Martin Bashir | February 11, 2013
>> good afternoon, and we start in washington where we can observe two very different ways in which we might honor those who serve with this country's armed forces . first, the president led a medal of honor ceremony for staff sergeant clinton remache whose actions during an attack helped save the lives of dozens of his comrades. and then there is the concerted effort by republicans to deny another distinguished veteran from serving his country as secretary of defense. a senate committee scheduled to vote on the nomination of chuck hagel tomorrow. senator john mccain says, i will not participate in any walkout of tomorrow's committee vote, which i guess is what counts for statesmanship among republicans these days, but as to whether mr. mccain will support his one-time friend, well, that remains a bit of a mystery.
>> we've still got some more information.
>> are you going to support him for defense secretary ?
>> i will see the rest of the answers to his questions, but certainly i have very grave concerns. i think we need some more information.
>> of course, senator lindsey graham brings up an excellent point, one i'm sure more republicans will soon be asking, why stop at chuck hagel ?
>> i don't think we should allow brennan to go forward for the cia directorship, hagel to be confirmed as secretary of defense until the white house gives us an accounting. yes, i'm going to ask my colleagues just like they did with john bolten, joe biden said no confirmation without information. no confirmation without information.
>> right. i mean, no one at the white house is answering any of these important questions about benghazi . i mean, apart from hillary clinton , leon panetta , chuck hagel , john brennan , and the president, of course. in fact, republicans would be wise to heed the words of the president as he spoke to the sergeant.
>> there are many lessons, one of them is that our troops should never, ever be put in a position where they have to defend the indefensiblndefensible.
>> let's get to our panel. julian epstein is a democratic strategist and ryan grim is the d.c. grbureau chief for "the huffington post ." national review is reporting the ranking member on the armed services committee will put a hold on the nomination but our mike viqueira is reporting we could have a full floor vote on hagel 's nomination wednesday or thursday. what do you think the outcome will be?
>> i think the handwriting is on the wall here. this issue is gone. i think most of washington has looked at this and said, there's nothing to stop hagel . his confirmation is all but assured --
>> you just heard lindsey graham say no confirmation without information.
>> but there's not enough republicans who agree to a filibuster so the republicans cannot use the cloture procedure. you begin to fell that this is a party that time is just starting to pass by. i stant remember the last time the republican party took a high profile political issue and won the public debate on that. this is just kind of head scratching in its political stupidity. the argument here is that they want more information on benghazi . as you pointed out not only has secretary clinton testified, leon panetta --
>> but it has nothing to do with benghazi .
>> they want to punish a guy who wasn't even in government when benghazi occurred. you combine that with the lack of civility and you feel like this is a republican party that's like the bad news bears . they cannot pick an issue and prosecute it. at the end of the day they will lose it. it is all for nothing because they don't have the votes to block it. no cabinet level appointee has ever been filibustered. the republicans have at least i think enough of them agreed not to do that. so you wonder what all this ridiculous theater is about. it's certainly not helping the republican brand.
>> and, julian , sorry, ryan , to julian 's point let me show you these poll numbers. quinnipiac says the president is more trusted on gun policy, immigration, the environment, everything basically, but his lead on foreign policy is a staggering 14 points . what makes republicans think this is a good thing to have a fight over?
>> right. up until recently everybody said, look, politics stops at the water's edge, and that hasn't been the case for the last couple years with this republican party . but it turns out that it wasn't necessarily that both parties followed that axiom because they were being nice about it. it turns out that it's incredibly bad politics to challenge your sitting president overseas. and, you know, this benghazi thing has not worked out for the republican party at all. they tried effectively to make it the biggest issue of the presidential campaign in the last several weeks, and people just didn't buy into it. what they saw is a tragedy. something that was -- if it could have been prevented, it should have been prevented, but they weren't going to start pointing blame and ask for the resignations of hillary clinton and throw barack obama out of office.
>> and the idea that you'd be able to stop future cia heads and secretaries of defense because of something that's already been well gone over, i agree with julian , the politics of it just don't make sense to me.
>> julian , let me quote you dick cheney from a speech he gave to wyoming republicans over the weekend. i'm quoting the great mab. the performance of barack obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal. let me read that again. the performance of barack obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal. julian , i'm only surprised he didn't go on to dismiss the president's shooting skills. what's your response there to mr. cheney?
>> that's right. when it comes to making comments on choosing staff, dick cheney is the national gargoyle. he was the only guy in charge of a vp selection process who ended up choosing himself. the hypocrisy is mind blowing. here is a guy going after two decorated war veterans who himself had five determents, who was quoted as saying he had better things to do. a guy who lied us in war in iraq . he mismanaged the effort in afghanistan by ignoring it a great deal of the time. a guy on whose watch 9/11 occurred. i mean, here is a guy who failed to get osama bin laden in bora bora . here is a guy who had so many failures on his watch in foreign policy going after two decorated war veterans and an administration record that's been extraordinarily successful not just in iraq, afghanistan, in going after al qaeda and getting osama bin laden . i mean, it is just mind-blowing how hypocritical and out of touch that's guys are and listening to dick cheney give you advice on foreign policy , i mean, that is a new -- that is just a new low.
>> i fear it is. ryan , listen to jay carney taking questions about chuck hagel and benghazi . here he is.
>> what is unfortunate here is the continuing attempt to politicize an issue, in this case through nominees that themselves had nothing to do with benghazi , and to do so in a way that only does harm to our national security interests.
>> so, ryan , just remind me again of what benghazi has to do with chuck hagel 's nomination.
>> well, nothing. and --
>> sorry, could you repeat that?
>> it's --
>> sorry, repeat that, ryan . what does it have -- what does benghazi have to do with chuck hague snel.
>> absolutely nothing. it's kind of like why would you take foreign policy advice from dick cheney . after the crash of '29, herbert hoover kept coming to republican conventions and giving these big speeches every four years, and every time he did it, democrats just celebrated because it reminded the entire country of how they got to where they are. so i would assume that democrats would actually encourage dick cheney , keep coming on television, keep giving the american people advice, keep suggesting what's wrong with president obama because you can guess which side people will wind up on.
>> ryan grim and julian epstein, thank you so much for joining us.