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Clinton memoir strikes out at 'political slugfest' on Benghazi

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton has given her most detailed account yet of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, but said she will not join the “political slugfest” over the tragedy.

In excerpts from her forthcoming memoir “Hard Choices,” Clinton offered a blunt rebuttal to Republican lawmakers who have repeatedly accused her of bungling the response to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission and of misleading the American public.

“Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country,” U.S. President Barack Obama's first secretary of state said in perhaps the book's most anticipated chapter, “Benghazi: Under Attack.”

“Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me,” wrote Clinton, according to excerpts published Friday by the Politico news website.

“I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans.”

Clinton, who lost to Obama in their 2008 battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, is mulling a second White House run, and her upcoming book tour — following the memoir's June 10 release — is widely seen as a way to lay the groundwork for a 2016 campaign.

Perhaps countering what some see as the inevitability of a Clinton candidacy, Republican critics and potential White House adversaries have been relentless in their investigation of the violence that killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

There has also been persistent talk about Clinton's role in the aftermath, as well as the U.S. mission's security shortcomings.

Earlier this month, House Republican leaders launched a select committee to investigate the Benghazi assault — a move Clinton has called unnecessary.

House Speaker John Boehner dismissed suggestions that he and others were politicizing Benghazi by convening the committee.

“This is about one issue and one issue only, and that is getting the truth for the American people,” Boehner said.

“We've been asking for documents now for 18 months,” he added. “Why do they refuse to tell the American people the truth about what happened?”

'Scores of attackers'

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