CNN Misquotes Hillary Clinton Saying She's “Not Truly Well Off”

Hillary Clinton

CNN anchor Miguel Marquez misquoted Hillary Clinton this morning, claiming she told the Guardian newspaper that she and her husband are “not truly well off.” That's inaccurate. What Clinton told the Guardian was that unlike “a lot of people who are truly well off,” she and her husband “pay ordinary income tax.”

Here's the full context from The Guardian interview [emphasis added]:

America's glaring income inequality is certain to be a central bone of contention in the 2016 presidential election. But with her huge personal wealth, how could Clinton possibly hope to be credible on this issue when people see her as part of the problem, not its solution?

"But they don't see me as part of the problem," she protests, “because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we've done it through dint of hard work,” she says, letting off another burst of laughter. If past form is any guide, she must be finding my question painful.

CNN's false quote fits with the interpretation that many in the media have made, which is that Clinton was contrasting herself with the “truly well off.”

A headline from The Week:

Hillary Clinton Explains How She and Bill Aren't 'Truly Well Off'

And Mediaite:

Hillary Clinton: We're Not 'Truly Well Off'

But at least as good an interpretation of the quote is that Clinton included herself and her husband among the “truly well off,” but was saying that unlike many of them, they pay ordinary income tax.

During the 2012 campaign, Mitt and Ann Romney came under scrutiny for taking most of their income as capital gains and dividends, therefore paying a much lower tax rate of 14 percent.