Rand Paul Continues Attacks on Clinton Over Benghazi
Sen. Rand Paul continued with his charges from earlier this week that former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton had "her fingerprints all over these talking points" on the Benghazi attack and claims that she never "really accepted culpability" because she failed to resign shortly after the tragedy. When CNN's Candy Crowley asked Paul if he was worried about appearing to politicize the controversy by making his remarks in Iowa and other presidential battleground states, Paul dismissed the notion that his remarks were based on politics.
It's laughable that anyone expects us to believe that Republicans care one iota about this trumped up Benghazi story for any other reason than to muddy up Hillary Clinton, because they all assume she's going to be the front-runner for the next presidential election.
And I'd say it's safe to assume Rand Paul is going to take up his father's mantle and make a career out of perpetually running for president as a fundraising scheme. It worked out pretty well for his dad and the press is already propping him up because of it -- with this being the latest example -- so why not?
CROWLEY: Joining me now, Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky and in Kentucky today. Thank you so much, senator, for joining us. I want to bring to your attention --
PAUL: Good morning.
CROWLEY: -- a couple of inside other poll numbers. The first one had to do with the Benghazi attack. The question was, did the Obama administration try to intentionally mislead the public on the Benghazi attack? And 50 percent of Americans said no, the administration did not try to intentionally mislead on Benghazi.
On the subject of the IRS and the question was, did White House officials direct the IRS to concentrate on conservative political groups? Fifty-five percent said no, the White House did not order it. So, if you take those in combination, I want to ask you what your answer to those questions are. Number one, I know you do believe that the White House deliberately misled Americans on Benghazi. PAUL: Well, you know, I think what's more important than either whether I believe that or whether the polls show that is that somebody be held accountable.
And not so much for the talking points afterwards. I think there was some misdirection and some political nature to the talking points, but I think that's always missed the point that what's most important is someone made a decision to put an embassy and consulate in a war- torn country with no host country to guard that embassy or consulate, leaving the guarding and security up to a militia. That decision alone was a terrible and tragic error.
PAUL: And that's what needs to change.
The review board looked at Benghazi, but still, no one is saying what I keep saying over and over again, even now, I think the embassy in Tripoli should be under the guard of military command similar to what we do in Baghdad. We shouldn't treat Tripoli and Benghazi like Paris. We need to treat it more like Baghdad.
And that's an error of judgment that the president and the secretary of state made. And that comes into account not because we just want to blame them, but because we want to make sure this doesn't happen again.
CROWLEY: So, the president specifically asked in his Rose Garden appearance this week that Congress join him and give more money for precisely what you're talking about to go to some of these outposts that are dangerous and to increase the security around them. Are you on board?
PAUL: Yes. And in fact, in my budget, I increased marines, embassy guards, and security. And I think they should make those decisions, but they, I think, continue to make decisions that really aren't in our best interests. So, the president continues to find more money to send arms both to Egypt as well as Syria when maybe we should have more money spent on the defensive nature of being able to defend our embassies around the world.
CROWLEY: One of the things our poll showed is that most Americans think Republicans have every right and they approve of Republicans looking into these controversies, and yet, there's always the danger that this looks a lot more political than it does policy. And I want to turn you to your remarks in Iowa, which we all know that has a political overlay, where you said that you thought because of Benghazi, Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state, isn't qualified to be president.
She should be disqualified to be president. When you make remarks like that and you may make similar ones when you go to New Hampshire, another place with great political overlay, doesn't it undercut the idea that this is about policy?
PAUL: Well, I absolutely stick by them. You know, in Bill Clinton's administration, when Les Aspin did not provide security in Mogadishu, the famous Black Hawk Down, he was asked to resign and he left and admitted he made tragic errors.
CROWLEY: Sure, but nobody asked him --
PAUL: Excuse me?
CROWLEY: It isn't the calling for her to or saying, look, I don't think she's qualified to be president, it's that you did it in Iowa or New Hampshire which gives it a political patina, and I'm asking you if you think that's helpful?
PAUL: You know, I've done it in every state and every stop because I think it's pretty important that she accept blame for not providing security. She was asked repeatedly to provide security in Benghazi on several occasions including direct cables, and she says she never read the cables on security. I find that inexcusable and a dereliction of duty.
Whether it has political overtones or not, it really goes to the heart of who you are as secretary of state if you do not provide security for an embassy that's begging for it, that's absolutely a dereliction of duty and she should have resigned and accepted blame for it.
As CNN pointed out in their blog post on the interview, Paul's claim that no one was disciplined or fired is not true:
Four State Department officials, however, were disciplined in December, with one resigning and three being placed on administrative leave and relieved of their duties. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly said she accepts ultimate responsibility for the safety and security of U.S. diplomats abroad.
At least he refrained from repeating one of his other recent conspiracy theories on Benghazi: Rand Paul touts Benghazi conspiracy involving secret CIA arms trade. These Republicans are in overdrive with the conspiracy theories and scandal mongering to the point where it gets hard, if not next to impossible to keep track of it all.
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