A feisty Obama defended his U.N. ambassador. "If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me," Obama told reporters at his first White House news conference since last week's election. "And I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous."
Within minutes, Graham's response made clear he wouldn't back down.
"Mr. President, don't think for one minute I don't hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi," the he said in a statement. "I think you failed as commander in chief before, during and after the attack.
The senators pressed for a special Senate committee to investigate the attack, saying that separate inquiries by various Senate panels will fail to get to the truth and that a comprehensive probe "up to and including the president of the United States" was warranted.
They introduced a Senate resolution calling for the special committee on Wednesday afternoon, drawing immediate Democratic opposition and doubts from some Republicans.
The senators argued that numerous questions about the attack remain unanswered, among them what Obama's national security team had told him about security in Libya, what steps were taken by Clinton and the role of the U.S. military.
"This administration has either been guilty of colossal incompetence or engaged in a cover-up," McCain said on the Senate floor shortly after introducing the resolution.