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. Dude in Colorado

    Sec. Clinton's choice of words was beyond unfortunate and will almost certainly be used to swiftboat her in 2016 if she tries to run, which is okay because I'm not crazy about here as POTUS, though I like her as SOS. All that said -

    Sen. Johnson's question about why didn't "some one" just "make a phonecall" was total bs... It is neither Sec. Clinton's nor the State Dept's job to make those calls and conduct investigations, those duties fall on the FBI and IC (Intelligence Community) who as Congress already knows, prepared the Admin.'s and Ambassador Rice's talking points.

    January 23, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Hogarth

    Her righteous anger was spot on, and – as usual – the "right" are cynically twisting the meaning of her words. Anyone who actually watches the video will realize this.

    January 23, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. MagicPanties

    Of course the wingnuts twist this out of context.
    She did NOT say the 4 deaths don't "make a difference". Of course they do.
    She essentially said it doesn't matter so much the motive of the killers (i.e., protest vs terrorism); it matters that we learn from this and prevent it happening again.

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

    The GOP has always been masterful with the one liners as opposed to content.

    January 23, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Dave

    "Most Americans now know that Benghazi was a White House coverup to protect Obama in the final month before the election."

    Just like "most Americans" were going to vote for Mitt Romney, right? Fox News was lying to you about how most Americans felt before the election and they continue to lie to you. According to polls – you know, those things that you guys won't accept but which turn out to be accurate – "most Americans" realize Benghazi was a horrible but typical tragedy in that part of the world and the Republicans are trying to manufacture a scandal from it.

    "The Administration lied, misled, and withheld information. 4 americans were unnecessarily killed...."

    You seem to have a poor grasp of cause and effect. How the administration described the Benghazi attack has no bearing on the fact that four people were killed. Obviously they were killed BEFORE the administration discussed their deaths and they would still be dead REGARDLESS of how the attack was described. The only ones trying to exploit the dead here are the Republicans.

    January 23, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    What difference does IT make

    It = whether or not we ran around screeching and tearing our hair out on national media ranting about Al Qaeda and trying our d-mndest to make this all about the GOP/Teatrolls' favorite terrorism bogeymen they use to justify more defense spending

    She wasn't saying "IT" as if she was asking "what difference does the death of 4 Americans make?" Intentionally misinterpreting her by ignoring the context of her words is nothing more than DISHONEST. Broadcasting those who are intentionally misinterpreting her without pointing out they are doing so is also DISHONEST. But hey, we've truly come to expect no less from you CNN.

    January 23, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. Zeibodique

    Just as expected, the reich-wingers and haters alike, take a whole statement and mutilate it to make it as a couple of words as it were the only thing someone on the left said. You know that Fox News and Republican Talk Show hosts are the controllers of the righty parade and the GOP is a mere shadow of it's former self. Ronald Reagan, the Republican Messiah would be embarrassed of what the GOP has become.

    January 23, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    They'll have a commercial made out this intentional misinterpretation of her words by tomorrow and then shelve it for 3.5 years to bring it out in 2016.

    January 23, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. jimmy

    If it walks like a duck,looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is a duck.Clinton is responsible for the deaths of those four Americans and responsible for the cover up during the election.She has blood on her hands and the media won't admit it.

    January 23, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. reality

    Didn't they watch the news this weekend? They lost the election, time for petty politics is over!

    January 23, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    What difference do it make? Good question. When you have a belief system, why do you need facts.

    January 23, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. JohnW

    Once again, the GOP is in need of an enema!
    Presumably to find their heads?

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

    The right is desperate to manufacture a "rebuttal" to "Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq."

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

    All of the people who keep on responding to this incident as if it was the greatest violation of the war are so far off base it is ridiculous. Where is the outrage for the 47,000 Americans that died last year because they didn't have access to affordable healthcare insurance? We have no sense of proportion. The GOP has grabbed onto this incident like they have had a meal in months and chewed it to the bone. If they really cared which they don't, they wouldn't have cut 330million dollars from the budget that was supposed to provide more security for embassies just like the one in benghazi. You can't have it both ways. Take money away that will provide security, not provide the security and then go after Clinton for something that foundationally is a result of actions that you took to cut money for that security. This amounts to GOP Road Rage. Boys, if it's too hot in the kitchen then get out and stop whining like a bunch of girlymen because you blew it on policy. In other words move on.

    January 23, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    Soooo, CNN has been reduced to helping Michelle Malkin and the Heritage Foundation reach a larger audience with their insipid tweets? Looks like we're playing journalism limbo...how low CAN you go, CNN?

    January 23, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Oliver

    12 separate attacks on American Embassies overseas during the Bush administration. What difference does it make? This time our president is black. Whole lot of difference to small minded GOPers.

    January 23, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. vic , nashville ,tn

    Republicans are picking a wrong fight, GOP

    January 23, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. bdoyle

    Aren't the Repubs overlooking one very important fact concerning the attack at Benghazi? The chaos and confusion that immediately follows such an attack takes TIME to become clear and the facts can get lost in the effort. So why are they so upset at contradictory information provided early in the investigation?

    January 23, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. mb2010a

    2014 is looking better and better for the Dems and worse and worse for the Republicans. Hillary Clinton would win by a landslide if the 2016 election were held today. The Republicans are too dumb to see they are digging their own grave...

    January 23, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Circle R

    Twitter really brings out the worst in us. Especially desperate, fact-twisting Republicans eager to spin anything their way to trash the opposition and ignite their knuckle- dragging nutjob voter base. Pathetic.

    January 23, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Cheryl

    Right on, Secretary Clinton. The Repugs have turned Benghazi into their new Whitewater because they don't have anything better on her, and they certainly don't want to actually do their jobs and help the President fix the economy. She was completely correct.
    How many embassies or consulates were attacked during George W. Shrub's administration? SEVEN.

    January 23, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. LIP

    What difference does it make? I suppose someone could have said the same thing after every debacle, such as Pearl Harbor, 9/11 etc etc etc. The difference is that there was negligence and the difference is that it never should have happened. There was a bomb attack several weeks before and one needs to ask why nothing was done to protect the lives of these four people and why oh why did it take so long to respond to their requests to "save our lives"?

    January 23, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. Moose

    When any repubs line is taking out of context its ok ??? i never read so many hypacrite losers post in my life, face it she is lying

    January 23, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. what difference does it make

    what difference does it make that the ones spouting the tweeting point don't even get the quote right, let alone in the right context.

    Of course, they're all about "context" when it's Romney trashing nearly half the people of the U.S. just to make a bunch of millionaires feel good about themselves ...

    January 23, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. abbydelabbey

    What difference does it make - if Jesus Christ himself was testifying on behalf of Hillary the GOP would still be going for the jugular. ....

    It's NOT about the deaths of the Americans - it's about making the Pres. and Clinton look bad.

    January 23, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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