“Dead Broke” covers the period from early 2001, when the Clintons were evicted from the White House, through Mrs. Clinton’s years as a struggling congresswoman when she was forced to work graveyard shift in the Senate. She explains the couple’s escape from destitution by citing their hard work and willingness to sacrifice — as well as the generosity of groups that continue to pay them $100,000 for an hour-long speech.
“After we left the White House, we were dead broke,” Clinton said in an interview with ABC. “It sounds crazy now, but because we were homeless, I would bathe myself in a gas station bathroom, using a moistened paper towel to scrub my face, under my arms, and in the nether region.”
“The lobbyists at those fancy luncheons had no idea why I always smelled like cheap hand soap,” she added.
Clinton said one of her darkest experiences was in 2004, when she was supposed to receive an award at the University of Rochester — about 300 miles from her cockroach-infested squat in Chappaqua, New York. With no money and no means to travel there, she walked, through a blizzard, while a pack of feral poodles followed her, waiting for her to die so they could devour the remains of her emaciated body. The trek lasted a whole week.
“If a passing truck driver hadn’t taken pity on me with a bottle of Gatorade and some Little Debbie oatmeal cakes, I wouldn’t be here talking to you today,” Clinton said, taking off her shoes to show where doctors amputated several toes that were dead from frostbite.
“Dead Broke” is slated to be released later this summer by Simon & Schuster, and it is already being hailed as a masterpiece that testifies to the power of the American spirit: that even a broke former first lady with nothing but a tattered pantsuit and a little grit in her teeth can make it in the savage world of Washingtonian politics.
“When we think of Hillary Clinton, we think of a woman with wealth, prestige, and connections the rest of us can only dream about,” said Darren Thigpen, author of the 2013 book “Women Make the Best Secretaries … of State.”
“But we must bear in mind that in 2003 she was spotted gorging on half-eaten sandwiches and moldy orange peels she had sniffed out in the Capitol building dumpster,” Thigpen said.