When “Hard Choices,” Hillary Rodham Clinton’s memoir of her time at the State Department, came out in early June, the book — and subsequent book tour — were touted as the first steps in the inevitable 2016 presidential bid by the nation’s former top diplomat. If that’s what they are, Clinton may be in for some tough times.
The past few days tell the story. Even as Clinton was prepping for the European leg of her book tour, she was dogged by two recurring and not-so-good headlines.
The first involves the large speaking fees she has accepted from universities since she left the State Department. On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that Clinton had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past year from eight universities — four of which are public — for speeches. That includes a $225,000 address she will give at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas this fall. Leaders in the university’s student government have asked Clinton not to accept the money.
Then there is the question of just how well Clinton’s book is selling. According to Nielsen BookScan, sales of “Hard Choices” this past week dropped by 46 percent from the week prior, which was down 44 percent from the week before that. Seeking to squash the book-isn’t-selling story, Correct the Record, a pro-Clinton outside group, released a memo Wednesday night noting that the book was No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list for the third straight week and blaming the “right wing” for pushing out false information.
Actually, maybe the book tour is a perfect encapsulation of what a Clinton campaign might look like. And for that, Hillary Clinton, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Cillizza covers the White House for The Washington Post and writes The Fix, its politics blog.