Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks after receiving an endorsement from U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) September 5, 2015 in Portsmouth, N.H.
Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty

Hillary Clinton’s apology evolution

Updated

This post has been updated.

After months of defending her use of a private email account as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton finally issued a full apology Tuesday.

Six months after her private email server was revealed, the Democratic front-runner and former secretary of state sent an email to supporters and took to Facebook to issue a full mea culpa. 

“I wanted you to hear this directly from me,” Clinton wrote. “Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department. Not doing so was a mistake. I’m sorry about it, and I take full responsibility.”

“I know this is a complex story. I could have – and should have – done a better job answering questions earlier. I’m grateful for your support, and I’m not taking anything for granted,” Clinton continued, linking to a website set up by the campaign to address questions on her emails.

Since the account first surfaced in March, Clinton has defended her decision to use the private server for official business, saying she did nothing wrong and chose to use a single account for merely convenience. Clinton cracked jokes about wiping the email server with a cloth and her allies dismissed the controversy as a fiction of Republicans’ imagination.

But as the months dragged on and it became clear the questioners were not going away, Clinton’s campaign changed course. Still, even as she struck a more contrite tone, Clinton pointedly refused to apologize.

As recently as Monday, the former secretary of state suggested she had nothing to apologize for. “What I did was allowed. It was allowed by the State Department,” she told the AP in an interview.

On Friday, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell repeatedly asked Clinton if she was sorry, but the Democratic presidential candidate said only that she regretted “the confusion” surrounding her emails.

Then in a new interview with ABC News Tuesday, Clinton said the words she has declined to say for so long. “That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility,” she told anchorman David Muir Tuesday.

And full mea culpa came hours later on Facebook, where Clinton made it clear to supporters she wanted to apologize, with no caveats. 

Here’s a look at Clinton’s six-month path to an apology:

MARCH 4, 2015

Clinton tweets: “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.”

MARCH 10, 2015

Press conference at the United Nations: “I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two. Looking back, it would’ve been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn’t seem like an issue.”

JULY 7, 2015

Interview with CNN: “Everything I did was permitted. There was no law. There was no regulation. There was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate. Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing. And people across the government knew that I used one device – maybe it was because I am not the most technically capable person and wanted to make it as easy as possible.”

AUGUST 11, 2015

Interview with Univision: “The facts are very clear here. I did turn over all work-related e-mails in an effort to help the State Department make sure that their records were complete. And those are the facts. Now that doesn’t mean I will ever convince these partisans who are, you know, trying to make all sorts of allegations. But I think the American people understand that.”

AUGUST 28, 2015

Press conference at Democratic National Committee meeting: “All I can tell you is what I’ve been telling you for months, which has the benefit of being true and factual, and that is I never sent any classified material nor received any marked classified.”

SEPTEMBER 4, 2015

Interview with NBC News: “At the end of the day, I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions, but there are answers to all these questions.”

SEPTEMBER 7, 2015

Interview with AP: “What I did was allowed. It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that.”

SEPTEMBER 8, 2015

Interview with ABC News: “That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility.”

In a Facebook post: “Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department. Not doing so was a mistake. I’m sorry about it, and I take full responsibility.”

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton's apology evolution

Updated