January 23rd, 2013
07:23 PM ET
1 year ago

Rand Paul says Clinton's outburst a 'valid point'

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul - the Kentucky conservative who told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday he would have fired her for her response to the Benghazi attacks if he was president - acknowledged later the top diplomat had made a valid point when she angrily denounced Republicans focused on the administration's response to the attack.

Clinton was responding to Sen. Ron Johnson, a tea party backed Wisconsin Republican, who questioned Clinton about what he described as members of the administration "purposely misleading" the American people

"With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans," Clinton shot back. "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided they'd go kill some Americans?"

Her fists shaking, she continued: "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."

Paul, who like Johnson was backed by the tea party during his bid for Senate in 2010, said after the hearings concluded that Clinton made a legitimate case.

"I think she has a little bit of a valid point," he said on CNN's "The Situation Room." "It's not so important whether or not it was a movie or what it was. I think what's important, though, in going forward is it not happen again."

The way to ensure that is to give the Defense Department responsibility for protecting American embassy staff in dangerous zones, Paul said, arguing places like Libya were too hazardous for standard diplomatic security personnel.

"I don't think we can treat it like an embassy in Paris," he said, adding that his proposed budget increased funding for U.S. marines who provide embassy security.

Paul, who like Clinton is a potential candidate for president in 2016, also explained his statement that the September 11, 2012 attack at the diplomatic post in Benghazi was "the worst tragedy since 9/11," making clear on CNN that he was referring to "diplomatic and security and intelligence" tragedies. He said his statement excluded the intelligence failure that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

"You can't compare the beginning of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the tragedy of those wars is of a different scale and I guess we're talking more about a diplomatic mission than we are talking about the beginning of the war," Paul said, adding he opposed the war in Iraq in 2003.


Filed under: Rand Paul
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is about the only thing that I agree with him at this point.

    January 23, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Sen Ron Johnson's is an embarassment to the US Senate, Republican Party, Tea Party Movement, and citizens of Wisconsin.

    January 23, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  3. Facts don't Lie

    I wonder if Sen Rand Paul would have said what he did to BILL CLINTON and not Hillary if he was being accused? Me thinks he would NOT have nor some of these other big bad Republican men who have no problem going after a woman when they get the chance. On thing for sure if by chance Rand Paul were POTUS that would prove our nation has gone mad and it would be time for me and my family to head to Montreal.

    January 23, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  4. Mona Benge

    Thank goodness that the US will not be faced with a President Rand Paul. This ill informed person appears to be a legend in his own mind but I am confident that he will never garner the support to be the candidate. Though I have little confidence in the Republican Party as a whole, I can't believe that enough members would support him. If I am wrong, he most certainly can't win. But of course, there is always the GOP plan to rig the electoral vote by tying it to gerrymandered districts. They already boast that this was so successful in retaining the House. No depth to which they will not sink. A sad time for democracy.

    January 23, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. America First, Party Second

    The worst tragedy since 9/11? That twisted TP senator had the nerve to say that! Remember manufactured fake war in Iraq that cost lost of 4000 of our bravest lives unnecessarily and billions of wasted money. In her whole 4 years as Sec of State she may be responsible for 4 men lives (how everver precious). These GOP/TP make me sick.

    January 23, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. KwaiChangCain

    Rand Paul is potential GOP candidate in 2016? Lol, lmao,lol, lmao....

    January 23, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. Evergreen

    I am sure Mrs. Clinton will make sure that in 2016, Rand Paul will not be in a position to ever fire a SOS. When I read comments made by these Tea party elected people I recite to myself: Tea parties are for little girls with imaginary friends.

    January 23, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  8. Pete

    Rand will find out at midterms Clinton means business.It's your own Darrell issa and his republican collegues that've started this mess cutting the defense fund eventually cutting security to embassies around the world..Republicans years ago wanted added security,more fortified embassies than turn around in recent years and cut security to the bone,what hypocracy from the warmongering righties cutting off their own noses to spite their faces...Much like their hero Reagan cutting programs by 70% to finance his hunger for nuclear weapons and Star Wars in the 80's, two wrongs in politics that never made it right!!

    January 23, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  9. Brad

    Rand Paul shows once again that he is the man that should be President. The liberals may hate him and distort his words, but mark my words he will one day be our President and he will be a great President.

    January 23, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  10. Fire the GOP

    Paul is another phony conservative. Spend spend spend overseas. None at home.

    Pull all our diplomats and troops back home. True conservatism Rand. Something you did not get from your dad.

    January 23, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  11. Tony

    I would have fired the Congress for not funding embassy security. The American people will fire the no-good Congress in 2014.

    January 23, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  12. Anthony in California

    I like that one part where the guy who will never be President was asking the future first woman President all those questions about that thing that happened in that one place far away. Yeah.. that was cool.

    January 23, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  13. Larry L

    Rand Paul serves as an example of what the Republican Party needs to flush before they can return to a relevant position in American politics. He's a warped little clone of a crazy, right-wing dad – a person who appeals to those who want radical, over-simplified solutions to really complex problems. He wants to return to some libertarian society that has never existed and if it did – would immediately fail in the world arena. He needs to get off his ideological high-horse and face our problems honestly and without the hate and anger of the radical right. America is fed up with their message and their messengers!

    January 23, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  14. Thomas

    The Aqua Buddha has a valid point ,
    "It's not so important whether or not it was a movie or what it was. I think what's important, though, in going forward is it not happen again." ?

    January 24, 2013 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  15. ThinkAgain

    Rand Paul saying he would have fired Sec. Clinton is the closest he'll ever get to being President – thank GOD!

    January 24, 2013 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  16. Namos

    Rand Paul should get a life and Jon Mcain should retire already.

    January 24, 2013 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  17. All_American

    THANK YOU RAND PAUL for holding Clinton accountable for what she has done. She had a job and screwed it up and just like all working Americans we are held accountable at our jobs too. She and Obama lied and misled the American people. She deserves nothing less than prison time and he deserves impeachment. 4 dead Americans, 4 Americans died knowing their country and government turn their backs on them. That no one was sending help. Where are the survivors to tell their side of what happened, why are they being hidden? Who gave the order to stand down? Why wasn't help sent when their were many close enough to be sent in? Why was there a drone in the area not sent to help them? Why did she refuse him security when he repeatedly sent emails asking for more security? What was he even doing there what was his mission there? If she were truthful she could have rattled these answers off with no hesitation, but instead she stumbles and lies and lies and lies some more. She will never be president nor should she ever be allowed to hold any political position the rest of her life.

    January 24, 2013 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  18. Name lynn

    Well sen rand paul your not the president, an your comment about hillary clinton wouldn vote you in as the president. Its sound like you dont care for women thats out spoken, an a man like you cant control them.

    January 24, 2013 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  19. Matt

    Even more of a jerk than his 4 time loser father.

    January 24, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
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