Hillary Clinton Spars with Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson Over Benghazi

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gets angry with Republican senator's questioning over the attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

In a heated exchange on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson took issue with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s explanation of how she handled the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

Clinton told members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that she accepted responsibility for not being aware of the warnings that the Benghazi facility wouldn’t be able to resist “a sustained assault,” but Johnson said the American people were misled as about the reasons for the attack in which four people were killed, according to a story by NBC News.

In her opening statement, Clinton told the committee: “As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility. Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure.”

But, according to a story by the Huffington Post, Johnson later took issue with Clinton’s claim and said:

We were misled to believe that there were supposedly protests and that an assault sprang out of that and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact… and the American people could have known that within days.”

But Clinton interrupted Johnson, saying:

“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 last night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator."

Following the exchange, Johnson went on the air with 620 WTMJ talk show host Charlie Sykes, telling him that Clinton was displaying “theatrics,” according to a story on the Business Insider.

"I wasn't trying to get under her skin," Johnson told Sykes. "I was trying to get a relatively simple question answered that she didn't want to answer."

Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Clinton and the State Department have been blasted by Republicans after initially saying that the attack was provoked by a  spontaneous assault by a mob angered by an anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube. Department officials quickly amended their assessment to say the attack was not related to the video.

Clinton also has come under fire for not responding to requests made by personnel at the Benghazi mission prior to the attack to provide additional security for the facility. She told senators Wednesday that she never saw those requests because they would have reached her level.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday backed Clinton’s position and said: “(T)here has been an obvious political obsession over a series of talking points’ that bears no relevance to the essential issues at stake,” according to PatDollard.com.

“No one took more seriously the fact that we lost four American lives in Benghazi than the president of the United States and the secretary of state of the United States," the story quoted Carney as saying.

“And whatever was said — based on information provided by the intelligence community – on a series of Sunday shows bears no ultimate relevance” to the question of what happened and who was responsible for the attack, he added.

John Wilson January 25, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Greg - You classy, Christian, Neocon, you...
patchreader 123 January 25, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Bob: Sure, confrontation begets confrontation. I get it. However, numerous other blogs on the patch deal in subject matter entirely devoid of political opponents grilling one another in an open forum. Yet, the same tired partisan mud-slinging occurs. Liberals and conservatives attacking one another. This nonsense is occurring nation-wide, much of it by design. Main stream media manipulates partisan confrontation to sell copy, achieving ratings, or generate online “hits.” Such is Capitalism. Nonetheless, our broken political system thrives on such divisive partisanship. Imagine the career politicians laughing at the masses getting worked up over partisan rhetoric. These same politicians stand to benefit by not being the true focus of the public’s ire over a broken system - a system where campaign finance and lobbying dictates the outcomes of the legislative process, often to the detriment of the general public.
patchreader 123 January 25, 2013 at 11:35 PM
Too many or our politicians want nothing more than to remain undisturbed and unaccountable as they continue to nurse from the government teat. A teat filled with perks, money, power, etc. I’m sure that not a single one of them did anything productive during the entire week-long inaugural soiree. And if the system can keep the public preoccupied with partisan confrontation with one another, than the “Bidens,” “Boehners,” “Pelosis” and other political “lifers” of the system will remain happy. It’s all nothing more than a ruse to support an oligarchy. It is unfortunate that I have to seek out foreign publications, such as the Economist, in an effort to achieve truly objective information. By doing so, I unwillingly end up depriving myself of local news and commentary. And as far as local commentary goes, I’m not ready to write it off as unintelligent. Instead, I will consider the mud-slinging and divisiveness of such commentary as nothing more than a side effect of a broken system; a system that WE ALL NEED TO CHANGE. Sure, the game of “whack-a-mole” may be fun. But all games become boring over time. And as discussed above, this game may end up being detrimental to your well-being, or that of your children/grandchildren.
Bob McBride January 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Like I said, there are other forums for more serious discussion available. Patch was never intended to be the place for intellectuals to meet and swap polite repartee. You might as well bemoan all other forms of communication in this country as well, because we have a variety of broadcast and print options ranging from the mundane and general to the esoteric and near indecipherable (to the average person). I'm going to take issue with your claim that we let politicians off the hook because we're distracted by the nonsense. While I disagree with it wholeheartedly, we just recently had a very real example of a number of office holders right here in WI whose positions were challenged by petition and forced to reaffirm (or not) the offices they hold. Similarly, we have elections on a regular basis for various positions, with current officeholders as often as not being replaced. We live in an age where very little remains secret for long and where it's near impossible to hide nefarious activities. In short, bemoaning the state of discussion here because it doesn't rise to a certain level ignores the fact that these types of discussions weren't even possible 25 years ago. This medium has its benefits and its drawbacks like any other. You take the good with the bad. All in all, in terms of interaction and dissemination of information, there is a lot of good that outweighs the bad - and you get to decide, for yourself, which is which - nobody is doing it for you.
patchreader 123 January 26, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Bob: I don't consider any of my foregoing commentary to be intellectual. The underlying views are pretty basic. A broken government not properly addressed by self-serving politicians, all in the face of a distracted constituency. And if you disagree with my views, which you are certainly entitled to do, then we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Nancy Hall January 26, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Are you folks referring to the attack as "9-11" in order to deflect attention form the real 9-11...the one in which thousands of American civilians were killed by terrorists on U.S. soil while GW Bush was reading a story book to school children?
Nancy Hall January 26, 2013 at 01:05 AM
@JB...The aid to Egypt is an annual package that we've been sending them since 1979 regardless of the shifts in Egypt's internal politics. Sending aid to Egypt and sending aid to a particular political party are two different things. The Muslim Brotherhood is a political party and it does not rule Egypt any more than the Democrats rule the U.S..
Bob McBride January 26, 2013 at 01:46 AM
No, but you did say you found the approximately 250 comments (at the time) contained within this section to be pure, almost meaningless rhetoric. This comment section is no different than any other to be found on Patch. I'm suggesting that if you don't find the comment section up to your standards, rather than discount the comments of others who use it, you may wish to find another forum more to your liking. Beyond Patch's terms of service, there are no restrictions here regarding whether or not a person's post has to rise to a certain level of meaningfulness. I just find it interesting that from time to time here we have people who refer to the comments section as this or that (a mud pit comes to mind) and, yet, they still use it themselves - in some cases after making a resolution not to do so. Nobody's forced to use Patch or agree with everything or anything anyone says here, nor are they endorsing anyone else's message or mode of usage by using it themselves.
patchreader 123 January 26, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Bob: Are we all that different? I mainly criticize the game while you mainly criticize the players. We are each entitled to our criticisms.
Michael McClusky January 26, 2013 at 02:24 AM
@pathreader Bob is not in your league. He defends the assinine attitudes within Patch and yet somehow exonerates those people within its confines. God bless, move onto a better venue.
Michael McClusky January 26, 2013 at 02:41 AM
@patchreader Loneliness has its own refuge.
patchreader 123 January 26, 2013 at 02:50 AM
Similarly, I just find it interesting that for a majority of the time here we have people who criticize this commenter or that commenter (the author of a mud pit comment comes to mind) and, yet, they still maintain an online correspondence with those they are so critical of.
Bob McBride January 26, 2013 at 02:55 AM
I'm not the one sitting here dissing an entire thread and criticizing "the game" while adding comments of no greater value than the ones being criticized and playing the same game. The reason I engage the mud pit commenter is the same reason I'm engaging you. You both paint with a broad brush everyone else around you and then engage in exactly the same thing. Again, if you find it objectionable, whether it be because of the rhetoric or its mud pit like nature, no one is forcing you to be here. It is what it is. However, if someone says it's a mud pit, makes a big production of saying they're going to stay away and then within 24 hours jumps back in and muddies things up themselves, I'm gonna call them on it. If I did that, I'd expect to have the same thing happen to me.
Michael McClusky January 26, 2013 at 03:21 AM
@Bob Try golf or knitting or whatever. Christ, you obviously have nothing better o do than preside as the king of Patch! Heck, you have a better mind than that!
Bob McBride January 26, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Mike, it honestly doesn't take all that much time or effort. I spend a lot of time at the computer for work related purposes with a lot of down time. I appreciate your insincere concern but it's really unnecessary.
Michael McClusky January 26, 2013 at 03:37 AM
@Bob I wasn't being insincere. I am saying that you should write a book of your own choosing. I can see that it would have a heck of a lot of substance. Don't waste your time on Patch- it leads no where.
patchreader 123 January 26, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Looks like we both paint too, Bob. However, you paint with an extremely narrow brush, limiting your commentary to reactionary criticisms of others while never offering up anything of substance, even within those criticisms. Similarly, if you find my comments or those of others objectionable, no one is forcing you to read them. No one is forcing you to be on this blog to endure opinions that you disagree with. However, you simply can’t resist. You are compelled to get on this blog every day, all day for the sole purpose of criticizing others. It’s what you do. And I'm the lucky recipient today. I guess we should all have a hobby. Yours is rather apparent.
Bob McBride January 26, 2013 at 03:44 AM
At least I focus with precision rather than scatter blast about the place. And what have you really added here, besides the buckshot?
patchreader 123 January 26, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Oh, oh yeah? Well, at, . . . at least I don't offer up criticisms of commenters even, . . . even before they comment (i.e., "3, 2, 1;" "wait for it"). Yeah. That's it. Even before they comment. At least I don't do that. So there. Psych! Give it a rest already. It’s Friday night, and I have a social life to tend to. You, on the other hand, will likely be on this blog until you hit the sheets. So, good night, Bob. Paint me with precision another time. I’ll likely return to this blog in a day or two. Should you need to satisfy your insatiable urge to criticize someone before then, go after the mud-comment author. Or maybe the gun rights critic. They’re each likely on here more often than I am. Otherwise, withdrawal can give one a cold sweat and the shakes. Brrr. Until next time . . .
Bob McBride January 26, 2013 at 04:32 AM
That would be good. It'll probably take at least a day or two for us to build up another 250 count thread of meaningless rhetoric for you to find fault with. Night.
Randy1949 January 26, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Nah, McBride isn't King of the Patch. He's more like a Steward, holding down the throne until Hoffa returns.
Bob McBride January 26, 2013 at 03:35 PM
What the hell ever happened to that guy...
Jay Sykes January 26, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Under Lambeau Field? Hmm... my name is more of an adjective ... car fire, of a mysterious nature ... strange accusations and a public airing of unwanted touching... more strange communications pass across our patch screens from 'one time only' screen name posters ... police involved by later step away... Hoffa is under Lambeau Field.
Randy1949 January 26, 2013 at 03:39 PM
"What the hell ever happened to that guy.." I dunno. I miss him. Even though he made me tear out my hair on a regular basis..
Bob McBride January 26, 2013 at 04:32 PM
I think Jay's onto something here...
Nancy Hall January 27, 2013 at 04:56 AM
@Eric...what is it that you think someone should "fess up" to? You sound like you think Clinton planned the attack.
Nancy Hall January 27, 2013 at 05:00 AM
@Michael...do you think Germany and Japan saw FDR and Truman as weak and inept?
morninmist January 28, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Johnson is the laugh of DC! #Progress2day Who had the worst week in Washington? @SenRonJohnson washingtonpost.com/opinions/who-h… #wipolitics Oh no, he didn’t! It’s one thing to disagree about whether the gen­esis of the Benghazi attack is critical to understanding how to prevent future assaults. It’s another entirely to insinuate that Clinton cried on command, faking tears to avoid facing the music. Johnson, sensing he had gotten too far out over his skis, eased back on Thursday. “Maybe I shouldn’t have speculated” about the reasons for Clinton’s emotions, he told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien. “I probably speculated, and I shouldn’t have.” To quote myself at 10 years old: No duh. Ron Johnson, for forgetting that questioning someone’s motives is always a losing strategy, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
morninmist January 28, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Johnson is just a another TeaParty like Palin! http://griperblade.blogspot.com/2013/01/sen-ron-johnson-mouth-over-used-ears.html Monday, January 28, 2013 Sen. Ron Johnson: Mouth Over-Used, Ears Neglected ...A few months back, the congressional newspaper Roll Call quote an anonymous "senior GOP aide" as saying that Johnson rubs even his Republican colleagues the wrong way. "He’s an interesting case study of someone who has talked more than he has listened, lectured more than he has developed relationships with his colleagues, and now he’s having a tough time because of that behavior in advancing his policy goals," the aide said. "It’s kind of like watching a temper tantrum by a 2-year-old in the middle of the grocery store." I can only imagine how infuriating it must be to be lectured by a dope as wrong on the facts as Johnson has recently proved himself to be. I would avoid him like the plague -- and that would include working with him. Now wonder John Nichols was able to note that Johnson hasn't accomplished much of anything so far...
morninmist January 29, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Johnson has a mean streak in him. Spud Lovr‏@SpudLovr RT @progress2day: Ron Johnson To Hurricane #Sandy Victims: Go Freeze http://bit.ly/14pFkmd #Shame #wiunion #wiright #p2 #p2 #topprog #ctl Monday, January 28, 2013 Ron Johnson To Hurricane Sandy Victims: Go Freeze Votes "No" with 35 other Republicans - - McCain, Hatch, and others - - on the balance of Federal storm aid to Sandy storm victims still without heat, businesses without roofs, towns without roads, and so on, the record shows. As I said when he pulled this stunt in the last Congressional session, God forbid he has to look for East Coast votes should Wisconsin suffer floods, storms, fires or other catastrophes after which all Americans have traditionally sent aid.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »