Jim Clark: Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2016
November 6, 2013
CBS may have destroyed Hillary Clinton's chances of becoming president in 2016.
For more than a year, "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan and producer Max McClellan circled the globe seeking credible evidence and sources in an effort to find out just what happened at Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, when al Qaeda terrorists killed US Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans.
Their investigation took them to London, Chicago, Dallas, Istanbul, Fort Bragg and of course Libya, trying to cut to the credible and jettisoning partisan assertions by those interviewed.
Lara said: "We had to make sure we weren't used by anyone on the Left or Right who had a political agenda. That was our biggest concern. We left about 98 percent of what we learned on the floor — didn't even report it — because unless we could substantiate it with primary sources that we truly trusted and whose motivations we trusted, then we didn't even go there."
McClellan added: "The challenge was sifting out the political bias that might exist with the information that (we were) trying to get, finding the little nuggets of truth in the midst of the political spin. For me that was the big challenge: making this as apolitical as possible so that our only mission was to try to ascertain facts, leaving all the other stuff aside."
Logan told interviewers: "the (Obama) Administration is cracking down so hard on leakers (that) no one wants to put anything in writing, everybody is scared to talk over the phone, people want to meet in person — all of that (made) it much harder to investigate anything."
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"To us," Logan said, "it was staggering that the US diplomat who was coordinating the response in Libya knew an hour into the attack — which lasted another six hours — that there was no help coming."
Their report aired on "60 Minutes" on October 27, 2013.
Green Beret Commander Lt. Col. Andy Wood was one of the top American security officials in Libya; he met with Ambassador Stevens every day.
He told Logan that he had advised the Defense and State Departments three months before the onslaught that al Qaeda planned the attack.
It was to be the third stage of a bloody endeavor that started with an assassination attempt on the British Ambassador followed by an attack on the Red Cross. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later said to Congress: "What difference does it make?"
Although the liberal media are already condemning Sixty Minutes' "Benghazi" report it has made a strong and immediate public impression.
According to a Rasmussen poll released the last of October 43 percent of respondents think the CBS report will hurt Hillary Clinton's candidacy in 2016 while only 4 percent of those polled think the circumstances surrounding the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi will help Clinton's candidacy.
This poll is a snapshot after only one broadcast. We can imagine the effect on public opinion during the run up to the 2016 Election when the scenes are rebroadcast over and over, first by Clinton's Democratic primary opponents and later by the GOP candidate.
The liberal Media Matters is leading efforts to discredit the piece but CBS has historically had a left-leaning bias (remember Dan Rather and the air Force "memo" condemning then Lieutenant George Bush) so their effort has some credibility issues.
Last Sunday, Sen. Charles Shumer, D-N.Y., issued an unqualified endorsement of a Hillary candidacy three years before the election, an apparent effort to bolster her sagging poll numbers.
Time will tell.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates, and has served on the Washoe County and Nevada state GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.