Hillary Clinton has spent the past 10 months analyzing her presidential election loss, and research proves that the country doesn’t seem to be ready for a female commander-in-chief.
The former first lady spoke about her new memoir What Happened, which details her own mistakes and factors that she believes costs her the presidency, in her first live TV interview since the election on Today.
When asked by Savannah Guthrie if America is more hesitant to elect a woman than an African-American, Clinton said the studies prove it to be so.
“I think there’s a lot of evidence, a lot of research, supporting the idea that race is a much more motivating factor for voters than gender is,” she responded. “I write in the book about an incredible conversation I had with Sheryl Sandburg, who has done so much work to really untangle what’s realistic in terms of what you have to do to be successful and what is tinged, if not effected, by sexism. She says the research is absolutely clear: The professionally successful a man becomes, the more likable he is. The professionally successful a woman becomes, the less likable she is.”
Clinton continued, “You know, when I was secretary of state, I came out of that job I think with a 69 percent approval rating because I was in service to my country. I was in service to our president. I was proud to do it. But when a woman walks into the arena and says, ‘I’m going for this myself,’ it really does have a dramatic effect on how people perceive.”
In her book, Clinton talks about how people don’t like her. She told Matt Lauer she thinks those people are “tangled.”
“When I’m serving in an office, as I said like secretary of state, I have really high favorability ratings. But as I write in the book, I have been — and I admit this — in the eye of the storm for a very long time in American public life. So I have a lot of stuff that has been thrown at me year after year,” she said. “I have tried to overcome it, stay focused on the job, do the best I could to help people which is really why I’m motivated in this.”
On a special broadcast of her temporarily revived old campaign podcast With Her, Clinton wryly joked Tuesday with interviewer Max Linsky that she wanted to dive right into discussion: “I want to be spontaneous and authentic — and maybe a little likable. Just a touch. I wouldn’t want to get carried away! Enough is enough with the likability stuff.”
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Clinton also points a finger at former FBI Director James Comey, who wrote a letter on October 28, 11 days before the election, notifying Congress that the FBI was reopening its investigation into the private email server she used as secretary of state
“It stopped my momentum,” she said. “It drove voters from me — understandably. This is not about the voters who were saying, ‘Well wait, what does this mean and how do I evaluate it?’ So I think in terms of my personal defeat, that was the most important factor.”
In her book, Clinton details her “stunned” reaction to learning about the Comey news on the campaign plane.
“It became cleared — this was not necessary,” she said. “He could have called me up. He could have called others involved up and said, ‘Hey can we look at this new stuff just to make sure it’s stuff we’ve seen before?’ Absolutely, have at it! But no, he had to write letters to Congress which immediately were leaked so I feel very strongly that he went way beyond his role in doing what he did.”
When asked what Comey’s motivation to release the information at that time could be, Clinton said she was without an answer.
She said, “I searched really hard for that kind of understanding, and I didn’t find it.”