While President Obama hit the beaches and golf courses of sunny Oahu for a three-week vacation in December, palace intrigue was afoot in the White House and beyond.
First, The New York Times began the lengthy rehabilitation process of Hillary Clinton, the highest Cabinet member to depart so far. As the president has plunged in approval rating, hitting a new low of just 39 percent, Hillary has hit a lifetime high of 66 percent (goes to show you what disappearing from the public eye can do for your popularity).
The paper published a 7,500-word account of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that all but ignored the former secretary of state’s role in the terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya, which left four Americans dead. More, The Times quoted a “terrorist” as saying a supposedly anti-Islam video insulting the Prophet Muhammad “might well have justified” the attack.
The story was widely criticized by Republicans, who saw the new narrative as an attempt to whitewash Hillary’s role. More, the new version of events dovetails with the lies the secretary of state told during her final days on the Cabinet, giving her ample cover. In fact, she did not appear anywhere in the long-winded piece.
But Democrats know that Benghazi is one of the most damaging events for the woman setting up a 2016 run for the White House. No doubt her Republican opponent will repeatedly replay the fiery retort Hillary spat out when grilled by lawmakers — “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?”