February 23rd, 2014
04:18 PM ET
4 years ago

Sunday chatter: 2016 and an unapologetic Susan Rice

(CNN) – CNN’s State of the Union Host Candy Crowley aptly put it at the top of her show Sunday: Four of the last six presidents were governors.

Governors descended upon Washington this week for the annual National Governors Association meeting. They also filled the hot seats on the Sunday talk shows.

That inevitable question was asked. The one about running for president.

Guess what. Some actually answered the question.

But Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana was not one them.

“I haven't spent one second thinking about any job other than the one I was hired to do,” he said on “State of the Union.”

Neither was Gov. Jay Nixon, D-Missouri: “We really do have a lot to get done in the next three years in the Show-Me State.” (Boring).

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley was slightly more straightforward. He’s “looking at that.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said, “I don’t know.”

Some more candor came from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who in one word said he’s not ruling out a 2016 bid. (He’s headed to Iowa next week.)

And Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut was quite honest: “I am not going to be a candidate for president.”

Scandal, part 1: Noticeably absent from the Sunday circuit was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, this year’s head of the Republican Governors Association and potential 2016 presidential candidate. In case you forgot, he’s been under fire for extreme traffic jams on the busy George Washington Bridge for apparent political retribution.

Scandal, part 2: Another governor under fire, however, did appear on a Sunday program. Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin chose friendly territory but was aggressively questioned on “Fox News Sunday” about newly released documents that reveal illegal activity. When Walker was running for governor in 2010, he ordered his staff as then-Milwaukee County Executive to hold a daily conference call with his political campaign, which is illegal in Wisconsin.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Walker blamed the Democratic party for churning up “old news” for political gain.

Agree to agree when not disagreeing: On “State of the Union” the two Democratic and two Republican governors also talked a little bit about policy, including gun rights, the death penalty and pot – issues on which they mostly disagreed.

But they all agreed that states’ rights are a great thing – a “high” component “of the American experiment,” Pence said.

They also will have a unified message – in part – during their meeting with President Obama Monday, insisting that National Guard strength not be cut.

“There is a common agreement amongst all 50 governors that we shouldn't go back to pre- 9/11 standards,” Walker said.

Benghazi answers: It was a big day for Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice. It was the first time since her ill-fated remarks just days after the attack on the Benghazi that she appeared on a Sunday political talk show.

Multiple networks asked. But NBC’s “Meet the Press” nabbed her.

Rice said she doesn’t regret anything about her September 2012 appearances when she said the attacks that killed four Americans were the result of an unruly “spontaneous” protest.

“That information turned out…not to be 100% correct,” she said, but that neither she nor the Obama administration intentionally mislead Americans two months before the 2012 election.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Republican Sen. John McCain didn’t really respond to Rice’s self-defense, but said her original comments are “embarrassing.”

Obama on defense regarding Ukraine: In fact, McCain didn’t have a lot of good things to say about Rice or Obama when it comes to American foreign policy, reaffirming an earlier statement that the President is “naïve.”

As Ukraine is in the middle of an internal struggle with heavy influence from Russia’s Vladimir Putin, McCain said: “The president said that this had nothing to do with the Cold War, the issue, the situation in Ukraine. In the eyes of Vladimir Putin, it does. He wants to restore the Russian empire.”

Rice responded: “He may. But if he does, that is a pretty dated.”

She said President Obama told Putin that the United States and Russia have “a shared interest” that Ukraine remain a unified country and not devolve into violence, and that Putin agreed.

Rice went on to say that the U.S. needs to “very pragmatic” when dealing with Russia.

While ticking off areas of agreement and disagreement, she said “both sides of the ledger” must be looked at when it comes to Putin.

Rice cautioned, however, that it would be “a grave mistake” if Putin inserts his military power into Ukraine.

Even one of Obama’s closest confidantes sounded more skeptical.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin said, “Let's remember that each president tries to find a positive track, but let not forget that Vladimir Putin wasn't just a member of the KGB, he was the head of the secret police, the Soviet KGB. This is a man that we should take very seriously.”

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire said the President needs to “up his game and send a clear unequivocal public message to Putin.”

Ukraine: Agreement: While Obama is criticized for how he deals with Putin, the ideas discussed to help the Ukrainian people are similar to those of his critics.

On Ukraine, Rice said “the U.S. will play a role,” including working with the International Monetary Fund to help Ukraine, which is on the verge of economic collapse, to help the country stave off economic dangling carrots from Russia.

Senators Durbin, McCain and New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte agree.

But Rice insisted the U.S. will not put boots on the ground there.

Latest on Ukraine


As for Syria, another internal conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, Rice said the U.S. is “constantly reviewing our options” and that the U.S. is the “largest supplier” of humanitarian assistance.

“Until there’s a political resolution, this thing is not going to be resolved,” Rice said.

But it all comes back to Putin. Sen. Ayotte said Putin is winning in Syria. “Putin can play a role of putting pressure on Assad. They are not putting enough pressure on Assad,” she said, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Scandal, part 3: While scandal is plaguing two governors, a fictitious scandal surfaced on “State of the Union.” Actor Joe Morton, who plays Rowan Pope on the ABC drama "Scandal,” was interviewed, where he encouraged Hollywood to show more diversity among topics in films depicting African-Americans in Hollywood.

Hollywood productions “are either a film about slavery or they're a film about integration. So from a commercial standpoint all we are getting is the same story we've seen over and over and over and over again. I mean it's ‘Roots’ but, you know, ‘Twelve Years A Slave’ is ‘Roots’ but it's a much better ‘Roots.’ ’42 (The Jackie Robinson Story)’ is about integration but it's still about baseball somehow. But it's still about that struggle,” he said.

Kicker: Bush says his work with vets helps him cope

Filed under: 2016 • Bobby Jindal • Chris Christie • Libya • Marijuana • Mike Pence • Scott Walker • Syria • Ukraine
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. rs

    The Republican desire to politicize everything with faux controversy does not make Benghazi something anyone needs to apologize for. The GOP is either willfully uninformed as they beat this drum- or their reality is especially warped. I suspect the latter.

    February 23, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Absolutely none–practically none of these idiots that are elected by fluke to states are worth my DIME. World laughs if these are elected. GOP is gone to dogs.

    February 23, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Chris E gives Bush, Rumsfeld, and Tommy Franks a pass for not taking out bin Laden at Tora Bora in December of 2001, gives no credit for Obama ordering the Seals to eliminate the mastermind of 9-11, but blames Clinton for not having bin Laden killed in 1996, before anyone knew for certain of his involvement in the tower attacks. Stretching the truth could become an olympic event for republicans.

    February 23, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Rick Perry is back and he's mad as hell !

    Rick Perry / Ted Nugent 2016
    Have Gun , Will Travel !

    February 23, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. pjoe

    YouTube should be banned for causing Benghazi.

    February 23, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Judy konos

    They can't start another war because they're running out of excuses and the people might see a pattern there.

    February 23, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. GFL

    We need to drive the minimum wage down to $1.40 per day; the we can compete with China where wages are $1.47 a day. Republicans recognize this fact. When will the liberal elite get on board so that manufacturing will return to America and millions of job will be created?

    February 23, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Rice is lying about her role in that. She knew she was telling lies about Benghazi all along. Everyone in the administration knew the truth immediately. All of them lied, Obama, Hillary, and Rice.

    February 23, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. Logictox

    The entire event screams cover up days before an election. The left is happy to ignore being lied to in order to further an agenda. Had it been a bridge closure and republican instead of Americans dieing you can bet the left would be wanting special investigators and hearings.

    February 23, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    -I don't give darn hoot at Benghazi nor monika. All fictitious.

    February 23, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Is anyone safe from the Republican slash and burn campaign of hatred, misinformation and character assassination? I thought collective insanity was a science fiction thing but they have proven me wrong again and again.

    February 23, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. t

    ........................."Old news"............aka Walker lies.......

    February 23, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. Bob

    Susan Rice was a sacrificial pawn to protect Hillary

    February 23, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |

    Yeah this administration just drew another line in the sand. Same results.

    February 23, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. physics1200

    Susan Rice did and said exactly what the White House told her to say.

    February 23, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Scott

    I wish Romney were president. He'd work well with Democrats and move our country forward. Obama's not working and Republicans in Congress are idiots. Can we please have another chance to vote for Romney? A smart, honest, earnest, moderate leader – it's not too late.

    February 23, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Chris-E...al

    SHe lies like her master t0ld her to !

    February 23, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  18. mon56

    The best discussion was on Meet the Press. All agreed chained CPI and immigration reform would be good for the country. Obama backing away from chained CPI and republicans from immigration reform to appeal to base for 2014 elections.
    Once again putting their own political interests ahead of the good of the country

    February 23, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. VEW2012

    Republicans always think if they shout long enough and loud enough untruths that people will believe the lie. The fact is they can try all they want but historical fact prevail. There were No WMD, al Qaeda was not in Iraq, Bush did not take the pre-9/11 warnings seriously, and they certainly do not want to talk about the 13 Benghazi's that happened on Bush's watch. Plus, in today's world of instant internet and world news. Benghazi was without doubt caused by the YouTube video that caused rioting in Egypt the same day.

    February 23, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. Smeagel4T

    Of course, W was a governor. So not sure how much can be said about having been a governor.

    Mike Pense lied about not thinking about it for one second. However it's a typical politician lie. (Should we continue putting up with typical politician lies?)

    Don't know much about Nixon other than he has a terribly unfortunate name for when it comes to running for president.

    Don't know much about O'Malley either, but I'm wondering about the state of US prejudice and somebody trying to run with a distinctly Irish name. The US used to be very prejudiced against the Irish, but I'm not sure how much that is lingering in traditional prejudiced regions. He is Roman Catholic, which tends not to play well with the self-proclaimed "true Christians".

    Jindal is a total joke when it comes to running for president on the GOP ticket. The GOP has way too many voters who'll be hesitant to go vote for somebody "who doesn't look like us".

    February 23, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. Randyk

    The Republican attacks on the Benghazi tragedy are beyond belief. How can they take themselves seriously? They took us to war to get non-existent WMD's, into a country that posed no threat to us, got thousands killed and bankrupt the country. Now we're supposed to believe them that they're so upset about an attack on an embassy that cost four lives? The blatant hypocrisy and dishonesty of this 'issue' is really gut-churning. Today's Republicans are just disgusting.

    February 23, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. wasjustthinking

    The only thing embarrassing thing about Susan Rice's comments is that it has since been reveled that they are a lot closer to the truth than all the BS the Republicans have been drumming up all year

    Those at the scene in Benghazi actually claimed they were there because of the video's insults

    Some there, but certainly not all, were from a brigade from Ansar al Sharia, and claimed they were not officially sent by their leadership

    That was all we knew

    There still is no link to Al Qaeda at all and here still is no evidence that an attack was planned for that day, although evidence suggests that some groups were getting ready to do something at some point soon and did not like American's any more than they had like Qaddafi

    So,evidence certainly still points to it being spontaneous, although the attack likely may have occurred at another time had it not been for the video.

    So until we got more info, that is all we knew. That people there said they were there to avenge the faith against the video's insults. Obama later put it best on David Letterman when he said that the video had likely been used as more of an excuse by those who had attacked.

    February 23, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. Smeagel4T

    Amazing how heavily the GOP relies upon Americans to have absolutely no clue about the details and timeline of Benghazi. There's a great book titled The Benghazi Hoax. It discusses in great depth the timeline details surrounding Benghazi, and how both the GOP and Fox systematically have both ignored details in the timeline and have implied a reversal of the sequence of some events. The book contains extensive citations to documents, etc. The legitimate media has done a great disservice by not discussing the timeline and events in great detail. This has left the field open to Fox and the right wing propaganda machine to flood the discussion without any challenge. Rather that providing an in-depth discussion of the Benghazi timeline, the legitimate media has simply used their knowledge of it to rightly justify not propagating right wing propaganda that conflicts with the real facts. However the right wing propagandists then generate propaganda that this means the legitimate media is in some kind of conspiracy by not covering the story.

    February 23, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  24. jerrylax

    yes obama ordered the team to tai to Bin Laden… a sick weak 63 year old, round to the head and body dumped into the sea…then all photos destroyed. Great job barry. Bush defeated AlQ in Afghanistan, hands down. Clinton gave us the first trade center bombing and the second; after leaving our intel and DOD in an absolutes mess.

    February 23, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  25. Gunderson

    Holy Tangled Web!,
    When you Step-in-it you deny, deny deny! Obama and Company been Stepping-in-it for some time. But remember if you like Plan you can keep plan. Oh, sorry, Plan has to be Grandfathered in. But just Bump-in-Road, no?

    February 23, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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