WATCH: S.E. Cupp interviews Sen. Ron Johnson on Real News

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went before the House and Senate yesterday to testify on the September 11, 2012 attacks on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya. While Secretary Clinton enjoyed some fawning questions from her supporters, she also faced pointed criticisms from her detractors.

One of the most dramatic moments came during questioning from Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who asserted that Americans were “misled” about what occurred leading up to the attacks, a question that caused Secretary Clinton to lose her composure and shout:

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.

On Real News last night, S.E. Cupp interviewed Senator Johnson to get his reaction to what transpired during the hearings.

CUPP: With us right now is Senator Ron Johnson. Thanks for joining us.

JOHNSON: Hello, S.E. How are you doing?

CUPP: Good. Firstly, and this is not a condemnation of everything Secretary Clinton said today, but I was incredibly offended by her reaction to what I thought was a very valid question from you, and I think we all know what difference it makes whether the attacks were spontaneous or terrorism. What was your reaction to her response?

JOHNSON: I was surprised by her reaction, but, again, I thought it was a pretty simple question and valid point that this administration, I think, purposely misled the American public for a couple of weeks. And we all know why they did it. They have this narrative that [Osama] bin Laden is dead, and Al Qaeda is on the run, and all is well with their policy of disengaging with the world. The point I was trying to make is: it didn’t have to drag on for two weeks – this question of whether it was a terrorist attack or sprung out of some protest. All that really needed to happen was a simple phone call to the evacuees. Ask them what happened, and they could have easily told them there was nothing happening outside of the consulate prior to these guys rushing the gate. When you read the Accountability Review Board report, it’s obvious there was no protest, and those people could have answered that question very simply with a very quick phone call. It is clear we could have avoided two weeks of controversy.

CUPP: And a number of senators in the hearing called some of Secretary Clinton’s responses “unsatisfying.” Rand Paul, John McCain, and others pressed for more answers and more accountability from the State Department. Were you satisfied?

JOHNSON: I don’t think we really got any more answers to our questions. We are going to continue put questions on the record, and we will try to get those responses. One thing that I will agree with Secretary Clinton on is the primary thing we ought to be doing is learn lessons from the failure – the failed leadership that really took a look at all of these requests and did nothing with them to beef up security. We should learn those lessons and apply them to all of our other diplomatic missions so we can protect Americans that are serving this nation honorably abroad.

CUPP: Help us understand, from your perspective then, why Benghazi happened. Was it politics? Was it a funding issue, negligence, incompetence, duplicity, all of the above? What do you think?

JOHNSON: I would say, certainly, a failure of leadership – the fact that those cables didn’t bubble up past a certain level. I believe Secretary Clinton when she said she didn’t see those cables, those pleas for reinforcements, and beefing up security. So that is a real problem when you’ve got an incredibly volatile region – let’s face it, a nation where we led from behind in, and we continue to lead from behind in. That’s part of the problem, S.E., when America doesn’t lead, there is a void. There is a vacuum that is created and bad people to flow in to fill that void. And that is basically what happened in Libya. Again, that is just a failure of leadership from the president on down.

CUPP: Secretary Clinton also discussed the recent attacks in Algeria and ongoing terrorism threats in North Africa at great length. She seemed to contradict the President’s insistence that Al Qaeda has been decimated and urged action in that particular theater. Do you expect that we’ll intervene in Mali?

JOHNSON: I have no idea. I know the French were expecting at least some support, and it seems like we haven’t given them that much from that standpoint at all. Secretary Clinton really specified her remarks in terms of Al Qaeda being decimated – primary Al Qaeda. But what she certainly did admit is that Al Qaeda is springing up in different nodes all around North Africa. Let’s face it: Al Qaeda is not on the run. It is growing. The threat to America is real, and we need to take that seriously. We have to look at that fact honestly if we are actually going to secure our nation.

CUPP: Lastly, Senator, a number of your colleagues across the aisle criticized Republicans for failing to fund adequate security in places like Benghazi. What is your response to that?

JOHNSON: Listen, this government spends enough money. If we can’t prioritize spending properly to protect those individuals who step up to the plate and defend our freedom, something is wrong here. And something is horribly wrong here in Washington. There is plenty of money flowing into this government. It is about prioritizing spending to do the things the federal government was designed to do and to stop doing the things our founders never intended the federal government to take upon itself.

The panel went on to dissect the Secretary of State’s behavior during her time in front of the House and Senate, and it became clear that Secretary Clinton’s response to Senator Johnson was the defining moment of the day’s events.

“I think it was a rare misstep from her,” S.E. said in regards to Secretary Clinton’s “what difference does it make” remark. “‘What’s the difference’ is the reason we are having these conversations in the first place. ‘What’s the difference’ informs our public policy in areas like Benghazi. ‘What’s the difference’ – whether this happened spontaneously or was terrorism – should inform our decisions in making sure this never happens again. And, finally, ‘what’s the difference’ speaks to this timeline that we have talked about time and time again on this show of negligence, incompetence, and duplicity. ‘What’s the difference’ speaks to all three of those.”

Amy agreed with S.E., adding that she found the comments “shocking.” “It was jaw dropping, gob smacking,” she said. “I could not believe our Secretary of State was saying, ‘What’s the difference?’ It was absolutely stunning to me.”

While the exchange proved to be a rare moment of candidness from Secretary Clinton, Buck and Will agreed that her future political ambitions were the driving force behind the majority of her statements.

“It was stunning, but I have to also say that Secretary of State Clinton is not being held responsible,” Buck said. “I think she is already looking at the calendar and planning her 2016 run. This is not going to be sticking to her with any real political consequence.”

“I am not sure I can totally agree with your certainty that there is going to be no accountability for this,” Will responded. “As this goes on in time and this kind of reverberates, this could have serious consequences for her in 2016. ‘What’s the difference’ is pretty offensive.”

Guest panelist Ben Domenech noticed Secretary Clinton’s responses were quite retrospective given the fact that Clinton is still the standing Secretary of State.

“She is not addressing any of these responses to these senators, to these congressmen, from the perspective of someone who is still working within the government, within the administration,” Ben said. “But rather as someone who is looking back on it already and already looking on to the next thing.”

Ultimately, the hearings seemed to confirm a sad and unfortunate truth – there has been plenty of finger pointing under the guise of accountability but no actual accountability.

“She is claiming responsibility because she is not actually responsible,” Buck concluded. “She should have offered her resignation right away… but she didn’t because she knew she could get away with it.”

In light of the national conversation surrounding the rights of free speech, religion and self-defense, Mercury One is thrilled to announce a brand new initiative launching this Father's Day weekend: a three-day museum exhibition in Dallas, Texas focused on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.

This event seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. As Americans, what responsibility do we shoulder when it comes to defending our rights?
  2. Do we as a nation still agree on the core principles and values laid out by our founding fathers?
  3. How can we move forward amidst uncertainty surrounding the intent of our founding ideals?

Attendees will be able to view historical artifacts and documents that reveal what has made America unique and the most innovative nation on earth. Here's a hint: it all goes back to the core principles and values this nation was founded on as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Exhibits will show what the world was like before mankind had rights and how Americans realized there was a better way to govern. Throughout the weekend, Glenn Beck, David Barton, Stu Burguiere, Doc Thompson, Jeffy Fisher and Brad Staggs will lead private tours through the museum, each providing their own unique perspectives on our rights and responsibilities.

Schedule a private tour or purchase general admission ticket below:

Dates:
June 15-17

Location:

Mercury Studios

6301 Riverside Drive, Irving, TX 75039

Learn more about the event here.

About Mercury One: Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2011 by Glenn Beck. Mercury One was built to inspire the world in the same way the United States space program shaped America's national destiny and the world. The organization seeks to restore the human spirit by helping individuals and communities help themselves through honor, faith, courage, hope and love. In the words of Glenn Beck:

We don't stand between government aid and people in need. We stand with people in need so they no longer need the government

Some of Mercury One's core initiatives include assisting our nation's veterans, providing aid to those in crisis and restoring the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities. When evil prevails, the best way to overcome it is for regular people to do good. Mercury One is committed to helping sustain the good actions of regular people who want to make a difference through humanitarian aid and education initiatives. Mercury One will stand, speak and act when no one else will.

Support Mercury One's mission to restore the human spirit by making an online donation or calling 972-499-4747. Together, we can make a difference.

What happened?

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a 30-year-old still living in his parents' home must move out, CNN reported.

Failure to launch …

Michael Rotondo, who had been living in a room in his parents' house for eight years, claims that he is owed a six-month notice even though they gave him five notices about moving out and offered to help him find a place and to help pay for repairs on his car.

RELATED: It's sad 'free-range parenting' has to be legislated, it used to be common sense

“I think the notice is sufficient," New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood said.

What did the son say?

Rotondo “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement," he claimed in court filings.

He told reporters that he plans to appeal the “ridiculous" ruling.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.