Pro-con: Does Benghazi hurt Clinton politically?

Last year, on Sept. 11, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got that “3 a.m. phone call.” Her failure to answer leaves a permanent black mark on her record. Clinton’s blindness to the magnitude of the department’s failure regarding the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi was on display in her recent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Her testimony revealed a leader unapologetic for her failure to act or understand the threat. Worse, she showed no real interest in learning from the incident. Taking “responsibility” for the attack means nothing without follow-up. It appears that the only thing she hopes to learn from the experience is that if you play nice with the press and with Congress, you can suffer no consequences for abject failure. That said, the bumbling of Benghazi and the indifference toward learning from the disaster cannot be erased from reality. The ghosts of Benghazi will always follow Clinton. – James Jay Carafano, Heritage Foundation

It’s possible that Hillary Clinton may decide not to run for president in 2016, but there is very little reason to believe such a decision would be a result of her handling of the Benghazi attacks. According to a recent Wall Street Journal poll, Clinton leaves her post as secretary of state with an eye-popping 69 percent approval rating. If Clinton’s approval numbers were this high during a month in which she endured a hostile congressional grilling over Benghazi, there is no reason to expect that the incident is going to plague her in any meaningful way. Clinton’s response to Benghazi is another factor working in her favor. She has not dodged the issue, and she has demonstrated a willingness to accept responsibility for mistakes that were made and to work to fix the problems that have been identified. – Jim Cottrill, Santa Clara University