Hillary Clinton may be the clear frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, but the former secretary of state is definitely "beatable," former New York Gov. George Pataki says.
"Anyone is beatable. She has great name I.D., but you look at her record as secretary of state, you look at her comments on Benghazi . . ." Pataki told Newsmax TV's John Bachman.
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Clinton has been under fire for her handling of security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, where four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were murdered by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2012.
She was also criticized in a new memoir by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who says she indicated she had opposed a troop surge in Iraq for political reasons.
"One of the things most troubling to me was Secretary of Defense Gates', not quotation, but recitation of when he was sitting with [President Barack] Obama and Hillary and she was acknowledging that she opposed the surge in Iraq solely to help her political career. That is wrong."
Pataki pointed out that his son was a Marine lieutenant in Iraq during the surge, and "to think that she was thinking more of how she's going to do in a primary than the fate of those brave Americans putting their lives on the line to help protect our country, it's just wrong."
The defining issue in the 2016 campaign, said Pataki, will be the "nature of America."
"Are we a country . . . where people are free to live their own lives and make their own decisions, or do we have to aggregate that to a group of elites in Washington who know better than us and who know how to make the decisions and tell us how to live our lives?" Pataki said.
"The American people don't believe that."
Pataki, who served as governor of the Empire State from 1995 to 2006, said he is "fired up" to help whoever the Republican nominee for president is, "because we have got to take this country back and give it back to the people."
But he refused to answer questions about who would be the right person to challenge Clinton, as it is "way too soon" to start naming candidates.
"There's a lot of good, capable people out there. There are a number of people who obviously are very interested in running," he said.
"There are many who we haven't even thought about who might decide that this is important enough and they have the ability to enter and try to take to the country back."
Pataki isn't ruling himself out, he said, because he's learned "to never say never."
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