Paul Begala, a former strategist to President Bill Clinton, drew a parallel to the Iran-contra affair of the mid-1980s. “It was one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century and yet it had no impact on Reagan’s vice president’s ability to effectively run for president,” Begala said, referring to George H.W. Bush.
“There’s just no chance that in 31
2 years the current demagoguery about Benghazi is going to hurt Hillary if she chooses to run,” Begala continued. “It is absolutely inconceivable.”
In a January Washington Post-ABC News poll, 67 percent of Americans had a favorable impression of Clinton. Among Democrats, 91 percent rated Clinton favorably, including 60 percent who felt “strongly,” according to the poll.
Many of Clinton’s supporters are publicly urging her to run, and a pro-Clinton super PAC, Ready for Hillary, was launched a few months ago. But Clinton has not revealed her intentions. Her husband, the former president, said Tuesday that speculation about a possible candidacy is “the worst expenditure of our time.”
Some Republicans, however, hope that continued scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s leadership in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack will undermine one of the strongest aspects of her public profile.
“The Benghazi scandal is back!” conservative activist Gary Bauer wrote in an e-mail blast on Monday. Bauer added that he believes that Clinton engaged in a coverup in part because she was “worried about her place in history
. . .
and her place in 2016!”
In an interview, Bauer said the investigation itself undercuts Clinton’s credibility.
“One of the things she brings to the table is a perception that on foreign policy and defense issues she’s perhaps more serious and experienced than the president has been,” Bauer said. “And I think this would go right to those perceived strengths.”
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