NEW YORK – Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that she’s taking responsibility for her 2016 election loss but believes misogyny, Russian interference and questionable decisions by the FBI influenced the outcome.
The former Democratic presidential nominee offered extensive comments about the election during the Women for Women International’s annual luncheon in New York. She said she’s been going through the “painful” process of reliving the 2016 contest while writing a book.
“It wasn’t a perfect campaign. There is no such thing,” Clinton said in a question-and-answer-session with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “But I was on the way to winning until a combination of (FBI Director) Jim Comey’s letter on Oct. 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.”
She reminded the enthusiastic audience packed with women that she earned 3 million more votes than Republican Donald Trump, who won more Electoral College votes and won the election.
“If the election were on October 27, I would be your president,” Clinton said.
She also highlighted Russia’s role in hacking into her campaign’s internal emails and subsequently coordinating their release on WikiLeaks. U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating whether Russia coordinated with Trump associates to influence the election, something Russia has denied.
“He (Russian President Vladimir Putin) certainly interfered in our election,” Clinton said. “And it’s clear he interfered to hurt me and help my opponent.”
Amanpour also asked Clinton whether she was a victim of misogyny.
“Yes, I do think it played a role,” she said, adding that misogyny is “very much a part of the landscape politically, socially and economically.”
After two unsuccessful presidential campaigns, Clinton is not expected to run for public office again.
“I’m now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance,” she said.
Trump later took to Twitter to blast Clinton’s comments.
“FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds,” Trump wrote. “The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?”
Later Tuesday evening, while accepting an award from Planned Parenthood, Clinton told a crowd of more than 1,000 that there is still much to do to advance the rights and opportunities of women and girls.
Such work is “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” Clinton said at the Manhattan fundraiser marking the 100th anniversary of the organization. She added that on some days, “it seems even more unfinished than we’d hoped.”
Politicians in Washington, she said, are doing everything they can to roll back “rights and progress that we’ve fought so hard for over the last century.” She saved special criticism for Republicans’ efforts to push through a health care plan that would, she said, cost 24 million their health insurance and gut funding for Planned Parenthood.
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