Hillary Clinton weathers GOP’s grilling on Benghazi

Mari Boyle, Cal Times Contributor

  I am going to begin by asking you to reflect on what you did on Oct. 22, 2015 or any typical Thursday. Most students likely sat in classes, attended club meetings, got lunch with friends, worked on homework and rewarded themselves with Netflix. In that time, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, sat in a committee hearing being ruthlessly questioned in an investigation of the Benghazi attacks in 2012. Yes, the hearing was eleven hours long. Still, after 11 hours, Clinton managed to come out of the hearing without one statement that could do severe harm to her presidential campaign. Admittedly, and to the dismay of the committee chair Trey Gowdy, the hearing’s intention was to prevent Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic Presidential nominee, from getting the nomination as she would be a formidable candidate in the general election.

  The direct quote from Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader, explaining these not-so-subtle intentions is, “Let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would’ve known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.”

   Many voters were waiting for this hearing to see if any new evidence, there have been 32 congressional hearings prior to this, surfaced that proved Clinton as untrustworthy. However, after an eleven hour hearing comprised of bickering among committee members and Clinton’s mastery of pithy responses acquired by years of experience as an attorney, Senator, and Secretary of State, Clinton emerged intact and will likely rise in the polls. Much like her performance in the debate, Clinton appeared confident while also not seeming detached, and presidential while also keeping a keen eye out for the theatrics and dramatics often involved with committee hearings. These are exemplified by Rep. Peter Roskam tearing sheets of paper in half to represent “torn up security requests” and Rep. Martha Roby asking former Secretary Clinton if she was alone all night following the attacks. Clinton responded with her robust laugh saying, “I’m sorry a little note of levity at 7:15. Note it for the record.” Clinton was also aided by Rep Elijah Cummings, a democrat on the committee. Rep. Cummings made no effort to conceal his frustrations with the investigation and made sure to point out what he believed were the true motives behind the investigation. Cummings explained, “The problem is that the Republican caucus did not like the answers they got from those investigations, so they set up this select committee with no rules, no deadline, and an unlimited budget. And they set them loose, Madam Secretary, because you’re running for president.” He cited the reasoning behind the eleven hour hearing as an attempt to wear Clinton out in hopes of getting the “gotcha moment.” No such thing happened and Clinton is seeing one of the best weeks of her campaign. After a highly publicized success at the first debate, an announcement that Vice President Joe Biden is not running, and no gaffes from the Benghazi hearing, Clinton may have secured the nomination.