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Hillary Clinton downplays husband’s infidelity

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Hillary Clinton spoke to The Boston Globe’s editorial board Sunday during a meeting at Southern New Hampshire University.Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

HOOKSETT, N.H. — Hillary Clinton on Sunday pledged to combat the nation's yawning income gap, while asserting that allegations of her husband's past infidelity will fail to distract voters from the economy and other important issues.

"I think most Americans have made up their minds one way or another about all this and I think it will be up to voters to sort it out," Clinton said Sunday evening, referring to Bill Clinton's past. Clinton spoke in a meeting with the Globe editorial board.

"This is something that the Republicans have been trying to turn into political gold for a long time. And it hasn't worked," Clinton said. "So if that's what they want to spend their time talking about, that's their choice. It is certainly, in my view, not a campaign that is going to really deal with the issues that most Americans are concerned about."


Former president Clinton's past has resurfaced in recent weeks as Republican front-runner Donald Trump has talked about it on the campaign trail. He is arguing that Hillary Clinton sought to discredit women who made accusations against her husband, and he would therefore be a better champion of women's rights than she.

The roughly hourlong interview with Clinton touched on a range of topics including economic policy, tax reforms, health care, drug pricing, and how the United States can discourage such foreign powers as Russia and China from trying to expand their territory.

In the coming days, Clinton said, she plans to propose a series of tax reforms, including a policy that would address the so-called Buffett Rule: a principle backed by billionaire Warren Buffett that says no top-income families should pay a lower tax rate than middle-class workers.

Clinton faces an unexpectedly difficult primary challenge in the early contests from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is beating her in many New Hampshire polls and is closing a gap in Iowa with his message of ending income inequality. The Hawkeye State holds its caucuses on Feb. 1.


"A caucus is quite unpredictable," Clinton said. "I think this is a particularly roiled-up campaign season. There's a lot on people's minds."

Buffett, one of the wealthiest men in the world, has long complained that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does. He's been campaigning for Clinton.

"I have made clear that I wanted to go after what I consider the failure of the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share," Clinton said. Clinton has supported closing the carried interest loophole, a part of the tax code that benefits hedge fund managers.

Clinton reiterated her support for increasing the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, backing a proposal that has the support of many Democrats in Congress. Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley have said they would seek a $15-an-hour floor for wages.

On foreign policy, Clinton said she wants to see the United States doing more to help the Ukrainian government fend off additional territorial incursions from the Russians. "We need to help them defend the borders they now have," she said.

Also, she said, European allies need to be more willing to stand up to aggression: "Part of what we have to do in the next administration is get some backbone back into Europe."

On prescription drug policy, Clinton said that more should be done to lower the cost of such drugs. One company, which Clinton did not name, provided its drug to Egyptian patients for a much lower cost, she said.


"They sold it at rock-bottom prices," Clinton said. "What about us? Come on. Really?"

The California-based Gilead Sciences reached a deal in March 2014 to sell its treatment for Hepatitis C to the Egyptians for $900. That's far less than the $24,000 that patients in the United States are charged, according to a Reuters news story.

Earlier Sunday, Clinton accepted an endorsement from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

She also praised Globe reporters who delivered the newspaper again on Sunday. "That's the kind of spirit I want to bring back to the US," she said.

Annie Linskey can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @AnnieLinskey.