By Colin Campbell
Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. economy requires a "toppling" of the wealthiest 1 percent, according to a report published Tuesday in The New York Times.
Clinton reportedly made the comments in a meeting with economists earlier this year, when she was shown a graph that "charted how real wages, adjusted for inflation, had increased exponentially for the wealthiest Americans, making the bar so steep it hardly fit on the chart."
"Clinton pointed at the top category and said the economy required a 'toppling' of the wealthiest 1 percent, according to several people," writes the Times' Amy Chozick.
%VIRTUAL-pullquote-I don't know why we have this semicollective amnesia about her past positions. She's following no one on these issues.%The anecdote was included in Chozick's report on the Clinton campaign's broader message that argues that the candidate has been talking about income inequality long before populist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) entered Congress in 2013.
"Nothing stings her inner circle more than the suggestion that their candidate is late to these issues. Mrs. Clinton was the original Elizabeth Warren, her advisers say, a populist fighter who for decades has been an advocate for families and children; only now have the party and primary voters caught up," Chozick said.
"I don't know why we have this semicollective amnesia about her past positions," Neera Tanden, Clinton's former policy director, told the paper. "She's following no one on these issues."
Liberal activists frustrated with the Clintons' ties to Wall Street have long sought to draft Warren into the presidential race even though the senator has insisted she will not run. But according to Clinton's team, these activists should embrace her candidacy instead of demonizing it.
Chozick reported that a Clinton adviser created a "16-page dossier titled 'Hillary Clinton: A Lifetime Champion of Income Opportunity' " that calls Warren a "footnote." It also "presents 40 instances in which Mrs. Clinton took the same stance" as Warren on a number of economic issues.
The Clinton campaign didn't immediately respond to a request from Business Insider on the "toppling" quote, but her team has repeatedly sought to highlight her populist approach to economic policy. Clinton's April 12 announcement video declared "the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top."
Clinton has also gone out of her way to shower praise on Warren. Last week, Clinton even thanked Warren for pushing "presidential aspirants" to hold Wall Street accountable for its abuses.
"Elizabeth Warren never lets us forget that the work of taming Wall Street's irresponsible risk taking and reforming our financial system is far from finished," Clinton wrote in Time magazine. "And she never hesitates to hold powerful people's feet to the fire: bankers, lobbyists, senior government officials and, yes, even presidential aspirants."
By Colin Campbell