In one of the better moments of an otherwise predictable Democratic debate last night, CNN moderator Dana Bash asked Hillary Clinton three times why the candidate won't release transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street banks—speeches for which she was paid a total of $2.9 million and that her own staff scrupulously documented—if there's nothing that she's trying to hide from voters.
Clinton wouldn't answer the question. Instead, she tried to deflect by claiming she has stood up to Wall Street, by attacking Bernie Sanders' record on financial deregulation, by calling for "everyone" to release transcripts, and by calling for the release of Sanders' tax returns. Watch:
Thankfully, there are some accounts from audience members and others of what Clinton said. Seth Abramson put together this useful compilation over at the Huffington Post:
Just so you know.
1. Former Nebraska Governor and Senator Bob Kerrey (Clinton surrogate)
"Making the transcripts of the Goldman speeches public would have been devastating....[and] when the GOP gets done telling the Clinton Global Initiative fund-raising and expense story, Bernie supporters will wonder why he didn't do the same....[As for] the email story, it's not about emails. It is about [Hillary] wanting to avoid the reach of citizens using the Freedom of Information Act to find out what their government is doing, and then not telling the truth about why she did."
2. Goldman Sachs Employee #1 (present at one of the speeches)
"[The speech] was pretty glowing about [Goldman Sachs]. It's so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now. It was like a 'rah-rah' speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director."
3. Goldman Sachs Employee #2 (present at one of the speeches)
"In this environment, [what she said to us at Goldman Sachs] could be made to look really bad."
4. Goldman Sachs Executive or Client #1 (present at one of the speeches)
"Mrs. Clinton didn't single out bankers or any other group for causing the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, she effectively said, 'We're all in this together, we've got to find our way out of it together.'"
5. Paraphrase of Several Attendees' Accounts From The Wall Street Journal
"She didn't often talk about the financial crisis, but when she did, she almost always struck an amicable tone. In some cases, she thanked the audience for what they had done for the country. One attendee said the warmth with which Mrs. Clinton greeted guests bordered on 'gushy.' She spoke sympathetically about the financial industry."
6. Goldman Sachs Employee #3 (present at one of the speeches)
"It was like, 'Here's someone who doesn't want to vilify us but wants to get business back in the game. Like, maybe here's someone who can lead us out of the wilderness.'"
7. Paraphrase of Several Attendees' Accounts From Politico
"Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish. Striking a soothing note on the global financial crisis, she told the audience, 'We all got into this mess together, and we're all going to have to work together to get out of it.'"