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Nate Jackson / October 15, 2015

Second Republican Throws Clinton a Lifeline

Look for Hanna’s comments to show up in her next campaign ad.

Can it be this hard to provide a consistent rationale for the formation of the House Select Committee on Benghazi and the subsequent uncovering of Hillary Clinton’s malfeasance? Evidently it is for some Republicans. Just two weeks after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy torched his own bid for the speakership with boneheaded remarks about the effect the committee was having on Clinton’s poll numbers, another Republican gave an in-kind donation to the next Clinton campaign ad. “This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton,” said Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY). “After what Kevin McCarthy said, it’s difficult to accept at least a part of it was not. I think that’s the way Washington works. But you’d like to expect more from a committee that’s spent millions of dollars and tons of time.”

Is there a political angle to the committee’s work? Of course. But it’s definitely not the primary angle, and Republicans have a far better rationale to present to the public. Hillary Clinton denied security requests for Americans serving in Benghazi, blamed the whole episode on a YouTube video to bolster Barack Obama’s “al-Qaida is on the run” political narrative before the 2012 election — practically spitting on the graves of four dead Americans — and covered it all up in part with her private email server. In other words, it’s political because she made it so. Has it hurt her poll numbers? Yes, but that’s because she’s a liar, and because voters can tell the difference between real malfeasance on her part and a political witch hunt.

And yet the net effect of McCarthy’s and now Hanna’s comments is to give credence to Clinton’s cries of victimhood. As she declared in the debate Tuesday, “[The Benghazi] committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee. It is a partisan vehicle … to drive down my poll numbers.” Look for Hanna’s comments to show up alongside McCarthy’s in another campaign ad for the Democrat frontrunner.

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