The Daily Rundown | November 15, 2012
>>> moving back to the domestic side of politics, senate republicans have elected their leaders for the 113th congress. and, boy, do the faces look familiar because they are. out of the six top leaders, five leaders, and the chair of the senate campaign committee, there's just one new face. john cornyn has been promoted to replace retiring senator conless. and elected wednesday as vice chair of the republican conference, he's also a member of the senate committee . senator, good morning.
>> good morning.
>> let me ask you, around the leadership front, you've been around this house a long time. and you around the republicans when they got ais shellacking in 2006 . should leadership have taken on more water, if you will? should there be fresher faces brought in to respond to what was a messaging campaign that didn't work?
>> well, i think most of our leadership is relatively new. i've been in the leadership a year. the two job above me have only held those junes for a year. i don't know if that would have the same impact. i think a lot of what happened this cycle and last cycle was so unprecedented in the way that people are reacting to outside assistance. and other things, that i'm not sure that would have had a lot of political impact, no matter what we did. but i do clearly think we need to communicate better. we need to have a message that is clearly coming through that an alternative message, when we don't agree with the president. just saying we don't agree isn't good enough. isn't going to be good enough. and it shouldn't be, frankly, good enough.
>> senator blunt, i want to get to a bunch of stuff here. you're on the intelligence committee . is general petraeus testifying before you today or not?
>> he's not. i think we will see him sometime today or tomorrow.
>> you might see him today, you're still not sure?
>> i think it's scheduled for tomorrow. but i'm not absolutely sure. that was not locked down at the end of the day yesterday. and i there has been a commitment we're going to see him sometime before the weekend. and i think we should. i think the gentlemens to general petraeus are what was in your report, and frankly, another question is, why haven't we seen it? and i'm not sure he can answer that second question. but i's a growing concern to the intelligence committee and to me, which is why isn't the administration sharing as quickly as they should, the information they have. but, frankly, chuck, if you listen to the president, the white house doesn't have the information that the white house should have on some of these topics in a way that would be acceptable and expected.
>> do you think susan rice , if she was getting the same intelligence briefings, as frankly, you guys were, on capitol hill , at that time that she went on that weekend after the days after the benghazi attacks, should she be held responsible for -- for communicating what was the best intelligence that the cia was providing at the time? and had that held against her, if she's nominated to be secretary of state?
>> well, if she knew things that she was not telling, that's a big problem. i think the president said yesterday that the information she had --
>> but there's no evidence of that, is there?
>> well, you asked the question, chuck. i'm just answering the question you asked, which is if she knew things she didn't tell, is that a problem? yeah, it would be a problem. but the president said yesterday that she said everything she knew. that's really the big question. why is it that five days after this, that's the only thing that the white house says they knew. and the only thing they say they told the person they put out on five different news programs. i think it's a lot bigger problem, frankly, than what susan rice said. it's why she was told that was what was going on. i think by five days after september 11th , most people in the intelligence community had reached another conclusion. if you'll believe the president, apparently, they didn't tell him that, but i think that information was out there and should have been, information that both the president, the secretary of state, the ambassador to the u.n., if they're going to send her out to talk about this should have had.
>> right. but it seems as if the report she got as authored by mike more morell, the acting director of the cia . is your beef with the cia and not susan rice ?
>> if that's the information that she got, the question is, who did she get it from? was it changed from the time from are either mike morell got it or somebody else? we're going to get to the bottom of this. i think that's a clearly important topic for the intelligence committee to look at. my belief is, our chairman, dianne feinstein , is as eager to get to the bottom of this as any republican on that committee. and we will.
>> senator blunt, i want to get your reaction to what mitt romney was overheard on a donor conference call saying yesterday as to why he lost. do you agree with his assessment that he lost because of gifts?
>> because of what?
>> gifts, if you will, to certain constituency groups.
>> i didn't -- i didn't hear the comment. and don't know the context of it. i think we lost because the president turned out more voters in the battleground states than anybody thought he was possibly going to be able to turn out. and the mechanics of politics matter as wells as the message of politics. and, frankly, we were not in those nine states in june and july in setting the stage. or on election day , in turning out voters as we needed to be to get this done. i was of the belief, chuck, that we wouldn't see the 2008 turnout model in a way that had elected the president. and in fact, in those nine states, they beat the 2008 turnout model. i think i was right in the other 41 states or so, but in the nine where they really put themselves to the task, they did an extraordinary job.
>> senator roy blunt , republican from missouri. thank you.
>> you bet.