Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton fended off questions Sunday on the deaths of American diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, suggesting that no additional explanation she offered would satisfy her critics.
“There’s a difference between unanswered questions and unlistened to answers,” Clinton told Jane Pauley in an interview on “CBS Sunday Morning.”
“There were a lot of confusing pieces of information flooding into us from the very first moment we heard about it,” Clinton said, referring to the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi. “We did our best to sort it out.”
“I did my best to fully cooperate with the Congress. I respect the Congress’ oversight responsibility,” she added, but suggested that Republican critics have seized on discrepancies that arose from “the fog of war” and have improperly tried to use them as evidence of a coverup.
Clinton’s talk with Pauley came after a week of promotional interviews for her new memoir, “Hard Choices,” in which she has occasionally seemed to stumble over easy questions. Most notably, she appeared tone-deaf to the plight of ordinary Americans struggling in the tepid economic recovery when she told Diane Sawyer that she and President Bill Clinton had left the White House “dead broke” in 2000. The president ran up millions of dollars in legal fees during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Republican party chairman Reince Priebus pointed to those moments in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Clinton “went out of the gate with one gaffe after the next,” he said. “The Democrats have nobody behind Hillary Clinton. If she keeps free-falling, she is not going to be the nominee.”
Clinton avoided any renewed gaffes in her interview with Pauley. Pressed about her presidential ambitions, she said: “I’m not yet ... making the list like I do, the pros and cons. I’m just sort of living my life and seeing how it feels to me.”
Pauley asked if she thought that “everyone’s sick of the Clintons.”
“Well, a lot of people have said that besides me,” Clinton said. “That wouldn’t influence my decision one way or another because I think the voters have the right to choose whoever they want.
“The most important questions for anybody thinking of running for president are not, ‘Will you run and can you win?’ ” she added. “There is, ‘What is your vision for America?’ And, ‘Can you lead us there?’
“And if you don’t have a clear-eyed sense of what it’s gonna take to restore our strength and our fairness, our justice ... and what we’re gonna do in this increasingly complex, interconnected world, you shouldn’t run. It’s not a contest for, you know, who looks good and who can have the quick answer, and all the rest, who can get the most outside money. We don’t have time for that right now.”