The Hillary Clinton who appeared on Capitol Hill today for her “grilling” about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi did not look very scared. Perhaps it was the fault of the grillers. Perhaps she is demob-happy.
Hearings on the Hill are always unsatisfactory, with the questioners rarely getting a chance to follow up with the person in the hot seat or properly to needle them. It was especially tricky today. Ms Clinton, polls say, is the most admired member of the Obama cabinet and has an approval rating higher even than the First Lady’s. And four years from now it might be her inauguration we are all recovering from.
Ms Clinton, who will be replaced by Senator John Kerry in the coming days, could have been in trouble here. Lots of things were horrible about the killing of four Americans in Libya including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Why wasn’t the facility properly protected and was there an attempt to cover up what really happened?
What we saw was a display of the talents that would make her a formidable candidate for President in 2016. She alternately became near-tearful describing the day the bodies came home and steely when Tea Party senators like Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky tried to raise the temperature in the room. “This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen”, she said about an alleged delay in interviewing survivors from Benghazi. Did someone say “vast right-wing conspiracy”?
So will she run? She has said not and friends say we should believe her. But there is lots of time for her to change her mind.