The Ed Show | January 23, 2013
>>> some people on this committee want to call the tragedy in benghazi the worst since 9/11. it misunderstands the nature of 4,000 americans plus lost over ten years of war in iraq fought under false pretenses.
>> who wouldn't agree with that? that was senator chris murphy of connecticut, calling out the political theater at today's congressional hearings on benghazi . secretary of state hillary clinton did a masterful job sidestepping the political attacks, telling two back-to-back panels her department is moving forward and taking action, implementing 29 recommendations of an independent review board focusing on high threat posts.
>> nobody is more committed to getting this right. i am determined to leave the state department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure.
>> secretary of state hillary clinton put the focus on policy and swatted away attempts to revisit talking points or discuss susan rice 's television appearances addressing the broader issues at hand. clinton pointed out that america's challenges in the middle east and the growing threat from extremists in northern africa .
>> benghazi did not happen in a vacuum. the arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region. instability in mali has created an expanding safe haven for terrorists who look to extend their influence and plot further attacks of the kind we saw just last week in algeria.
>> but in order to improve diplomatic efforts, congress needs to act. secretary clinton called out the congressional holds being placed on foreign aid and bilateral assistance.
>> i am one who believes that we have to both walk and chew gum at the same time. we have to deal with our own economy and our fiscal situation. that is a given, because that is the source of our strength and our capacity. but we also have to be smart about making the right investments in diplomacy and development to try to solve problems and prevent them.
>> i'm joined tonight with senator chris murphy of connecticut, who is a member of the senate foreign relations committee . senator, good to have you with us tonight. moving forward, security obviously is an issue. so getting funding and help from republicans shouldn't be hard after this hearing. that's what i see today. your thoughts on it.
>> well, listen, the republicans have had chance after chance to do the right thing here. the irony is just as thick as the walls of the united states congress , when you think that they stripped $300 million out of the secretary's security requests before benghazi . but it gets even worse , ed. after benghazi , the president and the secretary of state said listen, we've got to do better. so they put before congress a request to just move $1.3 billion of unallocated funds for iraq into security accounts to try to protect our embassies. the senate put it in the supplemental bill for sandy. and guess what? the house republicans stripped it out and didn't put it in their version of the sandy bill. so even today, after we know what happened, the republicans are still not willing to give her the resources to protect our diplomats abroad.
>> senator, what was this hearing about today? was it about getting and finding solutions or something else?
>> listen, to me, this was simply about politics, right, about two-thirds of the republicans that asked questions asked questions about a handful of tv appearances by susan rice . the fact is if republicans asked just a small percentage of the questions that they've been asking about these television appearances about the war in iraq , we wouldn't be talking about saving four lives, we would be talking about saving 4,000 lives. and so i'm glad she's being as transparent as she has been. but it's about time to focus on something bigger than this.
>> senator, you have access to these intelligence materials. did you learn anything today? was there any new information that came out today?
>> no, i don't think there was anything new here. and i think what is refreshing is that the secretary is spending five and a half hours testifying before congress, has been open about their failings, and they want to fix things. and again, that's a big difference between this administration and the last. every administration makes mistakes. the question is do you learn from them and change. and that's what today was about. if we learned anything, we learned that the secretary's commitment is stronger than ever to try to make sure this never happens again.
>> what was your reaction when they focused in on susan rice 's television appearance when that has been all cleared up, at least the american public thinks it has because the cia supplied those talking points . but yet john mccain , rand paul, johnson and some others are still fixated on those tv appearances. what was your reaction when they went down that road?
>> that the republicans have the same old tired political talking points that they have had for the last year.
>> so this was nothing but a political show and theater of hackery today, would you agree with that?
>> well, listen, the secretary swatted away every single one of those questions. and i think a lot of them ended up looking pretty small compared to a secretary of state who said listen, all the questions have been answered, and we need to focus on much bigger things. so i expect that, frankly, her performance may put an end to these susan rice questions.
>> i thought she was masterful.
>> and the state department 's plan of action moving forward, are you confident it's sufficient?
>> it's sufficient as long as we fund it. but, again, the fact that the republicans had a chance to do it in the house of representatives and still wouldn't suggests, you know, i don't know what their motivations are. but clearly they're not serious about giving her the resources she needs. but let's say this last one thing is that we also have to understand the limitations of the security that we can provide. we're not going to go into bunkers. our diplomats are going to be on the front lines. and although we're going to do everything we can to try to protect them, we shouldn't expect that if 150 armed marauders show up at a security facility, there might be no level of protection that we can afford them. we're going to do our best, but these are dangerous times for diplomats. and thank god that we have those brave men and women out there serving this country.
>> after all the things that senator clinton -- or secretary of state hillary clinton said today, it would it seems to me that the republicans would be very concerned about some of her comments about north africa and what kind of a commitment we need to make there. but they're more interested in television appearances, i guess. senator chris murphy , great to have you with us tonight. thank you so much.
>>> coming up, he is back and he is gunning for social programs again. paul ryan promises to pay off the debt and balance the budget in just what? ten years? he swears it won't hurt the middle class . do you believe that? we'll check the math next.
>>> and the deadline for the filibuster reform is approaching fast. there are offers on the table, but so far no deal. vermont senator bernie sanders is here to tell us what's the latest and what