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Politics

Hillary Clinton Corrects Fumbled "Jobs" Line

"I short-handed this point the other day."

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SOMERS, N.Y. — When Hillary Clinton fumbled a line at a rally last Friday — "Don't let anybody tell you that corporations and businesses create jobs" — the comment caused a minor outrage among political observers. Republicans said she'd been pandering to liberals. Democrats wondered if she'd been trying too hard to channel Elizabeth Warren, the populist senator who also spoke at the event.

On Monday, Clinton went out of her way to correct the comment at a rally for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democrat up for reelection in this Hudson Valley district.

Clinton said in her speech that corporations that outsource jobs or move profits overseas should not be granted tax breaks. The clarification made clear that the remark was a botched line — not new messaging from Clinton, who has honed a stump speech during a series of rallies ahead of the election next month.

"The Republican alternative is a discredited economic theory that will hurt middle class families," Clinton said. "So-called trickle-down economics has failed."

"I short-handed this point the other day, so let me be absolutely clear about what I've been saying for a couple of decades."

"Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in America and workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out — not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas."

A Clinton aide pointed to the remarks at the Maloney event as a clarification to what she had meant to say in her speech last week.

At the event with Warren on Friday, a rally for the Democrat running for governor in Massachusetts, Clinton made her initial remark in the lead-up to a section of her speech about trickle-down economics, a theory she's long argued against.

Her original line — that "corporations and businesses" don't "create jobs" — doesn't make much sense as a concept. An aide initially said on Friday that she'd meant to refer to "tax cuts" for corporations.

Clinton in particular has also more often been accused of being too friendly to corporations. (When she was a U.S. senator from New York, Clinton voted for a number of tax breaks for corporations.) She didn't clarify the remark in speeches at her next two public events: a rally for Mike Michaud, the Democrat running for governor in Maine, and one for Kay Hagan, the U.S. senator in North Carolina.

At the Maloney event in a club in Westchester County, Clinton cleaned up the stumble toward the middle of her 20-minute speech, praising businesses that are "showing what it means to be responsible corporate citizens."

"They're paying workers a living wage instead of a poverty wage. They are investing in communities instead of hollowing them out. They are empowering workers instead of preventing them from organizing and joining unions to represent them."

"But we still don't have enough who are doing all of that," Clinton said.

Asked about the jobs comment after the event, Clinton glanced at her press secretary, Nick Merrill, and said, "You can talk to Nick about that."

This article has been updated to clarify comments by the Clinton aide.

Ruby Cramer is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Ruby Cramer at ruby.cramer@buzzfeed.com.

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