Campaign

Hillary coming to terms with her new life

Hillary Clinton, still sorting through the wreckage of her 2016 presidential campaign, recently had former aides on her campaign team meet with outside strategists and consultants to look at what went wrong.

For months, Clinton and her top aides have blamed their devastating loss on FBI Director James Comey and Russia's interference in the presidential election. While their outlook hasn't changed, Clinton still wanted a thorough, detailed post-mortem of the campaign.

The meeting - an echo of similar efforts done after Clinton lost the 2008 Democratic primary to Barack Obama - "was an attempt to dot all the i's and cross all the t's," said one source familiar with the fact-finding mission. "But I don't think anyone learned all that much."

Another ally added, "It wasn't fun for the people who had to sit through it."

Behind the scenes, the former Democratic nominee has spent the last few months reaching out to donors, associates and friends, many of whom have given their own two cents on the loss.

"She has tried her best to get a full account of what went wrong and where she could have done better," one longtime friend said.

The finger-pointing began the day after the election and has continued inside Clinton's orbit.

Late last month, Lynn de Rothschild, a donor and friend of Clinton's, took to Twitter to blast campaign chairman John Podesta for the defeat.

"HRC lost because you ran an arrogant out of touch campaign," she wrote, before calling him a loser.

In the days and weeks following her surprise loss, allies say it was difficult for Clinton to read the headlines. Instead, she went on long walks in and around her home Chappaqua, N.Y. and out to dinner with her husband. She caught The Color Purple and Sunset Boulevard on Broadway and went grocery shopping for the first time in months.

But those who have spoken to her since then say she's trying her best to move on from the bruising campaign.

"She's in a much better place than she was in two months ago," said one confidant who has spoken to her in the last few weeks. "I think she's very much forward-thinking and -looking than people think she is right now.

"I don't think she's obsessing about the past, but she's focused on a 'country-first' type thing," the confidant added.

To that point, those around her say Clinton has taken it upon herself to not let Trump go unanswered. And in a string of posts on Twitter, she has been criticizing the president on a variety of issues, from the rise in domestic hate crimes to the travel ban.

After a federal appeals court refused to reinstate Trump's travel bad, the president took to Twitter: "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!" he wrote.

Clinton had her own reply: "3-0" she taunted, referring to the three judge panel on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that ruled against him.

Her daughter, Chelsea, has also been hitting Trump on Twitter, a pivot from her past use of social media (and leading some to believe that she has her sights set on her own political career).

"It's as if the administration doesn't understand the H, the B, the C, or the U (or understand why HBCUs were started & remain vital)," the former first daughter tweeted earlier this week about Trump, referring to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Lately, though, the biggest I-told-you-so from the Clintons and their allies is the continuing story about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

For months, in private conversations, Clinton has griped about Trump's connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin and suggested that no one seemed to care about it during the election.

At a gathering with donors in December, she was blunt. "Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people ... that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this election," Clinton said, according to audio obtained by the New York Times.

Months later, the former secretary of State is still plotting her next moves. It's unclear if she will continue the work she started at the Clinton Foundation prior to launching her presidential campaign or if she'll take on other work, those around her say. And while some have suggested a run for mayor of New York is possible, those close to her say she isn't interested.

In the meantime, she has made several appearances on the speaking circuit, including one this week at Wellesley College, her alma mater.

And even all these months later, she can't escape questions about what went wrong.

Asked at Wellesley what she'd change about her campaign, Clinton replied: "I'd win."

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