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Clinton Speech For Deutsche Bank Was Designed To Give Cover For Wall Street Coziness

Hillary Clinton did a paid speech for Deutsche Bank in 2014 that was written by a speechwriter so she had something to show if people ever asked what she said “behind closed doors for two years to all those fat cats.”

The email sent on November 20, 2015, comes from hacked emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, which were published by WikiLeaks.

“In October 2014, HRC did a paid speech in NYC for Deutsche Bank,” speechwriter Dan Schwerin recalled. “I wrote her a long riff about economic fairness and how the financial industry has lost its way, precisely for the purpose of having something we could show people if ever asked what she was saying behind closed doors for two years to all those fat cats.”

“It’s definitely not as tough or pointed as we would write it now, but it’s much more than most people would assume she was saying in paid speeches.”

Schwerin proposed giving a full transcript of the speech to a reporter so a story would be published that would help her with her image as a pro-Wall Street politician.

“Perhaps, at some point there will be value in sharing this with a reporter and getting a story written. Upside would be that when people say she’s too close to Wall Street and has taken too much money from bankers, we can point to evidence that she wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power. Downside would be that we could then be pushed to release transcripts from all her paid speeches, which would be less helpful (although probably not disastrous).”

“In the end, I’m not sure this is worth doing, but wanted to flag it so you know it’s out there,” he wrote.

Scwherin floated this idea because the campaign believed Clinton needed “more arrows” in their “quiver on Wall Street.”

Bernie Sanders had yet to push a demand that Clinton release transcript of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. However, media organizations were routinely publishing stories on the millions she made from speaking to big banks.

It does not appear the campaign ever gave a journalist they favored a copy of the paid speech transcript.

Mandy Grunwald, a consultant with Grunwald Communications, advised the campaign not to go down this road.

“The remarks below make it sound like HRC doesn’t think the game is rigged—only that she recognizes that the public thinks so,” Grunwald argued. “They are angry. She isn’t.”

Grunwald referred to the part of the speech where she said American families feel as “though it doesn’t matter how hard they work because the game is rigged against them.”

“Once you start looking at speeches, you run smack into Maggie Haberman’s report for POLITICO on HRC’s Goldman Sachs speech, in which HRC isn’t quoted directly, but described as saying people shouldn’t be vilifying Wall Street,” Grunwald added.

“Maybe you think the Deutsche Bank speech takes the sting out of the Goldman report — but I am concerned that the passage below will exacerbate not improve the situation.”

That still left the campaign in a position, where they were uncertain of how to handle criticism of her paid speeches to big banks.

Brian Fallon, a spokesperson for the campaign, was concerned about the Associated Press doing a story on her “Wall Street image problem.” He proposed the campaign “come up with a vanilla characterization that challenges the idea that she sucked up to these folks in her appearances, but then use AP’s raising of this to our advantage to pitch someone to do an exclusive by providing at least the key excerpts from this Deutsche Bank speech.”

“In doing so, we could have the reporting be sourced to a ‘transcript obtained by [news outlet]’ so it is not confirmed as us selectively providing one transcript while refusing to share others.”

In other words, the Clinton campaign was perfectly willing to engage in a brazen act of press manipulation so long as they could be certain it would benefit and not hurt the campaign.

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."