Hillary Clinton wrapped up 11 hours of testimony before Congress on Friday, for the most part deftly handling a marathon grilling by lawmakers seeking details about the 2012 attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Clinton sat for four consecutive hours-long sessions in a packed hearing room of the House Special Committee on Benghazi, parrying accusations by Republicans that she did not do enough to protect the US mission in Libya during a period of deep unrest, and then hid details of how she responded to the attacks.
Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for president, remained composed through her interrogation by the Republican inquisitors on the panel. Democratic lawmakers on the panel occasionally lashed out at their Republican colleagues in her defence.
“If we stay here much longer, you’re going to have to take that 3 am phone call from the committee room,” said Democratic panel member Adam Schiff. The reference was to a famous Clinton ad during the 2008 presidential campaign suggesting that she would be best prepared to handle national emergencies.
In her testimony Clinton managed to accuse her rivals of exploiting the deadly attacks in Libya — which came under her watch as secretary of state — for political gain. On Twitter, the reviews of Clinton’s performance were overwhelmingly positive, with many opining that this will be a tremendous boost to her presidential campaign and with the length of the proceedings causing some pro-Clinton supporters to create the hashtag #FreeHillary.
“I am impressed with @HillaryClinton and her ability to remain poised. Says a lot about how she would handle pressure,” said writer Brandon Lee Fureigh. “The #Benghazi committee made @HillaryClinton look presidential,” added Margaret @Margaretherapy.
One the few conservatives writing in the flood of pro-Clinton tweets was a woman named Kit, who said: “The thing bothering most… the ease with which both Clintons lie.” Another conservative, IronHide, writing during the hearing, said that the Republican Committee chairman Trey Gowdy “is just KILLING IT right now. #HillaryClinton wants to be hiding under a rock right now.” Even the conservative Washington Times newspaper wrote: “#HillaryClinton’s poise in #BenghaziCommittee testimony boosts 2016 prospects.”