January 23rd, 2013
07:23 PM ET
5 years 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. CanadaONE

    you are lucky yo have Hillary – show some respect or get off of the continent and live in a hostile country

    January 23, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    I guess you should have fired bush for the 3000 deaths on 9-11 ,but I didn't hear any gop complaints from the gop national disgrace party then ,morons!!!!

    January 23, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. Allen Hussein

    Can anyone imagne a turkey like Rand Paul as President?

    January 23, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Jim

    Hmm – perhaps he is considering running as the VP on her ticket.

    January 23, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  5. Clayton W Davis

    Hillary Clinton has more brainpower in her left pinkie than do all Senators and Representatives from all Red States, combined.

    January 23, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. Bubba Smith

    I have never seen so much negativity coming from the rep party. How can we ever hope to get a rep pres elected?
    I give up........

    January 23, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. Julian Thompson

    I think it is disingenuous for the Republicans to be dragging Sec. Clinton over the coals. While they were in office they directly sent many U.S. servicemen into harms way resulting in many deaths and many more serious injuries. The Republicans are the squeaky wheel and they like to hold the dems. accountable to an entirely different standard. Shame on the Tea Party backed representatives, they have backed themselves into a corner with support of crackpots.
    Fortunately they cannot possibly keep their base satisfied and they and the Republican party in general is an endangered species. We will not miss them!

    January 23, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. don

    well of course she is going to be upset...but I do believe she was masking the point–it does matter if it was a movie that caused this, or a planned terror network. When they (she?) knew it was a terror group and continued for two weeks to say it was a movie that caused it-that equates to a coverup..lying to the American people..No Paul, I disagree with you...it was a diversion on her part., and apparently you are naive enough to miss it..press her....

    January 23, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. ga.democrat

    The Tea Party/Republicans were like mad dogs foaming at the mouth with their attack on Secretary Clinton. Has Rand Paul forgotten that in February 2011 he proposed cutting the State Department budget by 71%? I guess in his quest for a moment of Tea Party glory, he failed to recognize that he will never be President and that Hillary Clinton would never be working for such a loser!

    January 23, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  10. Foxie

    Dumb move. It makes a difference because the Obama administration lied to the American people. If this guy wants to be president, he had better learn when to shut up.

    January 23, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  11. CraigRB

    The Tea Party is actually more irrelevant than most people realize and they're doing a splendid job at driving the Republican Party to extinction.

    January 23, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  12. plain&simple

    Rand Paul the next republican circus clown puts his 2016 presidential campaign into gear. There is no shame in people who have no understanding of respect. However these jokers perceive themselves is far different than most Americans see them. Now is the time to remember our votes matter and everyone needs to vote so the fringe idiots will stay outside any positions of power. Wow!!!

    January 23, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Chris

    The only time Rand Paul will have an opportunity to fire the Secretary of State is if he is ever elected President. Until then, he'd better focus on improving his stock with people other than backwater illiterates.

    January 23, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  14. jcourtn1

    He will soon be back to being Dr. Rand. His attack on Secretary Clinton was purely political, wrong and way over the line. Too bad for him that it will only be remembered by Clinton fans. I will donate to the campaign of anyone who opposes him – and so will lots and lots and lots of others. Threre's no room for that sort of behavior; he's gotta go.

    January 23, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  15. Alan

    This guy sees himself as President...sure of the local Rotary Club!

    January 23, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  16. CC

    If he were President? That's comical. Keep dreaming Rand.

    January 23, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    Hey curly, you will NEVER be president. You acted like the complete racist pre 60s fool that you are.
    While four Americans died in Benghazi that doesn't start to compare about what happened on 9/11 but your foot in the mouth disease which seems to affect all you rethugs continues.

    January 23, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. alfred

    The Tea Party needs to get behind Rand Paul for President 2016, who should win the Republican nomination easily. His nomination will ensure that Hillary Clinton becomes the first female president of the United States. Every time the Republicans shoot, they shoot themselves in the foot.

    January 23, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. MaryM

    Repubs really put on a show for the cameras today. They looked like delusional whack jobs. Rand Paul will lose his seat next election and the once great war hero, McCain proved himself a bitter old dinosaur today.

    January 23, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    The "difference" is clear.........the attack was potentially related the fact arms were being sent from Libya to Syria, an illegal, clandestine operation, of this administration!

    January 23, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. What a Conundrum!!

    ...he would have fired her...
    yeah yeah...woulda, coulda, shoulda
    He likes to act tough doesn't he?
    He's a light weight with no international, diplomatic, or intelligence credentials.

    January 23, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  22. Cam Spurgeon

    UGH! The father had something. His son has nothing, no looks, personality or smarts.

    January 23, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  23. Dan5404

    Rand Paul has as much chance of being president as the GOP has of getting the best of Hillary Clinton. She put it very correctly when Republican Senator Johnson was accusatory about the cause of the Benghazi attack: a film protest or organized militants . She repeated what I've been saying all along about their big fake "outrage". What difference does it make why the attack happened? The task is to see that we keep it from happening again. She repeatedly pointed out that the House Republicans have held up funds for enbassy construction improvements and security, yet they are the ones howling with fake outrage. I wonder if they know Al-Queda supporters did the attack and murders? Their focus is on gaining some sort of political coup by trying to blame Democrats for the murders instead. Rand Paul is just as extreme as his dad, but at least the old man is sometimes entertaining and a little bit reasonable occasionally.

    January 23, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  24. n, tx

    Rand Paul, u are a loser like your father is and all the tea party Republican Are, Mrs Clinton showed u and the Republicans who was the boss in the chamber today.

    January 23, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  25. Peter m

    Actually, the quote shoud be "a little bit of a valid point" Shame on your little distortion!

    January 23, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
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