Hillary Clinton was asked Monday about her biggest regret. She used the question, possibly planted, to tee up her campaign Benghazi response:
Oh, sure. I mean, you know, you make these choices based on imperfect information. And you make them to — as we say, the best of your ability. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be unforeseen consequences, unpredictable twists and turns.
You know, my biggest, you know, regret is what happened in Benghazi. It was a terrible tragedy, losing four Americans, two diplomats and now it’s public, so I can say two CIA operatives, losing an ambassador like Chris Stevens, who was one of our very best and had served in Libya and across the Middle East and spoke Arabic.
Unforeseen consequences? Unpredictable twists and turns?
From the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi:
The attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya — to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets — and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission.
Hillary knows full well she has to address Benghazi. Here’s what she’s doing with this statement.
First of all, the Clintons are veterans at dealing with scandals and PR catastrophes. They know the game. By airing the Benghazi issue and her response to it now, she’s trying to ensure that it’s “old news” by the time the campaign gets seriously underway in around 18 months.
As in, Oh, Benghazi, as I’ve already said numerous times . . . . (weary, annoyed, and disappointed look on her face).
She needs to have this debated and focused on now so the public will have had enough of it by the time it matters.
Secondly, she’s trying to take a little bit of responsibility, since it would seem kind of crass not to, while also not seeming responsible for anything.
Note that she isn’t completely dissociating herself from Benghazi. She is describing the tragedy as a “regret.” So the public will kind of think she’s taking responsibility, even though she’s also saying that really this is nothing she could have anticipated or prevented.
That’s what’s called, to use a scientific term for the practice, TALKING OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF YOUR MOUTH. This, as you know, is another commonly employed technique from the Clinton family bag of tricks.
Here’s the video of her comments. She also, as you may have read, said she doesn’t know if she’s running for president – which is true in the sense that she could be eaten by a crocodile between now and 2016 – and that she hasn’t driven herself anywhere since 1996.