The loudest boos during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate came after Univision moderator Jorge Ramos asked Hillary Clinton about her handling of the attack on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
After saying he wanted to ask her a question about trust, Ramos brought up Benghazi, a sensitive and controversial issue from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
“On the night of the attacks in Benghazi,” he started, as the crowd started booing loudly. Clinton nodded and smiled.
Ramos continued: “You sent an email to your daughter Chelsea saying that an Al Qaeda group was responsible for the killing of the Americans. However, some of the families claim that you lied to them.”
The network then displayed a Fox News clip of the mother of one of the four Americans who was killed in the attack. In the clip, the mother said the government blamed an anti-Muslim video for inciting a riot that led to the attack when they knew that was a mischaracterization.
“Secretary Clinton, did you lie to them?” Ramos asked.
“I can’t even imagine the grief that she has for losing her son,” Clinton said. “But she’s wrong. She’s absolutely wrong. I and everybody in the administration … we were scrambling to get information that was changing literally by the hour. And when we had information, we made it public, but then sometimes we had to go back and say we had new information that contradicts it.”
Clinton then cited her testimony in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi in October.
“I testified for 11 hours,” Clinton said to loud applause. “Anybody who watched that and listened to it knows that I answered every question that I was asked and when it was over the Republicans had to admit that they didn’t learn anything.”
Clinton also defended her email to her daughter from the night of the attack. In the email, Clinton blamed the attack on “an Al Qaeda-like group.”
“At the time I emailed with my daughter, a terrorist group had taken credit for the attacks on our facility in Benghazi,” Clinton said. “Within 16, 18 hours, they rescinded taking credit. … And the video did play a role. We have captured one of the lead terrorists and he admits that it was both a terrorist attack and that it was influenced by the video.”
Four Americans died in the 2012 attack on the compound in Benghazi. There has been a fierce debate about who was responsible and whether it was a pre-planned terrorist attack or the result of a spontaneous protest sparked by an anti-Muslim video that Libyans found offensive.
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