Morning Joe | November 28, 2012
>>> good morning. it's 8:00 on the east coast . 5:00 a.m . on the west coast . time to wake up, everyone, as we take a live look at new york city . back with us on set we have mike barnicle , john heilemann, and andrea mitchell in washington .
>> do you know what i always say? okay, i'm in trouble, and they get these little arm bands now. wwjd. what would joe do? so what do i say? you've seen those? you make a mistake, just step up and say, i was wrong.
>> exactly. i'm sorry.
>> do you know how many times i have to do that every day? a lot. a lot. i find it works. look at this. hey, john, i'm sorry, i made a mistake. you say to me -- that's okay.
>> well --
>> try me. people really want to see that.
>> mika, i'm sorry, i made a mistake.
>> oh, it's all right.
>> mike, i'm sorry, i made a mistake.
>> that works.
>> is it okay?
>> you look weak.
>> how about this, i am so, so sorry. is there anything i can do to help you?
>> you know what? you just did it. you just can did it. so --
>> so that's what happened on capitol hill .
>> susan rice goes to capitol hill and she says, you know what, bad intel , i made a mistake, i'm sorry. i am glad that the people that are in my party on capitol hill have hearts as big as the sky because i'm sure they said, it's cool. you know what? we all make mistakes. all of us on capitol hill , we all make mistakes. it's cool. so how did this work out after she said she was sorry?
>> well, there's still another chance. ambassador susan rice is heading back to capitol hill today.
>> okay. but i want to know what happened yesterday.
>> i will tell you. she continued to defend her response on the september 11 attack on the consulate in benghazi as a top pick to replace secretary of state hillary clinton , rice faces sort of an uphill battle because she failed to win over her harshest republican critics yesterday.
>> i don't think it's an uphill battle . she wants to be secretary of state for greenville, south carolina or mesa, arizona.
>> she actually requested this meeting. it was with senators lindsey graham and kelly ayotte and john mccain .
>> they were upset. john mccain over the weekend backed up a little.
>> he backed up.
>> which is really cool. she went up and said i'm sorry.
>> she did the brave thing and went right in there and said i want to address this.
>> how did that work?
>> she talked about her initial account of the attack. she explained to them that she was relying on faulty intelligence, faulty talking points from the intelligence communities.
>> and they said?
>> they said, you know what, we still don't get it.
>> go to video.
>> we are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn't get. it is clear that the information that she gave the american people was incorrect.
>> bottom line , i'm more disturbed than i was before. if you don't know what happened, just say you don't know what happened. people can push you to give explanations and you can say i don't want to give bad information.
>> i am more troubled today knowing, having met with the acting director of the cia and ambassador rice. clearly the information given to the american people was wrong. ambassador rice said today absolutely it was wrong.
>> so ambassador rice --
>> what was that? john heilemann, what did we just see? what did we just see?
>> i made a mistake.
>> what did we just see? and how do they -- they pull kelly ayotte into this trifecta after lieberman starts running for the doors because lieberman is now fine. do they have to have three of these people at all times ?
>> a third amigo.
>> they want to look diverse. andrea mitchell , tell us what you think is going on.
>> there's a proxy fight . john mccain sent every signal as did lindsey graham that they were backing off of this ledge and so susan rice goes up there thinking that it's going to be smoothed over as her side man she's got the acting director of the cia , mike morell, who is widely regarded and is a possible nominee to be successor to david petraeus and it blows up in their face. later in the day the senators put out another statement criticizing morell because they say he had misled them in yesterday's meeting claiming the rewriting of those intelligence talking points was done by the fbi to take out al qaeda references, not by the cia, which we have already been told by the director of national intelligence , did come from the intelligence community . so it's even worse than it was before they went up. i think she'll have a better time with susan collins and the senator from tennessee known to be bipartisan. i don't think it will be as vitriolic as yesterday. she really felt, i'm told, that she wanted to clear her name, that she had been maligned, that she had been on morning television. the real issue here as jay carney was trying to say is what happened before ? what happened during perhaps but not what happened on sunday morning television programs . and there is an investigation that hillary clinton has commissioned. it is a legally mandated investigation. it's being led by none other than the former chairman of the joint chiefs , mike mullen , co-chaired by tom pickering, former u.n. ambassador, former ambassador to russia and deputy secretary of state. it's going to be coming out in mid december. it will be recorded to congress and i understand it will be very, very tough on the state department for not ramping up security which many people believe could be the real issue not what was said on sunday morning television. the white house is fighting for her.
>> so andrea, i just am confused but maybe you can help straighten this out. i would think lindsey graham and senator mccain for sure -- i'm not sure about kelly ayotte , have been on sunday morning shows many, many, many times . and i'll leave it there and not even go to the point that maybe at times they might have said things that they, you know, weren't completely confirming.
>> what they are suggesting is that she said things for political reasons three weeks before the election. that's what lindsey graham suggested, and they were trying to mislead the american people .
>> again, mike barnicle , i've asked this question before, did john mccain say that colin powell was unfit to continue as secretary of state after the information that he gave before the united nations that led us into the iraq war ? did that make colin powell unfit to be secretary of state , or was colin powell given bad intel ? i never heard him say that. i never heard lindsey graham say that.
>> condoleezza rice .
>> the same thing with condoleezza rice . she gave bad information to congress, not just to a sunday morning talk show , to congress. to congress.
>> so how can you say that's three people that we just saw on video, if we can put them back on, are not jumping into an in intelligence debate for political reasons? because they did not speak up at other very key times even perhaps more significant times in foreign policy .
>> we get the point. we all agree here, maybe there are people out there across america who are saying, you know what we really need? we really need people to fight hard night and day to side track the secretary of state potential candidate because of some things that she said on sunday -- maybe there are those people out there. i don't know where they are because i have never met them but i do want to know this. like what's their long game, willie? what are they doing? this doesn't help the republican party . this is like mitt romney 's dumb press conference the day after libya exploded and the ambassador died. there's a time and a place. there are so many ways to go after susan rice . things other than this on whether she even has the temperament to be secretary of state . that's a big question in washington , d.c. let me say it again. does susan rice have the temperament to be secretary of state ? there are a lot of people, democrats, who will tell you privately that just maybe she doesn't. but we're not talking about this. this is a clown show that's going on right now.
>> i who have that debate.
>> what is the long game?
>> the long game is unclear and the short game is even more unclear because they're not going to hold up the nomination of susan rice . i mean, if you look at the big picture , they only need to peel off -- i don't know what the number is, six to seven.
>> so what happens? who do they end up making look stronger?
>> they make them -- they make the obama white house , susan rice look stronger but they're fighting this fight, the three, four, five of them on a losinging cause. they're not going to hold up the nomination with four senators.
>> i don't get it.
>> it would appear that prior to yesterday that this was all a political passing storm that we get through this, that she would go down there and speak behind closed doors and we would get through this or she would get through this. but maureen dowd today in "the new york times " and senator susan collins of maine, susan collins of maine, a moderate royce on the republican side of the aisle, expresses some misgivings about ambassador rice, which is a real, i would think, danger sign for her.
>> listen, the president is going to get the secretary of state he wants. if he wants susan rice , all the republicans are going to do is waste time and effort unless -- unless they know something that nobody else knows that susan rice was deliberately cooking the books . when she has the intel community sitting next to her saying this is what we will let you say, i think she's pretty good shape.
>> i think that's true and i also think they're making her -- they're putting the president in a corner from which it's almost impossible for him not now to nominate her. i think he's wanted her to be secretary of state . you look at all the signs. he seems to have wanted susan rice for this job, leaning in her direction for a while, but he's now in this position where if he doesn't nominate her, he's backing down in the face of what seems to be large ly political and unfounded opposition to her. it seems to me that they're making it -- they're almost making it inevitable her nomination.
>> they are.
>> and i think he has the votes. in the end he has the votes. and i can't believe the republican party is going to filibuster this woman. it just doesn't make any sense to me politically.
>> it doesn't make sense when it comes to politics. it just doesn't make any sense at all. and, secondly, it doesn't make any sense at all when it comes to substance. now if susan rice had something to do with security, had something to do with the repeated denials of the administration to provide more security to libya, if it had anything to do with the fact that the s.e.a.l.s that were calling for help and got no help during the attack, if she had anything to do with that, i would be the first to say she is unfit for office. she had nothing to do. she was the spokesperson.
>> what if she attacked senator mccain in the past four years ago and it embarrassed him? does that apply?
>> well, i don't know. if this is a personal thing. this probably isn't what we need to be focused on right now when the president is trying to raise taxes by about 4% or 5% on top job earners.
>> joe lieberman walked away.
>> unfortunately, his vote doesn't count so it was easy for him to do that. i haven't seen a brave face yet in this.
>> what i find curious, the thing we keep saying over and over again there are these really serious issues around -- going back and looking at what happened. the failures of intelligence, the failures of security. it seems to me john mccain , lindsey graham , kelly ayotte , republicans and democrats alike, should want to nope the answers to those questions. every day you spend talking about this, it's like a sideshow, a distraction from the real issues that -- if you want to hold congressional hearings on why were the requests for backup not listened to? that is what everyone should want to get to the bottom of. we have embassies and consulates all over the world in dangerous plac places. we should want to know what the failures were so we can keep our people safe.
>> you know what else we can talk about as we're debating about raising taxes and all these other issues? we had warren buffett on the show yesterday. warren buffett said raising the top marginal tax rate to 39.6% wouldn't catch any of the top income earners in america. that it would not impact them at all. now why shouldn't republicans be focusing on that, the real political battle in washington today, instead of focusing on a battle they know they're going to lose, against a woman of color after they just got shellacked in the polls among people of color and females. why are they doing this? and, andrea, a bigger question, as we go to a new congress, is john mccain going to continue to have the disproportionate impact that he has on foreign policy in the republican senate caucus? mika and i talked to so many people over the past two, three years that say we want, republican senators, we want out of afghanistan but, you know what, we just sort of stay out of john's way. how many times have we heard that?
>> a lot. it's disturbing.
>> we hear it all the time. they stay out of his way. are they going to blindly follow and, again, i love and respect senator mccain , but i don't want my party to blindly follow him over a cliff on this battle especially if it's a personal one.
>> well, on this battle it may be a personal one. i think the answer to your broader question is that republicans will continue to respect and follow his advice and syria is the next big issue that he is pounding away on. he was at a forum at the museum yesterday and crying out for american leadership on syria which means more engagement, more involvement. so there are a lot of big issues that he has huge influence on because of his experiences, his personal history . this issue i'm not so sure they'll follow him on. two of the three senators say they're putting holds on a nomination that has not even gone up. we've had nobel laureate economists nominated for the federal reserve who was finally with drew his name after a year of waiting because he was not going to be confirmed.
>> consumer --
>> the consumer protection agency, elizabeth warren 's former agency. you have people all over 0 the place, judges, republicans, who have been on hold. now when lindsey graham mentioned was john bolton and that was a clear warning because john bolton , as you know, was not confirmed for u.n. a.m. bas ambassador and was a recess appointee. there's no way the president is going to nominate as secretary of state as a recess appointee. you just cannot with credibility lead diplomacy around the world. this week we'll have a debate -- tomorrow there's a debate in the general assembly of the united nations on palestinian state hood. it is symbolic but now france is going along with the rest of the general assembly . the united states and israel and a few others will stand alone against this symbolic gesture. it's considered a very important move by the weakened fatah branch of the palestinians after what's happened with fgaza and hamas. real things at stake here. and susan rice has to stand up there and represent the united states and there's got to be a lot of weakening of her position.
>>> coming up next, "the last lion." a definitive biography on winston churchill 20 years in the making was left incomplete after the author passed away . we'll talk to the man who decided to finish it next.
>>> also ahead, actor ray liotta stops by to discuss his latest mob movie and reflect back on some of his classics.
>> he's great.
>>> but first, here is bill karins with a check on the forecast.
>> not so great.
>> you're a classic. that's the line i was waiting for. good morning. obviously behind me the norway spruce will be lit later on tonight. this is a nice one from new jersey, about 75 feet tall, 50 feet wide, ten tons of good sized tree. and this tree was taken down just after hurricane sandy struck and they did bundle it up to make sure it survived that storm. of course it didn't survive the chainsaw for your enjoyment. 8:00 east coast time, 7:00 pacific. al roker , savannah guthrie and a host of great musical artists will be here, also bette midler and billy crystal to make some guest star appearances. let me take you through your forecast 0 to get you out the door. it's a cold day but