If the point of Hillary Clinton’s book tour was to sell books, it isn’t working that well. The New York Times reports that Hard Choices sold roughly 100,000 electronic and hardcover copies in its first week on the shelves, but declined 43.5 percent to 48,000 copies in its second week, which increases the chances that publisher Simon & Schuster won’t sell enough books to make up for her advance. However, if the tour is meant as a test run for a presidential campaign, it’s a pretty good rehearsal. After generating a Mitt Romney–esque controversy this month, on Wednesday night Clinton got to practice doing damage control, admitting that she probably shouldn’t have said she was “dead broke” after leaving the White House, or made a clunky contrast between herself and the “truly well-off.”
“I shouldn’t have said the five or so words that I said, but my inartful use of those few words doesn’t change who I am, what I’ve stood for my entire life, what I stand for today,” Clinton said in an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill. (It’s unclear which five words she was referring to.)
When asked if she’s worried that she might be seen as out of touch, Clinton said she’s always been looking for ways to help the average American, citing her work in government and even the book tour itself. “I’ve always been reaching out … whether it’s talking with our neighbors, or going shopping, or standing, talking to people in these bookstores and hearing what’s on their minds, or even the work I did for eight years as a senator to bring new jobs to New York and stand up for the people I represented,” she said. “And, frankly, as I traveled around as secretary of state, as I write in the book, part of what I was trying to do was to figure out ways to create more jobs at home, by standing up against the unfair competition and the barriers to American businesses that hurt American workers.”
There are a few days left in Clinton’s book tour, so she still has time to try out an anecdote about how she and Bill were eating tuna out of a can while using their ironing board as a table when they first moved into their home in Chappaqua.