Democrats Fear Hillary's 1 Percenter Image May Hurt 2016 Run

Image: Democrats Fear Hillary's 1 Percenter Image May Hurt 2016 Run

Monday, 23 Jun 2014 09:29 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Democratic leaders are afraid that Hillary Clinton’s new image as one of the country’s 1 percenters will wreck her dreams of becoming the next president, The Washington Post reported.

The fear is her personal wealth, elitist manner, and elaborate lifestyle will have a negative effect on struggling middle-class voters in 2016 in the same way that Mitt Romney’s vast fortune hurt his run for the White House in 2012.

"I don’t know whether it’s just that she’s been 'Madam Secretary' for so long, but she’s generating an imperial image," Dick Harpootlian, who recently quit as Democratic Party chairman in South Carolina, an early presidential primary state, told the Post.

Harpootlian, who backed Barack Obama over Clinton in 2008 and is a longtime supporter of Vice President Joe Biden, added: "She’s been living 30, going on 40 years with somebody bringing your coffee to you every morning. Is it more 'Downton Abbey' than it is America?"

Her image crisis surfaced this month when the potential Democratic presidential front-runner said she and Bill Clinton were "dead broke" when he’d completed his two terms as president.

The remark came while she was taking ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer on a tour of her $5 million Washington home, complete with mahogany antiques, pricey rugs, and beautiful artwork.

Clinton also posed in front of the home’s manicured garden and crystal clear swimming pool for a People magazine cover.

The former first lady, who receives around $200,000 for speaking engagements, is flying around the country on private jets while promoting her memoir, "Hard Choices."

Clinton also told The Guardian this weekend that unlike "the truly well off" she and Bill "pay ordinary income tax," while adding that their good fortune has been earned "through dint of hard work" – comments that may anger millions of hardworking Americans.

Democratic leaders and strategists are concerned that Hillary has lost touch with the middle-class electorate who helped Obama triumph over Romney in 2012, according to the Post, noting that Hillary recently said she had not driven a car since 1996.

"She and her husband are established members of the 1 percent, leading lives far removed from the millions of middle-class voters who swing elections," wrote Post reporter Philip Rucker.

"It’s going to be a massive issue for her," an Obama adviser told the Post. "When you’re somebody like the secretary of state or president of the United States or first lady, you’re totally cut off [from normal activity], so your perception of the middle-class reality gets frozen in a time warp."

Asked what Democrats need to do to counter Clinton’s wealthy, imperial image, the adviser said: "Panic."

Another Obama strategist maintains that Clinton is making the same mistakes as Romney did in 2012. "She seems completely out of touch and elitist," the adviser said.

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