Hillary Clinton granted her first post-election interview to Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday afternoon at Women for Women International. In what was perhaps the key moment of the entire event, Clinton, while also admitting to making numerous mistakes in vague terms, placed the blame for her electoral loss on the “October surprises” that she fell victim to:
“It wasn’t a perfect campaign. There is no such thing. But I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th and Russian [hacking of emails leaked to] WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me, but got scared off. And the evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling [and] persuasive.
And so we overcame a lot in the campaign. We overcame an enormous barrage of negativity, of false equivalency, and so much else, but as Nate Silver — who doesn’t work for me, he’s an independent analyst, but one considered to be very reliable — has concluded if the election had been on October 27th I’d be your president.
It wasn’t. [James Comey’s letter] was on October 28th and there was a lot of funny business going on around that.
Ask yourself this: Within an hour or two of the Hollywood Access tape being made public, the Russian theft of John Podesta’s emails hit WikiLeaks. What a coincidence. You just can’t make this stuff up.
So, did we make mistakes? Of course we did. Did I make mistakes? Oh my gosh, yes. You’ll read my confession and my request for absolution. But the reason why I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last ten days.”
Clinton is correct that the initial WikiLeaks dump came within an hour of David Farenthold releasing the “hot mic” tape of Donald Trump during the filming of a segment for Access Hollywood. In fact, it was even less: just 29 minutes.
Trump recorded on hot microphone having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005.https://t.co/JV3A9oBJ7c
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) October 7, 2016
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 7, 2016
As for polling, the USC/L.A. Times Daybreak poll, which ended up most accurately predicting the election results, Clinton and Trump were generally within a percentage point of each other in the days leading to the Comey letter. That was a national poll not reflecting Electoral Votes, however.