US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton finally apologised for the first time on Tuesday for using an email account hosted on a private server as secretary of state.
"Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the state department. Not doing so was a mistake. I'm sorry about it, and I take full responsibility," Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2016 presidential election, said in a Facebook post.
After steadfastly refusing to apologise in some recent interviews, Clinton issued one on Tuesday — her first came in an interview to ABC News.
As secretary of state from 2009 to 2012, Clinton had used a private email account for official work, which she continues to maintain and justifiably, was allowed at the time. She has turned over 55,000 official emails from that account to the state department after deleting those she and her advisers have said were purely personal.
Though Clinton has contended that nothing confidential ever passed that server, government investigators have found several mails that contained classified information.
But, she has argued, reiterating it in the Facebook post, "Nothing I ever sent or received was marked classified at the time."
That it was been deemed classified now, retrospectively.
The email controversy, which shows no signs of letting up, has completely overshadowed Clinton's campaign, busting her early lead over rivals in the party and outside. Her closest Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, has overtaken her in polls in New Hampshire, an early primary state, and she is trailing Republicans Donald Trump and Jeb Bush in Iowa.
And, she once had the party nomination in the bag. Her campaign is clearly rattled by her sliding numbers, and is trying to re-package her as a candidate — this one, a lot friendlier, funnier and less cautious and scripted.
"The true game changer is when there's a personified opponent," said Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's communications director, in a New York Times report about her campaign reboot.
But not everyone is impressed.
Former Obama strategist David Axelrod tweeted, "Today's @nytimes story on HRC read more like The Onion: Her detailed plan to show more authenticity and spontaneity. #Justdoit!"