There were fireworks on Capitol Hill this morning as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally took the stand to testify in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Emotions ran far and wide, with Secretary Clinton choking back tears while reading her pre-prepared opening statements :
CLINTON: 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, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters, and the wives left alone to raise their children.”
Her tone took a turn, however, during questioning by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wi). Sen. Johnson insisted that Americans were “misled” about what occurred leading up to the storming of the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. After a heated back and forth, Clinton lost her cool shouting:
CLINTON: With all respect, the fact is we have 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? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) also had sharp criticism for the Secretary of State, blasting her handling of the situation:
PAUL: 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.
While Sen. Paul was quick to add that he did not believe Secretary Clinton has “bad motives,” his assessment of her capabilities was not done:
PAUL: I would think that by anybody’s estimation, Libya has to have been one of the hottest of hotspots around the world. Not to know of the requests for securities really, I think, cost these people their lives. Their lives could have been saved if someone had been more available, had someone been aware of these things, more on top of the job.
Pat and Stu, who had not yet had a chance to watch the full testimony, broke down some of the hearing earlier today on Pat & Stu. They took issue with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) whose questions seemed to fall a little flat given the gravity of the situation.
Stu was particularly looking forward to hearing the questions of Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who is known for his hawkish style when it comes to issues of national security in the military. Sen. McCain was mixed in his remarks – extending his well wishes to Secretary Clinton for a quick recovery and dismissing her explanation for the administration’s poor response to the crisis.
As of now, it is unclear to what degree Secretary Clinton’s remarks will impact the Benghazi investigation or shed any light on what happened that tragic day, though it promising that after a long and winding road she was finally able to make herself available to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.