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Clinton: Benghazi Criticism Encourages Me to Run for President

Former Secretary of State says Republicans' criticism of her handling of the attack in Benghazi emboldens her to run for president.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/10/2014, 6:16 AM

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Reuters

If former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decides not to run for president, it will probably not be because of the 2012 terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Clinton said on Monday that, in fact, she feels emboldened to run for president because of Republican criticism of her handling of the deadly attack.

Speaking with ABC News and quoted by The Associated Press (AP), Clinton said the Benghazi inquiry from Republicans gives her a greater incentive to run for president because she considers the multiple investigations into the attacks "minor league ball" for a country of the United States' stature.

She emphasized, however, she's still undecided on whether to run.

"It's more of a reason to run, because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball. We ought to be in the majors," Clinton said.

"I view this as really apart from — even a diversion from — the hard work that the Congress should be doing about the problems facing our country and the world," she added.

Clinton and President Barack Obama’s administration have been criticized over their handling of the September 11, 2012 attack at the Benghazi consulate, in which the American ambassador to Libya and three others were killed.

Republicans allege security failings led up to the attack and have also claimed there was a possible cover-up over Al-Qaeda's role in the attack.

In a testimony in 2013, Clinton said she took responsibility for the September 11, 2012 attack and cited a "personal" commitment to improving security provisions for U.S. diplomatic missions overseas.

Last week, Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz said he believes Clinton purposely prevented the public release of details pertaining to the attack.

"What I think is that she has deliberately stonewalled," Cruz said, adding, "The American people deserve the truth; our men and women in harm's way deserve the truth.”

The interview with Clinton publicized her new book, "Hard Choices," due to come out on Tuesday.

In a segment already revealed from the book, Clinton has some biting words for President Barack Obama, saying his push for a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria was a mistake.

Speaking about the 2009 building freeze that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu submitted to, Clinton wrote "in retrospect, our early, hard line on settlements didn't work."

She added that the pressure to freeze building exerted by the Obama administration was "one mistake of many" by the U.S., Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the talks.

According to her, the freeze made PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's position more entrenched, and led him to reject the talks, demanding an official freeze in eastern Jerusalem as well.