Eyes were on Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, the leading candidate to succeed Hillary Clinton as head of the State Department, as he chaired a hearing Thursday morning on why the State Department did not have enough security at the U.S. compound in Benghazi, where a terrorist attack led to the deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
State department officials faced tough questions from senators who were armed with an independent report that is sharply critical of the State department. The report blames "systemic failure and management deficiencies" at the State Department for "grossly" inadequate security in Benghazi, leading up to the attack.
Meantime, in the House this afternoon, lawmakers are set to take up the Republican proposal to end the fiscal cliff. Democrats have already rejected that proposal, and it does not have enough votes to pass in the Senate. That has led Politico to say that Fiscal Cliff negotiations are now at their lowest point.
- Rick Klein, senior Washington editor for ABC World News and co-host of the the network's political webcast, "Top Line." He tweets @rickklein.
This segment aired on December 20, 2012.