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In Her New Book 'What Happened', Hillary Clinton Blames Many for Defeat. Including Herself

Hillary Clinton Settles Scores In New Campaign Book
Hillary Clinton looks on during a campaign rally in Tempe, Arizona, on Nov. 2, 2016.Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — At the height of the scandal over her email server, Hillary Clinton was "tempted to make voodoo dolls of certain members of the press and Congress and stick them full of pins," she writes in a new memoir of her 2016 presidential campaign.

"Mostly, I was furious at myself," she writes, adding: "It was a dumb mistake. But an even dumber 'scandal.'"

That "yes, but" tone defines Clinton’s "What Happened," a book obtained by NBC News through a source who had purchased it ahead of its official publication Tuesday. The book offers her understanding of one of the biggest upsets in presidential history.

Clinton is quick to provide the mea culpas that her critics have been clamoring for.

"I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them," she writes. "In my more introspective moments, I do recognize that my campaign in 2016 lacked the sense of urgency and passion that I remember from (Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign)."

But Clinton also has scores to settle with those whom she says kept her from the White House.

Former FBI Director James Comey, Russian meddling and the media — she singles out several journalists by name — come in for a beating, while she also lays blame at the feet of Bernie Sanders, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, sexism and the electoral system itself.

"I wasn’t just running against Donald Trump. I was up against the Russian intelligence apparatus, a misguided FBI director, and now the godforsaken Electoral College," she writes toward the end.

"If not for the dramatic intervention of the FBI director in the final days," she said of Comey’s October surprise letter reintroducing the email investigation, "we would have won the White House."

And Stein — "who wouldn’t be worth mentioning" otherwise — may have spoiled Clinton by peeling off tens of thousands of votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all of which Trump narrowly won.

"[I]n each state, there were more than enough Stein voters to swing the result, just like Ralph Nader did in Florida and New Hampshire in 2000," Clinton writes.

Image: Presidential Debate
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonRick Wilking / Reuters

Throughout the 469-page book, Clinton demonstrates that she’s been keeping up with the Monday morning quarterbacking of her campaign over the past 10 months.

Notably, she does not blame her staff, despite the reports of dysfunction in her campaign, and she pauses throughout to praise various aides.

She "regret[s] handing Trump a political gift with my 'deplorables' comment," and added that she was sorry that people "misunderstood me to be criticizing all Trump voters."

She accuses Sanders of inflicting "lasting damage" to her campaign by attacking her personally and staying in the race too long, "drawing blood wherever he could along the way."

"It was beyond frustrating that Bernie acted as if he had a monopoly on political purity," she writes, "despite giving short shrift to important issues such as immigration, reproductive rights, racial justice, and gun safety."

Obama urged her to go easy on Sanders, she writes, which made it feel "like I was in a straitjacket."

But Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, an old foe from her days as secretary of state, consume much of Clinton’s ire.

"Of course it had an impact," she writes of Russian meddling, describing it as "roughly equivalent to a hostile super PAC unleashing a major ad campaign, if not worse."

Trump is "the perfect Trojan horse for Putin," she continues, and Russia’s "sophisticated information warfare on a massive scale" dovetailed perfectly with the homegrown "right-wing war on truth" of Fox News and Breitbart.

Clinton suggests Obama should have spoken out more forcefully on the issue, wondering if "more Americans would have woken up" if he had.

But she also credits the former president with pushing her to run again in the first place, despite his warm feelings for former Vice President Joe Biden. And she praises his counsel, even when he would call her on the campaign trail to say, "Don’t try to be hip, you’re a grandma."

The book is also very personal at times, detailing everything from the crush of defeat to the members of her hair and makeup "glam squad."

"I have come to terms with the fact that a lot of people — millions and millions of people — decided they just didn’t like me. Imagine what that feels like," she writes.

Jordan Jackson contributed reporting.