Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

No Match

Hillary Clinton is no stranger to Republican animosity. She has arguably endured harsher and more frequent criticism from the Right, over a lengthier period of time, than any other modern public figure. She is also no amateur when it comes to navigating her way through Congressional hearings. She has always been proficient at holding her head high in the face of controversy, whether or not any of the “fault” for such turmoil truly rested on her shoulders. After months of vilifying the Obama administration and demonizing Clinton over the Benghazi terror attacks, Republicans have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to theatrically grill her in front of plenty of cameras. When her testimony on Benghazi was briefly delayed due to illness, she was accused of faking it to avoid facing Congress.  One can’t help but wonder whether these buffoons are suffering from concussions of their own.

Yesterday Congressional Republicans finally got their chance to gleefully interrogate the Secretary of State on the Benghazi tragedy, and Clinton fired back as only a Clinton can.

House Republicans slammed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today for her lack of awareness of State Department cables warning of security threats in Benghazi, Libya, prior to the Sept. 11 attack that killed four Americans, including Amb. Chris Stevens.

In the second congressional hearing of the day reviewing a report by the Accountability Review Board on the State Department’s security failures, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, asked Clinton this afternoon why her office had not responded to a notification from Stevens about potential dangers in Libya.

“Congressman, that cable did not come to my attention,” Clinton calmly told the House Foreign Affairs Committee hours after her Senate testimony this morning. “I’m not aware of anyone within my office, within the secretary’s office having seen that cable.”

She added that “1.43 million cables come to my office. They’re all addressed to me.”

ABC, emphasis added

Several of her detractors really showed their rears, heedless of the extent to which they came across as petulant, belligerent bullies. Republicans used the opportunity to desperately attempt to bruise and bloody a key figure of the Obama administration and a potential 2016 Democratic candidate. But there is no more seasoned political veteran than Hillary, and she showed no signs of buckling under the pressure.

Hillary Clinton faced accusations of incompetence, evasion and obfuscation by angry members of Congress at two hearing into the deaths of the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Benghazi last year. Although the US secretary of state was roundly praised for her “extraordinary” work as she prepares to leave office, she came under strong criticism over her handling of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11.

Some of the strongest criticism came at the Senate foreign relations committee from John McCain, who has been at the forefront of challenging the Obama administration’s account of the assault. He was particularly critical of Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations, who was initially put up by the White House to say that the attack on the consulate followed a demonstration outside over an anti-Muslim video made by a California resident, which prompted protests in Cairo and other cities.

. . .

Senator Ron Johnson riled Clinton by repeatedly challenging her account of the events leading up to the attack. He said that “we were misled that there were supposedly protests” before the assault and wanted to know why the secretary of state hadn’t made “a simple phone call” to ascertain the truth.

. . .

Other senators weighed in. Bob Corker described the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi crisis as the “worst of Washington”, and said that a “bizarre” briefing he was given at the time was “worse than nothing”.

The Guardian

The degree to which Clinton has accepted responsibility for the tragic events which occurred has been mature, honorable, and frankly, incredibly generous. She stated:

Let’s also remember that administrations of both parties, in partnership with Congress, have made concerted and good faith efforts to learn from the tragedies that have occurred, to implement recommendations from the Review Boards, to seek necessary resources, and to better protect our people from constantly evolving threats.  That’s what the men and women who serve our country deserve.  And it’s what we are doing again now, with your help.  As Secretary, I have had no higher priority, and no greater responsibility.

As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility.  Nobody is more committed to getting this right.  I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure.

Taking responsibility meant moving quickly in those first uncertain hours and days to respond to the immediate crisis and further protect our people and posts in high-threat areas across the region and the world.  It meant launching an independent investigation to determine exactly what happened in Benghazi and to recommend steps for improvement.  And it meant intensifying our efforts to combat terrorism and support emerging democracies in North Africa and beyond.

Transcript via ABC

It was perhaps Rand Paul who got in the biggest GOP sound bite of the day when he called the Benghazi attacks the “worst tragedy since 9/11” and told Hillary that he would have “relieved” her of her position if he had been president. Nevermind all of the other equally devastating tragedies which have occurred overseas as well as here at home over the past decade. Sounds a lot like Rand Paul is suffering from some alarmingly severe cognitive deficits if he has truly forgotten all of these incidents. Fortunately for us all, Rand Paul will never be president (nor will his father, regardless of what thousands of internet fanatics may want to believe). The publicity he is receiving now and the kudos being heaped upon him from the Right will fade. The dust will settle, and he will go back to just being that Senator from Kentucky with the really sad toupee-fro.

For any Hillary enthusiast, yesterday was both exhilarating and infuriating. Clinton brought her A-game and once again proved herself a fiery, intelligent, courageous, compassionate, and skilled woman, who is infinitely worthy of her post and of the success she has experienced over the years. Now Republicans are looking for any way to tear her down after her astonishing demonstration of professionalism and competence. Some are now accusing her of “faking” her impassioned outburst about the deaths of four Americans.

On Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave an emotional testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Benghazi terror attacks, tearing up as she described the “flag draped coffins” of the victims. Clinton lost patience when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) pushed her on whether or not she had immediately determined the motivation of the attacks, leading the
senator to accuse her of ducking questions with “theatrics.”

In an instantly viral outburst, Clinton shot back, “The fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”

After the hearing, Johnson complained to Buzzfeed that Clinton had planned to become emotional as a way to avoid answering questions:

I’m not sure she had rehearsed for that type of question. I think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead Americans, the heroes, and use that as her trump card to get out of the questions. It was a good way of getting out of really having to respond to me.

Think Progress

They can grumble and cry “foul” and “fake” and whatever else pleases them, but none of it will stick. No one who wasn’t already a GOP devotee will be swayed by this sort of petty nonsense.

And my guess? Most Congressional Republicans likely just have a bit of a complex about women faking things in general.

But quite frankly? That’s really not Hillary’s problem.

And the whole of the GOP is no match for her.


  1. cassandracarolina

    thrashing and snarling and biting at their prey in the death throes of their Time on Earth, I just see dinosaurs. Big, lumbering, stumbling dinosaurs. There they are, looking up at the sky, trying to figure out why that bright light keeps getting bigger. And suddenly it hits them.

    We are watching extinction in real time.  

  2. Too bad the shots have to come from our own Congress.

    Facts do not deter Republicans on a mission to prove that Benghazi was the biggest foreign policy misstep in the history of our country. They have obviously forgotten pretty much everything that the Bush administration did including the entire occupation of Iraq starting by refusing to hire any of the folks who knew how the government worked to “losing” $8 billion dollars. Not to mention the war paying for itself and the infamous “we will be greeted as liberators”.

    This, delivered in pure Hillary dead-pan, was perfect:

    “1.43 million cables come to my office. They’re all addressed to me.”

    We have to wait until 2016 to rid ourselves of the blight of Ron Johnson in the U.S. Senate. But I can’t picture a scenario where he is more than a one term Senator. That will be a high turnout presidential election year and, if that is how he intends to burnish his credentials he is not going to win any friends.

  3. The BlackTwittersphere I monitor was not pleased that Dick Durban was left to defend her employee.  People remember when she under bused the Rev. Wright and the fact she didn’t allow a bad word to be said about any of her charges except that one, it is leaving a bad taste in many mouths including mine.

  4. dear occupant

    “I mean, if their competitor in ’16 ia going to be Hillary Clinton, supported by Bill Clinton, and presumably a still relatively popular President Barack Obama, trying to win that will be truly the Superbowl. And the Republican party today is incapable of competing at that level.”

    “worst tragedy since 9/11”, “relieved her of her position”, worst of Washington”, “worse than nothing”. these guys had how much time to prepare for that hearing and that’s what they came up with.

    i think Newt is right, ‘they are incapable of competing at that level.’

    her fierce testimony reminds me of this delicious moment:

  5. spacemanspiff

    That’s all I’ve got to say.

    I’d be rrrreally dissapointed if she did not run. The D’s having the first black POTUS and the first woman (about damn time) POTUS is a period of history I would love to live through.

    It’s going to be a landslide. /tehengels  

  6. fogiv

    …and their latching on “what does it matter” and using it out of context, or suggesting she ‘faked’ the emotion just goes to show how afeared they are.  hillz got skillz.

  7. Moozmuse

    the Democratic nominee? With Bill as First Dude? I’m no purist, but I haven’t warmed to the idea of Bill being in the White House again. Nothing against Ms. Clinton, but I like Biden, too, and he may run, but there’s still a  bunch of candidates we don’t know about yet. I’m going to wait quite a while before making up my mind.

    I agree she has been a very effective SoS, and did an excellent job, just as with everything she has tackled so far, and here’s hoping this hearing puts an end to the Benghazi bs, too. Typical ginned up poutrage to try to make the Democrats look bad. Blah.

  8. Mnemosyne

    but Bitter John McCain is all over the noon news fulminating against Hillary.

    I think it’s as simple as: She is a woman in a powerful postion. She wields power, she uses it, and she doesn’t back down from using it.

    That is so far from their old-white-(mostly Republican) guy concept of “woman’s role” that they cannot get their tiny little brains around it.  

  9. HappyinVT

    to two different conclusions.  Folks are the Right are largely saying that the Republicans “took it to” Clinton and exposed the White House’s lies, etc.

    Really?  Folks gonna believe what folks gonna believe.

    And Rand Paul suggesting that this is the worst terrorist attack since 9/11/01 isn’t surprising given the Right’s believe that it isn’t a terrorist attack unless committed by one of them.

  10. dear occupant

    and if they decide to run, will make formidable candidates provided they don’t damage each other in the primaries.

    Hillary seems to have benefitted greatly from her 4 years at State. she seems more seasoned, she sounds and looks ‘presidential’, to these eyes.

    i would support either but to pull the lever for a D. woman President, that would really be worth opening a special bottle for.

  11. HappyinVT

    during Kerry’s confirmation hearings:


    Johnson: Is there a reason that we wouldn’t have those Department of State officials, those security people, testifying before us, so we can find out: Who knew what? When? I mean, to actually get to the bottom of that?

       Kerry: Well, there’s no reason down the road, I would assume. But for the moment, I know that there is an FBI investigation going on, because I personally called the FBI Director, and was debriefed by him, and was told that they’re making progress, and that some things may or may not be right to take place in the not too distant future.

       Johnson: Okay. Will you work with me then, on an ongoing basis, so we can get that behind us, so we can find out what actually happened, and then we can move beyond that? I mean, can you just make that commitment to me?

       Kerry: Well I think, Senator, in all fairness, we do know what happened. I think it is very clear – were you at the briefing with the tapes?

       Johnson: No.

       Kerry: Well, there was a briefing with tapes, which we all saw – those of us who went to it – which made it crystal clear. We sat for several hours with our intel folks, who described to us precisely what we were seeing. We saw all of the events unfold. We had a very complete and detailed description.


    Whole damn thing yesterday was posturing.

  12. spacemanspiff

    NOBODY comes close to taking the crown away from her.

    She would eat GOP chumps on a plate during debates.

    Hillary crossed into the “i don’t give a shit, WHAT you think” phase.


  13. The biggest surprise is reading in the comments that people are still bitter over 2008 primaries. I admit it took me a while to warm to Obama, but seeing as behaviour in the primary was slimy all round, I got over it.

    WRT these hearings, Rand, as president, LULZ. As an aside, it’s great to see Clinton in good health and as sharp as ever.

  14. louisprandtl

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t. Before her recent blood clot incident she was looking tired and sickly.

  15. louisprandtl

    way to go to get back in touch with the grass roots of African American community. Clearly the unpleasantness of 2008  primaries will dog HRC if she decides to run again. On the other side when i see likes of Cheryl Mills or Maggie Willliams putting their own powerful careers and life on hold to support HRC’s work, she must have done something somewhere good..

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