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Psaki: Clinton’s Perception Has Been ‘Baked Into the Cake for About 10 Years’

• May 7, 2017 12:45 pm

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Barack Obama's former White House communications director, Jen Psaki, appeared Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," where she pushed back against Hillary Clinton's explanation for her 2016 presidential election loss.

Host Jake Tapper asked Psaki what she thought of Clinton's statement on Tuesday in which she blamed her loss on FBI Director James Comey and Russian hackings.

"I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on Oct. 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off–and the evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling [and] persuasive," Clinton told CNN's Christiane Amanpour at a Women for Women International event in New York.

Psaki pushed back against Clinton's assessment, saying, "We don't really know that."

"Was sexism a factor? Yes. Was Comey a factor? Was Russia a factor? Absolutely," Psaki said.

She then went on to say that she has watched many focus groups and studied several polls over the years regarding Clinton's likability, arguing that "the perception of her was baked into the cake for about ten years."

Psaki encouraged Democrats running for office this year and in 2018 to look at focus groups hosted by Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC that was vital in helping Obama get reelected in 2012.

"They talked to Obama [and] Trump voters, and what came out of those focus groups was something very alarming for Democrats," Psaki said. "Which is the perception that we are fighting for rich people, we are fighting for the one percent."

"If we don't change what we are doing, if we don't listen more, we are going to keep losing, and I think that was also a factor in the race," Psaki added.