Saturday 17 March 2018

Trust-building task faces Clinton

RATINGS: Hillary Clinton. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP
RATINGS: Hillary Clinton. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Lisa Lerer

Hillary Clinton has acknowledged the challenge she faces leading a country where most Americans don't trust her, saying she takes "seriously" the work she must do to build confidence in her character.

But she also claimed that a broad electoral victory over Donald Trump in November would give her the capital needed to push her plans through Congress with Republican support and appeared to blame her political opponents for her low approval ratings.

Clinton pointed to the high ratings she won as secretary of state and as a senator from New York, arguing that voters like her more when she's working than when she's campaigning - something she attributed to campaign attacks on her character.

"Were 67pc of the people in New York wrong? Were 66pc of the American public wrong?" Clinton said. "Just maybe, when I'm actually running for a job, there is a real benefit to those on the other side with trying to stir up as much trouble as possible."

Clinton's trustworthiness has emerged as her biggest weakness - worsened by her responses to questions about her use of private emails servers as secretary of state and her reluctance to take regular questions from journalists.

She attempted to "clarify and explain" a recent statement on Fox News that FBI director James Comey had said her answers about her emails practices were "truthful".

"I may have short-circuited and for that I will try to clarify," she said. Comey was speaking solely about her responses in a closed-door FBI interview, and not her public comments on the issue, which have included inconsistencies.

Clinton has claimed she never sent or received anything marked classified. In reviewing the FBI's investigation, Comey said seven email chains dealt with matters "that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received".

During the short Q&A session, Clinton also detailed her campaign promises, promising to make an overhaul of America's immigration system a "clear, high priority".

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