‘You are blessed to occupy the same room as me, human.’ Picture: ABC
‘You are blessed to occupy the same room as me, human.’ Picture: ABC

‘Doesn’t get it’: Painful interview


ARE you still wondering how Hillary Clinton, a competent, intelligent and if anything over-qualified woman, managed to lose the presidency to a compulsively dishonest reality TV host covered in a fine layer of Cheeto dust?

Just watch Ms Clinton's interview with Leigh Sales, which aired on 7.30 last night.

Much like the rest of her Australian tour, it was an extraordinary display of blame shifting and self-pity.

Ms Clinton spent 10 seconds robotically mouthing the sort of hollow words beaten politicians are always obligated to say, accepting responsibility for her defeat - and the other 16 minutes blaming everyone else.

‘Yes, of course I take responsibility for the many ways in which everyone else caused me to lose.’ Picture: ABC
‘Yes, of course I take responsibility for the many ways in which everyone else caused me to lose.’ Picture: ABC

At the top of Ms Clinton's blame list was former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, whose crime was publicly announcing that the investigation into Ms Clinton's emails had been reopened in the closing weeks of the 2016 election campaign.

"I have laid out in I think very persuasive evidence that his intervention on October 28 was the most important reason why I ended up losing 11 days later," Ms Clinton said.

She bashed Mr Comey again, and again, and again, repeatedly casting herself as an innocent victim of the FBI boss's inexplicable behaviour.

"I don't know why he treated me the way he did, and none of his explanations frankly hold water.

"His explanations as to how he treated me have never added up.

"There is no evidence as to why he did what he did to me.

"I don't understand why he did what he did in 2016."

This is James Comey. He decided the election, apparently. Picture: AP
This is James Comey. He decided the election, apparently. Picture: AP

Ms Clinton simply cannot fathom why Mr Comey acted the way he did. She is either ignorant or being deliberately obtuse.

First - and this is a point Ms Clinton's supporters often skip over - she would not have been under investigation at all if she hadn't been so blasé about the handling of classified information when she was secretary of state. The existence of the investigation, a constant thorn in Ms Clinton's side, was her own fault.

And Mr Comey was put in an impossible position. Option one: don't say anything and be accused of covering up the investigation to help Ms Clinton. Option two: speak up and be accused of sabotaging her. It was a lose-lose situation.

Ms Clinton's other complaint is that Mr Comey did not reveal the investigation into potential links between Russia and several of Donald Trump's associates. But again, he faced a horrendous dilemma. Speaking publicly when the investigation was still in its early stages could have tipped off its targets and compromised the whole operation.

There are strong arguments against the decisions Mr Comey made, but you cannot reasonably deny there was some logic behind them.

Leigh Sales interviews Hillary Clinton. Picture: ABC
Leigh Sales interviews Hillary Clinton. Picture: ABC

Of course, Ms Clinton had other scapegoats to roast as well, ranging from Facebook to "foreign interference", to fake news, to "low information voters", to sexism, to the electoral system itself. Oh, and have you heard she won the popular vote?

"What I was up against was unprecedented. It really was a perfect storm," she said.

She was indeed up against something unprecedented - an opponent who was hated by a huge chunk of his own party, could barely string a coherent sentence together about policy, and was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women.

You don't lose an election against someone like that unless you have screwed up big time.

Ms Clinton's defeat should have sparked some serious introspection. But instead of figuring out what she did wrong, she has chosen to blame everyone but herself.


The fundamental problem with Ms Clinton's campaign was enshrined all along in its ridiculous slogan: "I'm With Her."

Not "She's With You". "I'm With Her." It was the wrong way around. To her devoted fans, it sounded wonderful, but to everyone else it sounded like a bizarre loyalty pledge.

Voters have long described Ms Clinton as being "entitled" and "out of touch". They feel as though she thinks they should support her, not the other way around.

She failed to dispel that impression in 2016 - and that, not James Comey, is the biggest reason she lost.

Even now, Ms Clinton shows no signs of understanding that. She remains trapped in a bubble of sycophants.

Her talk in Sydney last Friday was surreal. Before she walked out on stage, the crowd was shown this borderline religious video from the Democratic National Convention, narrated by a breathless Morgan Freeman.

Then Ms Clinton was interviewed by her friend and fellow politician Julia Gillard - hardly a recipe for tough questioning.

Ms Gillard and Ms Clinton in Sydney. Picture: AAP
Ms Gillard and Ms Clinton in Sydney. Picture: AAP

On 7.30, Sales was uncharacteristically soft on her as well. Until, after 16 minutes of gentle prodding about Mr Comey and Mr Trump's scandals, she finally hit the mark with her final question.

"There might be viewers watching who say: 'Well, she seems to be in denial, because she's saying it's all external agents. What about her?'" Sales put to Ms Clinton, whose response could not have been more revealing.

Pay special attention to the word "but".

"Oh, I write in my book - read my book What Happened - you know I talk about the mistakes that I made, and I take responsibility for them. But I got three million more votes, and I got three million more votes because in general the American people actually agreed with my positions and what I intended to do as president," she said.

"But in very targeted areas, I write about in the book how messages were specifically targeted towards voters in states that I ended up losing. That the intervention of Jim Comey at the end, something unprecedented and uncalled for, cost me a lot of points in places where I was leading until then.

"So, yes, I take responsibility and ultimately I was the name on the ballot so I am responsible for the fact that we didn't succeed."

Yes, I take responsibility. But I got more votes and there was fake news and Comey wrote that letter. So yes, I take responsibility.

Not one word describing what she actually did wrong. Not one example of what she could have done better. She would rather talk about "low information voters" falling for fake news.

Somehow, even after the most humiliating political defeat imaginable, she still doesn't get it.