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. adelita01

    Love it! If Hillary runs I'm voting for her.

    Really what difference does it make????? Four Americans are dead, now how to we prevent it??

    January 23, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. kenhbradshaw

    I believe that the Obama administration has been dishonest about Benghazi.. And that the questions need to be asked. The difference it will make will be about how future events handled. It will put a stop to (or lessen) the use of solutions more political than secure

    January 23, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Justin Icart

    "Why did somebody tell me it was a muslim uprsing instead of muslim terrorists that look exactly the same and would conduct in the same way and would take at least months of investigation to figure out exactly what happened and who was directly responsible.???????" Senators are so dumb it kills me.

    January 23, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Just_One

    What difference does it make? Because if it does not make a difference then we did not learn from our mistakes.

    January 23, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Bob

    If your a republican is makes a huge difference as your career will be smeared and the media will crucify you. But if your a Democrat, it doesn't make any difference....the media will still praise you and nobody will hold you accountable.

    January 23, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    What we are watching angry white men, Republicans need to change this image

    January 23, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. Woody

    The reality is the world is a dangerous place and if you go to dangerous places you know the risk or you just bury your head in the sand as so many in our country do ! Sometimes you have to live in the real world and most Americans don't want to but then I guess religion helps us to live in the real world ? Politicians like religion will always be a place for people to be fooled ! What difference does it make when our news is actually censored ! Who want to live in the real world ? Not most Americans . " So what difference does it make if your not going to believe the real story anyway !

    January 23, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. PushingBack

    When you read the entire exchange, she is absolutely correct. This does nothing but reinforce my respect for her and reinforces my opinion that the GOP is full of pah ricks that care nothing about the citizens but exist only to find even a speck of dirt on this administration.

    January 23, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Dorothy

    Another phrase taken out of context. If they people were killed by protesters who were terrorists or terrorists who planned an attack that went undetected by the intelligence agencies, there needs to be an investigation and find ways to prevent it again. Of course the wing nuts are only going to use parts of the quote. I didn't see this much outrage from the Republicans when Bush's people didn't stop the plan to attack the Twin Towers or was "wrong" about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. A lot more than 4 people died then? Where was their outrage then?

    January 23, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel


    Liars see no reason to explain their lies.......because the reason for the lies would get them in trouble.

    January 23, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Ken

    Why is that comment a bad one for her? I thought it was awesome. The Senator was trying to smack her down for something that is so ridiculously not the point of anything and she returned fire. Kudos to her for not sitting there like a kid in the principal's office. She is a very knowledgable and responsible leader who showed it today.

    January 23, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    Who cares what the gop trash mouth pieces say ,their going to lose the next two elections too ,just like they lost the last one . Attention,gop ,you lost the election . 2014 , 2016 , loss, loss ,if their still around ??????

    January 23, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Borderless

    If we can blame Bush for a hurricane hitting New Orleans and the failure of FEMA and state agencies to respond properly to the crisis, then we can certainly hold this administration accountable for it's failures over the Benghazi attack. Yes, it makes a difference. At some point this administration needs accountability. Expect more from your leaders. #manupobama

    January 23, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. mb2010a

    GOP Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has repeatedly blamed President Barack Obama for the September 11th attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Chaffetz has also spearheaded the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s October 10th hearing to address the alleged security lapses that led to the deaths, in what the Salt Lake Tribune calls an “political stunt.” But it turns out that any lack of security around the U.S. embassy could be directly attributable to budget cuts that Chaffetz voted for.

    On this morning’s Starting Point, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien called Chaffetz out during a tense interview:

    O’Brien: “Is it true that you voted to cut the funding for embassy security?”

    Chaffetz: “Absolutely. Look, we have to make priorities and choices in this country.”

    O’Brien: “Okay, so you’re prioritizing. So when there are complaints that, in fact, that there was not enough security, you’ve just said, ‘absolutely’, that you cut — that you were the one to vote against — security for the State Department, which would lead to Benghazi. That seems to say that you had a hand in the responsibility for this.”

    Chaffetz: "No."

    January 23, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. UDidntBuildThat

    Whatdifference does it make? The election. When u outright lie to the American people, it makes a big difference. Esp. when there was real time video showing there was never a demonstration and clearly indicating a coordinated attack by Al Qaeda. But Obama siad at the Dem. Convention that Al Qaeda was dead, so they had to cover up and the MSM fell right in line.

    4 dead Americans. Our beloved Amb. dragged thru the streets of Benghazi. They had families. I'm sure the difference was they were owed the truth as was the American people.
    But hey we voted for more of the same right?
    Gee what would be the difference if this happened under a Republican WH?

    January 23, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "If your a republican is makes a huge difference as your career will be smeared and the media will crucify you. But if your a Democrat, it doesn't make any difference....the media will still praise you and nobody will hold you accountable."

    I know, right? I still send flowers each week to Bush and Cheney at their federal prison and wish them well on their Hague trial. Those 100K+ innocent Iraqis had it coming.

    January 23, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. anthony76

    another one-liner taken out of context.

    Easily countered by... "4000 dead, and still no WMDs, still no OIL"

    January 23, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. kim

    I don't remember hearing about Senator Johnson volunteering to go defend a consulate in Libya. And Rand Paul is certainly not willing to put his life on the line. The Secretary of State should be answering only to the President and those who have legitimate bonafides, not to a bunch of cowards hiding behind their office chairs.

    January 23, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. tk ellis

    Engel and Clinton what lies. Clinton should have been fired when the embassy needed weapons and more security she never saw it...lies. Then to use no funding whaat an idiot. She should have been fired. Careless, she now states that more things need to be done; it is a little late 4 dead Americans because of her and Obama covering it up.

    January 23, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "GOP Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has repeatedly blamed President Barack Obama..."

    Chaffetz is a world-class Teatroll bimbo. For real...he might be the single worst and most avariciously ambitious one of the bunch.

    January 23, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. LIP

    So many different events over time and so many misrepresentations of facts by so many Dems and Repubs and racists of all colors and all dumped on these blogs sites. We all need to get lives and let CNN come up with some other form of entertainment for small minds.

    January 23, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. j

    Hey stupid Republican bloggers, use What difference does it make to base your wholw campagn on in 2016. When Hillary wins a landslide you will then realize how utterly stupid you are.

    January 23, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. anthony76


    "Those 100K+ innocent Iraqis had it coming."
    Good one.


    January 23, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Borderless

    No, Hillary lost 2016 with that one statement. I will still vote for her if she runs. But just like this last election, I will be backing a losing candidate.

    January 23, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Whatdifference does it make? The election. "

    That's a lovely little story you've cooked up for yourselves to make yourselves feel better about the FACTS that you're dead in the water demographically for the foreseeable future and that the American public has rejected your ideology and the insipid policies it leads to.

    January 23, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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