Rand Paul (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Never-ending Benghazi scam: How one Rand Paul talking point became a broken record

Rand Paul keeps saying the same thing about Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, and somehow it's always big news


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Simon Maloy
August 5, 2014 11:26PM (UTC)

Way back in January 2013, Sen. Rand Paul made some headlines for himself by getting into a confrontational exchange with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Benghazi. “Had I been president and found you did not read the cables from Benghazi and from Ambassador Stevens,” Paul said to Clinton during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “I would have relieved you of your post. I think it's inexcusable.” It was a great moment for political writers: two presumed 2106 presidential candidates squaring off over a hot-button issue, with one of them actually putting himself in the role of president.

It was also a big moment for Rand Paul, as he realized that combining “Hillary Clinton” and “Benghazi” and “president” in the same sentence was a great way to draw press attention to himself. In May 2013, Paul wrote in his weekly column for the Washington Times (this was before the plagiarism scandal forced him to move to Breitbart News) that Hillary’s role in the Benghazi controversy “suggests that at the very least, Mrs. Clinton should never hold high office again.” At a speech in Iowa, Paul said Clinton demonstrated a “dereliction of duty and should preclude her from holding higher office.”

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Once again, the headlines came raining down:

RAND PAUL: Benghazi Should Disqualify Hillary Clinton From Ever Holding Public Office Again

Rand Paul: Hillary Clinton does not deserve higher office due to Benghazi

Rand Paul: Benghazi Should Prevent Hillary Clinton From “Holding Higher Office”

Rand Paul Fires At Hillary Clinton: Benghazi Should ‘Preclude Her From Higher Office’

Since then, Rand Paul has repeated some variation of this remark during speeches and televised appearances. And whenever he says it, a slew of media outlets rush to give it the screaming headline treatment, even though he’s been saying the exact same thing over and over for well over a year now.

Let’s run down a few instances of this phenomenon.

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August 2013

Rand Paul: Hillary's Handling of Benghazi Should Preclude Her From Higher Office

Paul: Clinton’s Handling of the Benghazi Attack Should Preclude Her From Higher Office

November 2013

Paul: Benghazi should preclude Clinton from presidency

Rand Paul: Benghazi Should ‘Preclude Hillary Clinton From Ever Holding High Office Again’

Rand Paul suggests Benghazi disqualifies Clinton in 2016

Rand Paul: Benghazi Decisions ‘Should Preclude Hillary Clinton’ From Presidency

February 2014

Paul: Clinton Not Fit for High Office Over Benghazi

Paul: Benghazi Should Prevent Clinton From Holding Higher Office

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Rand Paul: Benghazi Should Disqualify Hillary From Ever Holding High Office

May 2014

Paul: Clinton Precluded  From Ever Being  President

Rand Paul: Benghazi Has 'Precluded' Hillary From Being President

Rand Paul: Hillary’s Benghazi Incompetence Has Precluded Her From Ever Being President

June 2014

Rand Paul Calls Hillary’s Benghazi Explanation A 2016 ‘Deal Killer’

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Paul: Clinton not fit to be president

Rand Paul’s New Message: Benghazi “Precludes” Hillary Clinton From Presidency

August 2014

'I don't think she's fit to lead the country': Rand Paul bashes Hillary Clinton's handling of Benghazi and mocks her 'dead broke' gaffe

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Rand Paul Rips Hillary Clinton: Not 'Fit to Lead the Country'

Sen. Rand Paul: Hillary Clinton not “fit to lead the country”

That's a lot of headlines for a talking point that, at this point, has been floating around for well over a year almost completely unchanged.


Simon Maloy

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