On Friday night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was feeling so confident about reaction to her testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi that she ventured into the lion’s den — of Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show.
Of course it was only her spin team and her allies in the mainstream media that were exalting over her “performance” before the committee, and doing so despite the fact that much of the most damning testimony (and facial reactions, ill-timed laughter and head-in-hand moping) had in fact not gone her way.
The hundreds of unanswered pleas for security; the large stack of Hillary’s email loving the Libyan War in 2011 and the little stack demonstrating her indifference to it once the calendar turned 2012 and she had what she thought was a campaign plank bolted down; the epic access accorded the sketchy Sid Blumenthal and the walling-off of Chris Stevens; and, of course, the email to Chelsea on the night of the Benghazi attack, stating it had been an “al Qaeda style terrorist attack” — not a video-inspired mob — all will haunt her. (Was Chelsea cleared to receive that news, by the way? An inconvenient question, that, given Gen. David Petraeus’ conviction for sharing classified information.)
On Friday on my radio show, Bob Woodward compared Hillary to Richard Nixon in an unflattering way. Read the transcript and you will understand. But the pretend victory lap took her to the MSNBC studios and she promptly proved again why she is an atrocious candidate, proclaiming the Veterans Affairs scandal of 2014 “overstated.”
But dismissing the VA’s systemic failure as a partisan issue? The 2014 internal audit covered 731 VA facilities nationwide included interviews with more than 3,700 staff members. Among the findings: 57,436 newly enrolled veterans faced a minimum 90-day wait for medical care; 63,869 veterans who enrolled over the past decade requested an appointment that never happened.
Hillary told Rachel Maddow that “overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment” and that “nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from the Republicans, in — in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have.”
Only as horrible a candidate as she could mangle such a friendly interview, in a friendly setting intended to amplify a false message of triumph.
She beat the Washington Generals at the first debate, and she avoided a repeat of “what difference, after all, does it make,” but Hillary’s week ended on a note of indifference to America’s veterans and incredible ignorance of the scale of failure of the “team” of which she was a part, a domestic failure every bit as vast as her own at the Department of State.
This column was originally published on WashingtonExaminer.com.