On Sunday, to promote the release of her book just two days later, Jane Pauley's new interview with Hillary Clinton, the latter's first TV interview since the 2016 election, aired on “CBS News Sunday Morning.”
While Clinton did, more or less, admit to being overly confident in the early part of the interview, the back half was devoted to why she thinks she lost the election.
“I started the campaign knowing that I would have to work extra hard to make women and men feel comfortable with the idea of a woman president,” she said. “It doesn't fit into the stereotypes we all carry around in our head. And a lot of the sexism and the misogyny was in service of these attitudes. Like, you know, 'We really don't want a woman commander in chief.'”
From there, Clinton then elaborated on how she felt that then-candidate Donald Trump was able to fire up what became his base.
“He was quite successful in referencing a nostalgia that would give hope, comfort, settle grievances, for millions of people who were upset about gains that were made by others because...” Pauley then cut her off: “What you're saying is millions of white people,” she interjected. “Millions of white people, yeah,” Clinton responded. “Millions of white people.”
While Clinton did cite a number of outside forces that she felt caused a “perfect storm” that worked against her, she gave a direct answer to Pauley's question about things she did that cost her the election. “Oh, I think the most important of the mistakes I made was using personal email,” she said, referring to her use of a private server for official State Department business.
“I've said it before, I'll say it again, that was my responsibility,” she added. “It was presented in such a negative way, and I never could get out from under it. And it never stopped.”
However, Clinton does take issue with then-FBI Director James Comey sending a letter to Congress about potentially new Clinton emails found on Anthony Weiner's laptop just 11 days before the election. “It just stopped my momentum,” she said.
Clinton framed Comey as a hypocrite for saying that he didn't go public about the FBI investigating possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia because it was too close to the election. However, that's not exactly the case.
Comey eventually testified that it was because he had promised Congress updates if the status of the Clinton investigation changed, so he felt he had a duty to disclose what the Bureau was looking into.
The interview also notes other factors that Clinton cites in her book, like what she feels was overly negative campaigning by Bernie Sanders, but she said she does understand why she didn't fully resonate.
“I believed that it was my responsibility to try to offer answers to it, not to fan it,” she said of the public's anger over the financial crisis. “I think, Jane, that it was a mistake because a lot of people didn't wanna hear my plans. They wanted me to share their anger. And I should've done a better job of demonstrating I get it.”