January 23rd, 2013
03:24 PM ET
10 years ago

#whatdifferencedoesitmake: Clinton quote goes viral on Twitter

(CNN) - If Hillary Clinton decides to run for president in 2016, some critics on Twitter already know what slogan she should use: "What difference does it make?"

In a heated moment of anger, the secretary of state asked the question as she fought back criticism before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday during a hearing on last year's U.S. consulate attack in Libya.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker']

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson grilled Clinton on the erroneous, initial talking points that claimed the attack stemmed from a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam video, though the administration later defined it as a terrorist attack and said a protest never happened.

After beating back the repeated questions, Clinton erupted.

"With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans," she said. "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? 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."

But the Twitter-sphere quickly seized on the outburst.

[tweet https://twitter.com/NeVet1/status/294105360141275136%5D

Not only did the hashtag spread, but so did a graphic of Clinton's 2008 campaign sign juxtaposed with the phrase "What difference does it make?"

[tweet https://twitter.com/withthetroops/status/294129477263433728%5D

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin jumped on the train, as well.

[tweet https://twitter.com/michellemalkin/statuses/294105716149612544%5D

Within hours the hashtag was "trending" on Twitter.

Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation also tweeted the phrase, along with video of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who became the face of the erroneous talking points after she used them on numerous Sunday morning talk shows last September.

[tweet https://twitter.com/Heritage/status/294132116885753857%5D

Others took to humor, as this Twitter user, who tweaked a famous statement made by her husband when he was called to testify before a grand jury about the Monica Lewinsky affair.

[tweet https://twitter.com/SmokeEater1978/status/294166772360294400%5D

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Senate • Twitter
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Michael

    What difference does it make?

    It makes a difference because the Obama Administration trotted Susan Rice out to the Sunday talk shows to spin a lie. This lie how gradually been retracted by the Obama Administration.

    January 23, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. JPX

    As usual the republicans are trying to twist her words to make it seem like she is discounting the deaths of 4 people. In reality this whole thing has been a witch hunt by republicans who still can't believe that they lost the election. Keep it up, republicans, and you will lose again in 2016. They really have become the party of bullying.

    January 23, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Here we go again with the Susan Rice bashing. For all of the Rice bashing that has come out of the right wing, they want you to believe that the Obama administration decided to send Rice out to the Sunday talk shows and spread lies.

    The truth is that Rice's appearances had been scheduled months in advance. She was making her annual rounds on the talk shows because the UN General Assembly was beginning a session. Since she was the top administration official who would be on any of the talk shows that day, she was provided with talking points to use when the inevitable questions about Benghazi came up.

    January 23, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Anderband1

    She was in response to the pettiness of what color were the people, and after the fact, that she said, "what difference does it make." I am smart enought to get what she is saying....it will be the republicans who will not be able to figure it out no matter what!

    January 23, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. Wr

    "'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?' "

    umm... Hill, I hate to break it to you, but it was a concerted, planned attack on an American outpost. It was NEITHER of the scenarios you paint. You might want to know that, what with being the SECRETARY OF STATE and all.

    January 23, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. DC Observer

    Most AMericans now know that Benghazi was a White House coverup to protect Obama in the final month before the election. The Administration lied, misled, and withheld information. 4 americans were unnecessarily killed....but what difference does it make. I mean, Obama won the election so get over it. There are consequences when one wins an election, and trashing the reputation of the 4 deaD aMERICANS IS UNFORTUNATE, BUT WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE - we won

    January 23, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Bill from GA

    Bush, Cheney, Condi, etc. , lied to America and the World about Iraq. What difference did it make?

    About 4000 Americans (and their allies) dead, 100,000, and more, dead Iraqis. Americans wounded for life.

    But that was from republican lies. Doesn't matter. Not worth investigating.

    January 23, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Boo

    Remember George W. Bush's comment directed to the terrorists shortly after 9/11 – "Bring it on."

    January 23, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    If only Republican lawmakers showed the same concern when it was discovered that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. There was no investigation on why the Bush administration used bogus intelligence to justified the war and the role neo-conservatives of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC} played in the rush to war.

    January 23, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. lvas

    You all can get as snarky as you want – but Hillary is right. What difference did it make on the night of the attack and what difference does it make now as to “WHY” Benghazi was attacked? Her point was the people inside still died and they are still dead. We all KNOW that the rebpugnincats are trying to gain some sort of political advantage and they continue to point to the “unclassified brief” Susan Rice used to say current intel said it was a demonstration about the video that got out of hand and sure they had “classified briefs” point to it may have been a planned terrorist attack.
    But a valid point its – so what? Either way we need to track down those responsible and bring them to justice and either way nothing will bring back the 4 dead Americans and either way security concerns in hotspots should be better apparently. As to security – you get what you pay for and the house still needs to approve the 2 billion asked for – for security.

    January 23, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. Bill from GA

    While the investigating on Benghazi is going on, let's bring in the CIA and get answers to what was really going on there.

    Ambassador Stevens wasn't there working on his tan, you know.

    Or do we have to wait for the movie?

    ( I actually believe some things are best left up to the Professionals (CIA, Navy Seals, etc.), and that it is sometimes best to leave them to do their job. I still trust my government, mostly. Sometimes (Iraq), my government is proven untrustworthy. )

    January 23, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Sunnygirl

    You idiots! The sad, unfortunate deaths of 4 Americans was not what she was referring to. No wonder this world is a mess!

    January 23, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. surf for sun

    Republican senators spouting insipid conspiracy theories are nothing but elected trolls. Please ignore them Hilllary.

    January 23, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Matthew

    Politicians today on both sides say stupid things out of emotion. You would think they could control it in public. The NRA President said some dumb comments recently, Obama in his speech to the house in December telling people to be quiet and coming off as a spoiled baby. Romney with his 47% comments and now Hillary with these comments. Are they just not smart? I am not sure.

    January 23, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. jnpa

    The repubs have to start early coming up with something to pin on her just in case she decides to run in 2016.

    January 23, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    Reagan had 230 killed by his DIRECT order to send Marines to the US Embassy in Beirut. Where were these "concerned citizens" then ?

    January 23, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Dean

    Don't really care what republicans or the nuts they inspire thing. Haters all.....

    January 23, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. carol

    Amen Hilary, What difference does it make. The point is to stop it from happening again–The only difference it makes is a lot of angry old men who think they are gods what too make a big deal out of it. what difference does it make if Mccain was shot down disobeying orders or if he was a POW during a war.

    January 23, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Dave

    Republicans again showing they are either incapable of basic comprehension of spoken English language, or are willing to lie about anything to make their attacks. I think it's much of both.

    January 23, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Moose

    Im sure it makes alot of difference to those peoples parents. I understand pressure but this was misled from the start.
    Whether rice was scheduled or not she shouldnt have lied. if she didnt how about its still being investigated, but to out right lie, unacceptable.

    January 23, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Jack

    She is right. The fact is 4 people died. I doesn't matter whether is was planned or not planned. The fact is, as whe says, is to find out why and prevent it. Idiots pull things out of context and can't grasp the meaing of an entire thought. Hey, let the TGOP beat her up. They will pay a huge price. A lot of Americans will see them as what they are–angry, disrespectful men who can't relate to a powerful, intelligent woman.

    January 23, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Andy Daniel

    If you read this article, and you choose to post or Tweet that Hillary Clinton said "Four Americans Died – What difference does it make?" then YOU are one who is lying, not Hillary, not Rice, not Obama. She clearly said that it makes no difference at this point WHY the Americans were killed, only that they were.

    January 23, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Bill – What difference does it make if 77 of the 100 senators also voted for the Iraq war.....

    January 23, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Mittens Rmoney

    What difference does it make? Only about 4000 dead Americans in Iraq. Republicans never seemed to care about those lies though.

    January 23, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. BeverlyNC

    If you were watching her testimony – you would know this quote has been taken completely out of the context of what she was saying. She said " At this point what difference does it make it how it happened – BUT let's find out WHO did it, arrest them, find out their motive and get the money we need from you (the Senate) we were denied for BETTER Security". That is the full quote.
    She ALSO choked up talking about what it was like to stand there with President Obama when those 4 flag-draped caskets came off the plane and to try to be of any comfort to their families.
    Republican at it again – making up lies – taking part of a sentence and making it into a lie to spread out of desperation for their failing Party.

    January 23, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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