The Daily Rundown | December 14, 2012
>>> not be the next secretary of interstate, even after the prospect of her being the next secretary of state. susan rice announcing her decision yesterday to nbc's brian williams .
>> i didn't want to see a con confirmation process that was very prolonged, very politicized, very distracting and very disruptive. because there are so many things we need to get done as a country.
>> were you set up? were you a victim of circumstance? bad data, bad information?
>> i'm not a victim, i wasn't set up. you know, brian, i think it's best. i know who i am. i see myself on the television screen in all my different outfits. we're in a sad place, frankly when national security , national security officials, who are sitting in their jobs, serving the american people every day, and potential candidates for secretary of state get caught up in a political vortex.
>> well, the president signaled strong support for rice throughout this process. the white house was always divided about her nomination. some advisors believe the political price of a confirm confirmation battle would be too high. so many fights on capitol hill including the fiscal cliff, was another protracted battle on a confirmati confirmation, especially when you liked your idea of secretary of state. and the secretary of state tried to steer -- there was also real differences in foreign policy philosophy between the two candidates, something that none of us have made as clear as we probably should have. rice made the case for humanitarian action in libya, has always been more of an interventionist will. she's been criticized for downplaying -- she was using with cia written talking points that turned out to be wrong. yesterday she explained those comments yet again.
>> secretary clinton had originally been asked by most of the networks to go on. she had had an incredibly grueling week dealing with the protests around the middle east and north africa . i was asked, i was willing to do so. it wasn't what i had planned for that weekend originally. but i don't regret doing that, brian.
>> there was also a daily trickle of negative story on rice's investments, vetting her past roles in the government, and the campaign that the white house never really deftd her against. 20% view her positively, 24% negatively. in a " washington post " op-ed this morning. rice writes this, in recent weeks new lines of attack have been raised to mall line my character and my career even before i was nominated for any new position. a steady drip of manufactured charges presented a -- rice isn't going anywhere, and by hangeding this gracefully, she may re-emerge when another job comes up. which is not going to be america's top diplomat.
>> did you want the job?
>> i would have been very honored to serve in that job, just as i'm delighted to do what time doing. but yes, sure, how can you not want to, in my field, serve at the highest possible level?
>> thursday night, on our nbc affiliate in sacramento, kcra, the president praised rice, but also seemed ready to move on.
>> susan is going to continue to be an outstanding u.s. ambassador to the united nations . i hadn't made a decision about who would be my next secretary of state. there's no doubt that susan was qualified. there are other people who are qualified as well.
>> the white house has made it clear that other people means john kerry . there were two the people on the list, two minus one is one. kerry who has been very quiet through this process, released a statement calling rice a, quote, dedicated public servant, saying i have defended her publicly and i wouldn't hesitate to do that because i know her service and i know her commitment then he ducked reporters last night.
>> i'm going to continue to do my work.
>> but elsewhere on the hill, democrats were not exactly avoiding confrontation. the majority leader harry reid said this in a statement, quote, the politically motivated attacks on her character by some of my republican colleagues were shameful. their behavior was a disgrace to bipartisan -- otherwise distinguished records on national security . of course harry reid was a pretty vocal critical of george w. bush 's foreign policy and some folks there back in the day, for what its worth. but in statements, after the rice announcement, senators mccain and graham made it clear that though they, quote, respected ambassador rice's decision, they had no intention of dropping the benghazi fight.
>> we're not going to let this go, how could for seven hours nobody come to the aid of the people in the attack. where was the president?
>> which of course always should have been the focus of the benghazi story, rice's decision presents the president with a cabinet that looks like an america problem. the cabinet in the -- looking like a leading candidate for the secretary of defense. if kerry is a shoe in, does that change the calculus four hagel? or for white house chief of staff , kevin liu. former advisors under secretary clinton re-emerge as top candidates for treasury. if kerry ends up being a nominee for secretary of state, there would be a challenge for his senate seat. here's senator scott brown , in his farewell speech on the senate floor which oh, by the way happened to be yesterday.
>> defeat is temporary, depending on what happens and where we go, all of us, we may obviously meet again.
>> there you go. after rice's announcement yesterday, the massachusetts democratic party tweeted this. bring it on. in case you're wondering, the way the math works, assuming john kerry 's resigned the senate seat after he's confirmed and that happens around january 20th , 21st. we're looking at a mid to late june special election in massachusetts. finally, another day, another rhetorical standoff if you will between president obama and house speaker john boehner as the country moves another day closer to tumbling off this fiscal cliff. boehner met with the president for 50 minutes in the oval office yesterday evening. it was as much about how to negotiate as what to negotiation. that's what the standoff is over, they don't even know how to trade proposals. boehner was invited to the white house yesterday and you could tell as he whipped out a paul ryan style chart.
>> here we are at the 11th hour, and the president still isn't serious about dealing with this issue right here. it's this issue. spending.
>> but as the day wore on and the president knew he was going to get a face to face with gainer, he put on a happier face with the republicans.
>> i remain cautiously optimistic, but i think what's most important is that members of congress hear from their constituencies.
>> after the white house meeting, the two sides are back to releasing the statement statement, which might be a sign of good things to come, by saying the meeting was frank and as we have been saying for some time now, the lines of communication remain open. the president was asked about a so-called communication breakdown .
>> is there an issue of rest when it comes to negotiation?
>> my sense is it's less of an issue of trust, i think it has more to do with politics, i think the idea of not raising taxes has become sort of a religion for a lot of members of the republican party .
>> aides say the speaker is heading home to ohio for the weekend, hardly a great sign. but they add, ohio is both self-phone service and airports. so if the president wants to talk or meet, it won't be a problem at all. a lot of senators are starting to get antsy, some of the remote possibilities for the cliff are one doing nothing and actually going off of it and two, doing something big. i think we're looking at a patch work punt if you will and it continuings to be the most likely outcome.