The Benghazi report: Big trouble for Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton won't testify as scheduled at congressional Benghazi hearings due to a concussion.
Hillary Clinton won’t testify as scheduled at congressional Benghazi hearings due to a concussion.

Let there be no doubt about it.  This will in no way hinder the Secretary of State’s excellent record nor will it be a problem if she decides to run in 2016.

Hillary Clinton has been an outstanding public servant for decades and a few rumblings from the other side, in an effort to derail anything with Barack Obama’s name on it, will be an epic fail.

The Week

An independent inquiry faults missteps by the State Department in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens.

“So much for any presidential aspirations Hillary Clinton may be entertaining for 2016,” says Janet Shan atHinterland Gazette. An independent review board investigating the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, released its unclassified report late Tuesday. (Read the whole thing below.) The upshot? “Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” at high levels of the State Department contributed to the death of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. As secretary of state, that’s a pretty big stain on Clinton’s reputation.

The board, led by former diplomat Thomas Pickering and retired Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, eventually concluded that blame for the American deaths rests “solely and completely with the terrorists,” and pointedly “did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty.” But the board did fault the State Department for relying on unseasoned U.S. security personnel and Libyan militias to protect Stevens, ignoring requests for more guards, failing to make needed security upgrades, not adjusting to the deteriorating situation in Benghazi, and for poor intra-agency coordination. Clinton was expected to testify before Congress about the report on Thursday, but begged out, citing a concussion sustained during a fall last week while she was fighting a stomach bug.

Conservatives aren’t buying it. With U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice pulling out of the running for Clinton’s job and CIA Director David Petraeus ousted amid a sex scandal, “Clinton is the latest scapegoat for ongoing frustrations over Benghazi,” says Alexander Abad-Santos at The Atlantic Wire. And since the report declined to name new victims to destroy in their Benghazi-gate crusade, they’re making do with “Concussiongate.”

Well really, Clinton is bowing out from yet another round of Benghazi hearings, this time because of a supposed concussion, “and we’re supposed to just take her word for it”? says Jim Treacher at The Daily Caller. “If she has a concussion, let’s see the medical report.” Imagine the outrage if Clinton predecessors Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice had called in sick for Iraq War hearings. Yes, “Clinton’s story beggars belief,” says the New York Post in an editorial. Thissupposed concussion “looks like one of the most transparent dodges in the history of diplomacy,” and Republicans must insist she testify later if not now.

Give me a break, says Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice. Clinton is faking an illness? Theseconservatives “are fixated on creating crises where they aren’t any,” and doing so in a “cravenly partisan” manner. Congratulations, or something: Your paranoia has earned you a coveted spot in our “Get a Life” club.

In the end, Clinton will probably emerge from this relatively unscathed, says The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. Before she gets another chance to testify, she will likely “leave the Obama cabinet with sky-high approval ratings and an eye on the 2016 presidential nomination,” and at this point, “it’s logical for her not to want to dwell on the worst debacle of her tenure at State.”

Read the report for yourself:

Benghazi Report

TIME Person of the Year is President Obama

Congratulations Mr. President…

MSNBC – Today Show

TIME magazine unveiled the 2012 choice for its iconic Person of the Year cover live on TODAY Wednesday. President Barack Obama is this year’s choice, managing editor Rick Stengel revealed.

On Tuesday, the magazine’s short list for this year’s Person of the Year cover was revealed on TODAY, and tens of thousands of readers voted among the eight candidates. In addition to President Obama, they included Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!; Mohammed Morsi, president of Egypt; Undocumented AmericansBill and Hillary Clinton; ; Malala Yousafzai, the student activist from Pakistan who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban; Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple; and the Higgs Boson and Italian physicist Fabiola Giannati.

As it has for the past 85 years, the weekly newsmagazine selected the person (or sometimes group, or thing) that its editors deemed had the single greatest impact during the past year, for better or for worse.

Time’s Person of the Year has been a perennial topic of year-end debate ever since aviator Charles Lindbergh was chosen the first Man of the Year back in 1927 (the title was amended to Person of the Year in 1999). But the title is not necessarily an accolade; while many presidents, political leaders, innovators and captains of industry have been cited, some of the more notorious Persons of the Year include Adolf Hitler in 1938, Joseph Stalin in 1943 and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. There have also been more conceptual choices, such as “the American Fighting-Man” (1950), “Middle Americans” (1969), and last year’s choice, The Protester.

Read more about the TIME Person of the Year here.

The Connecticut school massacre: Read the NRA’s first public comments

“It speaks…”

The Week

The National Rifle Association, the influential lobbying group that is a driving force behind America’s lax gun laws, on Tuesday released its first statement since the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 26 people. Read the statement below:

National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters — and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown.

Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.

The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.

The NRA is planning to hold a major news conference in the Washington, DC area on Friday, December 21.


Discovery Channel kicks Ted Nugent to the curb

Firearms enthusiast Ted Nugent, appearing in a Discovery Channel special. Photo: Screenshot via

Perhaps I’ll start watching Discovery Channel again

The Raw Story

In addition to cancelling its popular “American Guns” reality show, The Discovery Channel confirmed to Raw Story on Tuesday that firearms enthusiast Ted Nugent will also not be returning to the channel in any form or fashion.

Speaking to Raw Story in remarks specified as “not for attribution,” a spokesperson admitted that Ted Nugent’s Gun Country” didn’t do very well when it aired in October, even with fellow firearms fashionistas. Nielsen Ratings placed the viewership at about 864,000 people in all. But the network’s decision is not just about the numbers.

After Friday’s devastating massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the spokesperson said that Nugent would definitely not be returning to the Discovery Channel.

Nugent and his allies at the National Rifle Association (NRA) repeatedly claimed that his hour-long Discovery Channel special was actually a planned “series.”  The Detroit native and longtime southern rocker even told Armed America Radio listeners in October to “expect that there will be at least a dozen shows a year.” The channel’s spokesperson confirmed that this was never actually in the works.

Nugent, who endorsed Mitt Romney for president, was investigated by the Secret Service earlier this year after he urged NRA members to “chop [Democrats’] heads off in November.”

“I’ll tell you this right now, if Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” the rocker said in April.

News of Nugent’s fall at Discovery comes the same day that the channel confirmed it is cancelling “American Guns,” a popular reality show that glamorizes a family that produces deadly weapons.

“‘American Guns’ concluded earlier this year,” the network’s prepared statement explains. “Discovery Channel chose not to renew the series and has no plans to air repeats of the show.”

Although the Discovery Channel’s statement did not directly link the cancellation of “American Guns” to Friday’s massacre, the channel’s spokesperson did say the tragedy “has really started something,” but didn’t specify what that something may be.

Nugent’s spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.