- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 27, 2013

A top Senate Democrat believes Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s duel appearances last week on Capitol Hill, in which she clashed with Republicans over the Obama administration’s handling of the Sept. 11 Benghazi terrorist attacks, will go down in history as one of the secretary of state’s “finer moments.”

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has done an extraordinary job for this country. It’ll be recognized by history. This was one of her finer moments,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Senate panel was one of two congressional committees to question Mrs. Clinton last week in dramatic, long-awaited hearings that had been delayed because of the secretary’s physical ailments.

She was met with harsh criticism by many Republicans, most notably Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who said he believes Mrs. Clinton should’ve resigned in the wake of the Benghazi incident. The attacks claimed the lives of four Americans, including J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Despite widespread criticism of Mrs. Clinton and her State Department, Mr. Durbin believes the Benghazi affair will be remembered as a shining example of the secretary’s leadership.

“Four brave Americans died [in the attack]. She called for an independent investigation. [The State Department] called for dramatic changes” to consulate security around the world, Mr. Durbin said. “She said, ‘I accept full responsibility.’”

He also said that despite the Republican furor seen on Capitol Hill last week, the anger over the Benghazi attacks was driven by politics, as the GOP sought to capitalize on the incident in the run-up to the November presidential election.

“We know what happened here. In the six or week weeks before the election, this became a red flare of an issue,” Mr. Durbin said.