Bill Clinton on Foundation: Nobody ‘Talked About It Until the Political Season Began’

‘— And somebody said, well, what about this?’

TAPPER: “We also agreed to also ask him some questions about issues his foundation is working on, such as the economy.”

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TAPPER: “I want to address a couple issues having to do with the Clinton Foundation, since it has been in the news a lot lately. I've heard you say that there's no evidence that any of the donors who have given to the foundation received anything in response from the State Department while Secretary Clinton was there.”

CLINTON: “Nobody even suggested or talked about it or thought about it until the political season began and somebody said, what about this? Now, some of the companies that supported the foundation for years, many of them before she was ever secretary of state, she was a senator when I left office, though –“ 
TAPPER: “Right.”
CLINTON: “They do this, they do philanthropy, too. No one had ever asked me for anything or any of that.”
TAPPER: “Well, let me ask you about that because I think a lot of people might say, OK, you say there's no evidence that anything was done for them, but can you really say that these companies, these wealthy individuals, these governments, none of them sought anything? I mean, some of them did have business before the State Department.”
CLINTON: “I don't know. You never know what people's motives are, but in this case, I'm pretty sure that everybody that gave to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake saw what I saw on television and were horrified, and wanted to make a difference and –“ 
TAPPER: “You're not saying you don't know if anybody sought any favor, just that there was no –“ 
CLINTON: “No and I don't think Hillary would know, either. You know, she was pretty busy those years. I don't -- I never saw her study a list of my contributors or -- and I had no idea who was doing business before the State Department, but I will say this. She believed that part of the job as secretary of state was to advance America's economic interests around the world. If she hadn't been doing this economic diplomacy work, nobody would have been doing it. And -- but I never thought about whether there was any overlap. I'll just give you an example. America has always having to lobby for American-made airplanes because we believe other competition overseas is more heavily subsidized by government. Boeing is less subsidized than airbus, and we believe it's hard to get a fair deal. I did it when I was president. I thought it was good, good for American jobs, good no America's economy, good for the national security o the countries involved. So I wouldn't be a bit surprised if some of that wasn't going on when Boeing announced they wanted to invest money in Haiti to help them recover from their adversity. But I don't think that they did it to make America the government like them better.”
TAPPER: “Someone recently described the Clinton Foundation's purpose as using the powerful to help the powerless. Who do you see as the powerless in America today?”
CLINTON: “Well, I would say this. We try to get people who have money to give to people who don't and give it in a way that's empowering, so that it actually changes their lives. But I think people who are they can, who don't have enough money to support their kids and immediate basic human needs are powerless. I think people who would die -- give anything to go to work and can't get employment or stuck in part-time jobs, I think people who live in pockets of America, which have been totally untouched by the recovery, rural, coal country, the eastern part of the country, the native-American reservations that don't have casinos. They don't have enough population places in the Mississippi Delta, and in other parts of the country, I think there are a lot of people, who feel pretty powerless, that no matter what they do, they can't change the future, that every tomorrow will be just like yesterday. That's how I define powerlessness, not poverty alone, not adversity alone, but the inability to alter your condition.”

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