Hillary Clinton: I Want $300,000 And A Bowl Of Hummus

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Dec 02, 2014 7:30 PM
Hillary Clinton: I Want $300,000 And A Bowl Of Hummus

Over the Thanksgiving week, the Washington Post obtained rare email exchanges between Hillary’s representatives and UCLA regarding her planned speech appearance. When the fee was being discussed, UCLA asked if there was a special rate after being given the $300k figure.

Her representatives said that is the special rate, but don’t you dare forget Madam Secretary’s hummus (via WaPo):

At UCLA, efforts to book Clinton and then prepare for her visit were all-consuming, beginning almost immediately after she left her job as secretary of state on Feb. 1, 2013, until she delivered her Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership speech on March 5, 2014.

The documents show that Clinton’s representatives at the Harry Walker Agency exerted considerable control over her appearance and managed even the smallest details — from requesting lemon wedges and water on stage to a computer, scanner, and a spread of hummus and crudité in the green room backstage.

Top university officials discussed at length the style and color of the executive armchairs Clinton and moderator Lynn Vavreck would sit in as they carried on a question-and-answer session, as well as the kind of pillows to be situated on each chair. Clinton’s representatives requested that the chairs be outfitted with two long, rectangular pillows — and that two cushions be kept backstage in case the chair was too deep and she needed additional back support.

After a lengthy call with a Clinton representative, UCLA administrator Patricia Lippert reported to campus colleagues, “She uses a lavalier [microphone] and will both speak from the audience and walk around stage, TED talk style. We need a teleprompter and 2-3 downstage scrolling monitors [for] her to read from.”

During a walk-through of Royce Hall five days before the lecture, the e-mails show, Clinton’s team rejected the podium planned for her use during her 20- to 30-minute speech, setting off a scramble on campus to find a suitable podium and rent a new university seal to match.

Of course, high-profile persons have special arrangements–and an investor who funds UCLA’s lecture circuit privately financed Clinton’s appearance. Yet, they were charging $250 a seat for the event; $2,000 for two seats and a photo opportunity with the former First Lady, Secretary of State, and possible 2016 contender for the Democratic nomination for president.

Students had to enter a lottery for the 413 free tickets, while the rest had to watch it via LiveStream at an overflow location. In all, it was a campaign event.

Yes, Hillary seems to be high maintenance, but the speaking fee, the hummus, and other requested accommodations aren’t the problem; the problem is that she’s trying to present herself off as a warrior of the middle/working class.

Hillary’s Democratic opponents–and her Republican adversaries–will probably use this story to cut into the narrative that she’s in touch with the needs and concerns of the voters her political team thinks she can win over: working class America.