Clinton takes blame in book but responds to critics
Washington — Hillary Clinton takes the blame for her 2016 presidential defeat in her upcoming book but offers choice words for President Donald Trump, her campaign rivals and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Clinton writes in “What Happened” that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders caused “lasting damage” to her presidential campaign and pushes back against the notion raised by Vice President Joe Biden that she didn’t campaign forcefully enough for middle class voters.
“I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want — but I was the candidate,” she writes. “It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.”
CNN reported Wednesday that it purchased a copy of the book in Jacksonville, Florida ahead of its Sept. 12 release date.
In the book, Clinton says she miscalculated “how quickly the ground was shifting under all our feet” and tried to run a traditional campaign “while Trump was running a reality TV show that expertly and relentlessly stoked Americans’ anger and resentment.”
During the primary, Clinton writes that advisers often told her not to fight back against Sanders’ criticism for fear of alienating his supporters. She says “his attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”
As the campaign moved along, she says then-FBI Director James Comey’s probe into her private email server, including his late-October decision to issue a letter to Congress on the investigation, disrupted the image of her as a strong leader.
Clinton questions whether a stronger response from President Barack Obama to reports of Russian meddling in the election might have made a difference. And she writes with regret that she never got the chance to confront Putin in person.
“There’s nothing I was looking forward to more than showing Putin that his efforts to influence our election and install a friendly puppet had failed,” she writes. “I know he must be enjoying everything that’s happened instead. But he hasn’t had the last laugh yet.”
Clinton’s previous books include her 2003 memoir, “Living History,” published while she was a U.S. senator from New York, and 2014’s “Hard Choices,” her account of her time as secretary of state.