The Last Word | November 14, 2012
>> if we want to improve our schools... ... what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ... nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education . let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this.
>>> in the spotlight tonight president obama is not going to let republican senators john mccain and lindsay graham stop him from nominating whoever he thinks is the best candidate to be his next secretary of state.
>>> if you nominate susan rice , they will do everything in their power to block her nomination.
>> she made an appearance at the request of the white house in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. and i'm happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador, who had nothing to do with benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous. when they go after the u.n. ambassador apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me. and should i choose, if i think that she would be the best person to serve america in the capacity of the state department , then i will nominate her.
>> after the president's news conference, senator graham immediately responded with this released statement.
>> mr. president, don't think for one minute i don't hold you ultimately responsible for benghazi . i think you failed as commander in chief before, during and after the attack. given what i know now, i have no intention of promoting anyone who is up to their eyeballs in the benghazi debacle. joining me is jim frederick and karen. jim , is the u.n. ambassador up to her eyeballs in the benghazi debacle, as lindsay graham would put it?
>> is she up to her toe nails? is she in it at all?
>> she had nothing to do with this. if there was any judgment error involved, there is a question of why was she on the morning programs talking about something that wasn't really in her lane. a lot of the things that she has been described as saying that, this was a spontaneous uprising, if you go back and look at what she said, she didn't actually say that. she said the spontaneous uprising was used as a cover for a concerted attack. a lot of the things that are being put into her mouth she didn't actually say but it's interesting this is being used as a political scalp by the republicans who wooant somebody to blame for benghazi . it's unfortunate that susan rice , who is a qualified secretary of state candidate would be held out, to be pilloried in this way. it's worth noting the republicans probably don't have enough votes to get in the way of a nomination and it's also interesting that obama, he really is happy that this election is over because i've never seen him quite so forceful or genuinely outraged in quite some time.
>> have we ever -- has any senator ever used a standard like this on a possible secretary of state nomination before, that that nominee may have at some point said something on tv that they disagree with and cannot prove one way or the other?
>> yeah. she might have had a bad day but this does not disqualify her from being secretary of state. and there are intelligence failures after intelligence failures after intelligence failures when condoleezza rice was up for similar positions. to answer your question, no, not that i'm aware of has any nominatino nomination actually been blocked.
>> my theory of the case is they really want scott brown back in the senate. what they're trying to do is block susan rice so the president will then go to senator kerrey, opening up that senate seat in massachusetts to an election about 150 days after that opening occurs.
>> if that's true, then attacking susan rice is quite disgusting behavior. i've actually known susan since the clinton administration and this is quite offensive what they're doing here. there was intelligence available. somebody had to go out. she went out based on the intelligence and as jim said, when you go back and you look at what she said, she did caveat that based on what was known at the time. and it was these two men, as you point out, who supported another dr. rice for secretary of state who had basically gone around misleading us about weapons of mass destruction . they certainly didn't have a problem with that. in this case susan was givens intelligence that even conde rice herself it was complicated and hard to know where things were going to shake out. if we're going to talk about anybody's behavior in this, jason chaff it's and darrell isa, who have to the only outed a covert operation , but they've endangered the lives of libyans who are working with us. let's look at their behavior.
>> if these guys are trying to steer the nomination to massachusetts senator conquerry, so that the seat opens up so they can get scott brown back in the senate, it seems like the technique they're using as of today is almost forcing the president's hand on ambassador rice. it's almost the kind of thing that makes him say, well, okay, that tips it, i'm definitely going with ambassador rice.
>> that certainly was my read of his tone. i think the president is fully aware if those men want to have that fight attacking this woman, let's do it, let's go there. that is a good fight for him to have. it also outs them right on the block ne have no intention of working with this president of getting anything done.
>> thank you both for joining me tonight.
>> coming up, more on john mccain and lindsay graham , susan rice , condoleezza rice and sarah palin . they're all in the rewrite. and later, america's most famous juggler will teach david petraeus what he should have known about juggling. [ male