She is undoubtedly one of the smartest women to ever roam the government halls in Washington, D.C. She has taken many blows, but has never gone down for the count. Hillary Clinton is a survivor in a world where usually no prisoners are taken.

Her latest encounter with would-be tormentors had to do with the Benghazi, Libya, tragedy at the U.S. diplomatic mission. The attack killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The mission’s facilities were destroyed. It was widely reported that requests for improved security were denied by the State Department. As Secretary of State, Hillary said the buck stops with her.

After delays due to her health problems, Clinton appeared before a congressional committee Wednesday. She was her usual aggressive self in supporting improved security at all U.S. diplomatic missions around the world. She said she supported the recommendations made by an independent review board that was critical of the State Department.

That resulted in charges of a “cover-up” was when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went public right after the attack and said it was not made by terrorists but by protestors upset by an anti-Muslim video. It was clear to many people that it was a planned attack by terrorists, which proved to be factual. President Obama had planned to nominate Rice to replace Clinton at State, but dropped her as the scandal unfolded. Rice was speaking the White House line and she ended up being the victim in the “cover-up.” Hillary defended Rice saying the information given to her was the best that was available.

Hillary, who observers expect to run for president, has been able to dodge all blame in a number of scandals. When First Lady she emerged free of any real harm over the mysterious death of White House insider Vince Foster in 1993. Then there was the White River scandal in Arkansas, and the fact she made $100,000 on commodity futures, which raised some questions. Her health care plan failed, also in 1993, and put her in an unfavorable light, but she emerged more or less untouched politically. She had to endure the embarrassment of her husband’s impeachment ordeal and his White House fling with Monica.

Through all of this, she remained above it all. She stayed with husband Bill because without being his wife and having the First Lady status, it would have been a major setdown for her. After the White House, as a carpetbagger, she was elected to the U.S. Senate from New York. She was a competent senator and while failing in her presidential nomination race with Obama, she was given the job of Secretary of State. At State, she has traveled around the world more than any other person who held the position. (Did President Obama want to keep her out of town?) No one worked harder at the job than Hillary. Most observers give her a passing grade in performance as she prepares to leave the post.

The Clinton-Obama relationship has never been cozy. We read the other day that the Obamas have never had the Clintons for dinner. Yet Obama owes much to Bill Clinton, who came out strong for him (even though he called Obama “The Amateur”!) during the campaign. Clinton helped re-elect Obama. Bill Clinton was serving the party rather than Obama.

We expect Hillary Clinton to run for president. In the meantime, she will be building a campaign organization that may take her to the White House. She has unending ambition, works hard, is an excellent campaigner and has a plan!