Hillary Clinton faced an 11-hour grilling by the House Benghazi committee on Thursday, and the consensus is that she managed to emerge largely unscathed from the marathon hearing, which included discussion of her emails and a tense exchange about Sidney Blumenthal. But, as panel chief Trey Gowdy admitted afterward, it didn't reveal anything new about the 2012 attack. A few takes on the hearing:
- The long-anticipated hearing turned out to be pretty boring, which made it a triumph for Clinton, according to Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post. Unlike the Benghazi hearing in 2013 where she clashed with Rep. Ron Johnson, "there was no negative sound bite from her. No acknowledgement of error," or signs of "weakness or confusion" about the events in Libya, he writes. "The hearing was, in a word, boring. And that's exactly what Clinton wanted."
- The failure of GOP panel members "armed with thousands of emails and testimony from scores of witnesses" to trip Clinton up will further strengthen her campaign after her strong debate performance and Joe Biden's decision not to run, write Byron Tau and Peter Nicholas at the Wall Street Journal. Clinton "held her ground in calm fashion" even as the questions grew "increasingly acrimonious," with suggestions that she didn't care about the victims of the attack, they write.
- The hearing may look like a Clinton victory, but it could turn out to be a "delayed-fuse defeat," according to Glenn Thrush and Gabriel Debenedetti at Politico. They note that the FBI is still investigating Clinton's email use at the State Department, and it could be a major problem for Clinton if anything the FBI uncovers contradicts anything she said on the subject at the Benghazi hearing.
- Clinton was trying to appear more serious than the panel questioning her, write Evan Halper and David Lauter at the Los Angeles Times, and "members of the committee often appeared to help, engaging in one high-decibel shouting match and numerous partisan jabs." The five Democrats on the 12-member panel may now step down to avoid giving the committee undue "respectability," they note.
- The long hearing did nothing to advance the public's understanding of the events in Benghazi, but it showed that Gowdy "and his colleagues have squandered more than $4.6 million and countless hours" for partisan reasons, the New York Times editorial board writes, saying that the GOP panel members' "flailing performance" should mark the end of a "wasteful and counterproductive exercise that accomplished nothing."
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