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Paul: Benghazi should preclude Clinton from presidency

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Posted at 1:03 PM, Nov 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-13 13:03:30-05

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky restated his position on Tuesday that the attack on the United States compound in Benghazi–and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response–should prohibit her from becoming president.

Paul, who has long been outspoken about the terrorist attack, told cadets at The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina, that the commander-in-chief should never be unwilling to send troops to protect the United States’ diplomatic missions.

“Her failure to provide our ambassador and his mission with adequate security should preclude Hillary Clinton from ever holding high office ever again,” he said.

The diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2012. Four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens.

Since the attack, many Republicans in Congress have called for more investigations into what happened in Benghazi and have faulted Clinton for not quickly sending reinforcements when the compound fell under siege.

Stephens was the first U.S. ambassador killed on duty in 33 years.

Clinton is widely seen as the prohibitive front runner for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president. Paul is someone who has not denied having aspirations of higher office, making his remarks an early attempt to undermine a potential Democratic rival that polls have leading generic Republican challengers.

Earlier this year, shortly after Clinton stepped down from her post at the State Department, Paul leveled similar critiques against her record and future aspirations.

“The person who made that decision should never be in place or a position to make that decision again,” he told CNN in May. “I stand by that.”

During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in January, where Clinton testified on Benghazi, Paul was equally critical, telling the then-secretary of state that had he been president at the time, he would have “relieved” her of her post.

“I find it a dereliction of duty, a clear dereliction of duty,” Paul said on Tuesday. “She wants to blame it on somebody else, but it is absolutely her responsibility.”