Hillary Clinton calls Republican's impeachment pledge 'pathetic'

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Hillary Clinton Goes on Victory Lap After Marathon Benghazi Hearing

Hillary Clinton on Friday dismissed as "pathetic" a threat from a conservative lawmaker to impeach her on her first day as president if elected, a view she said must be "good politics with the most intense, extreme part of [Republican] base."

The Democratic presidential front-runner was also forced to defend her husband's record on civil liberties issues including same sex-marriage in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. The interview was set to air Friday evening at 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

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Clinton laughed when Maddow confronted her with the threat from Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks to try to depose Clinton on "day one" of her hypothetical presidency.

"Isn't that pathetic?" the former secretary of state said with a smile. "It's just laughable, it's so totally ridiculous." She characterized it as one of many GOP efforts to win over "the most intense, extreme part of their base."

WATCH: Clinton appears on The Rachel Maddow Show:

What Does One Do After 11 Hours of Testimony?

Maddow questioned Clinton on several fronts, including Syria policy, the future of the Veterans Administration, and what Maddow described as a personal concern that the Clintons have surrounded themselves with too many old friends who would want to "fight your wars again."

Maddow's toughest questions addressed Bill Clinton's legacy on civil rights and civil liberties. Many of President Obama's accomplishments on those issues, Maddow argued, involved "undoing things from the Clinton administration." In particular, Maddow cited Clinton's embrace of the Defense of Marriage Act and the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy blocking gays from serving openly in the military.

Hillary Clinton defended her husband's record.

The Defense of Marriage Act, legislation Bill Clinton signed that defined marriage legally as between one man and one woman, was "a defensive action" to stymie what the Clintons believed was enough political momentum to amend the constitution to effectively bar gay marriage, Hillary Clinton said.

The tough-on-crime bill that her husband signed into law was a reaction to the "horrific crime rates of the 1980s," the former first lady added.

"There was just a consensus across every community that something had to be done," she said.

Clinton noted that she has since disavowed the law and was committed to reforming criminal justice policies. But Clinton framed her overall governing philosophy as one based on pragmatism, a realization that sometimes it's necessary to choose the lesser evil.

"I think that sometimes as a leader in Democracy you are confronted with two bad choices. It is not an easy position to be in, and you have to try to think what is the least bad choice, and how do I try to cabin this off from having worse consequences?" she said.

Watch Key Moments From Clinton's Benghazi Testimony

She embraced President Obama's tenure in office, however, saying she'd like to protect it and in fact "go farther" than he has on some issues.

Clinton spoke to Maddow fresh off her marathon testimony in front of the House panel investigating Benghazi during which, pundits say, she prevailed over 11 hours of pointed Republican questioning and attacks. Clinton blamed GOP partisans, saying the most conservative wing of the party forced many lawmakers to block needed legislation.

"There is this ideological purity test that, I think, unfortunately too many Republicans who know better are being subjected to," she said.

To move past the gridlock in Washington, Clinton said, "we've gotta break the stranglehold that the extremist views in the Republican Party have on too many people who are otherwise sensible."

When asked if President Obama was "naive" to have expected to work with Republicans in office, Clinton demurred, but said the president had been "bewildered" by GOP efforts to block in on issues like the economic stimulus package early in his first term, which was then overshadowed by the financial crisis and a deep recession.

"I spent a lot of time with him in the first four years and he was absolutely sincere [in trying to compromise], and he was often just bewildered that the evidence was clear, the results were going to flow, and the Republicans would privately say, 'Yeah, you're right, but I can't, or I won't.'"

In contrast, Clinton pledged to "go anywhere, talk to anybody, any time to try to find common ground, to try to achieve our national objectives," but she also said she'd "stand by my ground."

"I think it's a constant balance about where one begins and the other one ends," she said.

Click through to see more of Clinton's testimony on Capitol Hill:

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Hillary Clinton testifies on Benghazi 10/21
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Hillary Clinton calls Republican's impeachment pledge 'pathetic'
Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, to testify before the House Benghazi Committee. After months of buildup, Hillary Rodham Clinton finally takes center stage as the star witness in the Republican-led investigation into the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton waits to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, walks past members of the media as she arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, to testify before the House Benghazi Committee. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, arrives to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, before the House Select Committee on Banghazi. After months of buildup, Hillary Rodham Clinton finally takes center stage as the star witness in the Republican-led investigation into the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton arrives to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes her seat prior to testifying before the House Select Committee on Benghazi October 22, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing to continue its investigation on the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on the evening of September 11, 2012. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton waits to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton looks toward the dais as she settles into her seat on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, prior to testifying before the House Benghazi Committee. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton arrives to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton takes her seat on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, prior to testifying before the House Benghazi Committee. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Clinton said that she accepted responsibility for a lethal 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya and that she sought afterward to improve security for State Department workers abroad, as the House Benghazi panel investigating the incident began a hearing that may prove a turning point for her presidential campaign. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Clinton acknowledged a need to have a "good, old-fashioned argument and fight about progressive values about the alternatives," but said some things should be above disagreement, like raising the debt limit.

"It is just beyond my understanding how anybody, despite how extreme he might be, would think it would be in America's interest to default on our debt," she said, perhaps a veiled jab at Republican presidential contender Ben Carson and some others in the field who has suggested he'd be open to a default to teach government spenders a lesson.

Clinton also defended her and Obama's record on Libya, which many critics from both sides of the aisle have argued was due in part to the Obama administration's successful effort to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, which created a vacuum of power that was filled by extremists.

Clinton said a fledgling democracy had sprung up in Libya following the ouster, but it didn't have the proper resources to take root. She pledged to recommit support to the country.

"I'm not prepared to give up on Libya. I think we have to do more to invest in Libya," she said.

But on Syria, Clinton sounded less optimistic, saying the chaos there was a "different story but perhaps an even worse outcome" if mishandled.

Still, for a moment on Thursday night, after testifying on the situation in Libya for over 11 hours, Clinton said she took a momentary break from the pressures of international conflicts and the presidential race. After leaving the hearing, she said she invited the staff that helped prepare her to her home and they "sat around, eating Indian food and drinking wine and beer."

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