News Daily Spot: Clinton apologizes for staff use e- mail as a Secretary of State

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Clinton apologizes for staff use e- mail as a Secretary of State

After repeatedly declining to apologize for her use of a private email server as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton finally did just that on Tuesday.

“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,” Mrs. Clinton told ABC News. “What I had done was allowed, it was above board. But in retrospect, as I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts. One for personal, one for work-related emails. That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility.”
She followed that up with an almost identical message emailed to supporters and posted on Facebook. “I wanted you to hear this directly from me,” she wrote. She then repeated that she should have had two email addresses. “Not doing so was a mistake. I’m sorry about it.” She provided a link to a campaign page that offers answers to several questions about the situation.
It is the latest and clearest indicator that Mrs. Clinton, the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, has concluded she needs to adjust course amid a slide in the polls and a barrage of criticism about both her decision to exclusively use a personal email account at the State Department and her campaign’s handling of the fallout.
A Monmouth University Poll released Tuesday found that support among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters nationwide for Clinton has dropped 10 points in the last month, to 42%. Support for Vice President Joe. Biden, who is considering entering the primary, has surged by 10 points, putting him at 22%—two points higher than Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a favorite of the party’s progressive wing.
Clinton’s advisers see the email question as a distraction that is keeping her other messages from reaching voters. Their goal is to have her exhaust what questions she can now and move on to other topics.
But that may prove difficult. Investigations are ongoing by several congressional committees and two independent inspectors general, and she is scheduled to testify before a House panel in October. In addition, the State Department is releasing a fresh batch of her emails every month at least until the end of the year.
Mrs. Clinton has faced particular questions about whether classified material was sent through private computer servers. Her campaign says nothing was considered classified at the time it was sent.
Republicans were unmoved. “The only thing Hillary Clinton regrets is that she got caught and is dropping in the polls,” Allison Moore, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said in a statement.
Some Democrats questioned why it took her so long, recalling that it took her years to say her vote in favor of the Iraq war was a mistake. Throughout the entire 2008 campaign, even as she was being attacked by rival Barack Obama on the issue, she declined to apologize.
Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist, said her comments in the interview won’t change the harsh GOP criticism. “But it should go a long way in calming the frayed nerves of Democrats concerned about the impact this is having on her campaign,” he said.
For months, Mrs. Clinton tried to minimize or dismiss the matter. Now, she’s adopted a contrite tone, saying she understands that voters have questions about the situation and she plans to answer them. Still, when asked last week by NBC News if she was sorry, she declined the opportunity to apologize. “Well, I certainly wish that I had made a different choice,” she said then, adding that she was “sorry that this has been confusing to people.”
She made similar comments on the matter over the weekend in an interview with the Associated Press, saying what she did was allowed.
One senior campaign adviser said Mrs. Clinton’s remarks on Tuesday weren’t that different from what she has been saying in other interviews. Yet others saw a change in approach. Some Democrats who have been critical of Mrs. Clinton’s handling of the matter said she may have helped her cause. “It always helps if you can get an issue behind you,” said Peter D. Hart, a Democratic pollster. “The American public always will listen to an apology and they are always willing to move on.”
Yet Mr. Hart said shifting to other subjects will be harder in this case because of the ongoing probes. “At the very least, it at least closes off the idea that she won’t acknowledge this, that she’s too hard-headed or thick-skinned,” he said.

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