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One Republican eyeing a White House run, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, told an audience in Iowa that he thinks the Benghazi attack "precludes Hillary Clinton from ever holding office."
Democrats said Republicans were looking to weaken her ahead of a potential 2016 campaign.
"This has been caught up in the 2016 presidential campaign, this effort to go after Hillary Clinton," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "They want to bring her in because they think it’s a good political show and I think that’s unfortunate."
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said the congressional probe "has just become a very, very partisan-focused, scandal-focused attack by the Republicans investigating this."
Pickering declined repeated opportunities to criticize Rice’s now-debunked talking points that suggested the attacks were not terrorism.
"That was not in our mandate," Pickering said. "We were looking at the security, security warnings, security capacity, those kinds of things."
Democrats similarly did little to defend the mistaken talking points.
"This is one instance where you know it was what it was," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee.
"There was no question this was a terrorist attack," Smith said.
Pickering spoke with CNN’s "State of the Union," NBC’s "Meet the Press" and CBS’ "Face the Nation." Issa and Feinstein spoke with NBC. McCain spoke to ABC’s "This Week." Ayotte and Durbin were on CBS. Smith spoke to "Fox News Sunday."
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