The trouble with Hillary Clinton was painfully captured in a New Hampshire town hall, carried on CNN and moderated by Anderson Cooper, Wednesday night. I'll let Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post take it from here:
For 59 minutes of it, she was excellent — empathetic, engaged and decidedly human. But, then there was that other minute — really just four words — that Clinton is likely to be haunted by for some time to come.
"That’s what they offered," Clinton said in response to Cooper's question about her decision to accept $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in the period between serving as secretary of state and her decision to formally enter the 2016 presidential race.
Clinton is both seemingly caught by surprise and annoyed by the question all at once. Neither of those is a good reaction to what Cooper is asking. Both together make for a uniquely bad response.
Here's the thing: I'm not sure there is a great answer, politically speaking, for Clinton on the question of her acceptance of huge speaking fees from all sorts of groups — from colleges and universities to investment banks. She took the money because these groups were willing to pay it. And who wouldn't do the same thing in her shoes?
The problem is that you can't say that if you are the front-running candidate for the Democratic nomination, a front-runner facing a more-serious-than-expected challenge from a populist liberal who has made your ties to Wall Street a centerpiece of his campaign.
And that's just part of the trouble with Hillary Clinton.