January 23 2013
Will Hillary Clinton Tell Us Anything about Benghazi Today?
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton goes to the Hill today to be asked questions about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, it is worth noting that her popularity is skyrocketing.
The Washington Post reports:
Fully 67 percent of all Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll now express favorable views of the outgoing secretary of state, a record high in the survey for Clinton, albeit by a single percentage point. By contrast, just 19 percent of people said they approved of the way Congress was doing its job in a Post-ABC poll released last week….
Clinton’s popularity not only dwarfs those of congressional Republicans but are also significantly stronger than those of Vice President Joe Biden, who, like Clinton, is mentioned as a possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.
While Mrs. Clinton has had health problems that prevented her from testifying about Benghazi, she has also quite obviously stonewalled on answering questions about something of great significance that happened on her watch: a terrorist attack that took four American lives, including our ambassador, the first U.S. ambassador killed on the job since 1979.
Since the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012, three more Americans have died in a terrorist siege of a gas plant in Algeria. There are indications that some of the same actors were involved in both attacks and that the weapons used in Algeria came from Libya.
Mrs. Clinton standing by the coffins of those slain in Libya, blaming their deaths on an obscure video, which intelligence officials knew not to have been the cause, is for me an indelible image. And yet her approval rating hovers near 70 percent!
Ed Morrisey comments on the Post story on her popularity:
The Washington Post frames this as a contest between a wildly popular potential presidential candidate and a decidedly unpopular Congress, but that’s not the real showdown coming on Capitol Hill today. It’s going to be the battle between the popular hazy image of Hillary Clinton as the leading American woman in politics, and the reality of her bungled tenure at State as she gets pressed on the details of Benghazi and the assumptions of the Arab Spring that play into it.
Morrissey calls our attention to a tweet by CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who reminds us that Mrs. Clinton’s State Department has refused to cooperate with Freedom of Information requests aimed at finding out what went down in Benghazi.
Somebody—I can’t remember who—did a piece recently on the longwinded questions reporters ask. Often these questions actually give the person being questioned a way to wiggle out of answering. Shorter questions, without so much framing, might actually put the person in a position of having to answer or be caught not answering.
I am hoping that the people who have an opportunity to question Mrs. Clinton today will go for Just the Facts, Ma’am. Be quick, don't ramble, and don't give her an out. I hope she will be asked the question I most want to know: What was the president doing that night as the crisis unfolded? Was he in the situation room? What time did he go to bed? She could say she didn’t know, but we know that she did. Like to ask the same questions regarding her activity that night. But the president's actions matter more.