Washington (CNN) - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she would be "disappointed" in the American electorate if Hillary Clinton becomes a serious candidate for president in 2016.
The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee argued Clinton would not be right for the role as commander in chief after four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, died last year in a terrorist attack against a U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
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"If (Benghazi) doesn't have an impact on the 2016 presidential election, if she is a candidate, then America, I am very disappointed in our electorate," Palin said Sunday on Fox News, where she's a contributor.
She said "anyone who would just throw away 200 years of military ethos and leave our men behind to be murdered" should "never be considered as a commander in chief."
The lack of security at the consulate and the September 11, 2012 attack are poised to be a major point of contention by Republicans if Clinton decides to run for president. Clinton ultimately took responsibility for diplomats' safety, and was grilled before two congressional committees in January.
At one point she lost her temper while responding to questions from Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin. He was asking her about 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.
"What difference at this point does it make?" Clinton responded. "It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator."
The attack on Benghazi is still a matter of congressional investigation by House Republicans.
"That's why I'm so grateful for Congress to be pursuing what happened in Benghazi," Palin said. "Because at this point, it still makes a difference what happens in Benghazi."
"Anyone who doesn't understand that and dismisses it as being indifferent, they should not be our commander in chief," she continued.
For her part, Clinton said in a recent interview with New York Magazine that she is in no hurry to decide about a potential 2016 bid for the White House, saying it is a decision "not to be made lightly."
Asked how she plans to combat any conflicts she may face related to her political legacy, she said the best course is to "find common ground."
"I have a lot of reason to believe, as we saw in the 2012 election, most Americans don't agree with the extremists on any side of an issue," Clinton said in the interview. "But there needs to continue to be an effort to find common ground, or even take it to higher ground on behalf of the future."
Palin's comments mark a stark contrast to high praise Clinton received Sunday from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said if Clinton decides to run, "she will win."
"And when she becomes president, she'll be one of the best-equipped, best-prepared people to enter the White House in a very long time," Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union."
Noting Clinton's experience as secretary of state, as a U.S. senator from New York and as a first lady, Pelosi said Clinton would be "more prepared than President Obama; certainly more prepared than President Bush; certainly more prepared than President Clinton I might admit."