An 11-hour infomercial for Clinton

GEORGE E. CURRY | 11/2/2015, 9:09 a.m.
House Republicans’ Benghazi hearing last week was designed to further lower Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers in her quest to become ...
George Curry

(George Curry Media) – House Republicans’ Benghazi hearing last week was designed to further lower Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers in her quest to become president. But the Republican strategy backfired as the televised hearing became an 11-hour infomercial for Hillary Clinton.

Instead of a weakened opponent, Clinton emerged stronger than ever in the wake of Vice President Joe Biden announcing he will not make a third run for the White House. Time after time, she demonstrated her mastery of foreign policy and proved that she could remain calm under constant badgering and inane questioning by Republicans on the panel. Clinton couldn’t have created a more effective television campaign commercial.

I watched all of the charade except for a 30-minute break I took to watch national news. By the time the hearing wrapped up, the only new thing we had learned was that there are no limits on how low Republicans will sink to score political points – at a cost of nearly $5 million and counting.

Instead of seeking answers to questions, more often than not, the GOP panel members would tell us what they thought the former secretary of State was thinking at the time or shared their far-fetched “theory” about what was transpiring at the time.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the panel, said the special committee had one goal – to damage the presidential candidacy of Clinton.

“As we all know, Representative Kevin McCarthy, Speaker Boehner’s second in command and the chairman’s close friend, admitted that they established the select committee to drive down Secretary Clinton’s poll numbers. Democrats didn’t say that. The second in command in the House said that, a Republican,” Cummings stated.

“Republican Congressman Richard Hanna said the Select Committee was, quote, ‘designed – designed to go after Secretary Clinton.’ And one of the chairman’s own, hand-picked investigators, a self-proclaimed conservative Republican, charged that he was fired in part for not going along with these plans to, quote, ‘hyper-focus on Hillary Clinton.’”

GOP panel members focused on trying to discredit Clinton.

Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, offered: “Here’s what I think’s going on ...”

Peter Roskam, a Republican from Illinois, said: “... And let me tell you a little bit of a theory that I’ve developed from my reading and research and listening today ...”

Perhaps they relied so heavily on theory and their personal opinion because there were no new facts to add.

In fact, they went over many of the same questions Clinton had answered when she testified before the committee earlier.

“Of the 316 total questions, according to our count Republican members of the committee asked 249,” Media Matters, the media watchdog group, found. “About 75 of their questions – 30 percent – involved information that was already specifically discussed during Clinton’s first day of hearings in front of Congress in January 2013.

“Those hearings (she appeared twice on the same day before both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee) only lasted a total of about five hours and 35 minutes, but Clinton and her questioners managed to provide a plethora of information that yesterday’s Select Committee was apparently unaware existed.”