PoliticsNation | December 20, 2012
>>> when the right wing can't find a scandal, they do the next best thing. make one up. secretary of state hillary clinton was set to testify today about the attacks in benghazi . but while suffering from a stomach virus, she fainted, hit her head and sustained a concussion. doctors told her to work from home this week. and deputies testified at today's hearing instead. clinton will still testify in a few weeks, but the gang over at fox are very, very suspicious.
>> when you don't want to go to a meeting or a conference or an event, you get a diplomatic illness .
>> if she's in the nfl, i wouldn't let her play. but i think she can make a phone call .
>> charles, you had a good line. hill ri has severe benghazi allergy.
>> i've been doing a lot of work on that. she is the first reported case and it's a very, very severe one.
>> very, very severe. let's see the medical report on that.
>> first, they wanted to see the president's birth certificate. then they wanted to see his college transcripts. now they want to see hillary clinton 's medical records . unfortunately, we've seen this movie before. last year, they -- the right unfairly blamed attorney genric holder for the fast and furious gun walking screen. now, it's secretary clinton 's turn. the republicans can't lay a glove on the president, so they attack everyone around him. and, now, they're trying to get in some punches on a potential 2016 candidate as well. joining me now is ryan grimm, washington bureau chief for the huffington post and molly bowl. thank you both for being here tonight.
>> thanks for having me.
>> thanks, reverend.
>> ryan , what's behind all of these ridiculous attacks on secretary clinton ?
>> part of it is just to have a primal hatred that a lot of republicans still have for the clintons. we kind of forget that because she now, you know, is bathed in this glow of this 60 plus percent approval ratings. she's helped turn kind of the world's opinion around about the united states , you know, more than 50% of people want her to run for president and actually would support her for president according to a new poll. so you kind of forget just the deep, deep hatred that republicans had for both clintons back in the '90s. and, you know, what you also forget, clinton is not one to shy from a fight. this is silly to think that she didn't want to go to that hearing and go toe-to-toe with these guys who are accusing her of all kinds of conspiracy of covering up things related to benghazi . the clintons are happiest when they're doing battle with republicans . she'll be happy to come in january. and it will be good theater. this is what we're going to see for the next couple years.
>> isn't that the point, molly? she is going to testify. and foreign policy magazine says the panel investigating the benghazi attacks, quote, make a pretty strong case that the conspiracy theorists got this one badly wrong. the majority of the american public doesn't buy the right wing's rhetoric on benghazi . a cnn poll asked did obama intentionally mislead the public? 56% said no. so the republicans are fighting some that the panel is finding is absolutely wrong. most of the public does not believe the president covered anything up. clinton is testifying anyway. why are the republicans playing this movie over and over again using different i. targets each time, molly?
>> well, to be fair, i think we should specify that this is a few people on the fridges. this is not coming from elected republican officials. so this is a fringe view. but you saw with the whole susan rice thing, that the idea of a conspiracy, the idea of a cover up, became so much more politically powerful than the actual facts of the case. now, what we saw in that report was that there were serious problems in benghazi . there were security lapses. but that's not sexy enough. it's more sexy to imagine these conspiracies and fake illnesses and whatever else. so when that is the assumption, whatever facts come up are just funneled into that weird assumption.
>> could any of this be political, as well, ryan ? newt gingrich . he says that hillary clinton is the candidate to beat in 2016 . he says i mean there -- i'm quoting gingrich -- i mean if their competitor in 16 is going to be hillary clinton supported by bill clinton and presumedly a still relatively popular president, barack obama , trying to win that will be truly the super bowl . and the republican party today is incapable of competing at that level, mr. gingrich says.
>> yeah, and i think that's right. and i think they'd like to chip away at her popularity, as they can. it's going to be tough because, you know, she's going to -- it looks reich she's probably going to take some time off and do some philanthropic things that are going to be hard to kind of smear over the next year or two. but i think that's right. i think that's what's driving this. but they should be careful because, you know, if they pull clinton too much into a partisan contest, she'll remember just how much she enjoys it. and that will give her the taste of it. and then she will jump in. and then there will be that soup other bowl, like gingrich said, is going to be very tough for them to win.
>> and, molly, i think that the smear stuff, whether we consider it a few or the many, look at what happened with susan rice . look at what happened with eric holder , the attorney general of the united states . i mean, these guys build up a steam roll over there in various parts of the right. and it ends up smearing people unfairly and can do damage no matter how out of the mainstream and far from the truth the charges may be.
>> i think it is so funny to note that what's happening here is basically a republican strategy to elevate the clintons that is now backfiring. you remember during the campaign, mitt romney cast bill clinton as the good democrat so that he could cast barack obama as the bad democrat. in a lot of ways, republicans have done the same thing with hillary clinton . she's done a good job with the opposing party and congress and all. but there is a way to pretending that obama was not purely partisan and that means she has this huge bipartisan popularity now. and then, when bill clinton speaks for obama at the convention, republicans have to suddenly go back and eat their words. well, it's also funny, ryan , because a few days ago, it was susan rice that did it. they can't decide which conspiracy and who's the one at fault. if susan rice was the one that was covering up and doing all kinds of things, why would they need a conspiracy for the concussion of hillary clinton ? i mean, the public really can't be duped by that kind of ploy.
>> i think it kind of illuminates one of the flaws in the republican infrastructure right now, which is that they can't seem to let go of things. and i don't know exactly what it is, what the incentives are that line up. but you see it. and you mentioned fast and furious . and they pounded on fast and furious for like a year, year and a half. and the public counted on it for, like, a couple days. so the fact that they're still talking about ben ghazi , it was a tragedy what happened, but it's been an awful long time. since then, we have eve had a hurricane, we've had a horiffic shooting. since then, there's elements of insfra structure that keep talking about benghazi . it's almost like you have a political strategist saying okay, this cannot go on.
>> ryan grimm and molly bowl, thank you both for your time tonight.
>> thank you.
>> remembering a true american hero .