Priebus: Book, Benghazi politics help Clinton make money
June 1st, 2014
02:26 PM ET
4 years ago

Priebus: Book, Benghazi politics help Clinton make money

(CNN) – Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus argued Sunday that Hillary Clinton's book rollout–including last week's leak of the Benghazi chapter and her anticipated book tour–may not be a buildup to a presidential campaign, but simply a strategic effort to make more money.

The chapter, according to Politico, contained a defense of her response to the attack, as well as criticism of Republicans who Clinton says play politics with the deadly assault that killed four Americans.

Priebus argued the former secretary of state herself "is politics 24/7." She may not run for president after all, he added, and cautioned people against being "confused by her pursuit of money with her pursuit of running for president."

"I know publishers of the book create this environment to make a lot of money. That's what Hillary Clinton is doing. She's making a lot of money. She's writing books. She's doing speeches. All this talk helps her make money. As long as she's making money, she's going to keep this up," he said on "Fox News Sunday," arguing Clinton may not run for president after all.

His comments come as House Republicans have formed a select investigative committee on the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In her book, however, Clinton appeared to suggest that she won't take part in the investigation or any of the committee's hearings.

"I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans," Clinton writes. "It's just plain wrong, and it's unworthy of our great country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me."

Priebus and the RNC, along with congressional Republicans, have not let up in their push to make Clinton answer more questions about Benghazi as she considers a 2016 presidential bid.

The chairman said she "has been playing politics with this issue from the very beginning" and that her book preview is part of an "organized political defense."

Priebus added that Benghazi disqualifies Clinton from running for president, saying "I think she gets an 'F' as Secretary of State. Whether it is Russia, Iran sanctions...and now obviously Benghazi."

The former secretary of state appeared before both houses of Congress in 2013 for questioning, but House Republicans want more answers.

The RNC has raised money off Clinton's book rollout, including regularly posting blog entries and research documents to their website, which includes a donate button.

While Republicans have been accused of driving a political narrative to define a potential Clinton candidacy, they're now saying she's the one playing politics.

Sen. Ted Cruz was in lockstep with Priebus on Sunday morning in another interview, accusing Clinton of being "all politics all the time" and called the Benghazi chapter "pure political spin."

"(Clinton) is more focused on blaming the so-called vast right-wing conspiracy than on the terrorists. The truth shouldn't be partisan," Cruz said on ABC's "This Week."

While she notes that she respects the oversight role of Congress, Clinton writes in her book that "many of these same people are a broken record about unanswered questions. But there is a difference between unanswered questions and unlistened to answers."

Michael Czin, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said, "Priebus sounded more like a conspiracy theorist than a leader of the Republican Party."

"The Obama Administration and Democrats are focused on making sure a tragedy like what happened in Benghazi never happens again, Czin said in a statement. "Republicans are obsessed with playing politics with that tragedy just to rally their far-right base."

Reached by CNN, Clinton's spokesman deferred to the DNC for comment.

CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Libya • Reince Priebus • RNC
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. tom allen

    He didn't really suggest that she is making money off of Benghazi did he? Pot meet kettle!

    June 1, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. rs

    Excellent point Mr. Priebus- that's why your side should stop politicizing it endlessly, and accept it for what it was- one of many tragedies faced by employees of the State Department abroad.

    June 1, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. drake mallard

    Benghazi= partisan propoganda.

    The attacks on our embassies & diplomats are a result of perceived American weakness.

    June 14, 2002, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
    Suicide bomber kills 12 and injures 51.

    February 20, 2003, international diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    Truck bomb kills 17.

    February 28, 2003, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
    Gunmen on motorcycles killed two consulate guards.

    July 30, 2004, U.S. embassy in Taskkent, Uzbekistan
    Suicide bomber kills two.

    December 6, 2004, U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Militants stormed and occupied perimeter wall. Five killed, 10 wounded.

    March 2, 2006, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
    Suicide car bomber killed four, including a U.S. diplomate directly targeted by the assailants.

    September 12, 2006, U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria
    Gunmen attacked embassy with grenades, automatic weapons, and a car bomb (though second truck bomb failed to detonate). One killed and 13 wounded.

    January 12, 2007, U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece
    A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the embassy building. No one was injured.

    July 9, 2008, U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey
    Armed men attacked consulate with pistols and shotguns. Three policemen killed.

    March 18, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen
    Mortar attack misses embassy, hits nearby girls' school instead.

    September 17, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen
    Militants dressed as policemen attacked the embassy with RPGs, rifles, grenades and car bombs. Six Yemeni soldiers and seven civilians were killed. Sixteen more were injured.”

    June 1, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    That's pretty accurate, actually.

    June 1, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Where was all the repub uproar when the following happened during the GW Bush administration?

    2002 U.S. Embassy Karachi, Pakistan: 10 killed, 51 injured
    2004 U. S. Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan: 2 killed, several injured.
    2004 U.S. Consulate Saudi Arabia: 8 killed
    2006 US. Embassy Syria: 1 killed, several injured
    2007 U.S. Embassy -Athens: building bombed with an anti-tank grenade...fortunately no one was in the building at the time.
    2008-U.S. Embassy – Serbia: 1 dead; Embassy set on fire
    2008- U. S. Embassy- Yemen- bombed 10 killed

    Where, Rinse, where was your concern? Where were your select hearings? Where was your hounding of Bush administration officials for all these deaths?

    Per Greta Van Susteren's website, there have been 13 public hearings about Benghazi and 25,000 pages of documents released. But you won't let up, because the truth doesn't fit your ideological – AND FUNDRAISING – narrative.

    You and your pathetic party have been dragging down our country for 6 years – and come November 4, 2014, it's buh-bye to all of you!

    June 1, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    During all the assaults on U.S. diplomatic missions during the GW administration, Rinse and all the gopers were silent as church mice.

    The only reason they care now about Benghazi is because of the fundraising they do off it.

    June 1, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Anthony

    The Republicans have been driving the narrative of a Benghazi coverup, even though they have no evidence to support their narrative. To show that the whole investigation of a Benghazi coverup has been a waste of time, this was what Obama said in a 60 Minutes interview on September 12, one day after the Benghazi attack:

    "As I said, we’re still investigating exactly what happened (in Benghazi). I don’t want to jump the gun on this. But you’re right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt. And my suspicion is, is that there are folks involved in this, who were looking to target Americans from the start."

    What happened in Egypt was that there were protests against the video. Obama said that the Benghazi attack was not exactly the same situation as what happened in Egypt. Obama also said that "there are folks involved in this, who were looking to target Americans from the start." So Obama himself did not think that the Benghazi attack arose out of a spontaneous demonstration at all.

    June 1, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. ruemorgue

    So, Reince Preibus does not like that some else is using the typical Repulbican tactic.

    June 1, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. O'drama Ya Mama

    You cant just recently be called out for doing the exact same thing and try and flip it on someone else. Makes you look completely hypocritical and its an insult to the intelligence of Americans.

    June 1, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |

    What a joke. The Guns Over People teatards are raising BIG money over the graves of four dead Americans. They can't hide it forever.

    June 1, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. rs

    The GOP is such a joke- you couldn't write stuff like this!

    June 1, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    Republicans just don't get it. Over two years of politicizing Benghazi, what do Republicans have to show for it? Very llittle. Hillary is still riding high in the polls and wins big time against all Republican presidential candidates.

    June 1, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. rs

    What do we expect from the GOP? This is their meme. After all, they don't actually stand for anything any more, fake conspiracy/scandals like "Benghazi" is all they've got.

    June 1, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Gunderson

    Um, Well,
    If it ever takes off it may make a good fiction movie!! Just kidding!!

    June 1, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. rs

    Um, Well,
    If it ever takes off it may make a good fiction movie!! Just kidding!!
    Finally! We agree!

    June 1, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    Yes, man with funny name, because the Clintons don't have enough money already.
    Scared much? You should be.

    June 1, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Blake

    So Priebus is complaining that Clinton is defending herself in a book about something that was made into a huge political scandal by the GOP to dethrone Obama (failed) then raise money/win the Midterms and use against Hillary in 2016?

    -A scandal in which 11 different independent and some bias investigations, have all found nothing and most have already concluded, finding no evidence of wrong doing or cover up by the Administration?
    -That it was just the information at the time that was subject to change (which it did)?
    -That the two gotcha reports on Benghazi were both totally made up by Republicans and got one reporter all but fired from 60 minutes and the other one should have, but blamed it instead on his source (a Republican who paraphrased a email so it meant completely something different)?
    -The one where every committee has debunked that there was a stand down order and the fact is by the time the military in Europe could have gotten planes in the air for a 6 hour trip, the fighting WAS ALREADY OVER AND STEVENS WAS ALREADY DEAD?
    -The same Benghazi where many GOP say the Ambassador was dragged through the streets, but reports on the ground say he was taken directly to hospital and the "video" of the dragging was actually from an unrelated incident years before in an attempt to politically smear the Admin?
    -The latest email sparking more controversy when you actually read it instead of getting worked up, says the exact same thing 20 other emails said but even less vague and proves absolutely nothing other than it was filed differently then others and not handed over with other emails?

    This scandal should have long been dead. Of course they no longer need it anymore since they now have a scandal of the Obama Administration saving a soldiers life now.

    June 1, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Do Reince Priebus and Scott Walker use the same bad cologne ?

    Men have a bad habit of hoarding unopened cologne bottles for use at a later date. We tend to stockpile them as though they'd be useful in a nuclear attack.

    They both seem like real cool duds .

    June 1, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. J Anthony

    Is he kidding or what. I don't see Hillary as president.. Yes she is an oppurtunist, and if there's money to be made politicizing, it'll get made. Like every Republican since Reagan has done to the nth degree. How stupid does he think people are? Very, i'd guess.

    June 1, 2014 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. Hugo

    Progressive Libs

    Here is a news flash for you, CNN = 250,000 viewers out of a 330,000,000 population and I am sure you are the same idiots posting away slobbering about Obama while denigrating the GOP. Your Democrats are going to get smothered in the mid terms and in 2016, you know why? Because your ideologies are pixie dust FAILS, proven failures over and over and over. I can pretty much guarantee it sure as hell ain't gonna be Hillary in 2016, but that is funny...great joke!

    June 1, 2014 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Gunderson

    Republican's don't stand for anything? Democrats stand for everything. They all got on their horses and rode off in all directions!

    June 1, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Priebus, needs a lesson in how not to act like a complete dunce. Can't believe any person with a modicum of brain would listen to or agree with any statement made by this empty suit.

    June 1, 2014 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  23. Bill

    Rinse Prius is a sniveling, little weasel.

    June 1, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  24. smith1

    the only thing slimier than old Rancid is listening to that snake oil salesman Cruz. The repo party is making lots of money off Benghazi. Maim topic at their fund raisers. Hillary doesn't have to do a thing right now the GOP are pooping in there pants .How funny is that????

    June 1, 2014 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  25. Name. willard

    Keep out of hillary clinton 2016
    She was lied her story what about benghizina right

    June 1, 2014 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
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