NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton defended the middle class, and called for addressing economic inequality and financial reform, as she appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Tuesday night.
Clinton, the Democratic front-runner in the 2016 race, became the fifth White House hopeful from both parties to appear with Colbert since he took over CBS’ ‘Late Show” last month.
She emphasized a need to address financial abuses on Wall Street – and said she would even allow big banks to fail. She also called the minimum wage a “poverty wage,” and called for a revitalization of the middle class.
“We’ve got to get back to making middle class the center of our politics,” she said, adding that she believes Republican policies such as “cutting taxes on the super-wealthy, getting out of the way of corporations, doesn’t create broad-based prosperity. It creates more inequality.”
She added: “I think the Republicans out here, they all act like we have amnesia. I mean, we had the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”
Colbert acknowledged that, in his past alter ego as a conservative blowhard hosting Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” he had played a character “who didn’t care for you.”
‘I can say it now,” Clinton said with a laugh — “it was mutual.”
This “Late Show” appearance occasioned a cordial give-and-take, where perhaps Colbert’s toughest question was: Why is she running for president?
Clinton answered that she wants to make it possible for more people, particularly young people, “to live up to their God-given potential,” while she helps defend women’s rights, gay rights and voting rights.
Colbert suggested that, with another Clinton in the White House, Americans were being promised an encore of the 1990s, and asked plaintively, “Do I have to wear parachute pants?”
“I’m not running for my husband’s third term,” Clinton declared. “I’m not running for President Obama’s third term. I’m running for my first term. But I’m going to do what works, and we have an understanding of what works.”
She added: “The wealthy need to pay more. I’m just sorry to break it to you!”’
“I am conflicted recently,” Colbert quipped in response.
Another query: Which Republican front-runner would Clinton rather run against, Ben Carson or Donald Trump?
Clinton replied only that she would be ready to run hard against any opponent the Republicans put forward.
“But you can picture either of those guys in the office, right?” Colbert prodded.
“Well,” Clinton responded, triggering whoops from the studio audience, “I can picture them in some office.”
Clinton reported further that on Monday, her 68th birthday, she and husband Bill took a slight break from her presidential campaign and found time for some binge viewing.
They finally caught up on the Netflix political series “House of Cards,” she said, adding that other TV faves include the legal drama “The Good Wife” and “Madam Secretary,” which stars Tea Leoni as the U.S. Secretary of State.
Clinton noted that Madeleine Albright — like Clinton, a former real-life secretary of state — had recently made a guest appearance on that show.
“Are you jealous?” Colbert asked.
“A little,” Clinton joked.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)