Hillary Clinton: "Sweet" but unnecessary of Bill to defend me

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks about her new book "Hard Choices" on Friday, June 20, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) AP

Hillary Clinton doesn't need anyone going to bat for her reputation, she said in an interview airing Wednesday - not even her husband Bill.

"I shouldn't have said the five or so words that I said," the former secretary of state conceded to "PBS NewsHour" host Gwen Ifill, referring to a comment she made that her irrefutably privileged family was "dead broke" upon its departure from the White House. "But my unartful use of those few words doesn't change who I am, what I've stood for my entire life, what I stand for today."

After a tumultuous couple of weeks trying to explain away the controversial statement, Clinton made the case in remarks published Sunday in the Guardian newspaper that her personal financial situation is largely dissimilar from that of the "truly well off." She said she and her husband earn money through income - not investments - and that they've worked hard for their success.

Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday at his family's annual domestic policy summit heaped on additional defense, arguing Hillary is "not out of touch" with the struggles of poor and working Americans.

According to early excerpts of the PBS interview, Hillary found his defense "very sweet," if unnecessary: "I don't need anybody to defend my record," she said. "I think my record speaks for itself."

An early frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton's rollout of her memoir "Hard Choices" has been scrutinized as something of a soft launch to test the waters for a White House bid. She admitted in the interview, "you have to be a little bit crazy to run for president" - a sentiment she knows only too well following her ultimately unsuccessful campaign against now-President Obama in 2008.

And keeping in step with the news of the day, Clinton also reportedly weighed in on whether Mr. Obama should have left a residual force in Iraq considering the al Qaeda-inspired insurgency currently battling the country's government: "He was deciding based on what the [George W.] Bush administration had already determined," she said of the president, "because they were the ones who said troops have to be out by the end of 2011."

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