Hillary Clinton: I’m Close To Wall Street Because Of The 9/11 Attacks

Hillary Clinton's attempt to explain her relationship with Wall Street and banking interests makes it sound like she's channeling Rudy Giuliani.


Hillary Clinton had an odd explanation to criticism of her close ties to Wall Street and banking interests during last nights debate, giving a response that made it seem like one was listening to Rudy Giuliani back during the 2008 campaign:

Minutes after Hillary Clinton referenced 9/11 as part of the reason why she has received significant contributions from Wall Street, people on both sides of the aisle pounced or were, at the very least, left scratching their heads to account for it.

“So, I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is,” Clinton said, in response to a comment from Bernie Sanders about her acceptance of campaign cash from Wall Street executives. “I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called it a “new low” for Clinton, saying in a statement that she “shamefully hid behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks in a bizarre attempt to deflect attention from her ties to her wealthy donors.”


During the debate itself, panelist Nancy Cordes displayed a tweet from someone who appeared displeased with the remark.

“Well, I’m sorry that whoever tweeted that had that impression because I worked closely with New Yorkers after 9/11 for my entire first term to rebuild,” Clinton responded. “So, yes, I did know people. I’ve had a lot of folks give me donations from all kinds of backgrounds say, I don’t agree with you on everything, but I like what you do. I like how you stand up. I’m going to support you, and I think that is absolutely appropriate.

The take against the backlash from one Clinton confidant: And?

“There wasn’t any there there,” Clinton confidant Paul Begala said on CNN after the debate. “In other words, Senator Sanders needs to close the loop. OK? He says you’ve got donations, he can’t—doesn’t even point to a vote. He doesn’t say, here’s something you did wrong.”

Clinton’s ties to Wall Street, which include not just her time as a Senator for New York but also her close ties to big money Wall Street donors both during her 2008 run for the White House and her campaign this time around have been a frequent target of her rivals, principally Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders has said more than once, for example, that the Wall Street and banking interests backing Clinton wouldn’t be doing so if they didn’t expect to get something from her if she is elected Presidency. It’s an attack that fits well into the overall populist message that Sanders has been running on from the beginning, and it is one of the reasons that Clinton has been looked on distrustfully by many of the progressive activists inside the Democratic Party. It’s also a question that has dogged Clinton on the campaign trail and in interviews in the past, so one assumes that this answer is something that her advisers came up with. If that’s the case, then it strikes me that Clinton should be asking for some money back from the people she pays to run her campaign for her.

It’s certainly true that Wall Street was impacted by the September 11th attacks. The World Trade Center was mere blocks from the heart of New York City’s Financial District, and there were several Wall Street firms who had offices in one or the Twin Towers that were quite severely impacted by the attacks. The most notable of these, of course, was Cantor Fitzgerald, whose headquarters occupied the 101st-105th floors of One World Trade Center, above the impact of the aircraft that hit that tower, and which lost some two-thirds of its workforce to the attacks. Additionally, the New York Stock Exchange was closed from the day of the attacks through September 17th and there were recurring financial losses resulting from all of that. Even taking all of that into account, though, Clinton’s attempt to explain away her close relationship with Wall Street as something related to the September 11th attacks is, well, bizarre. It doesn’t really explain the positions she took on financial regulation that had nothing to do with the attacks, nor does it explain the continuing close relationship long after the attacks. In the end, Sanders is largely correct that there is something of a symbiotic relationship between Clinton and Wall Street. She gets backing from that sector because they think she can win the White House and because it would be worthwhile for them to have a good relationship with her because of that. She courts them because for the financial aid that they can bring to her campaign, and no doubt in part because of the relationships that have developed between Wall Street, herself, her husband, and the Clinton Foundation in the years since Bill Clinton left office. Anyone who has even a cursory understanding of reality recognizes this, and that just makes Clinton’s effort to dismiss the question with an appeal to the the September 11th attacks sound as utterly ridiculous as they are and it makes her sound like Rudy Giuliani who was once accused, not incorrectly, of giving speeches that, as Joe Biden once joked, consisted of only a noun, a verb, and 9/11. It’s unlikely to impact her campaign very much, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Pearce says:

    Well she couldn’t exactly say, “I’m close with Wall Street because I have influence to sell and they’re buying” now could she?

  2. Tillman says:

    “There wasn’t any there there,” Clinton confidant Paul Begala said on CNN after the debate. “In other words, Senator Sanders needs to close the loop. OK? He says you’ve got donations, he can’t—doesn’t even point to a vote. He doesn’t say, here’s something you did wrong.”

    That’s because Sanders has been loathe to alienate people who threw in with Clinton early on. He could’ve pointed to the bankruptcy reform law she helped pass in 2005 that she had ardently opposed when it was more convenient in 1999. Hell, it would jive with his core economic message.

    Sanders doesn’t want to be president, he wants to pontificate.

  3. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tillman: Bernie Sanders is trying to change the shape of the field for some future progressive upswing. And that’s probably the best that he will be able to get done if he can even succeed at that.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    Very lame comment from Clinton

  5. Tyrell says:

    Be wary of any candidates who are members of the CFR and the Trilateral Commission.

  6. Stan says:

    Why not be honest? It’s impossible to run for president without financial backing, and next to impossible to get enough money from small contributors. If she said that and added that she’d like to see the Citizens United decision reversed, I’d respect her more.

  7. Just Me says:

    I agree with Stan.

    It costs a lot of money to run a campaign. The reality is every candidate has to raise a lot of money to be viable. Wall Street has deep pockets and money to buy influence. Better to be honest than try this lame excuse which comes across as smarmy.

  8. Jenos Idanian says:

    The Clintons are NOT for sale!

    …they’re for rent. You rent them with big bucks, and then they decide how long the rent is good for. And they don’t tell you when the rental period is up. Your best bet is to keep paying them in hopes they’ll stay rented.

  9. Guarneri says:

    That’s funny. She was raking in money before 9/11 as well. Crystal ball, maybe. Or msybe her sunny disposition…..

  10. Bill Lefrak says:

    This woman was close to Wall Street literally decades before 9/11 and that commodities trading scandal from back during her and Wild Bill’s Arkansas days didn’t happen by accident.