Senator Says Clinton Used 'Theatrics' to Dodge Question

Ron Johnson says her outburst was calculated

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 23, 2013 6:49 PM CST

(Newser) – The big highlight from Hillary Clinton's Benghazi testimony today remains her showdown with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. He pressed her on how she handled the terrorists-vs-spontaneous-protest matter, and she shot back, "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. What difference, at this point, does it make?" After the hearing, Johnson was unimpressed:

  • "I'm not sure she had rehearsed for that type of question," he tells BuzzFeed. "I think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead Americans, the heroes, and use that as her trump card to get out of the questions. It was a good way of getting out of really having to respond to me." He added that she used "theatrics" to avoid answering.

Some other reaction:

  • From the right: At the National Review, Victor Davis Hanson makes a similar point to Johnson's, adding, "Her rhetorical question was one of the low points in her long career, one that might pass without too much fanfare at the moment but will reverberate a lot in the future."
  • From the left: Sorry, guys, but Johnson "had his ass handed to him," writes Barbara Morrill at Daily Kos. "And apparently he missed that Clinton did respond to him; by schooling him in State Department protocol, by suggesting he read the briefings before asking stupid questions (okay, paraphrasing there) and by pointing out that what mattered was finding out what happened and making sure that it didn't happen again."
  • Rand Paul: Though he told Clinton during the hearing that he would have fired her had he been president, Paul doesn't think her response to Johnson was out of line. "I think she has a little bit of a valid point," he tells CNN. "It's not so important whether or not it was a movie or what it was. I think what's important, though, in going forward is it not happen again."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in a file photo.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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