By Ginger Gibson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Hillary Clinton is attempting to rally her supporters and stoke outrage with a new television advertisement that criticizes Republican remarks on investigations into the September 2011 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans.
The ad attempts to pivot away from discussions about her response to the attack of the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, just weeks before she is slated to testify before the committee on Oct. 22.
The ad, which will air across the United States on cable television, begins by showing California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is considered by many likely to be the next Speaker of the House, arguing that the House Benghazi Committee was an accomplishment because it lowered Clinton’s poll numbers in her race for the White House.
McCarthy's remarks quickly drew criticism from Democrats who said he had revealed the investigation was purely political.
McCarthy defended the work of the committee.
"The mission of the Select Committee on Benghazi is to find the truth -- Period," he said in a statement. "The serious questions Secretary Clinton faces are due entirely to her own decision to put classified information at risk and endanger our national security."
The ad points out that the committee cost taxpayers $4.5 million.
“The Republicans have spent millions attacking Hillary because she’s fighting for everything they oppose, from affordable healthcare to equal pay,” the ad's narrator says. “She’ll never stop fighting for you, and the Republicans know it.”
Clinton - who was secretary of state at the time of the attacks - is trying to make the case that a coming hearing of the panel at which she will be questioned is only focused on smearing her politically.
“Look at the situation they chose to exploit, to go after me for political reasons: the death of four Americans in Benghazi,” Clinton said in a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Monday. She called the panel a “political, partisan committee for the sole purpose of going after me, not trying to make our diplomats who serve in dangerous areas safer.”
The House Benghazi Committee was established in 2014, after eight congressional investigations were conducted. The House committee has largely focused on Clinton’s response to the attacks, whose victims included Ambassador Chris Stevens. The committee expanded its inquiry and is now simultaneously investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server.
(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Ken Wills and Christian Plumb)