The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony featured in ad attacking GOP candidate

A conservative group unveiled a new TV ad campaign Thursday hitting Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Christine Jones for praising Hillary Rodham Clinton in the months after the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

The commercial from Veterans for a Strong America includes a clip of Clinton's now famous line from congressional testimony as secretary of state in early 2013: "What difference at this point does it make?" Clinton made the remark during a back-and-forth with a Republican senator about what initially triggered the attacks.

The narrator of the ad follows with, "It made no difference to Christine Jones," and then mentions two instances in which Jones praised Clinton on her blog.

The commercial is notable because even as Republicans try to keep Benghazi at the forefront of the national debate and blame Clinton for the events leading to the attacks, the matter has yet to become a campaign issue in most key midterm races.

The group running the ad says it is airing statewide.

Jones, a former GoDaddy executive, is part of a crowded field of Republicans vying to succeed term-limited Gov. Jan Brewer (R). Her GOP opponents include Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, former Mesa mayor Scott Smith, former California congressman Frank Riggs and state Treasurer Doug Ducey.

Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jeremy Duda noted on Twitter that the group running the ad has 2012 ties to a Ducey ally.

"This is the act of a desperate, fledgling campaign and their dark money allies who feel the need to go to this absurd association in order to keep their head above water. They're trying to make the Arizona governor's race about Benghazi and Hillary Clinton, when in fact it's about economic growth, immigration, and providing a better future for all Arizonans," said Jones spokeswoman Anna Haberlein.

In a video on her campaign Web site, Jones says her political philosophy "couldn't be more different from Hillary Clinton's," but adds that Clinton strikes her as "the adult in the room," compared to other Obama Cabinet officials.

The primary is Aug. 26.