Clinton ad seizes on Rep. McCarthy's Benghazi comments

AP News
Posted: Oct 06, 2015 10:14 AM
Clinton ad seizes on Rep. McCarthy's Benghazi comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is running a new ad that seizes on House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's admission that the Benghazi committee can take credit for her diminished public standing.

The 30-second ad, which started airing Tuesday on cable television, shows Clinton on the offensive over McCarthy's comments ahead of her Oct. 22 testimony before the GOP-led House committee.

"The Republicans finally admit it," says an announcer. "The Republicans have spent millions attacking Hillary because she's fighting for everything they oppose."

The ad came hours after Clinton lashed out at the special House committee investigating the 2012 deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. She was secretary of state at the time.

McCarthy, R-Calif., considered likely to become House speaker following John Boehner's surprise resignation, said last week, "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping."

McCarthy called Clinton "untrustable" and said, "no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen."

McCarthy later retracted the comment and said he regrets it.

The Clinton campaign used McCarthy's comments in the ad.

Responding to the commercial, McCarthy said in a statement Tuesday that the mission of the committee "is to find the truth — period. The integrity of Chairman (Trey) Gowdy, the committee and the work they've accomplished is beyond reproach."

Emily Schillinger, a spokeswoman for Boehner, said late Monday in response to the ad: "This is a classic Clinton attempt to distract from her record of putting classified information at risk and jeopardizing our national security, all of which the FBI is investigating."

Clinton said Monday that the committee was a partisan political exercise designed to "exploit" the deaths of the four Americans, but stopped short of calling for it to be disbanded, as some Democrats have urged.

Committee Democrats released a partial transcript of a closed-door interview with Clinton's former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, in response to what they called selective and inaccurate Republican leaks.

Release of the transcript is "the only way to adequately correct the public record," the Democrats wrote the chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

They said they would release the full transcript in five days, in order to give Gowdy time to identify any specific information in the transcript he believes should be withheld from the public.

A Gowdy spokesman said the committee has not released transcripts from witness interviews in order to "gather all facts" and avoid tainting the recollections of future witnesses.

"By selectively leaking" parts of Mills' testimony, "Democrats have shown their nakedly political motivation, willingness to violate the letter and spirit of House rules and their desire to defend Secretary Clinton without regard for the integrity of the investigation," spokesman Jamal Ware said.

House Democrats said Mills refuted several Republican allegations about the attacks.


Follow Matthew Daly: