Charlie Rose Waits Almost a Full Hour to Ask Hillary (Lamely) About Benghazi

PBS’s Charlie Rose opened his 62 minute-long interview with Hillary Clinton, aired in two parts on Thursday and Friday’s Charlie Rose show, by reciting a Maya Angelou poem dedicated to the former Secretary of State. Almost an hour later Rose finally asked Clinton about the Benghazi scandal.

In the second part of the interview, aired at the end of Friday’s show, Rose waited until his last question, with just a little over 3 minutes of interview time left, to finally bring up Benghazi. Even then Rose sheepishly tip-toed up to the topic as he told Clinton that if he didn’t ask the question he was worried “a thousand people will write me.” Sadly, neither Rose or Clinton could even bring themselves to actually mention the names of the four victims (Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty) killed in the September 11, 2012 attacks. (video after the jump)

 

Rose began: “If I don’t mention this somebody will, a thousand people will write me saying, ‘Why didn’t you mention Benghazi?’ We’ve got a new investigation coming up. There are two questions about Benghazi. One is the question of whether there was enough security and whether you knew? You’ve spoken about that. You did not know. But you’ve also listened to recommendations made by the first commission and you’ve said ‘we’ve tried to carry those out.’”

Then Rose helped to clear the 2016 path for Clinton as he pinned the infamous talking points memo on Barack Obama and Susan Rice: “The other question has to do about talking points and things like that. Which were not necessarily having to do anything with you. Had to do with the President and Susan Rice. Is it gonna be, you believe, an effective campaign item for those who believe, somehow, that the President was paying more attention to the campaign than to the definition of what was going on in Benghazi?”

Clinton brushed off the Benghazi scandal by tying it to other past tragedies as she reminded Rose “We lost 258 Americans, Marines and embassy personnel in Beirut under President Reagan.” She also mentioned the embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya during her husband’s administration.

But when Clinton got to the Benghazi attacks she couldn’t bring herself to mention the victims by name, even when Rose reminded the former First Lady that one of them was “a friend.”

HILLARY CLINTON: And there is no, now way to express the deep regret and tragedy of the loss of our four Americans to-

CHARLIE ROSE: One, a friend.

CLINTON: One a friend. Somebody I sent there. The ambassador, an information specialist and two CIA contractors. So we, we have had losses.

The following is the relevant excerpt from the interview aired on the July 18 edition of PBS’s Charlie Rose show:     
 

PBS
Charlie Rose
July 18, 2014

[3 minutes,19 seconds]

CHARLIE ROSE: If I don’t mention this somebody will, a thousand people will write me saying, “Why didn't you mention Benghazi?” We’ve got a new investigation coming up. There are two questions about Benghazi. One is the question of whether there was enough security and whether you knew? You’ve spoken about that.

HILLARY CLINTON: Right.

ROSE: You did not know...

CLINTON: Right.

ROSE: ...but you’ve also listened to recommendations made by the first commission and you’ve said “we’ve tried to carry those out.” The other question has to do about talking points and things like that. Which were not necessarily having to do anything with you. Had to do with the President and Susan Rice. Is it gonna be, you believe, an effective campaign item for those who believe, somehow, that the President was paying more attention to the campaign than to the definition of what was going on in Benghazi?



CLINTON: You know Charlie, I don’t think so and I certainly hope not. Because, you know, over the last, you know, what 35 years we’ve had both Democrats and Republicans in the White House when terrible attacks on Americans have occurred. We lost 258 Americans, Marines and embassy personnel in Beirut under President Reagan. And the way that was handled, at the time, was with deep regret and shock and as clear an investigation as could be held to try to learn from it and to apply the lessons. Because those were terrible times for the United States. My husband was president when we had attacks on our embassy on Tanzania and Kenya. Again, the first time ever, an investigation was held at Madeleine Albright’s direction and it was made public because we wanted people to know what we needed to learn from that. Since 9/11 we’ve had many, many attacks on facilities and personnel in the civilian work of the United States, the State Department, AID and foreign nationals who work for, for us. And there is no, now way to express the deep regret and tragedy of the loss of our four Americans to-

ROSE: One, a friend.

CLINTON: One a friend. Somebody I sent there. The ambassador, an information specialist and two CIA contractors. So we, we have had losses. There’s a big, you know, a big plaque as you come in the State Department listing people who have died in the line of duty as civilians. And of course we know how much our military has sacrificed. So I think that the American people want answers. I believe there have been many answers given but just because somebody gives an answer doesn’t mean everybody listens to it. So between congressional investigations, the independent board that was convened that came forward with their recommendations there are many, many answers out there. So we’ll see what yet one more investigation means but I think it’s important to put this in historic context.

ROSE: I thank you for spending this time with me. The book is called Hard Choices. For you to take time I appreciate it very much.

CLINTON: Thank you, my pleasure. Thanks a lot.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.