As Congress continues to probe the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the conversation seems to be gradually shifting from a hothouse hunt for the scalp of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to larger questions about the security breakdown itself. Buzzfeed's John Stanton sussed out that a shift seemed imminent at the end of last week, and while Sunday's political talk shows featured Rice's betes-noires -- Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham -- there was a sense that cooler heads were taking over.

Most notably, McCain amigo Sen. Joe Lieberman made it clear to Fox News' Chris Wallace that he wasn't all that interested in pursuing the Susan Rice agita much further:

As I look at what we now know the intelligence community was saying that week -- and I look at Ambassador Rice's statements on television on the following Sunday morning, I don't find anything inconsistent between those two.

But, I must tell you that I think we are focusing on questions that are not insignificant but they are not the most significant. Of course, there was a terrorist attack. Whether or not there was a protest before it is interesting, but not that critical to me. There was a terrorist attack and the question is: who did it?

All of which is eminently sensible. As it happens, however, Lieberman's approach hasn't yet caught on with everybody. In fact, as Pete Kasperowicz reports over at The Hill, several lawmakers have drawn up a strongly worded letter to President Barack Obama, insisting that he not nominate Rice to be Secretary of State:

In a letter to Obama, the 97 Republicans said the credibility of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has been gravely wounded by her account of the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

[...]

The letter says Rice "propagated a falsehood" that the attacks were a spontaneous response to a video that depicted the Prophet Muhammed. The administration then said more than a week later that terrorism may have played a role.

"Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter," it says. "Her actions plausibly give U.S. allies (and rivals) abroad reason to question U.S. commitment and credibility when needed.

There are a few reasons that Obama won't sweat this. One is that the GOP caucus could only find 97 members to go along with this letter. Another is that members of the House of Representatives don't have anything to do with confirming the U.S. Secretary of State.

The third is though you can read this story and see that Kasperowitz writes, "the House Republican letter mirrors some of the Senate Republican criticism of Rice that has emerged," the only cited examples of "Senate Republican critics" are McCain and Graham. You can probably add Sen. Kelly Ayotte to their folie a deux, but that trio represents the Susan Rice Dead Ender Caucus.

Meanwhile, here's a key quote about Rice's potential nomination to head the State Department, criticizing all of the bitterness being thrown her way just because she made public assertions that didn't turn out to be correct:

So I wonder why we are starting this new Congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion… . I can only conclude we are doing this for no other reason than lingering bitterness at the outcome of the elections… . We all have varying policy views, but the President, in my view, has a clear right to put in place the team he believed would serve him best.

Of course, in the case of the above quote, the year was 2005, the "Rice" was Condoleezza, the incorrect assertions were that Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction, and the defender ... was John McCain.

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    John Kerry leaves a Senate Foreign Relations Committee markup on Jan. 29, 2013 after a vote was held on his confirmation as Secretary of State. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hillary Clinton (2009-13)

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a press conference on November 14, 2012. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Condoleezza Rice (2005-09)

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks about the State Department's 2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices during a March 11, 2008 briefing in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Colin Powell (2001-05)

    U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks on June 22, 2004, about a corrected version of an inaccurate terrorism report issued by the government. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Madeleine Albright (1997-2001)

    U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivers a Russia policy briefing on September 16, 1999 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Warren Christopher (1993-97)

    U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher briefs reporters on the peace process in Bosnia during a Dec. 8, 1995 press conference. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Lawrence Eagleburger (1992-93)

    Then-acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger listens to a reporter's question during a Nov. 18, 1992 news conference at the State Department. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • James Baker (1989-92)

    James Baker III waves to his associates at the US State Department on August 13, 1992. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • George P. Shultz (1982-89)

    U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz listens to a question during his first day of testimony before Iran-Contra investigators on July 23, 1987 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Alexander Haig (1981-82)

    Alexander Haig, Secretary of State-designate, a Reagan nominee on Monday, Dec. 23, 1980 in Washington for the announcement of selections. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Edmund Muskie (1980-81)

    (Pictured left) Freed hostage Richard Queen, right, greets well wishers at the State Department on Monday, July 21, 1980 in Washington. At left is Secretary of State Edmund Muskie. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Cyrus Vance (1977-80)

    Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State, pictured in 1979. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Henry Kissinger (1973-77)

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  • William P. Rogers (1969-73)

    Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, left, and Secretary of State William P. Rogers begin talks at the Department of State on Feb. 7, 1972 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Dean Rusk (1961-69)

    Secretary of State Dean Rusk is shown during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on March 1, 1962. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Christian Herter (1959-61)

    President Dwight Eisenhower, left, says goodbye to Secretary of State Christian Herter in Gettsburg, Pennsylvania, on May 2, 1959 as Herter is about to board a helicopter on the President's farm to return to Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • John Foster Dulles (1953-59)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (left) gets together with South Korean President Syngman Rhee in Seoul on August 4, 1953. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Dean Acheson (1949-53)

    U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson speaks from the State Department on Nov. 29, 1950 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • George C. Marshall (1947-49)

    Gen. George C. Marshall poses in his Red Cross office on Sept. 13, 1950 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • James F. Byrnes (1945-47)

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  • Edward Reilly Stettinius (1944-45)

    France's Foreign Minister Georges Bidault makes a VE Day radio statement from the Opera House in San Francisco, CA, May 8, 1945. Seated at the far right U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>) <em><strong>Correction</strong>: An earlier version of this text misspelled Stettinius' surname.</em>

  • Cordell Hull (1933-44)

    U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt is greeted by Secretary of State Cordell Hull on Sept. 15, 1938 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Henry Lewis Stimson (1929-33)

    Henry Lewis Stimson, American Secretary of State for War shown around July 1931. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Frank B. Kellogg (1925-29)

    Former United States Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on Aug. 17, 1936 at Waterloo Station in London. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Charles Evans Hughes (1921-25)

    (Center) Former Secretary of State and Chief justice Charles Evans Hughes, pictured on on March 27, 1931. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)