- CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said she has “tried to not only take responsibility, because it was my decision, but to be as transparent as possible” about her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.
Here are some other highlights from the interview.
Q: Why haven’t you directly apologized for setting up and using a private email server as secretary of state?
A: “Well, I understand why people have questions and I’m trying to answer as many of those in as many different settings as I can. What I did was allowed by the State Department. It was fully above board. Everybody in the government with whom I emailed knew that I was using a personal email, and I have said it would have been a better choice to have had two separate email accounts. And I’ve also tried to not only take responsibility, because it was my decision, but to be as transparent as possible.”
Q: Has the email issue damaged your campaign? For example, in terms of morale among staff or in fundraising or getting your message to voters.
A: “No. Not at all. It’s a distraction, certainly. But it hasn’t in any way affected the plan for our campaign, the efforts we’re making to organize here in Iowa and elsewhere in the country. And I still feel very confident about the organization and the message that my campaign is putting out.”
Q: What has this distraction meant for you this summer?
A: “As the person who has been at the center of it, not very much. I have worked really hard this summer, sticking to my game plan about how I wanted to sort of reintroduce myself to the American people. How I wanted to listen and learn what was on the minds of Iowans. And I feel very good.”
Q: What’s your reaction to voters who say they don’t trust you?
A: “Well, I don’t like to hear that. But I believe by the end of this campaign the American people will know that I’m the person running for president who wants to be not only the president on the big issues that are in the headlines, but the president to really work on all of those personal concerns like I heard in Newton yesterday that keep people up at night.”
Q: You have been critical in the past of politically motivated investigations. Has the Select Committee on Benghazi devolved in such a way?
A: “Well, the American public will have to determine that. There have been seven previous investigations that were conducted by congressional committees. Of course, there was the independent accountability review board that was conducted by leading Americans with expertise in intelligence, diplomacy (and) the military.
“They all said that there were changes that needed to be made, which I fully embraced as the outgoing secretary of state. And I testified before both the Senate and the House. This committee has now gone longer and spent, I’m told, more money than the Warren Commission on President Kennedy’s assassination and many other investigations. I’ll let the American people draw their own conclusion.”
Q: As a candidate with deep experience in Washington, how do you make your case to voters who are interested in an ‘outsider’ candidate, such as a Donald Trump or Ben Carson?
A: “That’s what the campaign is for. That’s what we’re going to be doing in the next months. We have some months to go before the caucus on Feb. 1, and we have debates and there will be other opportunities to lay out what I will do as president.
“I was endorsed on Saturday by (Sen.) Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, and the press asked her, ‘Well, you’re endorsing her and there’s been a lot of information that one of the other candidates is doing very well and people are interested in outsiders.’
“And she goes, ‘You know, I have been doing this since 1976, and I remember very well in August of 2003, John Kerry was 25 points behind and Howard Dean was surging,’ and she went thought chapter and verse, because she has been involved for many years.
“We’re staying on our game plan. We’re doing what I think at the end of the day will earn the confidence and trust and support of Iowans and other Americans.”
Q: Could Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders next year duplicate then-Ill. Sen Barack Obama’s victory over you in 2008?
A: “You know, I’m not going to speculate. That’s your job. You can speculate on political potential scenarios. I’m just going to run my campaign, talk about what I’m doing and why I think I’d be the best president of any of the candidates on either side.”