THE BLOG

Hillary Clinton Stumbles

03/08/2015 11:06 pm ET | Updated May 08, 2015
Rodrigo Varela via Getty Images

Democrats may be getting a little anxious. Hillary Clinton is stumbling into the starting gate. Since she became the prohibitive favorite for her party's nomination she has made some mistakes.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to explain why she used a personal email account during her entire tenure at State (2009-2013) instead of using an official government email account. On the face of it, this makes no sense and calls in to question her judgment. Putting aside whether she complied with regulations, a private email server does not have the same level of security against hackers that a government-managed server does.

The Russians, Chinese and Iranians very likely could have gotten access to Secretary Clinton's email traffic. And there was plenty of traffic, especially considering the 55,000 pages of emails she turned over to the State Department are only a portion of those she wrote while in office.

While Clinton has not talked about the controversy, her aides are fighting back by attacking the media. Her supporters also point out that she complied with the regulations (maybe), and that former Secretary of State Colin Powell also used a private email account. But that was five years earlier, when the State Department system wasn't as robust and there were no regulations in place.

Leading Democrats are pressing for an explanation. Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-CA, said on NBC's Meet the Press, "From this point on... the silence is going to hurt her... She is the leading candidate, whether it be Republican or Democrat, to be the next president." Republicans have seized the issue with gusto. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC, is chairman for the House Select Committee on Benghazi. He told CBS's Face the Nation, his committee doesn't have all of Clinton's emails. "It's not up to Secretary Clinton to decide what is a public record and what is not," he said, adding: "I don't want everything. I just want everything related to Libya and Benghazi."

President Barack Obama, in an interview about the 50th anniversary of the historic march in Selma, Alabama, had to address the subject in an interview with CBS News. He said the policy of his administration was to encourage transparency. "My emails, the Blackberry I carry around, all those records are available and archived," Mr. Obama said. "I'm glad that Hillary's instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed." President Obama was referring to a post on Twitter by Clinton Wednesday night in which she wrote, "I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible." Really, that's it? How long will it take for State to sift through 55,000 pages of email?

Secretary Clinton's email-capade has opened up speculation as to her motive. The conservative National Journal reasons, "its greatest relevancy is what the emails might reveal about any nexus between Clinton's work at State and donations to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation from U.S. corporations and foreign nations." Did the ultimate power couple leverage their positions of power for donations? Even Saturday Night Live got into the act. Cast member Kate McKinnon, doing an impression of Clinton, said, "Those emails are clean as a whistle. This is not how Hillary Clinton goes down."

Senator Chuck Schumer found himself defending Secretary Clinton on CBS's Face the Nation. "The bottom line is she's a national figure, a potential presidential candidate. People are going to shoot at her," he said calling it a "slight bump in the road six months from now."

Hillary Clinton is rumored to be putting her campaign team together, and she may announce her intention to run for president sooner rather than later. However, her handling of the controversy over her use of private emails while at the State Department has exposed one of her great weaknesses: transparency. This may well be her Achilles heel.