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Hillary Spices Up Boring And Somber Debate By Ham-Fistedly Invoking 9/11

Like it or not, Hillary raised a ton more Wall Street money AFTER 9/11.

The second Democratic debate was even less thrilling than the comatose first edition. But that was understandable considering it did not involve bellicose killing machine Jim Webb or rhetorical slapstick genius Lincoln Chafee. The fact that it also occurred roughly 24 hours after the horrific attacks in Paris pushed the affair past the threshold of dull and into the realm of solemnity.

Basically, viewers were relegated to watching Bernie Sanders play his greatest hits while Martin O'Malley pretended not to be a Will Forte performance art piece, and Hillary Clinton basically dared Democrats to vote for someone else while fending off a consistent barrage of weak attacks from the men on either side of her.

There was really only one moment of true excitement in the whole affair.

In the course of running through his "Feel The Bern" set list, Sanders got to his hit single "Hillary and Wall Street, Sitting In A Tree":

"I have never heard a candidate never, who has received huge amounts of money from oil, from coal, from Wall Street, from the military industrial complex, not one candidate say, oh, these campaign contributions will not influence me. I'm going to be independent. Well, why do they make millions of dollars of campaign contributions? they expect to get something. Everybody knows that."

But Hillary, who has been almost comically aloof in defending herself from this charge, couldn't help herself from taking the bait and discussing how she got into the tree.

"Oh, wait a minute, senator. You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small. And I'm very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60 percent."

That was an applause line, but - unfortunately for her - Hillary was just getting warmed up.

So, I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country. 


Saying that she grew close to Hank Paulson, Sandy Weill and Phil Purcell in the aftermath of 9/11 because she refused to let the terrorists win? Not a great soundbite.

Saying it while Paris was still in the grips of panic just hours after its own unprecedented terrorist attack? Well, that's unfortunate.

But the worst part about Hillary's clumsy use of 9-11 to defend her closeness to Wall Street? It's kind of totally true.

Let's use OpenSecrets data to tell a numerical story about Hillary and Wall Street.

Here is the list of Hillary's top 10 donors during her first (pre-9/11) campaign for Senate:

For a New York campaign, that list is actually rather light on financial firms with only 2 in the top 5. When you factor in that Bill Clinton was a Wall Street hero for letting Robert Rubin basically run roughshod over the entire regulatory framework that they inherited in 1992 (yeah, that's Citi (NYSE: C) at #2 for a reason), the fact that Hillary got just over 3% of her donations from the financial sector in 2000 is almost odd.

For comparison, here's Chuck Schumer's Top 10 list from that same campaign cycle:

Now there's a man beloved by Wall Street.

But Hillary won anyway and swept into office just months before the 9/11 attacks.

Now let's take a peek at what Hillary's top 10 list looked like her second time around, after she had helped Wall Street rebuild downtown (and Midtown and Jersey City):


But that's almost nothing when you consider how deep the river of Wall Street money went when Hillary mounted a bid for the White House in 2008:

Looks like Sandra Bullock was wrong when she told Keanu Reeves at the end of "Speed" that, "Relationships that start under intense circumstances, they never last."

Sure, Hillary could have just said that Wall Street is donating to her because "Look at the rest of these clowns," or that Americans should really evaluate why enormous corporations that would like strong leadership in the White House are throwing money at her campaign. Instead, Hillary chose to remind voters that she once cemented strong relationships with future donors among the smoke and rubble of Downtown Manhattan.

But, hey, she wasn't lying.


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