Clinton goes on a victory lap day after Benghazi hearing
Democratic front-runner shows no signs hearing slowed her down.
Hillary Clinton went on something of an all-day victory lap Friday after surviving the 11-hour Benghazi committee hearing relatively unscathed.
Showing no signs of slowing down after one of the longest congressional hearings in recent memory, the Democratic front-runner started the day early with a stop at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington. Boosted by a new Quinnipac University Poll released Friday that placed her up 11 points among voters in Iowa, Clinton gave a speech about the need for equal wages, a talking point she hits frequently at her rallies, telling the crowd, “We know women are half the country—indeed, slightly more—half the planet, and more than half the Democratic Party.”
Clinton continued, “In this party, our party, the problems that keep women and their families up at night would always be front and center.”
The event included remarks by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s strongest challenger, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who used his time to announce that he’s dropping out of the race.
Chafee was never a threat to Clinton and his announcement thins the Democratic lineup. Former Sen. Jim Webb quit the race earlier this week, and Vice President Joe Biden announced Wednesday he would not enter the race—a decision that pundits argue will benefit Clinton the most.
The Clinton victory parade didn’t end at the DNC. She headed next for a rally across the Potomac River in Alexandria, Va. In sunny 65-degree weather surrounded by hundreds of well-wishers, Clinton was introduced by her long-time friend Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who told the crowd the former Secretary of State was a “fighter, and has been a fighter for life.”
McAuliffe referenced Clinton’s performance at the Benghazi hearing, telling the cheering audience, “How about those 11 hours of testimony last night?! That’s what I’m talking about!” Seeming to take a line right out of Republican candidate Donald Trump’s playbook, McAuliffe ended by saying, “Are you kidding me?!”
With a three-story American flag behind her, Clinton spoke to the crowd at length about the progress the Democratic Party had produced under President Obama, a president she said doesn’t “get the credit he deserves for leading us out of the recession.”
She also included Biden directly in her remarks, the first time she’s spoken of him publicly since he announced he would not run against her.
Referring to Biden’s remarks in the White House Rose Garden, Clinton said she agreed with the vice-president that “Democrats should be proud of their achievements,” adding that Obama and Biden “will both be fighting the fight after they leave office.”
The line that drew the biggest applause, however, had to do with Clinton’s motives for running.
“I’m not running for President Obama’s third term, I’m not running for President Bill Clinton’s third term, I’m running for my first term,” she said.
Clinton also announced at the Alexandria rally that she was capping off the week with another big campaign moment—she’d received donations from more than 500,000 people.
Clinton isn’t scheduled for a break anytime soon and will arrive in Iowa on Saturday for a rally with pop singer Katy Perry, of “I kissed a girl” fame.
She and her husband will cap the evening off at Iowa’s annual Jefferson/Jackson dinner — a big-donor event that will likely bring Clinton even more capital.