Press Releases

For Immediate Release

January 25, 2013



Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton’s Response to Sen. Ron Johnson Shows Obama Administration Has Zero Credibility On Benghazi


Clinton To Johnson: What Difference Does It Make How Four Americans Died In Benghazi? JOHNSON: “No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that - an assault sprang out of that - and that was easily ascertained that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.” CLINTON: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?” (Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Full Committee Hearing, “Benghazi: The Attacks And The Lessons Learned,” 1/23/2013)

CNN: “#WhatDifferenceDoesItMake: Clinton Quote Goes Viral.” “In a heated moment of anger, the secretary of state asked the question as she fought back criticism before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday during a hearing on last year's U.S. consulate attack in Libya. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson grilled Clinton on the erroneous, initial talking points that claimed the attack stemmed from a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam video, though the administration later defined it as a terrorist attack and said a protest never happened.” (CNN Political Unit, “#WhatDifferenceDoesItMake: Clinton Quote Goes Viral,” CNN, 1/23/2013)


CBS News’ Sharyl Attkinson: “It Makes A Difference.” (Sharyl Attkinson, Twitter Account, 1/23/2013)

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple: “It Makes A Difference To The Media, The Public, The Government, Everyone.” “No competent wrap-up of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate testimony today can omit her clash with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin … No matter your view of the media’s role in Benghazi; no matter your take on whether U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice leveled with the country on the Sept. 16 talk shows; no matter your view of Fox News’s Benghazi campaign, it surely does make a difference whether it was “because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans.” It makes a difference to the media, the public, the government, everyone. The trustworthiness of the administration’s version of events — even the early one — makes a difference.” (Erik Wemple, “It Makes A Difference Secretary Clinton,” The Washington Post, 1/23/2013)

The Wall Street Journal: “So It's ‘Our Job To Figure Out What Happened’ But It Doesn't Make A Difference What Happened?” “So it's "our job to figure out what happened" but it doesn't make a difference what happened? Huh? What would we do without rhetorical questions? We suppose we'd answer them … Especially if she runs for president in 2016. As we watched this exchange, it occurred to us that Mrs. Clinton was back in a familiar role, and an ironic one for someone who is supposed to be a feminist icon. Once again, she was helping the most powerful man in the world dodge accountability for scandalous behavior.” (James Taranto, “’What Difference Does It Make?’” The Wall Street Journal, 1/23/2013)

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin: “It Doesn’t Matter If The Administration Lied? Umm. Oops.” “And then Clinton blurted out a showstopper: … It doesn’t matter if the administration lied? Umm. Ooops. That will make the anti-Hillary ads if she runs in 2016. The New Media and conservative Republicans pounced.” (Jennifer Rubin, “Clinton’s Showstopper At Benghazi Hearings,” The Washington Post, 1/23/2013)

The Wall Street Journal: “It Matters When Administrations Mislead Americans.” “Mrs. Clinton also said she wasn't responsible for the ‘talking points’ about Benghazi given to White House briefers. She didn't walk point for the Administration on the TV shows that September Sunday because it is not her ‘favorite thing to do.’ The hearing's dramatic high point came when Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson wouldn't take this know-nothing line for an answer and pressed why it took the Administration so long to say it was a terrorist strike. ‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’ she shot back.  Sorry, Ma'am. At this point, or at any point, it matters when Administrations mislead Americans.” (Editorial, “Hillary Pitches A Benghazi Shutout,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/23/2013)

Charles Krauthammer: “The Difference Is Between Truth And Falsehood.” “The difference is between truth and falsehood. And that she should be indignant about somebody who actually wants to point out that difference is rather remarkable … “When you’re facing these committees where … half of the members are just making speeches … she was able time and again to do that time-honored trick of saying, ‘well there’s still the FBI looking into this and as long as an inquiry is out there, I can’t answer X, Y and Z.’ It’s the perfect out.” (Charles Krauthammer, Special Report, Fox News, 1/23/2013)

Investor’s Business Daily: “Exposing Deceitfulness And Incompetence In Government Makes A Huge Difference.” “Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., asked Clinton why neither her State Department nor the White House could tell there was no protest taking place in Benghazi — after President Obama spent weeks claiming during the campaign there was, to deflect from the fact that the supposedly defeated al-Qaida was alive and well and killing U.S. diplomats in well-planned, coordinated attacks. Clinton responded by angrily asking back, ‘What difference at this point does it make?’ The answer is that it makes all the difference in the world for the future of this country … Exposing deceitfulness and incompetence in government makes a huge difference, Madam Secretary.” (Editorial, “Clinton Cries, Yells But Won’t Apologize For Benghazi,” Investor’s Business Daily, 1/23/2013)

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey: Johnson’s Question Matters “Because Of Credibility” Of The Administration. “Senator Ron Johnson pressed the outgoing Secretary of State for an answer as to how her department and the White House came to declare that the attack erupted spontaneously from a protest outside the consulate when State could see in real time that there wasn’t any such protest under way. A clearly exasperated Clinton shot back, “What difference does it make?” … So it matters because of credibility. There doesn’t seem to be any at the White House or State on any of these issues, nor answers to questions of what exactly this administration did to prepare for the inevitable outcome of its own policies in Libya and the broader Arab Spring.” (Ed Morrissey, “Hillary: What Difference Does It Make If There Were No Protests In Benghazi?,” Hot Air, 1/23/2013)


The New Yorker: Clinton’s Response Made Her Look Like Someone “Who Thought That She Was Stooping To Appear In This Venue.” “She lost her patience when he said, not for the first time, that she could have found out what was going on at the consulate easily enough if she wanted to … If she had not gotten into the fight with Johnson, the memorable moment might have been when she choked up talking about the four diplomats. But by the end she looked like a woman who thought that she was stooping to appear in this venue.” (Amy Davidson, “Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony: What Difference Will It Make?,” The New Yorker, 1/23/2013)

The National Review’s Eliana Johnson: Clinton’s Response “Uncharacteristically Flippant.” “The most hostile moment of this morning’s hearing on Benghazi came when Senator Ron Johnson pressed Secretary Clinton on the Obama administration’s ever-changing narrative about what caused the attack on our consulate … Setting aside Clinton’s bizarre decision to assign varying weights to these matters, her response is uncharacteristically flippant for someone of her stature. Isn’t it essential why four Americans were murdered, and why this information wasn’t promptly or accurately conveyed to the American people? Wasn’t answering that question one of the central purposes of today’s hearing?” (Eliana Johnson, “Cause Of Benghazi Attack Mattered … When Cause Was YouTube Video,” The National Review, 1/23/2013)

Bloomberg: Clinton Dismissive Of Criticisms Over Handing Of Benghazi. “Clinton dismissed three of the most pointed criticisms of her handling of the episode after the attack as only an outgoing secretary might address the Senate: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Clinton sharply asked Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, probing about what was known at the time of the circumstances surrounding the attack.” (Mark Silva, “Hillary Clinton Not Going ‘Gently From The World Stage,’” Bloomberg, 1/23/2013)

Commentary Magazine: “Johnson Pointed Out That Accurate Information About The Assault That Would Have Easily Corrected The Misconception,” But Clinton Considered It An “Irrelevant Question.” “Senator Ron Johnson pointed out that accurate information about the assault that would have easily corrected the misconception, promoted by United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and others, that the attack was merely a protest about a film rather than a terrorist attack was available at the time. Clinton not only refused to answer that question in a straightforward matter, but snapped, ‘What difference does it make?’ about the whole matter of the false account. She then attempted to insinuate that there was still some doubt about the matter … The problem here is not just what she considers an irrelevant question from Johnson or a mere “difference of opinion”–as she characterized Senator John McCain’s scathing attack on her record on the issue–but a belief that four dead Americans in Benghazi was really not such an earth-shaking event.” (Jonathan Tobin, “’What Difference Does It Make?’ Plenty,” Commentary Magazine, 1/23/2013)

The Weekly Standard: Johnson’s Questions Made Clinton “Seemingly Lose Her Cool.” “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked about ascertaining whether the Benghazi terror attack was the result of a protest by Senator Ron Johnson. “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Clinton shouted, seemingly losing her cool.” (Daniel Halper, “Clinton Shouts: ‘What Difference … Does It Make?,” The Weekly Standard, 1/23/2013)

The Washington Times: Clinton “Repeatedly Deflected Criticism” Of Administration’s Handling Of Benghazi. “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted blame for the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, but repeatedly deflected criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the attack and its aftermath … Her voice rising in anger and frustration, Mrs. Clinton challenged Sen. Ron Johnson directly when the Wisconsin Republican questioned what he said were the administration’s shifting accounts of the attack and its genesis.” (Guy Taylor and Shaun Waterman, “Tears And Rage: Clinton Testily Defends Depiction Of Benghazi Events,” The Washington Times, 1/23/2013)

Bloomberg View: Clinton Attempted To Blame Misinformation On “Alleged Cultural Need For Immediate Gratification;” Americans “Prefer No Information To Misinformation.” There was one moment of tension, however, when Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin grilled Clinton over the Barack Obama administration’s incorrect insistence for more than a week after the attack that the cause had been an offensive American-made movie about Islam … Clinton was slightly less honest, however, under questioning from another Republican, Jeff Flake of Arizona. The smartest course, she said, might have been to withhold an explanation, to ‘don’t say what we don’t know.’ Unfortunately, she added, that is ‘not part of what we are as Americans.’ While it’s true that Americans may not be the most patient people on earth, they would in general prefer no information to misinformation. It’s understandable that the administration didn’t want to admit it was clueless about the causes of the attack in the homestretch of the presidential campaign, but it can’t blame its peddling a weak story on some alleged cultural need for immediate gratification.” (Tobin Harshaw, “Hillary Clinton’s Game Of Patience On Benghazi,” Bloomberg, 1/23/2013)



Reporter: It Doesn’t Make A Difference Whether Or Not Information Is Accurate? “Does it not make a difference whether the administration’s initial accounting of the Benghazi incident or any other incident is accurate?” (Press Briefing, The White House, 1/23/2013)

Reporter: The American People Shouldn’t Care About The Facts? “Are you suggesting that the American people should not care about the fact that they were told one thing and it turned out not to be the case? … It seems to almost diminish the fact that -- the facts that are there, which is wrong information was given at the time …”(Press Briefing, The White House, 1/23/2013)

Reporter: What Evidence Led To The Conclusion That The Attack Was Spurred By The Video?: “So the question is, what was the concrete evidence you had that said it was the video, not a preplanned attack?” (Press Briefing, The White House, 1/23/2013)

Reporter: Why Haven’t Americans Learned About The President’s Activities During The Benghazi Attack? “The first one, we haven't seen really a tick-tock of what happened and what the President was doing that night and how he was apprised of the developments that were going on in Benghazi such like we saw during the OBL raid.” (Press Briefing, The White House, 1/23/2013)

White House Doubles Down On Clinton’s Comments, Saying Previous Descriptions Of Benghazi Attack “Bears No Relevance.” “And whatever was said, based on information provided by the intelligence community on a series of Sunday shows, bears no relevance on the ultimate questions of what happened in Benghazi, who was responsible, and what we must do to ensure that it never happens again and that we bring to justice those who killed our diplomats and other Americans.” (Press Briefing, The White House, 1/23/2013)


Agence France-Presse: “That Remark Could Come Back To Haunt Her.” “‘Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?’ Clinton shot back, pounding the table. That remark could come back to haunt her. For as she prepares to step down at the end of her four-year stint as the top US diplomat, Clinton's testimony will once stoke speculation about her plans.” (Jo Biddle, “Clinton’s Back, And Fighting Fit,” Agence France-Presse, 1/23/2013)

The Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll: Clinton’s “Outburst” Guaranteed To Make Long Term Political Impact. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shouted at Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., at yesterday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Benghazi … ‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’ … The 2012 presidential election is over. The 2016 Democratic primary is already upon us. It is pretty much guaranteed we will see video of Clinton’s, ‘What difference does it make?’ outburst again soon.” (Conn Carroll, “Morning Examiner: What Difference Does It Make?,” The Washington Examiner, 1/24/2013)

USA Today: Clinton’s Comments Could “Have Lasting Effect On Her Legacy.” “In a couple of years, if Hillary Rodham Clinton decides to make another run for the White House, both her supporters and detractors may look back at comments she made at Wednesday's hearings on Benghazi as evidence of what she's made of  … But could Clinton's ‘What difference does it make’ comment have a lasting effect on her legacy? … But now that she returns to private life and another potential run, the assessment, at least in the near term, of her performance will undoubtedly be viewed through a political prism.” (Aamer Madhani, “Analysis: Could Clinton’s Benghazi Comments Live On?” USA Today, 1/23/2013)