President Barack Obama’s former senior adviser, David Axelrod, told CNN on Wednesday that Hillary Clinton should take full responsibility for her mistakes in the 2016 campaign, noting that “it takes a lot of work to lose to Donald Trump.”
During an event with journalist Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, Clinton said she was “on the way to winning” the election when FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress 11 days before the election informing them that he had reopened the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. Clinton argued that this discouraged voters who otherwise would have supported her.
Axelrod conceded that Clinton has “legitimate beef” with Comey, but argued that the FBI’s interference does not clear the Clinton campaign of responsibility for their own mistakes, including failing to spend enough time and resources in key states like Michigan and Wisconsin.
“Jim Comey didn’t tell her not to campaign in Wisconsin after the convention, Jim Comey didn’t say ‘don’t put any resources into Michigan until the final week,'” he said.
Axelrod, who was Obama’s chief strategist on both of his winning presidential campaigns and advised him in the White House, argued that Clinton’s reputation for dodging responsibility for her mistakes has hurt her in the past and is not a wise strategy going forward.
“One of the things that hindered her in the campaign was a sense that she never fully was willing to take responsibility for her mistakes, particularly that server,” Axelrod said. “So if I were were her, if I were advising her, I would say, ‘don’t do this, don’t go back and appear as if you’re shifting responsibility off.'”
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