Hillary Clinton admits 'short circuit' on email server comments

Hillary Clinton admits 'short circuit' on email comments
Hillary Clinton admits 'short circuit' on email comments

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to a crowd of journalists during a joint convention of black and Hispanic journalists, submitting herself to questions in an open forum for the first time since securing the nomination.

Writers, editors, and other media professionals from around the country gathered to hear Clinton address the National Association of Black and Hispanic Journalists (NABJ/NAHJ) conference, held this year in Washington, D.C. Yet in a question and answer session following her speech, the White House contender was tripped up once again by the lingering controversy over the private email server she used while at the State Department.

During her speech, Clinton said she wants to expand economic opportunities for Latinos and African Americans. "When the economy catches a cold, communities of color get pneumonia," Clinton said during her speech.

Clinton has granted numerous individual interviews to broadcast and print publications around the country. However, by many accounts her appearance at the convention marked the first time all year that she's fielded questions from more than one media outlet at a time.

At least for now, her reluctance to hold a press conference hasn't hurt her in the polls: In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll, Clinton held a 9 point lead over her Republican challenger Donald Trump. The real estate mogul has repeatedly attacked her for not holding a press conference.

Although most of the questions were friendly, the former Secretary of State was pressed by NBC News on her recent contention that FBI Director James Comey characterized her remarks on her email server as truthful.

While Clinton is currently leading Trump in most polls, many surveys show broad swaths of the public do not find her trustworthy, and harbor doubts about whether she's told the truth about email server.

Clinton defended her public statements about the issue, saying that her answers were truthful even though she acknowledged using a private server was "a mistake" in hindsight.

"That's really the bottom line here and I have said, during the interview and in many other occasions over the past months, that what I told the FBI, which he said was truthful, is consistent with what I have said publicly," Clinton told reporters.

"So I may have short-circuited it and for that, I will, you know, try to clarify," she added.

The latter part of her comment touched off a furor on social media, with the hashtag "What Makes Hillary Short Circuit" trending for hours on Twitter.

People tweet

"I have acknowledged repeatedly that using two email accounts was a mistake and I take responsibility for that but I do think having him say that my answers to the FBI were truthful and, then I should quickly add, that what I said was consistent with what I said publicly and that's really in my view ties my both ends together," Clinton added.

On Saturday, Trump wasted little time in responding to the remarks despite being under severe pressure to right his campaign. The GOP contender pounced on Clinton's remarks, implying that she was "not fit to be president" because of her self-described memory lapse:

Trump tweet

'I've heard that speech several times'

Attendees at the conference had mixed views about her appearance.

Angelica Glispie, a member of NABJ and a student at Kean University, said Clinton didn't miss any points in her speech. "She's well aware that we as minorities often get the short end of the stick," the student told CNBC, adding that she believed the former Secretary of State had the best interests of minorities at heart.

"Clinton knows about the difficulties that blacks and Latinos face and I feel that she approached them in her speech correctly," Glispie said. "I don't think she missed out on anything."

However, other conferees said Clinton's refrain sounded too familiar.

"I thought she had a prepared speech that I've heard several times," said Brandon Benavides, the executive producer for Good Morning San Antonio at KSAT News who is a candidate for NAHJ president. He added that Clinton performed well fielding questions about immigration and other issues affecting blacks and Hispanics.

"There were questions asked that could only be asked at a conference like this," said Benavides, noting the majority of black and Latino journalists in the crowd.

"People in the mainstream media may not have seen or heard answers to some of these questions," Benavides said. "In those instances, there was a perspective offered that was unique to our convention."

--NBC News' Kristen Welker contributed to this article.