Hillary Clinton has apologized for her use of a private email server as secretary if state, and she has acknowledged she has work to do in rebuilding Americans' diminishing trust in her.
But given her comments in a new 60 Minutes interview, it's fair to ask just how sorry she is and how seriously she plans on taking that effort.
In an interview alongside her new running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., Clinton made the highly questionable decision to suggest that she is held to a different standard than everybody else. And that's not a paraphrase — she said "everybody else."
Here's the conversation:
SCOTT PELLEY: I was speaking to a young African-American man just the other day in a Democratic state. And he said, and I'll quote, "You know, I guess I would vote for Hillary except for that corruption problem," end quote. As I talked to him further, he didn't quite know what he meant by that. But that was his impression and concern. Why do you think people say that about you?
CLINTON: Well first, I will take responsibility for any impression or anything I've ever done that people have legitimate questions about. But I think that it's fair to say there's been a concerted effort to convince people like that young man of something, nobody's quite sure what, but of something. I often feel like there's the Hillary standard and then there's the standard for everybody else. And —
PELLEY: What's the Hillary standard?
CLINTON: Well, it — it is — you know, a lot of as you at the Republican convention — unfounded, inaccurate, mean-spirited attacks with no basis in truth — reality, which take on a life of their own. And for whatever reasons — and I don't want to try to analyze the reasons. I — I see it. I understand it. People are very willing to say things about me, to make accusations about me that are — I don't get upset about them anymore, but they are very regrettable.
Two things: First, it's fine for Clinton to believe that she's held to a higher standard than others, and it's surely something that her supporters believe too. In that way, it is completely unsurprising to find out that a presidential candidate feels this way.
But believing it is one thing; saying it is another. And in bringing up this alleged double standard while also taking "responsibility" for her problems, Clinton is trying to have it both ways.
Clinton says, "I will take responsibility for any impression or anything I've ever done that people have legitimate questions about."
This quote is so full of qualifiers as to render it almost meaningless. Clinton takes responsibility for any "impression" of corruption and for any actions causing people to have "legitimate questions about" her." Clinton doesn't have an honesty or corruption problem, you see, that's just the "impression" people get. And she also takes responsibility for the "legitimate questions" she has raised about herself — but apparently not for the illegitimate ones?
As with that quote, you can bet "the Hillary standard" will be used against Clinton with gusto. It will be used to paint the picture of a candidate who thinks Americans' reservations about her are overblown and based on misinformation. It will be used to suggest Clinton doesn't actually plan on reforming her ways.
Again, we could argue all day about whether "the Hillary standard" exists. But to your average swing voter who thinks the email server thing is a legitimate issue, this sounds a lot like Clinton blowing it off.