William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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STANDING GUARD – AT 8:44 A.M. ET:  Susan Rice is out, but the lead Republicans on national-security issues are making it clear that Benghazi is not history. 

They were called "the three amigos" – Senators McCain, Graham and Lieberman, and their specialty was the national survival of the United States.  Senator Lieberman leaves the Senate shortly after a distinguished career, but his place has been taken by New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte.  Ayotte is rising in visibility, and may well have her sights set on higher office.

And the two amigos and their amiga are sending a message on Benghazi.  From NRO:

While the White House may have been hoping that Susan Rice’s decision to no longer pursue the Secretary of State position means that the investigation into what exactly occurred at Benghazi and who was responsible for the security decisions will cease, both Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham made it clear today that they intend to continue pursuing the matter.

“Senator McCain thanks Ambassador Rice for her service to the country and wishes her well,” said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers in a statement. “He will continue to seek all the facts about what happened before, during and after the attack on our consulate in Benghazi that killed four brave Americans.”

In his statement, Graham said he “respect[s] Ambassador Rice’s decision.” But he also struck a hard line.

“When it comes to Benghazi I am determined to find out what happened – before, during, and after the attack,” Graham said. ” Unfortunately, the White House and other agencies are stonewalling when it comes to providing the relevant information. I find this unacceptable.”

And...

UPDATE: Senator Kelly Ayotte also remains concerned about Benghazi. “I respect Susan Rice’s decision and appreciate her commitment to public service,” Ayotte says in a statement. “However, my concerns regarding the terrorist attack in Benghazi go beyond any one individual. I remain deeply troubled by the continued lack of information from the White House and the State Department. With four of our public servants murdered, it is critical that we get to the bottom of what happened.”

COMMENT:  At least there are some Republicans with backbone.  I do hope that backbone remains firm in the face of the expected Hagel nomination. 

I see a Rubio/Ayotte ticket for 2016.  Just speculating.

December 14, 2012