William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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HILLARY ON DECK – AT 9:45 A.M. ET:  Hillary Clinton will testify before Congress on the Benghazi disaster on December 20th.  I don't know why that date was chosen, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were picked to coincide with Obama's naming of a Clinton successor, weakening the impact of Clinton's testimony.  From The Politico:

The date for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s highly anticipated congressional testimony on the Benghazi attacks has been set: Dec. 20.

Clinton will appear then before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to detail the State Department’s own investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the House committee’s chairwoman, indicated last week that her hearing will be open to the public. Several congressional hearings centered on the attack have been behind closed doors due to the sensitive nature of the information.

The Senate hearing with Clinton will be held at 9 a.m., and the House at 1 p.m.

"We ask our diplomats and development personnel to operate in some of the most dangerous places on the planet," said Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "We owe it to them, and we owe it to the memory of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his three fellow Americans who lost their lives in Benghazi to get past the politics and focus on the substance of what happened and what it tells us about diplomatic security going forward."

In the meantime, Clinton has once again disavowed an interest in running for president.  “I’ve said I really don’t believe that that’s something I will do again,” she declared, in an interview with Barbara Walters. 

You know, it's possible she means it.  She may fear the meanness of a campaign, and she may fear losing again, and ending her political career in defeat.  Now she is going out as a popular secretary of state, although her successes can be written on the head of a pin.  At least she's worked hard. 

But if not Hillary, who?  The Republican bench for 2016 is terrific, and deep.  The Democratic bench is thin.  Aside from Hillary there is Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, but his style may not play well beyond his state.  And then there's Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland, who doesn't hide his interest in higher office. 

And then of course...don't laugh...there's Michelle Obama.  The Democratic Party cannot win a national election without the African-American vote.  And if Hillary doesn't run, and the trendies decide it's time for a woman, well...  Stranger things have happened in politics, and the Democratic left would love to see an Obama dynasty.

Of course, there's also Elizabeth Warren.  But by then she may run off the reservation.  Oops.  Can't say that.

December 13,  2012