May 10th, 2013
11:19 AM ET
7 years ago

Rand Paul: Clinton should never hold high office

(CNN) - Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is stressing his disapproval of the way former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handled the deadly Benghazi attack, saying the potential 2016 presidential contender should be precluded from ever holding high office again.

Paul blasted the former secretary of state for saying in her Senate testimony earlier this year that she did not read the cables requesting more security for the Benghazi post in Libya.

"I find that inexcusable," Paul said Thursday night on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront. "Libya's one of the five most dangerous places on the planet, probably, and if your ambassador's asking for more security and you don't read the cables and then you respond and say we don't have any security to give you, that is a really - it is a dereliction of duty,"

"The person who made that decision should never be in place or a position to make that decision again," he added. "I stand by that."

Paul, who's considering a presidential bid himself, made the same argument to Clinton during her testimony before a Senate committee in January over the September terror attack, which left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans killed.

"Had I been president at the time, and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador (Chris) Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it's inexcusable," he said.

While Clinton has stated she takes "responsibility" for the security of U.S. diplomats, she has also pointed to an independent review board's assessment that the security failures fell at the hands of the assistant secretary level and below. The same review board is now being investigated by the State Department's inspector general after the report received wide criticism.

Witnesses at Wednesday's House hearing on Benghazi disagreed with the review board's findings, saying the level of blame went higher up.

The senator from Kentucky reiterated his position Friday in an opinion piece.

"The evidence we had in January already suggested that Mrs. Clinton ignored repeated requests for more security in Benghazi. The new evidence we have today – and that continues to mount – suggests that at the very least, Mrs. Clinton should never hold high office again," he wrote in the op-ed for the Washington Times.

Paul is one of many Republicans who have targeted Clinton over the Benghazi attack in recent days, as the House held a controversial hearing Wednesday featuring three State Department employees who testified they were dissatisfied with how the Obama administration handled the attack.

Clinton is widely considered the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination at this point.

Filed under: 2014 • Hillary Clinton • Libya • Rand Paul
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. patNY

    Explain to me how these hearings are about job creation again?

    May 10, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Larry L


    Democrats try to block the question every American wants the answer too, who told our troops to stand down 4 times when they were ready to save the Ambassador and Staff's lives?
    Our "troops" were out of range to arrive at the conflict within time to change the outcome. Another piece of reality Republicans choose to ignore is the fact that every operational scenario requires "best guess" leadership decisions made w/o 100% of the information.

    Sitting back making politically-motivated accusations after an event is what we've all come to expect from today's Republicans. For example – You hate Obamacare but offered no solutions of your own. You saw the recession develop on your watch but obstructed all attempts to fix the problem. You are even critical of the way the current administration hunted down and killed Bin laden – something Bush failed to do. You are professional conspiracy theorists and America is tired of your whining. The President is an African American – get over it and do something constructive.

    May 10, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Remember, folks. Sen. Paul wants to make major cuts to the defense budget. So if he is elected POTUS, there wouldn't be anyone available to provide the embassy protection that he's been so critical of. He felt that deeper spending cuts should have been across the board, including the State Department's defense budget cuts. Same guy, folks.

    May 10, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. AmericaStand

    Especially after she left four Americans in Benghazi stranded only to be murdered later. New details about the Obama administration's initial story-line on the Benghazi attack are raising additional questions about top-level efforts to downplay terrorism, with one report showing a State Department official pushed to delete a section that could have been used to "beat up" her department.

    The fresh reports have surfaced two days after three whistle-blowers testified on Capitol Hill about the Benghazi attack. One of them sharply challenged the administration's decision to describe the attack out of the gate as a protest gone wrong.

    ABC News reported Friday that, despite administration claims that the flawed description reflected the best intelligence at the time, the talking points that led to the statement were revised 12 times.

    Initial versions, as has been previously reported, contained references to Al Qaeda that were later deleted. But the latest excerpts show how State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland pressed the CIA to scrub references to the agency's prior security warnings.

    According to ABC News, the original paragraph read:

    "The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa'ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador's convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks."

    But Nuland wrote that the lines "could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned ..."

    May 10, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. sassysticks53

    Um, no Rand Paul – your're the one who will never hold the office of the POTUS. Can't wait to vote for HILLARY CLINTON, our nation's next President!

    May 10, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. The Other Campaign Strategist @ 115th & Amsterdam

    The fact is that unless the Republican party mortally wounds Hilary Clinton; she can walk into the Oval Office.

    The Democratic Party can not allow it's love of the "Clintons" to blind it from the possibility that her luster may be tarnished. A 2nd powerhouse alternative needs to be cultivated and advanced in parallel to Hilary Clinton. Ideally, it needs to be a 50 to 60 isn aged person, perhaps a white male that can carry the states of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Virginia & NorthCarolina. That person would make a GOP presidential victory IMPOSSIBLE in 2016.

    DO NOT repeat the Scott Brown disaster in the Massachusetts Senate race of 2010.

    May 10, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. rs

    Democrats try to block the question every American wants the answer too, who told our troops to stand down 4 times when they were ready to save the Ambassador and Staff's lives? We want answers, and we want them now......
    1. Those "stand down troops were 400 miles away, and would have left the Embassy unguarded. A good plan, really?
    2. I think if you look carefully, Americans understand what happened, it is only the GOP so obsessed.
    3. 25,000 pages of data and reports, and 4 hearings. If you guys still don't have answers it is likely you're not listening.

    May 10, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    You're delusional if you thing Aqua Buddha is going to be the next President. He may get the nomination since the Republican Party is the party of whackos, but he'll lose terribly in a general election. Run Rand, Run!!!

    May 10, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    While I'm all in for Hillary, I am not sure about Warren. And me being a woman myself, I don't want two women on the ticket. Hormones are hell!

    May 10, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. gary

    hey sonny chapman: as boo said google "terrorist attacks on us embassies" and click on first link. count the attacks in bush years starting January 2, 2002. twelve attacks, 60 deaths, not one of them in Iraq or Afghanistan. O'Rilley's spin never stops. try thinking independently istead of listening to faux news entertainers. they are not journalist.

    May 10, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. Ferret out the BS

    How long has Rand been in the Congress, 5 months? Now he's an expert on who should be in Government and who shouldn't. What an arrogant little creep, he's got a lot to learn about foreign service and about dealings with a beaurocracy that just doesn't respond sometimes to the way he thinks it should. Maybe he should look at what everyone around Rand is getting out of this, including Rand. I seriously doubt his or any other Rethugs motives are altruistic.

    May 10, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. Tom

    Aw, poor Hillary. A conservative wacko has declared her unfit to hold office. Now she'll just have to find something else to do. No point in running for President now.

    May 10, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Rand Paul should never be holding ANY office.

    May 10, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Dan

    12 talking point memos change by Department of State!!!!! Lying to the American people!!!!!!
    This is what we know now, after so much time has been passed where the press protecting the liars!

    May 10, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. JohnW

    Pretty sure a lot more people feel that way about him than they do about her.

    May 10, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. rs

    Every day that light-weight chickenhawks like Rand Paul bring attention to Behgahzi and spout their crazy consperacy theories, and shout their inane accusations and threaten impeachment, the worse and worse Republicans look. It is a wee bit sad they don't apparently realize this, but they are reinforcing precisely what America thinks is wrong with the GOP: the lack of important work; the obstruction; the radicalism; the pettiness; the weird policy positions they have taken;their utter denial of far, far worse events in their own recent past, the lack of continuity in their positions, and on and on.
    The GOP suicide continues.

    May 10, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Loyalright

    This low-information voter will not understand this decree since they all are takers.

    May 10, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Loyalright

    Hillary went to bed and four Americans are dead. She couldn't handle being SOS much less President.

    May 10, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Malloy

    When Rand Paul runs for president his biggest challenge would be overcoming Hillary. So, he's says she's not fit ti run. Another fantasy of this tea bagger in libertarian clothing. This clown is not credible on the national stage. He's just too far out, not particularly right or left, just far out, man. He wants to gut government, period. He does not want to improve anything other than his personal standing. Another nut job pretending to actually have something meaningful to say.

    May 10, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. Malloy

    Hillary is way to qualified to run against Rand Paul. A debate between these two would be a real hoot. Hillary would demolish him in minutes. Go back to whatever planet you came from Rand. The earth is not in need of another nut job politician like you.

    May 10, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. Vic

    Hey Boo, O'Rielly "explained" that last night. The incidents you refer too happened in Iraq & Afghanistan, war zones, not like peaceful Benghazi, Libya....Sonny Chapman

    There is your problem right there listened to O'Reilly..lolol

    May 10, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Mikey

    @Malloy – I sincerely doubt Rand can win the GOP nod for POTUS. However, they all want to discredit Hillary, because they know she will be tough to beat, and if they have to stretch the truth beyond all reasonable bouds to do so, so be it. The right has an extremely loose relationship with the truth these days, anyway.

    May 10, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Rick McDaniel

    That I would agree with.

    Hillary could turn out to be WORSE than the Obama disaster!

    May 10, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Pete

    How many deaths under Reagan,Bushs terms with nothing like these committes ever done about them..Over 300 on Reagans watch and another 60 or so on Bushs and now the sanctumonious republicans want answers something while these two were presidents were never asked,how pathedic,how partisan,insensitive these republicans are to even bring in Sean Smiths mother to publicly cry its Hillarys fault and how much Mrs.Smith did republicans pay you to cry that statement out after you let him enlist as a marine under Bushs watch in a war created with his lies!!Just a political three ring circus with Issa leading all his republican clowns around for all the world to laugh at.Issa you should be ashamed of yourself and your party publizing such a terrible thing as these 4 deaths especially when your partys been so unsucessful on all other political fronts and it'll come out in midterms with many of you losing your jobs and don't say we didn't warm yah because we happily have!!

    May 10, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. PaulCat

    To Rand Paul, who will never be POTUS:

    "Hillary 2016 and 2020"

    By the way, what happen to jobs, jobs & jobs?

    Now run and tell daddy that.

    May 10, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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