Hillary Rodham Clinton is down to just two opponents for the Democratic nomination for president, and after the Benghazi hearing ended it was the campaign’s best fundraising hour, even without it asking for money.
WASHINGTON — After months of campaign turmoil, Hillary Rodham Clinton heads to the critical state of Iowa for a major campaign stop on an upswing.
She’s down to just two opponents for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 after standout performances at the first debate, on Oct. 13 in Las Vegas, and an 11-hour grilling Thursday on Capitol Hill about the 2012 fatal attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
The hour after the hearing ended was the campaign’s best fundraising hour, even without it asking for money, an aide said. More than half the donations were from new donors and 99 percent of them were from those giving $250 or less, small donors who have been flocking to her chief rival, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Clinton now has more than 500,000 donors, with more than 100,000 new donors in October alone.
“It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it?” Clinton said Friday to sustained applause and a few screams at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.
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The day felt a bit like a victory lap.
She received an important — though not unexpected — endorsement from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a 1.6 million-member union. Later, she appeared with a longtime friend, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, in Alexandria in a swing state at one of her largest rallies.
“Talk about a fighter,” said McAuliffe, chairman of her 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. “How about that 11 hours of testimony yesterday?”
Clinton has endured months of dwindling poll numbers and bad publicity after her use of a personal email system during all four years she served as U.S. secretary of state prompted questions about her judgment and whether her actions created a national-security risk.
But on Friday, in a nearly 30-minute speech in Alexandria, the nation’s former top diplomatenthusiastically portrayed herself as a progressive fighter ready to do battle.
Both Lincoln Chafee, a former governor and senator from Rhode Island, and Jim Webb, a former senator from Virginia, left the race for the Democratic nomination this week. On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden announced he would not run for president.
“Obviously it was a good week for Secretary Clinton,” Chafee told reporters after he dropped out Friday during his DNC speech.
Clinton and her remaining rivals, Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, travel Saturday to the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, which in the past has been a turning point in the caucus contest in the critical state of Iowa.
ALSO: Democrats called Friday for the congressional inquiry into the Benghazi attacks to be dissolved, pointing to Clinton’s marathon testimony the day before that they say left no doubt it was simply a “taxpayer-funded fishing expedition.”
But they backed off a previous threat to quit the committee altogether.
The five Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi demanded that Speaker John Boehner “immediately shut down this abusive, wasteful and obviously partisan effort.”
The five members also called on the panel’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, to release the transcripts of all witness interviews.