Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged on Tuesday that her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state was a “mistake,” and apologized directly for it, uttering words that many of her allies have waited to hear from her in hopes that she can quell a controversy that has dogged her presidential candidacy for months.
“That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility,” Mrs. Clintonsaid in an interview with David Muir of ABC News broadcast Tuesday evening. “And I’m trying to be as transparent as I possibly can.”
Asked by Mr. Muir about a recent poll in which respondents used words like “liar” and “untrustworthy” to describe her, Mrs. Clinton conceded that she still had work to do: “Obviously, David, I don’t like hearing that,” she said. “I am confident by the end of this campaign, people will know they can trust me, and that I will be on their side and I will fight for them and their families. But I do think I could have and should have done a better job answering questions earlier. I really didn’t, perhaps, appreciate the need to do that.”
When asked if she had ever second-guessed her decision to make another run at the White House, Mrs. Clinton began to choke up, admitting that she had, at times, before invoking her late mother’s admonitions to “fight for what you believe in, no matter how hard it is.”
“I think about her a lot. I miss her a lot. I wish she were here with me,” Mrs. Clinton said, tearing up. But, she added: “I don’t want to just fight for me. I mean, I could have a perfectly fine life not being president. I want to fight for all the people like my mother who need somebody in their corner. And they need a leader who cares about them again. So that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Mrs. Clinton’s apology on ABC was the more striking for coming just a day after an interview with The Associated Press in which she maintained that she did not need to apologize for her private email account and server, saying, “What I did was allowed.”
And in an interview with NBC News last Friday, Mrs. Clinton, asked if she was sorry, allowed only that she was “sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions.”
Privately, some of Mrs. Clinton’s allies have drawn comparisons between her resistance to using the word “mistake” over the email server and her similar reluctance to say she had erred in voting as a senator to support the invasion of Iraq. That vote dogged her in the 2008 presidential primary, but Mrs. Clinton resisted calling it a mistake, despite entreaties from many liberals and some of her own aides.
Only in her 2014 memoir, “Hard Choices,” did Mrs. Clinton say she had “got it wrong” on the Iraq invasion.
“In our political culture, saying you made a mistake is often taken as weakness when in fact it can be a sign of strength and growth for people and nations,” Mrs. Clinton wrote.
Read more: NY Times