Hillary Clinton mum on presidency, says Benghazi her biggest regret

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes remarks after receiving the 2013 Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize from the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. Credit: Reuters
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes remarks after receiving the 2013 Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize from the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. Credit: Reuters

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remained vague on Monday about whether she would run for president in 2016 and said the militant attack in Benghazi, Libya, was the biggest regret of her four years as the top U.S. diplomat.

Before a large crowd of politically active car dealers, the overwhelming favorite among Democratic presidential contenders discussed her signal accomplishments, notably a recommendation that U.S. commandos go into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden, and her regrets.

“My biggest regret is what happened in Benghazi,” she said during a question-and-answer session after her keynote speech at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in a packed, 4,000-seat room.

Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed when militants attacked the lightly protected U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi and a better-fortified CIA base nearby on the night of September 11, 2012.

The attack became a political flashpoint in the run-up to the 2012 election, with Republicans arguing that President Barack Obama tried to play down its significance as he campaigned for a second term. Republicans are sure to make it an issue if Clinton runs in 2016.

The selection of Clinton as the speaker at the three-day NADA conference, attended by more than 22,000 dealers, met vocal opposition. NADA, which declined to say how much she was paid for her appearance, said she was selected because she offered an important perspective.

Dealers are a politically active group and tend to be conservative. They gave more than $16 million to political campaigns in 2012, 85 percent to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“Mrs. Clinton is a polarizing figure but that’s OK,” David Shepard, a NADA director and a dealer in Fort Scott, Kansas, said. He added that the selection was not a NADA endorsement of Clinton as a possible presidential candidate.

STRONG TIES TO INDUSTRY

Clinton peppered her speech with anecdotes about the Clinton family’s strong ties to the dealer industry – although she herself has not driven since 1996.

She was introduced by Arkansas dealer and NADA director Jack Caldwell, who went to elementary school with former President Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton’s father and uncle were Buick dealers, she said. She also joked about her first two cars, including the yellow Fiat she had while teaching at the University of Arkansas that was eventually stolen.

She also highlighted the American auto industry’s importance in establishing the U.S. presence around the world. She singled out a General Motors engine plant in Uzbekistan, which gave the United States an edge in a area where it is competing for influence with China, she said.

“She has a pretty good understanding about what we do, especially in business,” said Chris Daggs, a Ford Motor Co dealer in Crestview, Florida. “I’ve always felt she was someone more in our corner as a dealer.”

The last time the conference was held in New Orleans was in 2009, just before the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler Group LLC, which Clinton supported, that helped save the two companies and dealers nationwide.

As expected, Clinton remained vague about whether or not she would run for president in 2016. But she applauded General Motors’ selection of Mary Barra as its top executive – the first time a woman has ever run a major car company.

“We have a lot of women in the corporate pipeline who have been working in their industries for a long time and are finally in a position where I think they could be given the opportunity for leadership like Mary Barra,” she said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Local

Report: Rich New Yorkers don't move from NYC…

An Independent Budget Office analysis found that the wealthiest residents don't move out of the city any more or less than other New Yorkers.

National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Food truck with a mission hires at-risk New…

A group branding itself as food trucks for social justice specifically hires and trains young men and women with troubled pasts.

Movies

Scarlett Johansson on 'Lucy':' 'I guess I’m the…

Scarlett Johansson continues her foray into action movies with thriller “Lucy”, admitting it’s been an unexpected adventure.

Movies

Review: Liking Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'…

Woody Allen's latest, "Magic in the Moonlight," concerns a magician (Colin Firth) trying to debunk an alleged psychic (Emma Stone).

Movies

Piano from 'Casablanca' up for sale at auction

An iconic piano featured in Rick's Cafe Americain in the 1942 Hollywood classic "Casablanca" is expected to be the highlight of a sale of film…

Music

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks more accessible than Animal…

Believe it or not, Avey Tare — the man in the mustachioed mask pictured here in the pool of blood — may have made the poppiest music of his career.

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.

Wellbeing

Ruling could be beginning of the end for…

This morning, a federal appeals court threw out an IRS regulation that implements subsidies for low-income Americans who bought insurance through Obamacare. These Affordable Care…

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…