First, late last night in Peru, SecState Hillary Clinton phones it in that she has "taken responsibility" for the Benghazi -- almost literally, what with a CNN correspondent doing a post-modern "Hello, sweetheart, get me rewrite" routine on the line into the NY bureau with a breathless report of what her SecStateness had just intoned:
"I take responsibility," Clinton said during a visit to Peru. "I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision."
But she said an investigation now under way will ultimately determine what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed on September 11.
Then Hill went off about "fog of war" confusion, etc. (maybe not quite so "responsible"?) and then:
She added, "What I want to avoid is some kind of political gotcha or blame game."
"I know that we're very close to an election," Clinton said. "I want to just take a step back here and say from my own experience, we are at our best as Americans when we pull together. I've done that with Democratic presidents and Republican presidents."
Translation: I've "taken responsibility" -- empty phrase unless she were to resign (and Clintons never resign) -- so shut up already as good Americans. Let the 2nd presidential debate begin!
That was yesterday. In the clear light of Having Taken Responsibility, how's Hillary doing today?
For the first time, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is speaking in depth about the killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and the questions surrounding how the attacks were characterized by administration officials in the days after the consulate attack.
Just five days after the Benghazi attack in which four Americans were killed, U.S. Ambassasdor to the United Nations Susan Rice appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation." She blamed the violence on spontaneous protests over an anti-Muslim film, saying "we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned."
It was one of several TV appearances Rice made that day.
CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan asked Clinton if she approved Rice's speaking points that she delivered on the TV shows that day.
"I think she very clearly said, 'Here's what we know now, but this is going to change,'" Clinton said. "This is what we have at present but it will evolve - and the intelligence community has said the same thing."
Um, that's not at all what Rice said. But never mind for now. Here's Responsible Hill's money quote:
Clinton said she did not speak to Rice prior to her Sunday talk show appearances, but added that, "Everyone had the same information. ...
I guess the deal was, we all survive or go down together with the "same information." But now for an instant Clinton classic:
I have to say I know there's been a lot of attention paid to who said what but I think what happened is more important.
One more time: "I have to say I know there's been a lot of attention paid to who said what" -- who said what LIES, to be specific -- but I think what happened is more important."
No doubt Bill's hat is off to the little woman -- unless he is the phrasecrafter himelf!
We were attacked and four brave Americans were killed. Everyone in the administration has tried to say what we knew at the time with the caveat that we would learn more and that's what happened. So I think that I've seen it before not just in respect to this. I think it's part of what the 'fog of war' causes."
Clinton cautioned against making premature assumptions about the security situation at Benghazi as the investigation continues.
"I don't want us to reach any conclusions about what we did or didn't do without the full context.
Wait, I thought she "took responsibility"...!
I understand why people want to ask questions, but I just caution that we need to look at everything, and everything needs to be explained at the same time," Clinton said. ...
Translation: After the election.
Clinton has said the responsibility for diplomatic security ends with the Stat Department.
"I'm not going to get into the blame game," she told Brennan.
Always a preface to getting into the blame game:
"I think intelligence is very hard to do and what we're going to find out as we do this accountability review and we get what will be the best possible chronology, that will be attached to what we knew when, which takes time. I understand the, you know, the anxiety and the desire to try to get answers. Nobody wants to get answers more than I do."
And we thought Hillary went noble on us.
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