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Benghazi hearing turns ugly: Republicans accuse Obama of lying, Dems fire back

A House Foreign Affairs hearing on "Benghazi and Beyond" quickly turned into a shouting and accusations forum.

It began when Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said this: "What is clear is that this administration, including the president himself, has intentionally misinformed, read that LIED, to the American people in the aftermath of this tragedy. Now President Obama has the gall to float the name as possibly secretary of State, the name of the person who is the actual vehicle used to misinform the American people during this crisis."

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National Intelligence Director James Clapper arrives for a closed door hearing conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence November 15, 2012 on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat also from California, called the attacks on Rice "unfair" and leveled that Colin Powell testified that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, because that's the information that was given to him.

Rohrabacher shot back, going further, intimating that what the White House has done is worse than Watergate.

"This is not simply a cover up of a third-rate burglary," he alleged. "We have four of our personnel dead, and it is not a McCarthy-era tactic to demand accountability and to demand that American people are not misinformed about it to the point that they don't know what the threat is."

The back and forth continued when Rep. Jean Schmidt, a Republican from Ohio, also accused the administration of lying.

Key Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee are calling for a broader investigation into the attack on Benghazi and vowing to block UN Ambassador Susan Rice from becoming Secretary of State, if she should be nominated, because of her initial comments about the fatal incident. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., discusses.

"This administration continues to put out things that are just not quite true," she claimed.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) began by saying he was not going to attack the White House or malfeasance at the State Department. But he then instead spoke for six minutes and didn't ask a single question of the GAO witness.

Naturally, Democrats responded. It began rather timidly and escalated.

"Barack Obama was no more responsible for what happened in Benghazi than George Bush was for Sept. 11th or Ronald Reagan was for the blowing up of U.S. Marines in Beirut," Rep. Eliot Engle (D-NY) said.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) unloaded, first sarcastically: "Let's just hang the guilty parties."

"The stench of hypocrisy that hangs over this city today emanates from this room," Ackerman said. "I've listened to my colleagues talk about the President of the United States and others in the administration using [the] terms 'deliberate', 'lies', 'unmitigated gall', 'malfeasance,' which is malicious and knowing evil-doing, 'disgust', 'coverups'."

He continued, "If you want to know who is responsible in this town, buy yourself a mirror!"

Ackerman went on to say that Republicans had "the audacity to come here" when the administration requested, for worldwide security, "$440 million more than you guys wanted to provide. And the answer is that you damn didn't provide it!  You REDUCED what the administration asked for to protect these people. Ask not who the guilty party is, it's you! It is us. It is this committee, and the things that we insist that we need have to cost money."

He added, "Could you tell me which of my colleagues on this committee was as bodacious in their insistence that we provide more money for American security in the State Department budget. I would appreciate it."

Ackerman then asked them to raise their hands and gave them a count of five to do so. None did.

Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) picked up the push back. He held up a letter, dated yesterday, in which he was asked to co-sign saying that Susan Rice is unfit to be secretary of State. 

"Smear, character assassination, judgment before all the facts are in is McCarthyism," Connolly said, "and that's an attempt to besmirch, in my opinion, the reputation of a very talented and capable public servant. I want no part of it."

He added, "The election is over. The president won reelection. The voices of the public were heard. They want us to cooperate. If you want an honest investigation of this tragedy, we will join you. But if you want to persist in trying to put this, lay this somehow at the doorstep of the president or the secretary of State or the United Nations ambassador, you will find us ready and willing to resist  to the teeth."

And that was just the first half of the hearing.