If she had fallen on her sword, she would not just have (verbally) taken responsibility for Benghazi, but would also have resigned her post.
Hillary Clinton, headlines Adam Clark Estes’s post on Yahoo! News about the Secretary of State taking responsibility for what happened in Libya on 09/11/12, “Falls on Her Sword“:
To put things quite literally, she told a CNN reporter on Monday, just a few minutes after landing in Peru for a visit, very plainly, “I take responsibility” for what happened in Libya on September 11. CNN makes it clear that she “insisted President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions.” With the election right around the corner and everything, Clinton added, “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Estes (or his editor) has no clue about the meaning of the expression, “to fall on one’s sword.” Nor do the others who used the expression to discuss Mrs. Clinton’s statement yesterday. Falling on one’s sword does not mean taking responsibility. “If someone falls on their sword, they resign or accept the consequences of some wrongdoing.“*
Mrs. Clinton has not announced her resignation. And even if she did, she wouldn’t get Obama off the hook.**
Indeed, her statement may actually hurt Obama. Given her prominence, by saying she takes responsibility, the Secretary of State elevates the story; it has gotten a lot of coverage already — and will get even more today. People will wonder why it took thirty-four days for someone in the administration to take responsibility for our failure to secure the consulate in Benghazi.
And we see no indication that the administration intends to shake-up things up at the State Department on in the intelligence community. Though we would if Mrs. Clinton did indeed fall on her sword — and offer her resignation.
*(The expression comes from the Roman practice of a committing suicide usually to avoid dishonor by literally falling on one’s sword.)
UPDATE: At that link, Bruce Kesler excerpts a joint statement from U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH):
If the President was truly not aware of this rising threat level in Benghazi, then we have lost confidence in his national security team, whose responsibility it is to keep the President informed. But if the President was aware of these earlier attacks in Benghazi prior to the events of September 11, 2012, then he bears full responsibility for any security failures that occurred. The security of Americans serving our nation everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the Commander-in-Chief. The buck stops there.
And Glenn Reynolds reports something Hillary Clinton said to Obama in 2008:
“The Buck Stops In The Oval Office.” “Hillary Clinton also said at rally in Missouri in January, ‘I believe we need a president who believed what Harry Truman believed. That [the] buck stopped in the Oval Office.’”