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Sen. John McCain of Arizona has been, with Mr. Graham, among the White House’s fiercest Republican critics of its handling of the attacks and what he perceives to be a cover-up to protect the president in the final weeks of the election. Both have maintained a drumbeat of criticism of Mrs. Rice and the White House, fueling the emerging scandal that has become a staple on the nightly news and that shows no signs of going away anytime soon.

Mr. Obama lashed out at his critics at a White House news conference last week and defended Mrs. Rice, charging that “to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.” If Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham “and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me,” he said.

Mr. McCain, who has threatened to block Mrs. Rice if she is nominated to take Hillary Rodham Clinton’s position as secretary of state, now calls her a “bit player” who was responsible for “passing on a narrative” that misled the American people. “I blame the president more than anybody else,” he says.

The White House has had an all-purpose, dismissive response to the GOP’s relentless assault of what we may now correctly call “Benghazigate”: partisan politics.

The fact remains that two intelligence committees, one led by Republicans in the House and the other by the Democrats in the Senate, are now investigating who was responsible in the White House chain of command for writing a bogus narrative that left out any mention of al Qaeda, who were the perpetrators in the case. Conflicting news reports surfaced on Tuesday over whether the Office of the Director of National Intelligence might have deleted the terrorism references as the finger-pointing continues.

Does Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, who has been the Democrats’ point man in rebutting the GOP’s charges, still think that is nothing more than partisan politics?

There is another important part of the Benghazi debacle that seems to have been given little or no attention lately, and that is why the desperate pleas for additional security at our consulate fell on deaf ears at the State Department.

Neither Mrs. Clinton, nor anyone on the president’s staff has explained why Stevens‘ repeated cables demanding further protection in an increasingly dangerous environment were ignored.

Mr. Obama and his White House political team may think — or have deluded themselves into thinking — that al Qaeda has been decimated and no longer threatens us.

There is a courageous U.S. ambassador and three of his bravest associates whose deaths offer irrefutable testimony that Mr. Obama’s campaign boasts about the end of al Qaeda are partisan politics at their worst.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.