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Poll: Benghazi Most Negative Aspect Of Hillary Clinton’s Career To Americans

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC/AP) – A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that Americans view former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi as the lowest point in her political career.

A total of 15 percent of those who participated in the survey named Benghazi as the aspect of Clinton’s past they view most negatively – moreso than any other part of her time as a politician. Four Americans died in the attack, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

However, many also rated her time as secretary of state overall as one of the highlights of her public life.

“… Clinton’s tenure at the State Department is mentioned most frequently as her biggest positive (by 12 percent), while 8 percent cite her role as Bill Clinton’s wife or the way she dealt with the … affair,” a release on the poll’s findings noted.

Conversely, her response to the affair between her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and Monica Lewinsky, was given as the next most common response in the negative column as well – 9 percent of those who spoke with Pew named it as her lowest point.

Just over half of all Americans want to see her run for president in 2016, researchers also learned.

“If Clinton decides to run, however, most say they would consider voting for her. Nearly six-in-ten say there is a good chance (35 percent) or some chance (24 percent) they would vote for Clinton,” the release continued. “About four-in-ten adults (38 percent) – including 74 percent of Republicans – say there is no chance they would vote for her.”

Clinton’s campaign image has been honed over the course of her career – her advisers sought to “humanize” what they saw as her stern, defensive public image during her husband’s White House days and as she embarked on her groundbreaking Senate campaign in New York.

“Be real,” wrote adviser Mandy Grunwald in a July 1999 memo as Clinton prepared for a Senate campaign. In the memo, the adviser urged the first lady to “look for opportunities for humor. It’s important that people see more sides of you, and they often see you only in very stern situations.”

Thousands of pages of documents released last Friday by the Clinton Presidential Library also revealed the first lady’s struggles with the health care plan during the 1990s, “an aversion” to the Washington press corps and her transition into a political candidate in her own right as the Clinton administration ended.

Clinton is the leading Democratic contender to succeed President Barack Obama, though she has not said whether she will run.

Between Feb. 27 and March 2, Pew polled 1,002 randomly selected American adults.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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