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. Tom

    Once again, the GOP is in need of an enema!

    January 23, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Buddha

    republicans trying to make something out of nothing again Hillary was right on. At this point it makes no difference. Mistakes may have been made but there was no malice or deception intended. Republicans need to get some sense.

    January 23, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. wwf

    Just too many stupid people in the world and this place proves it.

    January 23, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Where is the outrage for the deaths of 26 people in an elementary school?

    January 23, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Rob in MO

    Bravo, Mrs. Clinton; tell it like it is. The republican effort to exploit this tragedy for political purposes is reprehensible. In 1983 several hundred marines died in Lebonan because of the imcompetence of the Reagan administration, and democrats did not exploit that debacle. Now republicans are throwing all kinds of false accusations to see if anything sticks. Well, the American people are seeing through that sick strategy. It's very clear, for example, that Rice's statements a few days after the tragedy were completely consistent with intelligence analyses.

    January 23, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. luckjoe

    Congress voted with overwhelming bipartisan support to go to war against Iraq. I hate that we are going to have every error this administration either blamed on George Bush or compared to fiction of the Bush presidency.

    January 23, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Mittens Rmoney

    Republicans cutting funding for embassy secuirty ... what difference does it make?

    January 23, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. John

    Sad, weak lame republican twisting of her words. Keep it up as you swirl down the drain!

    January 23, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. Randy

    @mittens, jfk, johnson, dems repubs, wars are voted in, this is about LYING not WARS

    January 23, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Linda St. John

    Is anyone else totally fed up with the idiots who take words totally out of context to fuel only anger and hate and keep everyone stirred up? So sad that some people actually take whatever these people post on the Internet to be the gospel truth – Open your eyes and read the whole statement people!! Wow!

    January 23, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    What difference does it make? None really. However, the GOP wants 3 things from this:

    1. Clinton's scalp...or at least to generate mud for slinging in 2016;

    2. Some patently ridiculous excuse for trying to impeach Obama; and

    3. Perhaps most to the point on this particular part of the issue, if the GOP/Teatrolls can "prove" that "Obama somehow something something magic something used this to win the election," then the GOP/Teatrolls can add this additional excuse for their loss in 2012 to the list of rationalizations they are using to avoid the facts: the country as a whole doesn't agree with them and they are in giant demographic trouble in coming years.

    January 23, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. LOL

    Proof that twitter will be the death of us all...

    January 23, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. Mrlgh

    The funny thing about quotes and sound bites is that you can take them and spin them in whatever context fits your political agenda. I think anyone who thinks for one moment that Hillary Clinton does not care about those 4 dead Americans is delusional.

    January 23, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. MBW

    Unfortunately, the detractors of Hillary Clinton will associate the comment "what difference will it make" to the Americans who lost their lives in the Benghazi assault. But that was not the point she was trying to make. Whether
    it was a planned and executed terrorist attack or a reaction to anti-muslim rhetoric, it was still anti-American terrorism.
    Like anti-American terrorism is something new. This anti-American, anti-West terrorism has been going on for over two decades now. I imagine it will continue as long as we are engaged with the muslim world. These terrorist attacks will occur where there is the least security. So, quit the political posturing over this unfortunate incident and start showing
    some solidarity over these attacks when they do occur. When the World Trade Center was attacked during the Bush
    Administration, Democrats joined Republicans in solidarity. Why do the Republicans now politicize these attacks
    when they occur during a Democratic Administration? Why? Because this is just another example of Republican

    January 23, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. Bob

    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
    Only desperate, tin-foil hat-wearing Obama haters "know" that. And who the hell is trashing the reputations of those killed??

    January 23, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Gordyb102

    When the GOP wants to explain the IRAQ war, we can talk about Ben Gazi. Hillary is right, at this point it's about solutions not weather it was a movie protest or a planned attack. The GOP also forgot the isn't rule of government that politics ends at our shores and we stand united on foreign affairs. Did we hold W accountable for 9/11 or Reagan for the marine barracks in Lebanon?

    January 23, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  17. CryBabies

    It made a difference as to what the public would think regarding Obamas handling of terrorism and the upcoming (at that time) election. Remember, the "mantra of the season" was" Bin Laden is dead and Al Quaida is on the run". Nothing is going to change what happened including that fact that the democrats were scared to death how this would affect the election.....so they stalled.

    January 23, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. RUchit

    People are misinterpreting what HIllary said. She was not referring to the lives of the 4 countrymen who died. Ofcourse that makes a big difference. What she is saying is that it doesnt make a difference what the attackers were thinking and what matters is to bring those attackers to justice #whatdifferencedoesitmakes.

    January 23, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Gary

    She is just mad because she got caught being incompetent by not leading and communicating effectively right after the incident, and certainly leading up to the incident. She should just take her medicine and live with it. She was in charge, 4 people got killed on her watch, it was wholly preventable, and there as clear and systemic incompetence in her department. She wanted the top job, she has to take responsibility and that includes getting grilled over the death of 4 people. This real life. Not the false ivory tower she is used to living in. She screwed up, and she knows it.

    January 23, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    As for the story itself here....CNN just used an article about it going "viral" as an excuse for helping broadcast the vitriol from every angry, undereducated, radicalized extremist right wing nutjob with even a shred of notoriety. This is a hit piece and nothing more. It didn't go "viral." It caused some famous and semi-famous Teatroll wahckadoos to turn up their daily tantrum meter to 11 for a couple hours. And, as should be considered predictable at this point, CNN was right there to help them disseminate the hate.

    January 23, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Where is the outrage for the deaths of 26 people in an elementary school?"

    Buried under a mountain of other GOP/Teatroll/conservative nutjob conspiracy theories. Stay on topic: we're talking about THIS particular GOP/Teatroll/conservative nutjob conspiracy theory, not the other ones.

    January 23, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    way to go Tampa Tim!!!! I agree. Where is the outrage for the 26 Americans that died in Newtown!!! Republicans ought to be ashamed.....you want to pick apart murders in Benghazi.....let's talk about what's happening on US soil....

    January 23, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. patty fraser

    Obviously the what difference does it make refers to the "who it was that killed them" not the victims you idiots. What she said was 4 ppl are dead we had better figure out a way to keep them safe in the future. And truth be told you can't unless you can keep 3 or 4 operable helos in the roof of every embassy because putting 24 soldiers on duty won't stop a huge mob unless the country is willing to become involved and put their military in action so protecting them is a fairy tale really unless you keep helos and planes always at the ready. You cannot keep enough soldiers to protect an embassy, how many soldiers do you think it would have taken in the Egyptian uprising against that huge mob be realistic people. Don't get pulled in by the BS Grumpy McCaInerson is throwing around. IF his friend int he embassy was constantly telling him he was concerned why didn't he get some funding put through congreess MORE REPUB BS LED BY GRUMPY MCCAIN

    January 23, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. OrlandoGuy

    The GOP is truly pathetic....I know you are still hurt because your boy Romney lost but really this is just weak.

    January 23, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Bill from GA

    To Anonymous:

    i never said Democrats were bold.

    My point (you would have seen it if you read to the third line) was that republicans are not interested in investigating republican lies.

    January 23, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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