Morning Joe | January 24, 2013
>>> it away like that. lied about doping and threw everyone under the bus? just insert one end of your ear and pull it out the other end. look at that, shame is gone. shamewow works for every shame at any time. lip-sync the national anthem , pooped your big boy pants, expose your crown jewels , ten-week marriage, sorry for party rockin'? don't worry. shamewow has you covered.
>> okay, that was exhausting. what a frightening year. good morning, everyone. welcome to " morning joe ." it's enthusiast, january 24th . joe has the morning off. i'm here with willie geist . joining us on set, author of
"thomas jefferson: the art of power," jon meacham . the chairman of deutsche incorporated, donny deutsch . former treasury official and " morning joe " economic analyst, steve rattner. and in washington, capitol hill nbc news capitol hill correspondent, kelly o'donnell. good to have you on board this morning.
>> good to see you.
>> teasing ahead to a story i'm going to do second, because we're going to start with secretary clinton , i just want to know first thought what your gut is on women in combat . rattner.
>> the time had come. they were doing everything else.
>> my sense is when you talk to people in the military, it was recognizing a fact on the ground. women were more and more in these roles but weren't being given the proper credit and proper advancement.
>> kelly o.?
>> i think it's that advancement piece because in talking to members in congress, they all said boy, in our constituents and home states, we know so many women who have been put in such positions of treachery, peril and injury and death. and this is a way to get the credit for being in combat to advance.
>> okay. and willie geist ?
>> more than 100 women have been killed in iraq and afghanistan. hundreds more have been wounded. they're already up in those positions. if they want to be there and qualify, they ought to be.
>> no-brainer, obviously.
>> what's that?
>> no-brainer, obviously.
>> they've earned it. we continue to move in the direction of less and less difference between the genders, and as far as professionalism, this is no exception.
>> i think we know in almost every organization having women in leadership positions has helped that organization.
>> mika and i talk a lot about that. i'm going to give my 60-second spiel about how women are superior to men in business. given the same talent, i'll take the woman every time because they're more collaborative, less concerned with how big their office is. women are superior to men in business. obviously, it's a generalization generalization.
>> actually, just a necessary participant in any, you know, business or political -- it just really makes a good difference to have more women at the top.
>> and also, the nature of workers has changed. it's not about carrying a 90-pound -- a technical, highly mechanized.
>> there are some jobs they physically can't do.
>> there are some jobs men can't do.
>> yeah. i think it's interesting. i asked my daughters about it, trying to generate a conversation at the table, and they were like, what? no-brainer, like you said. of course. it's interesting the attitudes over the generations. i have some concerns.
>> girls, is that what you're trying to say?
>> oh, god. speaking of women , secretary of state hillary clinton testified before the house and senate foreign affairs committee on the attacks in benghazi four months ago. clinton stood her ground against tough questions by republicans who wanted to know what she knew and when she knew it. nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell , takes us through the contentious hearing.
>> reporter: after a fall, a concussion and a blood clot, hillary clinton showed rare public emotion, reflecting the toll benghazi has taken on her.
>> for me, this is not just a matter of policy. it's personal. i stood next to president obama as the marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at andrews. i put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters and the wives left alone to raise their children.
>> reporter: she said she takes responsibility for what happened.
>> as i have said many times, i take responsibility, and nobody is more committed to getting this right.
>> reporter: her critics were not disarmed. they wanted to know why couldn't ambassador chris stevens and three other americans be rescued? why were repeated security warnings ignored? including a cable from the ambassador on 9/11, the day of the attack, the day he was killed.
>> i'm glad that you're accepting responsibility. i think that ultimately with your leaving, you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11, and i really mean that. had i been president at the time and i found that you did not read the cables from benghazi , you did not read the cables from ambassador stevens, i would have relieved you of your post. i think it's inexcusable.
>> reporter: hostile questions all day, clinton was also the political pro, massaging big egos, sidestepping attacks when she could. when she couldn't, giving as good as she got.
>> we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that, and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact.
>> but --
>> and the american people could have known that within days and they didn't know that.
>> with all due respect, the fact is we had four dead americans . was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some americans ? what difference, at this point, does it make? it is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.
>> the answers, frankly, that you've given this morning are not satisfactory to me. were you and the president made aware of the classified cable from chris stevens that the united states consulate in benghazi could not survive a sustained assault? numerous warnings including personally to me about the security, were unanswered or unaddressed.
>> reporter: she countered that congress has cut money for security.
>> currently the house has holds on bilateral security assistance, on other kinds of support for anti-terrorism assistance. so we've got to get our act together between the administration and the congress.
>> reporter: after a break, the house was even tougher than the senate.
>> i think when you have a united states ambassador personally warning about the situation over there, sending this cable to your office --
>> if i could -- 1.43 million cables a year come to the state department . they are all addressed to me.
>> madam secretary, you let the consulate become a death trap . and that's national security malpractice.
>> reporter: throughout the day, the subtext for partisans on both sides, this was not the last act for hillary clinton .
>> you will be sorely missed, but i, for one, hope not for too long.
>> madam secretary, first let me thank you for your service, and i wish you the best in your future endeavors, mostly.
>> okay, that was incredible on so many levels. by the way, that sound bite where you see hillary clinton , secretary of state, waving her arms saying what difference does it make, that, to me, encapsulates the difference between the way women think and the way men think. just look at it again.
>> i don't know if that's -- no, no no, no. that is not a man/woman issue.
>> yes, it is.
>> that is the way a leader thinks, a presidential candidate, somebody who is heads and tails above everybody else in that room thinks, which is let's talk about the issue. let's talk about the problem. let's solve any future potential disasters like this as opposed to retroactively looking at a cable that came in. that was somebody who's head and shoulders above everybody else in the room.
>> it was about whether or not there were protests, but still.
>> yes. and rand paul , and this is also a look at -- the faces of the republicans, rand paul , ron johnson and john mccain looked so pathetic. and to me, there's something called decorum. and when rand paul sits there and to the second highest ranking official in our country and someone who has done a spectacular job says i would have had your job, that's pathetic. that's the amateur hour. and that's the republicans.
>> he's got a right to challenge her on it. he's not supposed to sit there.
>> that is nir jtheir job.
>> and just celebrate you.
>> i would have relieved you of your duty?
>> that's an idiot.
>> kelly o'donnell, you were up on the hill yesterday. aside from all the fireworks, we saw some good pieces of videotape there. did we learn anything new actually about what happened on september 11th in benghazi ? is there any new information to come out of that hearing?
>> well, there were some threads and details that were interesting, i thought. secretary clinton talked about the fact that they did not have access to the surveillance video that showed what went on for a period of weeks. i think most of us thought that they had been watching this in realtime. and she clarified that when they hear the term "realtime," they had been on the phone with some of their contacts in libya when the attack was unfolding. so there was some granular detail which is interesting, and it's important in understanding what they knew and how they responded. a lot of what goes on here in a hearing like this is, this is a complex issue, and there are things looking forward , and there are things that are important when you understand what decisions were made at the time. whether there was a protest or not, certainly for democrats, they've moved on off of that issue. for republicans, it lingers as a question because of the notion of understanding what was happening at the time in order to make decisions and how on respond. and in the public part of it, was the public told the truth? could the truth have been made more available sooner? so there are legitimate questions here. i think when you look at tone and demeanor of various members, you can certainly judge that through different political lenses. there is wide respect for hillary clinton in both parties. sometimes in those moments when members are asking questions, it's about really their own moment. they all send out their clips to their constituents, and it's important for them as individuals. watching all of this, which is my job, i get to do that every day so you don't have to, i think the overall tone was very respectful, and it was provocative in certain places. and it should be given how important this was.
>> one of the exchanges you're talking about came with senator ron johnson , the republican from wisconsin. we heard it in andrea's piece. he talked about the emotion clinton showed during her testimony. he told buzzfeed, quote, i think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead americans , the heroes, and use that as her trump card to get out of the questions.
>> it was a good way of getting out of really having to respond to me.
>> obviously, americans died. and she took responsibility for that. i mean, that's -- that was the first thing that came out of her mouth, was that this is on me. now what are we going to do about this? so i guess it's how you look at the testimony.
>> i think it was an absolutely perfect virtuoso hillary clinton performance. as you say, she took responsibility, she accepted every recommendation of the study group to look into it. nobody i think who is rational expects her to be looking at millions of cables every year that come to the state department . i think she handled it perfectly. and i think for all -- i think she made those congresspeople and representatives look small. i think she looked big. and i think this is the end of it.
>> it does raise an interesting question. if the ambassador himself sends a cable, what level should that reach? that's one of the questions they were asking because she knew chris stevens personally. so did john mccain and others on the committee who had that personal connection. the secretary is certainly right, that they all come addressed to her. 1.43 million a year. but part of what they were trying to say is, how do we find out if there are hotspots and an ambassador is sending something that is really that dire, why shouldn't it reach the secretary? and that seems to be a legitimate question. and she addressed that as well. that there needs to be a better way for those sorts of red alarm bells to reach the right people quickly enough. so that's something that we learn through this process.
>> kelly , it's jon meacham . give us some more context here because the quotation on the front page of "the wall street journal " is the more emotional moment about what difference does it make? we have four dead americans . how do we prevent it from happening again. i don't think anyone rationally disagrees with that. however, it does matter what we were told and when we were told it. it does matter will this was an organized attack or whether it was spontaneous. i don't think, as senator clinton used to say in a different context, it's kind of a false choice in that sound bite . so can you give us the context for the whole day and what she was saying about understanding what happened in the initial hours as opposed to the issue of what do we do now going forward?
>> what i found so interesting is when you look at sort of the drilled-down moments of 5 1/2 hours, that emotion she showed was only in, like, two sentences. she was very controlled. and that was very appropriate in that moment. the sort of outburst with what's the difference, that was the only time she ever really raised her voice. so those were important moments, but they don't reflect the whole nature of the day. what i was struck by is she was talking about what she was doing at the time. and much of what she was doing that i found fascinating is she was talking to some of the other countries. she reminded us all they were very focused on what was happening in cairo, not yet understanding the gravity of what would unfold in libya . so she was talking to some of the various contacts in those other countries that were experiencing the video-related protests. and what i thought was interesting is she was having to deal with them in a way that a secretary of state usually doesn't have to deal with our allies. in egypt, which for decades was a strong ally of the u.s., she was having to call and basically tell them, get your people there to protect our people. in libya at one point, she said, can't we just go bang down the door where the militias are and get them to come help our people? it was an insight into sort of the desperate hours that she was dealing with with multiple hotspots. and that was a window into her world and the decision-making in realtime that i found very fascinating.
>> you know, just having watched the testimony, it was just, to me, fascinating to see a woman in the hot seat like that testifying, running the gamut from tears to anger to disgust and walking away feeling like you just saw somebody do exactly what they should have done.
>> and the depth of her knowledge, it was amazing.
>> it's worth pointing out, a lot of people that watched that yesterday started thinking about 2016 inevitably as she leaves her job at state, she leaves, according to an abc/" washington post " poll with favorability at 67%. contrast that to joe biden who's at 48%. just a number to put out there.
>> i also think it's interesting, when you're talking 2016 , she was very clear about separating herself from the thing that got the most political flap. she had nothing to do with susan rice being chosen, she said. she had nothing to do with the talking points . she walled that off. and instead focused on the things that -- and she had a very legitimate way of describing where her focus was. but when so much of the political talk in the final weeks of the election campaign were about talking points and so forth, which is its own legitimate area, it was interesting to see how careful she was in making certain that she had no part in that.