President Barack Obama Monday continued to defend his administration's response to last year's attacks on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, and to accept responsibility for the incident. Republicans, meanwhile, are maintaining their push for more details about the attacks that resulted in the deaths of four American diplomats.
Conservatives remain dissatisfied with the administration line on what happened in Benghazi, and there have been calls for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to return to Congress and testify on the attacks. Clinton appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, before she left office, and denied that the administration purposefully misled Americans about what really happened.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is among those calling for a possible subpoena of Clinton in order to obtain more information about the attacks. Last week, Graham wrote on his Facebook page, comparing the damage Benghazi has caused to Watergate:
I think the dam is about to break on Benghazi. We're going to find a system failure before, during, and after the attacks.
We're going to find political manipulation seven weeks before an election. We're going to find people asleep at the switch when it comes to the State Department, including Hillary Clinton.
Three State Department officials testified last Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but critics of the administration's response have not been placated.
Democrats maintain that the continued calls for more investigation into what happened in Benghazi are politically motivated, and allege that Republicans are using the attack to discredit Clinton ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run. The popular former first lady, New York senator and secretary of state hasn't publicly addressed whether or not she will run for president, but it is widely speculated that she'll be a Democratic candidate. GOP members deny that their desire for answers is an attempt to mar Clinton's reputation.
Obama said Monday that the bipartisan nature of the Benghazi probe was inappropriate, and the focus instead should be on the four victims of the attacks:
"We dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political circus … What happened was tragic, it was carried out by extremists inside Libya, we are out there trying to hunt them down so it doesn't happen again."
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