Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE slapped House Republicans Tuesday night, calling the Benghazi Committee a "partisan vehicle" that is "basically an arm" of the Republican National Committee.

After fielding a question about her email scandal at the first Democratic presidential debate, the former secretary of State once again acknowledged that her use of personal email on a private server was a mistake.

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"I've taken responsibility for it," she said. "I did say it was a mistake."

The CNN debate panel waited 45 minutes before asking Clinton about the email controversy.

But the former first lady wasted no time in going after House Republicans, noting the comments made by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) linking her plummeting poll numbers to the success of the Benghazi Committee.

Clinton is expected to testify before the committee later this month.

Pressed by debate moderator Anderson Cooper about the email issue being a legitimate one, Clinton replied, "I never said it wasn't legitimate. I have said that I have answered all the questions."

Clinton maintained that she's been forthright and transparent when it comes to her emails. And she added with a smile, "I'm still standing."

The former secretary of State also got some unexpected help on the issue when Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows - Russia standoff over Ukraine dominates Sanders says Biden can't count on him to support 'almost any' spending package compromise Sanders says Republicans are 'laughing all the way to Election Day' MORE (I-Vt.) came to her defense.

"The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails," he said to applause from the audience.

After his remark, Clinton and Sanders shook hands on stage.