"Mr. President, don't think for one minute I don't hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi. I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack," said Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican.
The exchange came after Mr. Graham and Sen. John McCain said they would try to block Ms. Rice if Mr. Obama tapped her to become secretary of state. They said she hasn't done an exemplary job in her current post as ambassador to the U.N., and also said she has damaged her credibility because she inaccurately blamed the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi on a mob protest.
Mr. Obama, in a press conference, angrily said his critics should instead go after him, and said Ms. Rice was only acting on behalf of the White House.
"She made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me," he said. "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."