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Clinton avoids email controversy at women’s event

March 9, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton steered clear Monday of a controversy involving her use of a private email account at the State Department, bringing attention instead to a new report on the progress of women and girls around the globe.

The potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate did not speak about questions over her use of a private email account as secretary of state during a two-hour event involving her No Ceilings project at the Clinton Foundation. The event highlighted a report released by Clinton and others on the economic and educational opportunities for women and girls.

Clinton is considered the leading contender for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination but hasn’t entered the race yet. Among the possible Republican candidates are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“There has never been a better time in history to be born female,” Clinton said, but noted that many opportunity gaps remain around the world.

Clinton has faced scrutiny over whether she fully complied with federal laws requiring government officials to preserve written communications involving official business. Democrats have defended her but Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a prominent Democrat, urged Clinton on Sunday to offer a more detailed explanation. “From this point on, the silence is going to hurt her,” Feinstein said.

Last week, Clinton said in a Twitter message that she wanted her emails released but she has not spoken publicly about the issue. The State Department is reviewing 55,000 pages of emails that she has already turned over, and Republicans in Congress have said they plan to review her email practices.

The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama knew that Clinton conducted business on a nongovernment email account while secretary of state, but only recently learned the details of the privately run system she was operating.

The White House has drawn scrutiny over whether Obama or his aides should have done more to ensure her correspondence was secure and properly preserved. In a weekend interview, Obama told CBS News that it was only recently “through news reports” that he’d learned that Clinton was using a nongovernment email system.

Clinton, with her daughter, Chelsea, and philanthropist Melinda Gates, joined several panelists at a media event about the report compiled by Clinton’s project on the progress of women and girls around the globe.

It came nearly 20 years since her 1995 United Nations speech in Beijing, when she declared that “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.”

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Thomas reported from Washington.

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