Politics

Clinton: I'm Held To Higher Honesty Standards

| by Nik Bonopartis
Hillary Clinton giving a speechHillary Clinton giving a speech

Hillary Clinton says she thinks she's held to a higher standard of honesty than other politicians.

The presumptive Democratic nominee weighed in on the issue of her trustworthiness during an interview with 60 Minutes, marking the first time she's appeared in an interview alongside her vice presidential running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.

While many say they believe Clinton enjoys the benefit of the doubt -- and benefits from a different standard for the powerful -- Clinton herself said the reality is the opposite. Voters, Clinton said, hold her to a higher standard of honesty than other politicians.

"I often feel like there's the Hillary standard and then there's the standard for everybody else," Clinton told 60 Minutes.

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While Clinton and her opponent, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, are both historically unpopular candidates, Clinton has been dogged about questions of her honesty since the beginning of her campaign more than a year ago.

A CNN/ORC poll, released on July 25, found 68 percent of voters say Clinton is not honest and trustworthy. Those are Clinton's worst numbers ever, representing a grim trend for the candidate since earlier polls found troublingly low marks for her perceived honesty.

A Fox News poll from mid-May found only 31 percent of respondents said Clinton is trustworthy, with a full two thirds telling pollsters they perceive her as dishonest. A Rasmussen poll, released on June 1, found twice as many voters favored Trump on the honesty issue.

Those numbers were pushed lower by Clinton's email scandal and the FBI's criminal investigation into whether she broke the law by using a series of unsecured, homebrew servers to handle her communications while she was Secretary of State.

While FBI Director James Comey did not recommend criminal charges against Clinton when he declared the investigation complete in early July, he said the candidate and her staffers at state were "extremely careless" in their handling of state secrets, and said it was likely that hackers had helped themselves to the contents of Clinton's unsecured servers. Comey also directly refuted several of Clinton's claims about the email scandal.

At that point, the Department of Justice's decision not to prosecute Clinton may have hurt her, some experts contended, particularly in light of revelations that former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch -- Comey's boss -- held a secret meeting aboard the latter's private jet just days before Comey announced his decision.

On July 22, the Clinton campaign received more email-related bad news when WikiLeaks released a trove of almost 20,000 emails showing that the Democratic National Committee -- which is supposed to work on behalf of all of its party's candidates -- essentially functioned as another arm of Clinton's campaign, actively working to help her win the primaries while trying to derail the campaign of rival Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Clinton waved off questions about her honesty, telling 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley that she's been unfairly smeared with "unfounded, inaccurate, mean-spirited attacks with no basis in truth," according to a transcript of the interview published by The Washington Post.

Writing in the newspaper's "The Fix" blog, the Washington Post's Aaron Blake said Clinton's 60 Minutes statements are troubling for her supporters.

Political junkies "could argue all day about whether 'the Hillary standard' exists," Blake wrote. "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. And if you're a Clinton backer who wants her to win, you have to be concerned that she still doesn't quite get it."

Sources: CNN, CNN/ORCThe Washington Post, Rasmussen Reports, The Huffington Post / Photo credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr

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