According to a report in Politico, an array of left-leaning organizations and strategists are meeting today with top Clinton allies to fashion a defensive scheme regarding the Benghazi scandal, in which the former Secretary of State is a central player. With the Congressional Select Committee revving just up as Clinton's new book is released, Democrats sense a pressing need to help shape the Benghazi narrative, as the issue is one of her (relatively few at this stage, frankly) strong negatives ahead of the 2016 campaign:
An array of Democrats — including Hillary Clinton’s allies — are meeting this week to hammer out a united front on national security issues, including a clear response to Republicans over the Benghazi controversy...A major milestone in the effort will take place this Friday, when a coalition of Democratic-leaning groups and influentials converges at the headquarters of the centrist think tank Third Way for a briefing that includes top Clinton adviser Philippe Reines. The meeting is one in a series that Third Way has convened with Democrats since the George W. Bush era to discuss and shape national security policy. But at least some Democrats involved in the upcoming session are hoping it results in a coordinated and strengthened response to the new congressional probe into the deadly Benghazi attack. Several people involved in the meeting say Reines was invited to speak at Third Way on Friday to discuss the chapter of Clinton’s upcoming book “Hard Choices” that covers the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead — including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
I discussed this confab on Fox News yesterday afternoon, noting the irony that a Bizarro World "Left-wing conspiracy" of sorts is rushing to Hillary's aid:
Meanwhile, Fox has announced a half-hour interview special with Mrs. Clinton, which will air in mid-June. Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren will steer the conversation jointly, and one of the advertised topics is the 9/11/12 attack. Clinton is showing up on the top-rated cable news network to sell books, of course, but she'll have to answer a battery of tough questions. For instance, why did the State Department keep its under-protected people in a dangerous hotbed of radical Islamism long after other Western nations and groups had pulled out? Why were requests for beefed-up security rejected, while existing security forces were redeployed out of Libya, over serious objections? And why did she cite an irrelevant online video in private discussions with grieving family members days after the administration -- and the State Department specifically -- knew for a fact the deadly raid had been an orchestrated terrorist act? Is Greg Hicks lying? And since that false explanation didn't come from the CIA, where did she pick it up in the first place?
Three additional nuggets from the Politico piece mentioned above: (1) Hillary personally lobbied House Democrats against boycotting the Select Committee, evidently making an appeal based on politics 101 -- don't let the other side have all the microphones if you can help it. I made a similar case here. (2) Among those participating in an ongoing email listserv discussion about the Left's Benghazi response is former Obama administration spokesman Tommy Vietor. After his performance on Special Report a few weeks back, I'd imagine the Clintons are savvy enough to view any PR advice he may bring to the table with suspicion. (3) Also in the mix is the attack dog group Media Matters, which acts as the American Left's vanguard of hackery. At least one representative from that outfit will reportedly attend today's briefing. Awkward question: Will SEIU have a presence there, too?
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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