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Hillary Clinton, in TV Interview, Says Election Loss Still 'Very Painful'

10 Sep 2017 5:47 pm
By Eli Stokols 

Hillary Clinton on Sunday described the lingering pain of being "gobsmacked" after losing the presidency 10 months ago to Donald Trump and said she wouldn't be a candidate for office ever again.

"I think I am good, but that doesn't mean that I am complacent or resolved about what happened," the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee said in an interview Sunday morning with CBS News's Jane Pauley. "It is still very painful. It hurts a lot."

Mrs. Clinton's Sunday interview marks the beginning of what will be a monthslong media tour around her memoir of the campaign, " What Happened, " set to be released by Simon & Schuster on Tuesday. The tour, which begins with a reading in New York on Tuesday and continues with events across the country scheduled through December, keeps 2016 in the news as Democrats struggle to coalesce around a new standard-bearer. It also offers Mr. Trump myriad opportunities to spar with his former campaign rival anew.

On Sunday, Clinton ascribed her defeat to "a perfect storm" of white voters' "grievances," broader misogyny among the electorate, self-inflicted wounds including her use of a private email server and the decision by former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey to publicly announce his reviving of the investigation into her emails 11 days before the election.

"It raised the specter that, somehow, the investigation was being reopened. It just stopped my momentum," Mrs. Clinton said, noting that Mr. Comey, whom Mr. Trump fired earlier this year, didn't speak publicly about the investigation into Russia's election meddling on her opponent's behalf.

"At the same time he does that about a closed investigation, there's an open investigation into the Trump campaign and their connections with Russia," she said. "You never hear a word about it. And when asked later, he goes, 'Well, it was too close to the election.' Now, help me make sense of that. I can't understand it."

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In May, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, after Mrs. Clinton spoke about her loss at an event in California: "Crooked Hillary Clinton now blames everybody but herself, refuses to say she was a terrible candidate."

According to a January report from the U.S. intelligence community, Russia's interference was directed at the highest levels of its government. Its tactics included hacking state election systems; infiltrating and leaking information from party committees and political strategists; and disseminating through social media and other outlets negative stories about Mrs. Clinton and positive ones about Mr. Trump, the report said.

Moscow has denied meddling in the U.S. election, and Mr. Trump has denied his campaign colluded with Russia.

Despite the Comey announcement, Mrs. Clinton said she had no thought she might lose and never drafted a concession speech.

The former first lady, senator and secretary of state told Ms. Pauley about calling President Barack Obama after making her Election Night concession call to Mr. Trump -- "I felt like I had let everybody down," she said -- and attending Mr. Trump's inauguration months later, which she described as "an out-of-body experience." His speech, she said, "was a cry from the white nationalist gut."

Mrs. Clinton, however, credited Mr. Trump for appealing so successfully to white voters, "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."

She continued: "A lot of people didn't want to hear my plans. They wanted me to share their anger. And I should've done a better job of demonstrating I get it."

Mrs. Clinton, however, expressed concern that Mr. Trump's background in reality TV, suited as it was for a political campaign, wouldn't be enough to carry him through a four-year term as president.

"We have a reality show that leads to the election of a president. He ends up in the Oval Office. He says, 'Boy, it's so much harder than I thought it would be. This is really tough. I had no idea,' " she said.

"Well, yeah, because it's not a show," she added. "It's real. It's reality for sure."

Write to Eli Stokols at eli.stokols@wsj.com
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 10, 2017 13:47 ET (17:47 GMT)

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