Quotes of the day

posted at 10:41 pm on May 9, 2013 by Allahpundit

On the heels of a dramatic hearing where three whistle-blowers testified, Fox News has learned that former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday, on the Hill for a meeting with House Republicans, also told lawmakers: “I think Hillary (Clinton) should be subpoenaed if necessary.”

The comments and developments signal that Republicans will continue to press for answers on the deadly Sept. 11 attack. Despite arguments from Democrats that the hearing was not nearly as shocking as Republicans made it out to be, GOP lawmakers said it raised troubling questions that need to be investigated.

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Secretary of State Clinton made at least three statements that have been contradicted by subsequent testimony. First, she told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that “we didn’t have a clear picture” of what had happened in Benghazi. Yet Greg Hicks, who had been second in command at the U.S. mission in Libya, testified Wednesday that he spoke to Clinton on the night of Sep. 11-12 and told her exactly what had happened.

Second, Clinton told the Senate: “So I saw firsthand what Ambassador Pickering and former Chairman Mullen called timely and exceptional coordination: no delays in decision-making, no denials of support from Washington or from our military.” Yet testimony on Wednesday revealed that help was denied twice–once when support from the State Department’s Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) was denied, and once when Lt. Col. Gibson was told to stand down.

Third, Clinton told the Senate that she had not seen diplomatic cables from Libya requesting more security: “I didn’t see those requests. They didn’t come to me. I didn’t approve them. I didn’t deny them.” Yet Gen. Dempsey appeared to cast some doubt on Clinton’s testimony when he told the Senate in February that it seemed unlikely she had not seen the cables: “I would call myself surprised that she didn’t.”

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Mrs. Clinton’s role in this matter remains obscure, in part because the State Department’s Accountability Review Board did not interview her, amazingly enough. The review board protected all of the department’s higher-ups and blamed career officials down the ladder. The board is now itself under investigation by State’s inspector general, and Wednesday’s testimony revealed the sore feelings of career officers about the review board’s conduct…

The hearing also showed the chasm between the culture of career civil servants ready to risk their lives and the vicious political culture of Washington. No doubt politics motivated some of the Republicans, but due to the nature of the hearing they were cast as investigators. Most Democrats appeared far more dedicated to defending Mrs. Clinton and the Obama administration than to finding out exactly what happened, and any criticism of Ms. Rice was rebutted. After all, Chris Stevens is gone but 2016 is just around the corner.

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Senator Lindsey Graham says Hillary Clinton’s management of the Benghazi crisis could cost her a “promotion” to the presidency.

“In the military, she wouldn’t be promoted,” the South Carolina Republican tells National Review…

He points to her media appearances in the wake of the attacks as evidence of her shaky leadership skills. “How in the world could she have believed that the death of Chris Stevens was a spontaneous riot motivated by a hateful video? Either she is completely disconnected from reality or that was political spin.”

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Credibility is Obama’s strong suit, a key reason why his personal approval ratings continue to buoy soft job approval scores. He can’t afford to lose that trust.

Credibility is Clinton’s vulnerability, dating to the unjustified financial accusations that triggered the Whitewater investigation. Doubts persisted about her veracity and authenticity throughout the 2008 presidential campaign…

Witnesses said the investigation, led by veteran retired diplomat Thomas Pickering, was inadequate. “They stopped short of interviewing people who I personally know were involved in key decisions,” testified Eric Nordstrom, an official in the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The testimony of these credible whistleblowers may raise doubts in voters’ minds about how honestly the Obama administration faced its failings. Despite that, the Pickering report is a scathing indictment of State Department security efforts on Clinton’s watch. If she runs for president, embassy security will be a credible and durable issue…

Overreaching Republicans (conservative groups are raising money off the cover-up claims) are doing Obama and Clinton a favor. But the damage may already be done to the duo’s credibility – Obama’s strength and Clinton’s weakness.

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Caring would have meant honoring the security request that came five months before the attack. Caring would have meant scrambling fighters and a tanker to refuel them, as well as accepting the offer of a ride from Tripoli to Benghazi for Special Ops troops aboard a Libyan government aircraft. Caring would have meant ensuring that sufficient military assets were stationed within a more reasonable range of a consulate in a volatile country. Caring would have meant relying on Americans, not Libyans, to provide security for the consulate.

Caring would have meant making a credible effort, but Barack “Wasn’t Me” Obama’s administration and Hillary “What Difference Does it Make?” Clinton’s State Department couldn’t manage so much as an empty gesture.

And with all of that knowledge in hand, the media will be desperate to duck out and cover the next story — any story. Are the cicadas here yet?…

Clinton may get dinged, because she doesn’t enjoy Obama’s utter invincibility against the truth. But her media security is darned good, too.

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Yet as Democrats prepare for Hillary’spossible political comeback, so are Republicans and conservatives. Consequently, the GOP’s shift in focus shouldn’t be surprising, especially with 2016 on the horizon. But what’s striking is how sudden the transition seemed yesterday. Also striking is that it comes at a time when Clinton is enjoying her highest polling numbers, even among Republicans. In the April NBC/WSJ poll, 56% of respondents had a favorable view of her, including 23% of Republicans. (Compare that with Obama’s 8% among GOP respondents in the same poll.) Make no mistake: That Republican number is going to change for Clinton if she runs for president. So mark May 8, 2013 on your political calendars. That’s the date when Republican Party returned to what was its favorite pastime for a good part of the last 16 years (from 1992 to 2008): going after the Clintons. Folks, the “vast right-wing conspiracy” is back.

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Smith said that she spoke to her son the day he died who told her he was worried about individuals he saw taking pictures of the Benghazi consulate. “He said he reported it and they didn’t care,” Smith said. “Our government does not care about us. They don’t care about us at all. They just care about saving their own butts and covering their souls, or whatever it is.”

“I wish you had gotten answers,” Tapper offered after a prolonged pause.

“So do I,” Smith answered. She said that she was promised answers by members of Obama’s administration, but has received none. “They don’t care. I’m not important to them,” Smith said.

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