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Benghazi attack: Will Senate inquiry be a factor in presidential election?

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It seems unlikely that the committee’s inquiry – which joins another investigation ordered by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton – will get very far before an election that is just three weeks away. Committee staff say the inquiry is unlikely to move beyond the information-gathering stage before Nov. 6.

In the meantime, the Benghazi attack is becoming the central theme of Mr. Romney’s attack on Mr. Obama’s foreign policy – an area in which the president has enjoyed a clear advantage over Romney in opinion surveys.

But Obama’s lead over Romney in the area of handling international affairs is closing, recent polls show – a trend that appears to have convinced Republicans that attacking Obama for “weakness” by highlighting Benghazi is paying off.

Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan continues to hammer at Benghazi as the poster child for what he says is the administration’s “chaotic” and “crumbling” foreign policy.

Other Republicans have seized on Benghazi in advancing this theme of “failure.” Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday that the administration took too long to come to the conclusion that what happened in Benghazi was a “terrorist attack,” adding, “Either they’re misleading the American people or incredibly incompetent.”

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