Hillary Clinton canceled a visit to San Diego as protesters planned to confront her over the ongoing Benghazi scandal — but former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan says the potential Democratic presidential candidate should have taken up the challenge.
Clinton "has proven herself to be very, very good in these kinds of environments, dealing with challenges and dealing with protests," Hoekstra told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"It would be very interesting [if] she would have gone there, confronted these folks, and deal with it, and maybe demonstrated that 'you're not going to get me on this issue, I'm going to deal with it early, put it behind me, and move on.'"
Clinton will still be the keynote speaker for the annual Western Healthcare Leadership Academy on April 11, but will now deliver the speech via a satellite hookup.
An organization called The Difference Matters has been protesting Clinton's role in the alleged lack of security at the American diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, that led to the murders of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Hoekstra believes Clinton will have to walk a fine line when it comes to her alliance with President Barack Obama as the presidential season heats up towards 2016.
"What she's done is she's given herself three, three-and-a-half years to slowly start creating some distance between this president, this administration and their policies," Hoekstra said. "You see hints of this every once in a while where she's critical or offers a contrarian view and says, 'I might do some things different.' So she's slowly inching her way away from this administration, but she doesn't want to go too far.
Hoekstra said the ideal situation for Clinton is to avoid a tough primary, leaving her strong for the general election.
"She wants to make sure that if she decides to run that this president still feels close enough to her, that there will not be a primary and that she will have the nomination handed to her so she will have a good 18 months to run for president without the distraction of having Democrats attacking her and going through a brutal primary because that is what we will see on the Republican side. It will be a huge advantage for her," he said.
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