Martin Bashir | November 14, 2012
>> let's get right to our panel. msnbc political analyst jonathan alter , columnist for bloomberg view, nia- malika , and goldie taylor , managing editor of the goldie taylor project. jonathan , i can begin with you, do we need a full-scale watergate style investigation to discover the truth about the so-called benghazi cover-up? perhaps even the bedroom antics of our top intelligence offer, john mccain , lindsey graham say we do?
>> it's so pathetic. why don't --
>> so pathetic?
>> yes. they lost the election. they're mad about it. they want to find a way to relitigate it. look, after he got his intelligence briefing, classified intelligence briefing, in the middle of october, mitt romney shut up about this. because when he actually found out, you know, that it was the cia that was giving both the union ambassador, susan rice , and the white house whatever information they had, you didn't hear him talking about it in the third debate. he was asked the first question about it and he didn't say anything. john mccain and lindsey graham know this is much ado about nothing. are there legitimate questions to ask, bureaucratic questions about how information moves up the chain of command? of course. there always are in these sorts of situations. especially when they're tragic like this. but does that mean it's some sort of scandal, you know, watergate style cover-up or there was an effort to have people, quote, stand down in the fashion of terrorism? it's ridiculous.
>> it's worth mentioning the president at the press conference made it clear that four americans did lose their lives and he's deeply concerned about that. and we all should be. but republicans e especially senators mccain and graham, have been beating up on u.n. ambassador susan rice every single day for the last two months. and the president stood up to that bullying today. take a listen.
>> to bring those who carried it out to justice. they won't get any debate from me on that. but when they go after the u.n. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me.
>> goldie , to jonathan 's point, the president says if you want to pick on someone, then pick on him. hasn't this always been about him anyway, really?
>> this really always has been about him. i think jonathan is absolutely right, this is about relitigating a campaign that's over. lindsey graham who has jim demint chewing at his ankles every given day. john mccain still relitigating the last campaign from 2008 . so, i think that, you know, jonathan 's absolutely right. the problem here is the cia backs up everything that susan rice said. i think if you check the transcripts of what she said versus what the cia was saying at the time, those things match. and i think going forward, as we learn more information, as the information begins to spool itself out, as the investigation begins to conclude itself, and i think it will be some time when we get some real answers, i think that you're going to find that it absolutely was plausible that you had a terrorist organization who was taking advantage of a -- you know, of a protest in progress. i've always said that was very plausible. that seems to be, you know, the idea of what's happened here. today when i saw the president during this press conference, i thought he was going to start reciting the line from mop's ante up. he stood tough this afternoon and i think the white house press corps was not prepared for the president obama they saw today.
>> nia- malika , some conservatives are calling out talk radio and fox news for lying to their audience. it seems like many republicans are still nurturing what psychiatrists call polythematic delusion. when are they going to concede that they lost?
>> well, i mean, i do think in some ways they're licking their wounds from what was a decisive win on the map and then in the popular vote as well. i think in the case of susan rice , i think that was a wow moment, for this president, very surprising. i think we learned from that press conference he's certain to nominate a susan rice and he's ready for this battle that is certainly going to occur between him and some of the republicans on the senate foreign relations committee there and in the broader senate. again, they've got the numbers in the senate to approve senate -- to approve that confirmation of secretary rice. you definitely saw a president who was willing and ready to almost engage and pick an even bigger fight, calling out mccain, calling out graham in that press conference. they immediately responded. so, i think the battle continues. it's going to be a pretty big one going forward.
>> did the president not indicate in that press conference by implication that his next nomination, his candidate for secretary of state, is susan rice ?
>> well, he seemed to be implying that. but i think it would be premature to say she's definitely the choice. you know, there are a lot of factors that go into this. john kerry is still, you know, a contender for this. he would also make a very good secretary of state. i want to go back to the whole question of what capitol hill 's engagement in this should be. i think in some ways we're looking -- we're asking some of the wrong questions. to my mind, in addition to the questions about what happened in this particular episode, we should revisit the state department 's request for $300 million more in security for its embassies and consulates last, which was roundly rejected by republicans in congress. i believe that any republican who is on record rejecting that $300 million request to beef up security should answer questions from the press that have not been asked, i should note, as to why they objected to approving what the state department understandably felt was the need to improve its securities at those embassies. which needless to say, might have helped in this situation.
>> of course, we look forward to hearing paul ryan 's response to those questions.
>> not just ryan, all of them.
>> indeed. jonathan alter , nia- malika henderson, goldie taylor , thank you.