• With: Gov. John Kasich, Bret Stephens, Matt Kaminski, Dan Henninger, Mary Kissel, Dorothy Rabinowitz, Paul Gigot, Kim Strassel, James Freeman

    GIGOT: What about his point there was a prescription drug benefit that wasn't paid for, two wars that weren't paid for, and tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that weren't paid for?

    FREEMAN: The tax cuts, when you look at revenue to the government, that's what really rebuts the Obama argument. What you see is the Bush tax cuts happened in 2001 and 2003, and then you see a surge in government revenue later in the Bush years.

    GIGOT: So by the 2006 and 2007, revenues were already back to over 18 percent of the economy, which is about where they've been for the last --

    (CROSSTALK)

    FREEMAN: Historical norm.

    GIGOT: Right.

    FREEMAN: They fall as we go into recession. People needing more benefits from government on the revenue side. They should say people making less money in the recession --

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIGOT: The economy not growing as fast.

    FREEMAN: Right. And you are always going to see taxes decline at that point.

    GIGOT: And the economy hasn't grown -- because it's grown so slowly, we see revenues have in fact got gone back to 16 percent of the economy.

    FREEMAN: That's right.

    GIGOT: That is really, really low. So that is big chunk of the explanation for this --

    (CROSSTALK)

    FREEMAN: The whole explanation is Obama spending, running up the deficit, and not offset by higher tax revenues because of a slow economy. We would say because of Obama policies on regulatory and tax and other things.

    GIGOT: Yes. One of thing about the tax cuts is the president himself decided to extend them for two years in 2010. Remember that deal with Republicans? Because he said we needed it to help the economy.

    (LAUGHTER)

    FREEMAN: Right. Now also, then the other part of the blame he throws on Mr. Bush, the prescription drug plan, when Mr. --

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIGOT: Which I would put on Mr. Bush, too.

    FREEMAN: OK, except Mr. Obama rewrote that plan to spend more money. So, so --

    (LAUGHTER)

    He owns it now and it would cost less if he hadn't intervened. So you wonder, if he's going to claim 10 percent, if he is going to make up a number, why didn't he just say zero? Why didn't he say, Bush deserves all the blame?

    GIGOT: So how much of the president's statement on "60 Minutes" is true, 10 percent?

    (LAUGHTER)

    FREEMAN: I'm having a hard time --

    (LAUGHTER)

    Maybe -- look, zero, because he has been signing spending bills every year. The government spending is all on his signature.

    GIGOT: All right, James.

    Still ahead, the latest on the investigation into the deadly attack on our consulate in Libya. Missed signs and changing stories has many are demanding answers. Will we get them?

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    GIGOT: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested this week that the September 11th consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya involved the al- Qaeda affiliate in North Africa going further than any other Obama official and acknowledging the assault was likely the work of the terrorist group. That admission Wednesday has led to many questions about what took the administration so long with Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham issuing this statement. "We recognize that Al Qaeda involvement in the terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Libya is an inconvenient truth for a president who claims to be destroying Al Qaeda. But it is not too much to ask why the president and his administration have taken so long to state what has appeared obvious for a long time what really happened in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012. We're back with Dan Henninger. Also, joining the panel, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Matt Kaminski and "Foreign Affairs" columnist Bret Stephens. So given all that we've learned in the last couple of weeks. How big a security failure was that attack on the consulate?

    MATTHEW KAMINSKI, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: It was far bigger than anyone in the administration is willing to admit. We've known for about six months that Benghazi, that the security situation in Benghazi was getting out of control. There were attacks on the British consulate, which was closed, there were attacks on a U.N. envoy, (INAUDIBLE) bombing of his convoy, and a bombing attack also on the U.S., a bomb that was set off outside the U.S. consulate there, too. So there have been reports out of Benghazi and generally out of Libya. The U.S. issued a statement at late August warning Americans not to travel there, telling them that there is probably bombings and assassinations.

    GIGOT: Wow. We also know that Zawahiri, the number two, well, now he is number one at Al Qaeda, head, basically called for the revenge against the United States for the killing of the terrorists by a drone attack named al-Libi. So, they had ample warning here to be able to do something. Did they fall down on the job, Bret?

    BRET STEPHENS, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yeah, I mean it seems like -- I mean there were a number of cascading failures. I think that it's fair to say that I mean it was probably a serious mistake for the ambassador, Ambassador Stevens to go to Benghazi. It was a serious mistake for them to -- not to have a Marine detachment at our facility in Benghazi at -- inside embassies.

    GIGOT: But I'll say this for Stevens, Bret. He was a brave guy. And he was involved in a transition and wanted to be involved in the transition for building a new Libya. So you have to take some kind of risks like that if you are going to be involved in it.

    STEPHENS: There is no question about that. But at the same time, people knew that Libya was a terrorist hot zone and becoming more so. Most of our embassies, almost all of our facilities are secured by Marine guards. It seems strange that we would have to say, Marines guarding our facilities in the Bahamas, but not -- not in Benghazi or Tripoli.

    GIGOT: So why did the administration go to the story so quickly, which was ...

    DANIEL HENNINGER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oh, yeah.