Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons says the scandal surrounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's exclusive use of a private email account during her tenure as the nation's top diplomat has led to a big loss of support for Clinton from her natural supporters.
In an interview earlier this week with WHYY, Coons, who later said that he liked the idea of a "Biden-Kaine" ticket — that is, Vice President Joe Biden and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine — said Clinton hasn't been open with her answers about the scandal.
"I think the email scandal has raised questions in a very broad range of Americans of all different backgrounds and perspectives," he said earlier this week. "It's persisted a lot longer than I initially thought it would. Her answers to it have been less open and artful than I'd expected they would be and I think it's duration has led to a real loss of support by some of the folks who I had expected would be just diehard, enthusiastic Clinton fans, in part because it's a reminder of the Clinton era, when there seemed to always be some scandal going on about something."
Still, Coons said he didn't think the issue would be a deciding factor in the election.
"One of the things I try and help remind friends of is that many of [the scandals] like the so called "White Water scandal" never actually produced any evidence, after years, that the Clintons had done anything wrong," Coons continued. "But there was years of a steady drip of stories in the press and negativity. I do think that for the average American they don't really know what this is all about, they just know that there's some problem. That there was something she did that was somehow bad."
Coons said that, like the Sept. 11, 2012 terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, the email scandal will not amount to much.
"At the end of the day, I don't think this will amount to much, much like the Benghazi issue. There were dozens of hearings in front of Congress about the Benghazi incident in which four Americans tragically lost their life, but I've never seen credible evidence that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was directly involved in some cover up or in doing things that contributed to their loss of life, in fact the opposite," Coons said.
"There were a number of efforts in Congress to try and increase funding for embassy security that were blocked, frankly by Republicans. So I don't think this email scandal, in the end, will be decisive in the presidential election."