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I was victim of broad assumption of winning US elections: Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton pauses as she addresses her staff and supporters about the results of the U.S. election at a hotel in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Washington: Hillary Clinton has blamed her unexpected defeat in the US presidential elections on a variety of factors including Russian meddling, her own party, the FBI, the media and “a very broad assumption that I was going to win”.

Clinton, in a lengthy interview at a tech conference in California, for the first time went into detail about the reasons behind her loss to Republican Donald Trump.

She said took responsibility for every decision she made during her campaign, “but that’s not why I lost.” The former secretary of state said Russian interference in the election and the “weaponising” of information and fake news were among the key reasons behind her defeat. She said it was likely that Trump’s associates had a hand in it.

“The Russians, in my opinion, and based on the intel and counter-intel people I’ve talked to, could not have known how best to weaponise that information unless they had been guided,” Clinton said.

Some of those people helping the Russians, she said, had access to “polling and data information.”

Asked who those persons could be, Clinton said: “We’re getting more information about all of the contacts between Trump campaign officials and Trump associates with Russians before, during and after the election. So I hope that we’ll get enough information to be able to answer that question.”

“I’m leaning Trump,” she added. “I think it’s pretty hard not to.”

The 69-year-old Democrat said her party had fallen behind the Republicans in using technology and data to target voters.

She also attacked the media for covering her e-mail controversy “like it was Pearl Harbour” and not following up on the Russian interference. “At some point it sort of bleeds into misogyny,” she said.

Clinton, the first woman presidential candidate for a major political party in the US, was widely expected to win the November 8 election as per poll projections and pundits.

The high expectations for her candidacy also did her in, she felt. “I was the victim of a very broad assumption I was going to win.”

Clinton also pointed to ex-FBI director James Comey, who was recently fired by President Donald Trump, for re-opening an investigation into her use of a private email account and server, just over a week before the election.

“Remember, Comey was more than happy to talk about my emails, but he wouldn’t talk about the investigation of the Russians. So people went to vote on November 8th having no idea that there was an active counter- intelligence investigation going on of the Trump campaign,” she said.

Clinton said she always thought the election would be a close affair, but she ended up winning three million more votes than Trump.

“And let’s just be honest, people who have a set of expectations about who should be president and what a president looks like, they’re going to be much more skeptical and critical of somebody who doesn’t look like and talk like and sound like everybody else who’s been, resident,” she said. Trump was quick to slam Clinton for her comments.

“Crooked Hillary Clinton now blames everybody but herself, refuses to say she was a terrible candidate. Hits Facebook & even Dems & DNC,” he tweeted.

PTI