WASHINGTON, January 25, 2013 — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wasn’t about to take any guff from cranky Republican men. In the smack down that was billed as testifying before Congress about Benghazi, Hillary was ready for whatever they threw her way from nasty barbs to wanting to fire her.
Secretary Clinton weathered the onslaught by Republican Senators and Congressmen, who prefaced their remarks with some compliments before launching salvos about what happened and why on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. She withstood the incoming fire and gave as good as she got.
And, yes, Clinton got a bit emotional because she truly cared about that tragic day at Benghazi. She choked up when talking about the coffins coming home with the bodies of her friend U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and the other three men killed that day and she pounded the table and raised her voice in her reply to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who kept badgering her about why more wasn’t done to help the consulate.
In her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Hillary accepted full responsibility for that awful day and defended U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who had taken a full frontal assault by Republicans for presenting on the round of TV political talk shows last fall the talking points given her by the Security team.
Clinton never flinched and the pain she felt at the loss of Ambassador Stevens was obvious, because she does feel responsible and never wants to see something like Benghazi happen again, anywhere in the world.
But it wasn’t enough for the men of the GOP. They wanted blood and had set out to wound her, forgetting this is Hillary Clinton, who has been a target of the “Right Wing conspiracy” for a long time, particularly during the years of her husband’s presidency. She knows how to survive the GOP’s “slings and arrows.” She can endure any Republican barrage.
And don’t forget she was already primed for the worst at the hearings by some Republicans, who had claimed she was lying when she could not at first testify because of the stomach flu.
That’s the same flu that resulted in her fainting, hitting her head, and receiving a concussion and blood clot near the brain. Once Clinton hospitalized, the carping finally stopped.
So it is any wonder, Hillary lost her temper at Sen. Johnson and snapped, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest? Or was it because guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”
Her choice of words in a flash of anger was probably not the best, but she was not saying, “What difference does it make that Americans were killed, much less how?”
What she was emphasizing was that the political sideshow of “gotcha” was not getting to the bottom of things and that she had answered the committee’s questions forthrightly, explaining that in the days following the deaths, facts were fluid, changing on the hour as more details emerged. The FBI is still investigating the events surrounding that day.
And then there was Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who already is planning his presidential run in 2016 as the Tea Party’s favorite son. He just couldn’t help himself, having first charged that Benghazi was the worst day in American history since 9/11 and that Clinton had “cost lives.” Now warmed up and playing to his base, Paul added, “Had I been president at the time and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it’s inexcusable.”
Of course, since the cables were never sent to her and they were never shown to her, Clinton simply didn’t know Stevens had asked for more security.
And, of course, there is also that little matter of money for security that the Republicans keep trimming back and plan to do more trimming yet again. But that is another story for another day.
Sen. Paul was so elated with his sound bite that he immediately sent out a video of his tirade to his followers with the headline: “Had I been president, I would have relieved Secretary Clinton of her duties.”
Dream on, Sen. Paul. You will never be president. Like your father, Congressman Ron Paul, your base is too narrow and shallow to ever get you enough votes. Your video is about as close as you will ever get to the White House. So enjoy it while you may.
In fact, like it or not, you were actually grilling the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton. But again, that’s another story for another day.
To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.
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