Jonathan Karl: Mr. President. Senator John McCain, and Senator Lindsey Graham both said today that they want to have Watergate style hearings on the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, and said that if you nominate Susan Rice to be Secretary of State, they will do everything in their power to block her nomination. Senator Graham said he simply doesn’t trust Ambassador Rice after what she said about Benghazi. I’d like your reaction to that. And would those threats deter you from making a nomination like that?
Obama: Well first of all, I’m not going to comment now on various nominations that I’ll put forward to fill my cabinet for my second term, those are things that are still being discussed. But let me say specifically about Susan Rice that she has done exemplary work, she has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill and professionalism, and toughness and grace. As I said before, 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 nd to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.
And, you know, we’re after an election now. I think it is important for us to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi and I am happy to cooperate in any way that Congress wants. We have provided every bit of information that we have and we will continue to provide information, and we’ve got a full-blown investigation and all that information will be disgorged to Congress.
And I don’t think there’s any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that’s a problem. And we’ve got to get to the bottom of it and there needs to be accountability, ee’ve got to bring those who carried it out to justice. They won’t get any debate from me on that. But 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 at the State Department, then I will nominate her. That’s not a determination that I’ve made yet.