Kicking off a media blitz that aides say will be marked by a more open, down-to-earth Hillary Clinton, the presidential candidate formally apologized for using a personal email server instead of a federal server during her time as Secretary of State. In a clip from an interview with David Muir, released by ABC before it aired Tuesday, Clinton says, "That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility." This marks her first official apology in regard to the incident. It's a 180 for Clinton, who had previously maintained that she wouldn't apologize for using the incorrect server. She consistently told the press that what she did was legally permitted.
The 2016 candidate has consistently aimed to draw attention away from Emailgate, but with this apology, she's changed tack for what seems to be an effort to appear more transparent. On Monday, The New York Times reported that Clinton's campaign is moving towards more warmth. Rather than appearing aloof and closed-off to press, her aides told the Times, Clinton will try to seem approachable, spontaneous, and more down-to-earth than she was back in 2008, or in her campaign so far.
Clinton's refusal to address Emailgate with a clear apology has angered her critics, rather than guiding them away from the incident. It's come to represent all that Clinton's campaign fears the public will see in her: a sense of disregard for normal rules, an refusal to address mistakes, and a lack of reproval.
Just on Monday, Clinton told the Associated Press that she wouldn't be apologizing for using the incorrect sever. When asked "Are you sorry?", Clinton replied:
What I did was allowed. It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that. I did not send or receive any information marked classified ... I take the responsibilities of handling classified materials very seriously and did so.
"It’s a distraction, certainly," Clinton said in the same interview, but she maintained that it hadn't affected her campaign otherwise.
As Emailgate has evolved, Clinton's responses have grown more nuanced, but she's consistently defended her actions and held back from a straightforward apology. In June, she told CNN:
Everything I did was permitted. There was no law. There was no regulation. There was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate. Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing ... Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation. I had one device. When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system
Both before and after announcing her intention to run for president, Clinton shrugged off concerns about the email scandal, either making tongue-in-cheek comments that belittle the controversy or explicitly defending her actions. Now, with her clear, no-holds-barred apology to David Muir, she may be banking on being abruptly forthcoming with the American public about the scandal -- which, unless she's careful, could tarnish her entire campaign.
Image: ABC News