Ever since Hillary Clinton spent 11 hours answering questions on Benghazi in October, Republicans have largely sought to hit the former Secretary of State and Democratic front-runner on issues other than the 2012 terrorist attack.
That will change this week, with efforts to revive the Benghazi controversy by two Republican, anti-Clinton groups – America Rising and Future45. That’s ahead of the release of “13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” the new movie about the terrorist attack and six security officers who fought back.
The Republican groups will host a screening of the movie Friday in Washington and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas will speak at the event, according to an invite.
Clinton’s camp has not publicly commented on the release of the movie, and did not respond to request for comment to CNN.
The anti-Clinton groups, in a tacit acknowledgment that Benghazi has become a less talked about issue since the October hearing on Capitol Hill, see an opening now in publicizing the attack because of the way a movie can infuse the story into popular culture and reach people who otherwise wouldn’t be interested.
“The release of ’13 Hours’ will re-start the conversation over Benghazi and introduce a whole new audience to the events of that night,” Brian O. Walsh, President of Future45, told CNN. “Coming just weeks before the first votes are cast and in the form of a major motion picture from Hollywood, the timing couldn’t be worse for Secretary Clinton.”
Ever since Clinton announced a presidential run in 2015 – and even before then – Republicans have sought to pin the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, on Clinton and her State Department.
Clinton has said that the attack was her biggest regret in her four years at State, but has hit Republicans for using the issue to, in her view, score political points during a campaign.
In 2014 Congress assembled a select committee to investigate the terrorist attack and Clinton testified on the issue in October 2015. The 11-hour marathon was a win for Clinton: Republicans admitted afterward that no new ground was broken and the hearing gave Clinton and her aides an anecdote to capture her ability to handle Republican attacks.
But with the committee hearing behind them and weeks until voting starts, Republicans hope the issue can be revived.
“Without even appearing in the movie,” said Colin Reed, executive director of America Rising PAC, “‘13 Hours’ is an indictment of the failed leadership and bad judgment of Secretary Clinton.”