Speaking at an event hosted by the Iowa Federation of Republican Women Friday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that Hilary Clinton’s alleged failure to prevent the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi should “preclude” her from ever again holding public office, Politico reports.
Paul says he has not yet decided whether he will be a presidential candidate in 2016, but he appeared to be in full campaign mode during his two stops in this first-in-the-nation caucus state.
Speaking to a small group of voters at a household event sponsored by the Iowa Federation of Republican Women, Paul drove home his point that Clinton’s mishandling of the Benghazi situation should disqualify her from serving the American people.
“I think it precludes Hillary Clinton from ever holding office,” Paul said.
“I think her mistakes were of such significance that she should never again be in that position, to make those decisions.”
While Clinton has also remained mum on her plans for 2016, recent public opinion polls have shown her to be of the best-liked politicians in the country and a strong favorite for the Democratic Party’s 2016 nomination.
Paul began his assault on Clinton earlier in the day, telling reporters at a press conference she was “absolutely responsible” for the inadequate security at the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
“She was in charge of the State Department. She was asked repeatedly for increased security for Benghazi,” Paul said.
“I fault her absolutely for not reading the cables.
Part of being in charge is triaging what comes to your desk and what doesn’t come to your desk. And to say that Libya wasn’t important enough for her to be reading the cables from the ambassador asking for more security, I think was inexcusable.”
Paul is in Iowa to address the state Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Dinner, a much sought-after speaking slot for politicians who may have a run for the White House in mind.
While attacking Clinton is a sure way to score political points with fellow Republicans, Paul has also shown a willingness to buck his party’s orthodoxy as he seeks to expand his base beyond the limited-government Tea Party movement.
The ophthalmologist and first-term lawmaker called on Republicans to be more inclusive of minorities, as he spoke in the state that traditionally hosts the first primary season contest.
“As a party we need to grow bigger,” he said. “We are an increasingly diverse nation and I think we do need to reach out to other people that don’t look like us, don’t wear the same clothes, aren’t exactly who we are.”
Information from Bloomberg News Service was used in this report.
Paul: Benghazi Failure Should Keep Hillary From “Ever Holding Office”