Martin Bashir | November 27, 2012
>>> two republican senators behind the benghazi witch hunt are now vowing to place a hold on any attempt to nominate susan rice as secretary of state. they and john mccain tell reporters their questions about benghazi have gone unanswered. they say ambassador rice didn't answer them in their meeting with her this morning. and apparently neither did david petraeus in his closed door testimony more than a week ago. nor other administration officials in their testimony a week prior to that. mind you, senator mccain and others skipped that because it was in conflict with their benghazi media schedule. regardless, they have now had the opportunity to meet practically every major actor in this ginned up controversy, but it doesn't matter because this is all they had to say just a short time ago.
>> significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn't get.
>> bottom line, i'm more disturbed now than i was before. i'm more convinced than ever that it was bad, it was unjustified.
>> joining us now is goldie taylor, an msnbc contributor and author, and dana mill barbankmilbank, a columni isist for "the washington post ." who else do republicans need to hear from because we're running out of names or are they expecting a christmas transfiguration and the voice of elijah?
>> well, i suppose we're headed in that direction. look, martin, i have writ been thi -- written about this. there are many legitimate reasons to object to susan rice being the next secretary of state. remember response to the benghazi situation is not one of them. she was doing what was expected of her as a spokesman for the administration. one suspects that senators graham and mccain and ayotte have other reasons for opposing her and are using this as an excuse but it's fairly flimsy because while there are legitimate questions to be asked about what happened in benghazi --
>> but dana , hang on a second. if you have a problem with susan rice , let her be nominated, challenge her, and go through due process . why do this on the basis of intelligence that she had received that's consistent with the information that she was given by the cia?
>> not only is it illogical, it is counterproductive because they're putting the president in a position of saying he's going to nominate her if he wasn't before because now he's not going to look like he's caving in or backing down. so they're going to achieve the exact opposite of what they're purporting to want.
>> absolutely astonishing. goldie, conservatives, as we know, are attacking ambassador rice for admitting that the initial intelligence was wrong in one respect, that there was no process in benghazi , but she's admitted that the intelligence has evolved. so why is that so hard for them to accept? or is it because this is a proxy war against the president and they'll use anyone they can find?
>> you know, it is a proxy war , but i have got to tell you that john mccain went live and said that if susan rice came to him and said she was wrong about that assertion, then he would be satisfied. well, in fact, she did say that today. she said it in a private meeting with him, with ayotte, and senator graham, that she was wrong in that assertion but that was the information she was given by the intelligence community . she, you know, put out an olive branch , if you will, and they simply broke it into three pieces and collectively flogged her with it. you know, i have great respect for my colleague dana mill barng, but he wrote in a column in mid-november that she was unfit or not well equipped for this job, and one of the reasons that he put forth was her answers in those talk shows on sunday mornings. and so i think that the issue for us here today isn't what she said in those talk shows but how she's acquitted herself over the course of her career. stanford, oxford, rhodes scholar . if i'm in the position of having an equipped, educated, and have the experience to do this job but then called unqualified, called unequipped because maybe i seem like a bull in the china shop for stating a strategic position for which i believe is strongly right, then for some reason then i'm i will equipped for the job. it's as if they're calling, you know, secretary rice -- u.n. ambassador rice, i'm sorry, some kind of angry black woman . well, i have been in that position before and it's simply untenable. it's the kind of language we don't want to see imbued in this conversation. it really ought to be about the facts of the matter of what happened in benghazi , when that information came out, how well it is communicated to the american public, and when it should be, i should say, communicated to the american public because they're for good reason we aren't privy to classified information , but if she had gone on air and broken with the intelligence community and released classified information , if she had broken with them, then she would be frog marched out of the bounds of d.c. today.
>> yes. dana , you have just been thrashed, so i have to give you an opportunity to respond.
>> yeah. i'm a little surprised because what i wrote in the column was exactly what i said to you just now, there are plenty of reasons to object to her being made secretary of state but benghazi not being one of them. so i think she's got the facts a little bit wrong there. if she's to be criticized for something in her performance on the sunday shows, it was that she was following one of the libyan officials who said, oh, yes, we think it's terrorism. she didn't take that nuance into account. is that a reason to reject her nomination as secretary of sate? no. let's set that issue aside and focus on other things.