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Bill Clinton blames GOP and media for wife's email woes

Bill Clinton faults the GOP and media in the email scandal.
Bill Clinton faults the GOP and media in the email scandal.
Published Sep. 27, 2015

Former President Bill Clinton blamed Republicans who hope to undercut his wife's presidential chances and a voracious political news media uninterested in substance for the furor surrounding Hillary Rodham Clinton's use of a private email account and server while she was secretary of state.

"I have never seen so much expended on so little," Clinton said in a taped interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that will be shown today. The network released excerpts Saturday afternoon.

"She said she was sorry that her personal email caused all this confusion. And she'd like to give the election back to the American people," Clinton said. "I think it will be all right. But it's obvious what happened."

Clinton likened the current inquiries into his wife's emails to scandals as far back as the Whitewater land deal that plagued his 1992 campaign and the early years of his administration.

"This is just something that has been a regular feature of all of our presidential campaigns, except in 2008 for unique reasons," Clinton said, without elaborating on why he believed President Barack Obama did not face similar Republican-led efforts to derail his candidacy.

"It always happens," he added. "We're seeing history repeat itself."

"The other party doesn't want to run against her. And if they do, they'd like her as mangled up as possible," Clinton said. "And they know that if they leak things and say things, that that is catnip to the people who get bored talking about what's your position on student loan relief or dealing with the shortage of mental health care, or what to do with the epidemic of prescription drugs and heroin out in America."

Clinton also faulted the political press corps, which he said was determined to see a competitive contest. At the beginning of the year, he said, his wife "was the most admired person in public life."

"What happened?" he added. "The presidential campaign happened. And the nature of the coverage shifted from issue-based to political."

"You can't complain," he said. "This is not — this is a contact sport. They're not giving the job away. And people who want a race wanted her to drop some, and the people in the other party desperately wanted it."

He taped the interview Thursday in New York in advance of the U.N. General Assembly and the annual Clinton Global Initiative conference.