Vice President Joe Biden on Monday took what appeared to be a subtle jab at Hillary Clinton — his possible Democratic opponent in the 2016 presidential race — by saying he’s lucky for what he has and is doing just fine money-wise.
Clinton has said over the last few days that she and President Bill Clinton were “dead broke” when they left the White House. Clinton late walked that back a bit, but over the weekend she said she is not among the “truly well off” since she pays ordinary income tax, not capital gains taxes.
Those remarks drew attacks from Republicans who said the Clintons, who were worth at least $10 million when they left the White House and have earned millions more in speaking fees and book royalties, are out of touch with average Americans.
The folksy Biden appeared to capitalize on that Monday morning at a White House summit on working families. Biden started by imagining people criticizing his attempt to speak about how to help working families more, when he’s doing so well himself.
“Now the first thing you’re gonna say is, look at Biden, man,” Biden said. “He’s got a mildly expensive suit on, he’s vice president of the United States of America.
“He makes, notwithstanding he’s listed as the poorest man in Congress, he still makes a lot of money as vice president of the United States. And I do, by the way. I do.”
Biden said he doesn’t own any stocks or bonds, and has no savings account. “But I get a great pension and I get a good salary,” he said.
Biden’s salary for 2014 is $233,000 per year. That’s more than four times the median U.S. salary in 2013.
“Sometimes we talk about struggle. My struggle… my God, compared to where I grew up…” he said. “I’ve been really really fortunate.”
Biden was the poorest senators when he served in the Senate. In 2006, his net worth was thought to be between -$300,000 and $277,000, according to Politifact.
Biden’s more appreciative remarks about his paycheck came just a day after the much more wealthy Clinton told the Guardian newspaper that she is not “truly well off.”
“We pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off — not to name names — and we’ve done it through dint of hard work,” she said.