Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified on the Benghazi attacks before the Senate on Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know about her testimony.
1.Clinton is more popular than ever.
As Clinton headed to Capitol Hill, a Washington Post poll showed that she had a 67 percent favorability rating, with 28 percent viewing her unfavorably and 6 percent having no opinion, as the Washington Post reports:
“Clinton has nearly unanimous support from fellow Democrats — 91 percent — in the new poll, also a career best. She also scores a gaudy 65 percent approval score among independents and more than one in three (37 percent) of Republicans believe she is doing a good job. That’s more than double the number of Republicans who approve of the way President Obama is doing his job.”
2.Benghazi probably won’t damage her reputation in the long term.
After two decades in the public eye, Clinton knows how to survive a scandal, as the National Journal points out:
“She did the smart thing and appointed an Accountability Review Board headed by the likes of Mike Mullen, the retired admiral and former Joint Chiefs chairman, and the legendary diplomat Thomas Pickering. There’s no better `scandal’ management then leading the charge to get to the bottom of things.”
3.Clinton choked up during her prepared remarks.
Reading from her prepared remarks, Clinton choked up when talking about the four deaths:
“For me, this is not just a matter of policy ... it’s personal. I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters.”
4.She also had a heated exchange with Sen. Ron Johnson.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., told Clinton that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was “purposefully misleading” when she appeared on Sunday talk shows after the attack. Clinton raised her voice in response:
“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.”
5.Sen. John McCain backed Johnson’s criticism.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also criticized Rice’s comments on the Sunday talk shows:
“The American people deserve answers and they certainly don’t deserve false answers. And the answers that were given to the American people on Sept. 15 by the ambassador to the United Nations were false.”
6.Sen. Rand Paul harshly criticized Clinton.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took the harshest line of attack against Clinton, saying a review of Benghazi showed a “failure of leadership” for “the worst tragedy since 9/11.” Here’s what he said:
“I’m glad that you’re accepting responsibility. I think that ultimately with your leaving you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11, and I really mean that. Had I been president at the time, and I had found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador (Chris) Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it’s inexcusable.”