The Ed Show | November 15, 2012
>>> more than two months after the benghazi attack, there's still many unanswered questions.
>> oh, he wants answers. in fact, for weeks republicans have been complaining about the lack of information surrounding the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi . senator john mccain leading the charge. in the process, placing blame on u.n. ambassador susan rice . mccain spent the better part of yesterday on television maligning rice and threatening to block her nomination if the president taps her to be the next secretary of state. yet when mccain and other republicans were given the opportunity to be briefed on the attack, they didn't bother to show up. a two hour closed door session was held yesterday for members of the senate committee investigating ben gauze cighazibenghazi. according to " foreign policy magazine " the briefing included representatives from the defense department , the joint chiefs of staff , national counterterrorism center and the fbi. all players in the room. a democratic aide tells cnn that seven out of nine democratic committee members attended the meeting and just three out of eight republicans showed up. so where was john mccain while his fellow committee members were being given details on benghazi ? he was holding a press conference. complaining about the lack of details on benghazi . mccain 's office says the senator missed the briefing due to a scheduling error. today, mccain was asked about his absence and the senator got a little testy. he says "i have no comment about my schedule and i'm not going to comment on how i spend my time to the media." hmm. and it got more contentious from there.
>> i have no further comment. i have no further comment. how many times do i -- because i have the right as a senator, i have no comment. who the hell are you to tell me?
>> joining me now is richard wolffe , msnbc political analyst , and vice president and executive editor of msnbc.com. he seems like he's on a mission just to discredit the president if he's not going to show up for the briefing meetings which he's complaining about. what is mccain up to?
>> do you think he's a disgruntled former presidential candidate?
>> i think he's a little bitter.
>> you know, i understand why he has a few problems here. he was a guy who said, just a couple of years ago, just a couple of years ago, that we should be giving arms to moammar gadhafi , the guy who then a few months ago he decided it was actually a great thing that he was out of power. he was a guy who just a few weeks before he celebrated the end of gadhafi said that we should be putting arms in the hands of the libyan rebels who presumably would then have been using them in benghazi against our own diplomats. he was wrong about gadhafi. he was wrong about how to conduct the operation to support the rebels in contrast to the president's approach. and he's wrong now. look, if you're a senator, you make your living talking to the press, that's what john mccain gets his respect for now. he was a great american during the vietnam war , but let's face it, the respect he gets now, because he appears on the press, if you live by the press, he should be talking to people right now about why he wasn't in that hearing.
>> now, mccain attacked democrats for going after condoleezza rice an intel failures in iraq before she was nominated for secretary of state. here's some of that audio. here it is.
>> every intelligence agency in the world including the british believe that iraq had weapons of mass destruction . it was an entirely different situation.
>> i mean, that's off the rails, isn't it?
>> before there was president bush , before dick cheney convinced president bush to go invade iraq , there was senator mccain and senator lieberman saying we need to go invade iraq . before president bush even got to power. so he can try to dress it up any which way he likes about the weapons of mass destruction . the key thing that he and lieberman pushed so hard was that iraq was an imminent threat. it was top of the national security pyramid for them. you cannot rewrite history. he's not just off the rails here. he's lost a bit of his memory there.
>> okay. his faculties. he's short on it?
>> i think he's being erratic.
>> okay. susan rice , there is no evidence that she misled the public. in fact, the white house has been very clear, the president was clear in his press conference that she had the same material that the congress had. why is mccain so adamant about discrediting her?
>> i don't know about his personal motives here. i mean, i do think there's a striking pattern of critics of this administration. i don't know whether it's john mccain , but them going after prominent african-americans in this cabinet. number one. number two, susan rice doesn't have line responsibility as u.n. ambassador for events, for security for diplomats. as a senior diplomat, she needs protection, herself. the idea that susan rice would be willing to tolerate a lack of security for career foreign service officials does not stack up. she was prominent. she was out there on the sunday shows. she was working off the briefings they all had. but why is it eric holder , valerie jarrett and susan rice are, not just about john mccain , in general, conservatives going after their figures, i think the president is right to say these people need to be going after him. don't treat them as proxies for the president. if you want to go after president obama , do that. don't make a connection just because they happen to be out there.
>> okay. richard wolffe . thanks for coming in tonight on this subject. appreciate it so much.
>>> coming up, republican pundits aren't the only ones throwing tantrums over the second term. even restaurants aren't safe from political grandstanding. stay tuned. ht. here