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Clinton made the GOP 'look small'

Hillary Clinton would not let Benghazi—or the GOP—bring her down.

Hillary Clinton would not let Benghazi—or the GOP—bring her down.

The secretary of state came under fire on Wednesday from Republican lawmakers when she testified about the terrorist attack in Libya, which resulted in the deaths of 4 Americans including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens.

They criticized her for not reading diplomatic cables that requested more security–arguing it was a fireable offense--and suggested the administration purposefully misled the American public by first claiming the attack started as a spontaneous riot. At one point, Clinton hit back, declaring, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. What difference at this point, does it make?”

At another dramatic moment, she got choked up while recounting speaking to the families of the victims in the attack.

“I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters and the wives left alone to raise their children. It has been one of the great honors of my life to lead the men and women of the State Department and USAID. Nearly 70,000 serving here in Washington and at more than 275 posts around the world. They get up and go to work every day--often in difficult and dangerous circumstances thousands of miles from home--because they believe, as we believe, the United States is the most extraordinary force for peace and progress the world has ever known,” she said.

The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman told Hardball’s Chris Matthews that Clinton made the GOP “look small” in their questioning.

"If they really wanted to seriously understand what was going on and what did go on," said Fineman, "they wouldn’t have approached [the testimony] the way did. They were just throwing everything against the wall. ‘We have questions about your motives, about why you said what you said when you said, we want to know what the security arrangements were, we want to know what the funding was.’ All of it was an all-size attack that undercut whatever legitimacy they had.”

When Clinton pushed back, she was saying, “You’re asking these questions for political reasons,” said Fineman, who said Clinton gained the “upper hand.”’s Joan Walsh also praised Clinton, saying we learned two things from her today. “She’s healthy. She looked great and we learned that she can stand up to this onslaught on Benghazi.”

Matthews said Clinton displayed “absolute confidence.  It wasn’t an argument she was making. She was stating facts against some of these clownish guys who didn’t have the facts.”

He added, “If she doesn’t run for president performing the way she did today, I don’t know why.”