She was rated by Americans for 20 years as the most admired woman in the world, yet failed to win the presidency.
The former Democratic presidential nominee offered extensive comments about the election during the Women for Women International’s annual luncheon in New York on Tuesday.
She said she has been going through the “painful” process of reliving the 2016 contest while writing a book.
“It wasn’t a perfect campaign. There is no such thing,” Clinton said in a question-and-answer session with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
“But I was on the way to winning, until a combination of [FBI Director] Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.”
On October 28, Comey sent a letter to Congress saying new emails had turned up in the investigation looking into her use of a private server while she was secretary of state – emails that later proved to be irrelevant.
“If the election were on October 27, I would be your president,” Clinton said.
Forecaster FiveThirtyEight said that just before Comey’s announcement, she had an 81 percent chance of winning the election. Two days before the November 8 election, her chances were 65 percent, according to the same forecast.
Clinton reminded the enthusiastic audience packed with women that she earned 3 million more votes than Republican Donald Trump, who won more Electoral College votes and won the election.
She also said Russia hacked into her campaign’s internal emails and subsequently coordinated their release on WikiLeaks.
US intelligence agencies are investigating whether Russia coordinated with Trump associates to influence the election, something Russia has denied.
“He [Russian President Vladimir Putin] certainly interfered in our election,” Clinton said. “And it’s clear he interfered to hurt me and help my opponent.”
Political analyst Bill Schneider said that more than anything, Clinton herself was the reason the Democrats lost the election.
“She’s been around for over 25 years, that was her biggest problem in the election,” he told Al Jazeera.
“She is a charter member of the establishment, and 2016 was a very anti-establishment year.”
Amanpour also asked Clinton whether she was a victim of misogyny.
“Yes, I do think it played a role,” she said, adding that misogyny is “very much a part of the landscape politically, socially and economically”.
After two unsuccessful presidential campaigns, Clinton is not expected to run for public office again.
“I’m now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance,” she said.