On September 8, 2015, Clinton finally said that her use of a private email account and private server while secretary of state was “a mistake,” and “I’m sorry about that.”
The New York Times publishes an article based on “interviews with a half-dozen people with direct knowledge” of Clinton’s private decisions that claims it was a long and “tortured path” getting Clinton to make any apology. For months, she resisted pressure from advisers and friends to apologize, saying that her actions had been within the law and to do so would only legitimize criticism of her behavior. But pressure continued to mount and her poll numbers dropped.
In early September 2015, Clinton’s campaign organized focus groups with voters, which showed that voters liked when Clinton took a more conciliatory tone over the issue. Still, Clinton had trouble apologizing. The Times reports, “Frustration reached a fever pitch among some of her supporters, who sounded an alarm in calls to Clinton campaign aides.”
By September 8, Clinton’s strategists “concluded that there was only one way out of it,” leading to her apology in an interview later that day. (The New York Times, 9/11/2015)