Republican lawmakers sought to discredit Hillary Rodham Clinton's record as secretary of state even before she announced her candidacy for president Sunday, releasing online videos and appearing on morning political talk shows.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the first Republican to announce his presidential bid, posted an online video saying "Hillary Clinton represents the failed policies of the past," before equating a Clinton presidency to a third term for Barack Obama.
GOP leaders repeated their long-standing criticism of Clinton's performance, pointing to the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Secretary of State Clinton, who in the weeks after the attack said "I take responsibility," told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 2013, that she "did not see" requests for beefed-up security at the consulate.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who announced his bid for the presidency last week, appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and NBC's "Meet the Press," saying "what some will say is her strength is actually her weakness -- her tenure as secretary of state." Paul also released an anti-Clinton video.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has not declared his candidacy but has set up a fundraising PAC, released a video on his Twitter account saying "we must do better than Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies."
Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who was knocked out of the Republican presidential primary in 2012, wrote on his Twitter account that Clinton "does not have the right vision to lead America."
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is also being eyed as a possible GOP candidate, posted on his Twitter account that Clinton "has the same Washington-knows-best mentality people around the country are looking to move beyond."
California Republican Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard whose name has surfaced as a possible GOP contender, released a video describing Clinton as "a highly intelligent woman . . . but unfortunately, she does not have a track record of accomplishment or transparency."
Paul and other Republicans criticized Clinton's ties to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, which has come under scrutiny for accepting donations from foreign governments where gender inequality has been documented, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
"It's going to be hard for her to say she's for women's rights when she's accepting money from these Stone Age regimes," Paul said.
Former 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared on Fox News Sunday and said Clinton was unfit to lead, citing concerns about transparency after she acknowledged last month that she used a personal email account to conduct State Department business.
"She's a creature of Washington," Romney said. "People who want change want something new and Hillary Clinton is not that person."
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," said Clinton's name recognition won't necessarily help her.
"Hillary Clinton is, quite simply, someone the American people can't trust," Priebus said.
With John Asbury, Valerie Bauman and Lisa Irizarry