Axelrod: Most Americans Suspect a ‘Political Element’ to Benghazi Committee

‘That is to say, had Hillary Clinton not been running for president of the United States, there probably would not have been eight investigations’

DICKERSON: “Joining us now from Chicago is Democratic strategist and CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod. David, thanks for being with us. What's your sense of the stakes for Hillary Clinton in this Benghazi testimony this week?”

AXELROD: “Well, I think that there are stakes for her, but they have been reduced by kind of the circus around this committee, some which you discussed in your interviews with the two leaders of that committee. I think most Americans suspect that there's a political element to this. That is to say, had Hillary Clinton not been running for president of the United States, there probably would not have been eight investigations. It probably would not have bled into the presidential race, as it has here. And then you have the testimony of some of his own members. I thought it was pretty remarkable when he kind of went negative on his own members. They're including the majority leader and said he had no idea what the committee was doing. So, I think it was going to be a very pressure-filled moment for Hillary Clinton. It probably still will be. But now there's lot of pressure on Chairman Gowdy to prove that this whole thing isn't merely a political escapade.”

DICKERSON: “Speaking of pressure moments on Hillary Clinton, she passed a pressure moment in that debate this week, the Democratic debate. How do you -- people think she did well. Her campaign certainly think she did well. Can she lock in gains after having a good -- what happens after a good performance like that?”

AXELROD: “Well, I think what she did was, she ended what was a panic. In the summer and into the fall, there was this concern that she wasn't going to be the strong candidate that people hoped she would be. I think she allayed some of those concerns with a very strong debate performance. I think Bernie Sanders probably did well with his own supporters in that debate. And between them, they continue to hold about three-quarters of the vote, even with the vice president as a potential candidate in those polls.”

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