COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina on Friday said former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton not only lied to the American people about the terror attack in Benghazi but also undermined national security in the process.
Mrs. Fiorina blasted Mrs. Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, for famously dismissing the controversy over the Sept. 11, 2012, attack by saying a year later at a Senate hearing: “What difference at this point does it make?”
“Let me tell you the difference that it makes,” Mrs. Fiorina said at a town hall meeting hosted by Concerned Veterans for America. “With that statement what happened? We encouraged more bad behavior.”
Mrs. Clinton has weathered fierce criticism of her actions surrounding the attack by heavily armed militants on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, which killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Following the deadly assault, Mrs. Clinton joined the Obama administration in characterizing the attack as a spontaneous riot over a online video that mocked Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, which critics have said was an attempt to downplay terrorist threats in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.
“What Mrs. Clinton needed to say is this was a purposeful terrorist attack and we, the United States of America, will seek retribution,” said Mrs. Fiorina, receiving applause from the roughly 200 veterans at the event.
Mrs. Fiorina, who boasts that she is the best candidate to take on Mrs. Clinton in the general election, took the swipe a day before Mrs. Clinton will appear in a candidates’ debate in Des Moines.
“It corrodes the character of this nation when top elected officials lie to the people of this nation,” said Mrs. Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard CEO. “But number two, what do you suppose is the message that goes out to all the bad guys in the world: ‘Wow, we can attack a U.S embassy, we can kill four Americans and it doesn’t make any difference.’”