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By Neela Banerjee, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton fended off questions Sunday on the deaths of American diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, suggesting that no additional explanation she offered would satisfy her critics.

“There’s a difference between unanswered questions and unlistened to answers,” Clinton said on CBS Sunday Morning.

“There were a lot of confusing pieces of information flooding into us from the very first moment we heard about it,” Clinton said, referring to the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi. “We did our best to sort it out.”

“I did my best to fully cooperate with the Congress. I respect the Congress’ oversight responsibility,” she added, but suggested that Republican critics have seized on discrepancies that arose from “the fog of war” and have improperly tried to use them as evidence of a coverup.

Clinton’s Sunday TV appearance came after a week of promotional interviews for her memoir, Hard Choices, in which she has occasionally seemed to stumble over easy questions. Most notably, she appeared tone-deaf to the plight of ordinary Americans struggling in the tepid economic recovery when she said she and President Bill Clinton had left the White House “dead broke” in 2000. The president ran up millions of dollars in legal fees during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Republican party chairman Reince Priebus pointed to those moments in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Clinton “went out of the gate with one gaffe after the next,” he said. “The Democrats have nobody behind Hillary Clinton. If she keeps free-falling, she is not going to be the nominee.”

Clinton avoided any renewed gaffes in her interview Sunday. Pressed about her presidential ambitions, she said: “I’m not yet … making the list like I do, the pros and cons. I’m just sort of living my life and seeing how it feels to me.”

AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski

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