asking. Please move as quickly as they possibly can to get them out [inaudible]. Thank you. thank you all very much. thank you.