Every week that Congress is in session, The Post's Ed O'Keefe previews what to expect from the House and the Senate:
Scandal, not legislation, could dominate Congress this week as lawmakers in both parties continue to respond to revelations that the Internal Revenue Service gave extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status and continue to accuse the opposing party of playing politics with the attack at a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.
The Republican campaign to prevent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice from becoming the next Secretary of State is in full bloom, with top GOP foreign policy voices and centrist Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) all joining the chorus of criticism over her comments made after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Susan Rice's meeting with her Republican Congressional critics Tuesday didn't go well, and there are increasing signs that the fallout from the attack in Benghazi is hurting the Obama Administration, according to a new poll.
The new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that 54 percent of Americans disapprove of the Obama Administration's handling of the attack, and 40 percent believe its initial statements about Benghazi were deliberately intended to mislead Americans.
Nobody is a bigger thorn in President Obama's side right now than Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).And nothing could be better for Graham's political prospects in 2014.
Graham has been such an outspoken critic of Obama on Libya that the president called him out by name at last week's press conference. "If Sen. (John) McCain and Sen. Graham, and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me," Obama said after Graham and McCain criticized U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that administration officials altered that intelligence community's talking points in the aftermath of the deaths of four State Department officials in Benghazi, Libya.
Rogers said the talking points used by United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice in the days after the attack were changed once they got to the National Security Council Deputies Committee, which is staffed by top deputies to Cabinet secretaries that deal with national security.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Sunday that it was "irresponsible" for there not to be more security in place to protect the four State Department officials who were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11.
"In my opinion, it was irresponsible to have our State Department personnel there with only three security guards," Lieberman said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "They were easily overrun in the attack of Sept. 11. Either we could have given them the security they deserved, or we should have closed that mission in Benghazi, as the British had done a short while before."
The most striking moment of President Obama's press conference Wednesday was when he went after Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) in no uncertainterms.
Graham and McCain have made clear in recent days that they wouldn't vote to confirm U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as Secretary of State due to a lingering controversy about what Rice said in the days after the attack on Benghazi, Libya. Rice suggested at the time that the deaths were due to a spontaneous demonstration sparked by an anti-Islam video, but it soon came out that it was a planned attack.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that the Obama administration’s handling of the situation in Libya is either the worst cover-up he has ever seen or the kind of incompetence that should disqualify the president from serving as commander in chief.
“This tragedy turned into a debacle and massive coverup or massive incompetence in Libya is having an effect on the voters because of their view of the commander in chief,” McCain said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And it is now the worst coverup or incompetence that I have ever observed in my life.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told CNN on Monday that she takes “full responsibility” for security issues in Libya leading up to the attack that claimed the lives of four Americans there last month. In doing so, she added to the already considerable impact of the Clinton name on this election.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has made a concerted effort to exploit the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya for political gain, David Axelrod charged Sunday morning.
There “is no doubt he is working hard to exploit this issue,” Axelrod, a senior campaign adviser to President Obama said of Romney in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Libyan president says U.S. consulate attack was premeditated; U.S. Ambassador Rice says it began spontaneously
Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf said he is convinced a Tuesday attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead was premeditated, but the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday that the protests near the consulate began spontaneously, but were later hijacked by armed extremists.
The death of deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi will be touted by Democrats as another foreign policy success story for President Obama but seems unlikely to seriously affect his political fortunes heading into a 2012 campaign still laser-focused on the struggling U.S. economy.
Reports of Gaddafi’s passing come just days after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Libya and expressed hope that he would be either captured or killed. It’s been nearly eight months since President Obama authorized military intervention in Libya, an involvement that led to Gaddafi’s removal from power.