Priebus: Hillary Denies Playing Politics While Playing Politics

Sunday, 01 Jun 2014 10:31 AM

By Greg Richter

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Hillary Clinton's claim that she won't play politics on Benghazi is itself a political move, says Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

In an excerpt from the upcoming book, "Hard Choices,"  Clinton writes, "I will not be part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It's just plain wrong, and it's unworthy of our great country. Those who insist of politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me."

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Priebus said he wouldn't doubt the former secretary of state is trying to cut off discussion of Benghazi and perhaps get out of testifying before the House select committee.

"Hillary has been playing politics with this issue from the very beginning," he told host Chris Wallace. "And now she's launching a political defense — an organized political defense. I mean, how did this chapter get leaked to the newspaper? It got leaked because, obviously, their people are trying to preempt or stop any more criticism that she's been receiving on Benghazi."

In her role as secretary of State, Clinton should have known from the beginning that the Sept. 11, 2012 attack that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead was terror-related, Priebus said.

"And now she's claiming somehow that this is a political attack?" he said. "She played a part in the White House's cover-up of what this is all about in Benghazi. … Hillary Clinton is politics 24/7, and this is no different."

Republicans have no intention of ending their criticism of her, he said.

Priebus was unimpressed by any attempt from Clinton to end the conversation about Benghazi. He brought up again the question of why it was then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and not Clinton, who appeared on all five Sunday news shows days after the attack to blame the event on anger over and anti-Muslim YouTube video.

"In December of 2012 Susan Rice said the reason Hillary Clinton didn't show up on television that morning was that she had a grueling week and was tired," Priebus noted.

"Either Susan Rice is telling the truth, and Hillary Clinton was tired and she failed to report for duty. And, therefore, I don't know how she can be president of the United States. Or, second, Susan Rice is lying, and, if fact, Hillary Clinton wasn't tired, and that's the reason she didn't report for duty."

Priebus says that if Clinton is even thinking of running for president, her lack of participation in those shows disqualifies her.

He doesn't give her any better marks for the rest of her career.

"I think she gets an 'F' as secretary of state," he said, pointing to her department's failure to label Boko Haram a terrorist organization, her famous "reset" of U.S.-Russian relations and "Iran sanctions that they fought the whole time and now claim credit for. "

Priebus said Clinton had no accomplishments as U.S. senator from New York, nor as first lady in the 1990s.

Wallace noted that a recent Washington Post/ABC News Poll found that 55 percent of respondents would support Clinton as a presidential candidate and that perhaps Priebus' attacks are an attempt to rough her up because she is a viable GOP foe in 2016.

Priebus has previously said he doesn't think Clinton even plans to run for president in 2016, and repeated that suggestion Sunday.

"If her people want to play this parlor game of acting like she wants to run for president, then they're going to get the scrutiny for playing that game," he said. "I doubt if she continues to have the trouble she's having that she is going to run."

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