Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Blog
This week’s two Senate hearings, on the attacks in Benghazi and John Kerry’s nomination to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, were long and arduous. In the case of John Kerry, what was merely a perfunctory measure to satisfy protocol for an all-but-certain confirmation became a drawn-out (and almost boring) affair lasting nearly four hours. In the case of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was expected to receive only a light grilling over the deadly Benghazi attacks which left four Americans dead, the hearings both in the Senate and the House seemed never-ending. Notwithstanding the banality of the hearings and the at-times repetitive questions, there were a couple of moments that were exciting.
During the Senate Benghazi hearings, Hillary Clinton was pretty much cruising along before it was Senator Ron Johnson’s turn to ask questions (though Senators John McCain and Rand Paul later gave her a serious run for her money as well). Sen. Johnson got a heated response from Secretary Clinton when he asked about UN Ambassador Susan Rice “purposefully misleading the American public” on what happened in Benghazi. He continued to push, asking why a phone call wasn’t made to people on the ground after the attack to ascertain whether or not the attack was the result of a protest or a planned terrorist assault.
Clinton’s response is worth a look. Here’s what she said:
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans – was it because of a protest or was it because guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans. What difference at this point does it make?”
During John Kerry’s confirmation hearings, many important things were said, especially on what a prospective State Department agenda under Secretary Kerry would look like. On issues pertaining to the Middle East and North Africa, Kerry stressed the importance of solving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which he said was at the nexus of much of the unrest in the region. "All of this is tied to what can or doesn't happen with respect to Israel and Palestine." He also said that allowing the prospects for negotiations on a two state solution to fall through the cracks would be “disastrous.”
As important as Kerry’s statements were, they were not the most memorable moment of his nearly 4-hour-long hearing. What won’t be forgotten is the heckling Kerry received from a 19-year-old CODE Pink activist during his testimony. Before being removed from the hearing room, the young woman yelled, "you're killing people in the Middle East for no reason... I'm tired of my friends in the Middle East dying." Kerry’s handling of the situation was actually quite good.
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