There's nothing wrong — or new — with political dynasties in America, where "certain families just have a sense of commitment or even a predisposition to want to be in politics," Hillary Clinton says in a magazine interview made pubic Tuesday.
The former first lady and secretary of State brushed aside a question from German magazine Der Spiegel
that multiple Clinton and Bush administrations could push American democracy into a monarchy.
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"We had two Roosevelts. We had two Adams," Clinton told the magazine.
"It may be that certain families just have a sense of commitment or even a predisposition to want to be in politics. I ran for president, as you remember. I lost to somebody named Barack Obama, so I don't think there is any guarantee in American politics.
"My last name did not help me in the end. Our system is open to everyone. It is not a monarchy in which I wake up in the morning and abdicate in favor of my son."
John Adams was the second president of the United States; his son, John Quincy Adams, was the nation's sixth president. Theodore Roosevelt served from 1901-1909; his distant cousin Franklin Roosevelt was president from 1933 until his death in 1945.
Asked if she'd like to see daughter Chelsea get into politics, Clinton said it would be "up to her, and I'll support her in whatever she chooses." She added she herself is still on the fence about another White House bid.
"I haven't made up my mind," she told the magazine.
Clinton also doubled down on her claim that she and husband former President Bill Clinton were "dead broke" when they left the White House
, asserting some of the criticism is politically fueled.
"I think that if you go back and look at the last eight to 10 months, you'll see that people are seizing everything about me, and I accept that," she said. "I mean, that's part of being out in the public, out as a potential candidate…."
She insisted, however, their White House stint brought them to the financial brink.
"[W]hen we came out of the White House, we were deeply in debt because of all the legal bills that we owed because of the relentless persecution of my husband and myself, and he had to work unbelievably hard to pay off every single penny of every debt we owed," she said. "And we did."
She said she and the former president, who reportedly earned over $108 million
from 2001-2007, "are very grateful for where we are today."
"But if you were to go back and look at the amount of money that we owed, we couldn't even get a mortgage on a house by ourselves," she said to Der Spiegel. "In our system, he had to make double what he needed in order just to pay off the debt, and then to finance a house and continue to pay for our daughter's education."
Clinton also touched on the controversy over a recently arrested German double agent,
and the U.S. bugging
of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.
"[C]learly, we have to do a much better job in working together between Germany and the United States to sort out what the appropriate lines of cooperation are on intelligence and security," she said.
"Clearly, the surveillance on Chancellor Merkel's phone was absolutely wrong. The president said that. I think that he made it very clear it was unacceptable. Where are the lines on both sides? That's what we have to work out."
She said a no-spy agreement is not the answer either.
"If we were to say no, under no circumstances, that you shouldn't do that to us, we shouldn't do that to you, what if a circumstance arises where it is conceivable that it would be in your interest and ours?" she asked.
"The United States could never enter into a no-spy agreement with any country — not you, not Britain, not Canada. But that doesn't mean that within the intelligence and security institutions within our two countries, we shouldn't have a much clearer idea of what is appropriate and what should not be done."
And to the question of whether Merkel deserves an apology, Clinton replied:
"I'm not in the government anymore, but I'm sorry."
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