• With: Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Geoff Holtzman, Alan Colmes

    This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," November 17, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    JON SCOTT, HOST OF "FOX NEWS WATCH": On "Fox News Watch."


    PRESIDENT OBAMA: I hear you have some questions for me.


    SCOTT: President Obama held his first post-election news conference, taking on tough issues and tough questions from the White House press.


    CHRISTI PARSONS, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Congratulations, by the way, I've never seen you lose.


    SCOTT: Well, maybe not such tough questions, but he did get testy when asked about the White House spin and the Benghazi terror attacks.


    OBAMA: If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me.

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: The president of the United States did not tell the American people the truth about the attacks that took four brave Americans' lives that went on for eight, seven hours, for which we were totally unprepared.


    SCOTT: How did the media handle this showdown?

    A new scandal involving now former CIA Director General Petraeus and an extramarital affair, a Florida socialite, a bare-chested FBI agent, and the top military man in Afghanistan makes big headlines, but is this a real concern or a Washington smoke screen?


    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO: I don't think anyone on either side of the aisle underestimates the difficulty that faces us.


    SCOTT: Both sides work to gain the high ground in dealing with the looming fiscal cliff, but the media seem to be one-sided in the details. Which side do you think they're on?

    And it's in with the new, but are the old staying, too?


    REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., MINORITY LEADER: Oh, you've always asked that question except to Mitch McConnell.


    SCOTT: On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller. Geoff Holtzman, Talk Radio News Service deputy Washington bureau chief and news director. Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor, the American Conservative magazine, and Alan Colmes, author of Thank the Liberals for Saving America, and host of the "Alan Colmes Show." I'm Jon Scott. "Fox News Watch" is on right now.


    SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: This is about the role she played around four dead Americans when it seems to be that the story coming out of the administration -- and she's the point person -- is so disconnected to reality, I don't trust her. And the reason I don't trust her is because I think she knew better, and if she didn't know better she shouldn't be the voice of America. Somebody has got to start paying a price around this place, but I am dead set on making sure we don't promote anybody that was an essential player in the Benghazi debacle.

    OBAMA: As I've 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, and to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous.


    SCOTT: That conflagration began with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham giving his view of Ambassador Susan Rice and her role in the administration's spin on the Benghazi terror attacks, and the president's reactions to those statements at his first news conference since being reelected. Mr. Obama, defending Ms. Rice, but his defense has actually added more to the controversy. Senator Graham reacted to the president by saying, "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."

    So much to get to on all of this, Jim, but first, this showdown between the two senators, primarily Graham and McCain, and the president. ABC's Terry Moran called it an Obama smack down. The Washington Post said it was John McCain's Benghazi sideshow. Some in the media are saying that it's all about McCain being bitter because he lost to Obama four years ago. What do you think?

    JIM PINKERTON, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: Look, I think there are five stories that are now coming together in a Beltway and for that matter international conflagration. No. 1 was Petraeus and Broadwell, No. 2, and Benghazi -- Benghazi, Petraeus, Broadwell, military ethics, McCain-Obama redux, and then fifth, the Susan Rice story, which, you know, life imitates art. If you go back and watch the movie "Advise and Consent," the novel then turned movie, it was a South Carolina senator opposing the president's nomination as a secretary of state that is the whole dynamic of the movie, and I'm telling you, find it on YouTube or Netflix, because it really -- the parallels really echo out.

    SCOTT: It's a media criticism show, but we'll have to turn it into a media review. But seriously, the media had an opportunity to ask some hard questions, and didn't get many of them in at that news conference. Why not?

    JUDY MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Because the format itself is not conducive to follow-up. The president totally controls that forum. He picks the people he's going to call on. People can't respond and say, wait a minute, Mr. President, we want a follow-up on this.

    This is his chosen forum. I'm surprised he hasn't used it more, because we do know that until the election, he was actually hiding from the media on this issue.

    SCOTT: Alan, maybe you can explain the president's thinking here--

    ALAN COLMES, THE ALAN COLMES SHOW: Because I'm here to speak for the president.


    SCOTT: I'm sure you are, but his defense of Ambassador Rice really only added fuel to the fire. Because you heard him say, OK, well, you heard him say that the White House sent her out onto those Sunday morning talk shows, and then he says but don't go after her because she didn't have anything to do with Benghazi. So why is she on the Sunday morning talk shows?