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Clinton defends Benghazi response in book rollout rounds

Hillary Clinton repeatedly deflected criticism over the Benghazi terror attack as she set out on a round of interviews promoting her new memoir, adding fuel to the fire for critics of her tenure as secretary of state.

Appearing on "America's Newsroom" Tuesday, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said Clinton's remarks showed her "lack of leadership" in the State Department, comparing her management style to a "potted plant."

"Libya should have been a priority," he said. "The threat of international terrorism should be a priority. The security of our personnel overseas should be a priority.  All of that says the whole State Department building should have been better attuned to what might happen in Libya. And yet, she doesn't seem to address that at all."

In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, the former secretary of state was repeatedly challenged on the events of Sept. 11, 2012, when four Americans died in the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi.

Asked if she missed the moment to prevent the attack, she said: "No."

She acknowledged cables warning about security problems at the compound, but said they were "never brought to me."

She said she gave "direct instructions" to people with security expertise, but said, "I'm not equipped to sit and look at blueprints to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be."

"A real secretary of state is prepared to get his or her hands dirty on important issues," Bolton responded. "She should have been the desk officer on Libya."

At one point, Clinton said she would "give anything on Earth if this had not happened" and wishes they could have "made some of the changes that came to our attention to make as a result of the investigation."

"I take responsibility," she said, but then added: "But I was not making security decisions."

Clinton also said Republican inquiries into her handling of the deadly 2012 attack gave her more of an incentive to run. While she said she's still undecided about her political future, Clinton cited the Benghazi probe as an example of a dysfunctional Congress.

"It's more of a reason to run, because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball. We ought to be in the majors," Clinton said. "I view this as really apart from, even a diversion from, the hard work that the Congress should be doing about the problems facing our country and the world."

Tuesday's guests

  • James Woolsey

    Former CIA director

  • Ed Gillespie

    Senate candidate, R-Va.

  • KT McFarland

    Fox News national security analyst

  • Amb. John Bolton

    Former US ambassador to the UN; Fox News contributor

  • Bob Cusack

    Managing editor, The Hill

  • Doug Schoen

    Democratic pollster; Fox News contributor

  • Rich Lowry

    Editor, National Review; Fox News contributor

  • Steve Hayes

    Senior Writer, The Weekly Standard; Fox News contributor

  • Heather Hansen

    Trial attorney