• With: Kim Strassel, Bill McGurn, Stephen Moore, Matt Kaminski

    GIGOT: -- over 10 years the estimate is you get almost $800 billion in tax revenue, which is --

    MCGURN: That's from the Tax Policy Center.

    GIGOT: Right, which is center-left operation. But that's -- and that's roughly the same as you get from raising the tax rates the president wants.

    MCGURN: Look, you've outlined on the editorial page several possible compromises. The truth is that there are compromises that could be made, but I don't think that the president is interested in those --

    GIGOT: Right.

    MCGURN: -- the actual economic things. This is a political fight that he wants, that he's pushing, and he has a lot of cards.

    GIGOT: Kim, so you think we're going over the cliff or not right now? What are the odds.


    STRASSEL: Look, I do think the president is playing a slightly dangerous game in that, if his argument or his bet here is that the Republicans are going to be more responsible than him, he better hope they are, because, otherwise, he could end up getting some blame for pushing us over the cliff.

    GIGOT: Yes, that's right. When the things tend to go bad, both sides get the blame. So, I think it's a high-risk game, particularly with economic growth.

    When we come back, a week after his resignation, former CIA Director David Petraeus has testifies behind closed doors about Benghazi. Will Congress get the answers it's looking for?


    GIGOT: A week after resigning his post, former CIA Director David Petraeus testified behind closed doors Friday on the September 11th attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. His testimony before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees capped off a week of increasingly bizarre revelations about the four-star general's affair with biographer, Paula Broadwell.

    We're back with Bill McGurn and Kim Strassel. And also joining the panel is "Wall Street Journal" editorial board member, Matt Kaminski.

    Matt, what have we learned now, the election's over this week, about the Benghazi attacks.

    MATT KAMINSKI, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Really, the drip, drip of information keeps coming out. And it's coming out too slowly. We've learned far more about David Petraeus's personal life in the last five days than we have about Benghazi in the last two months.

    But I think the important thing this week, especially on Friday, was that General Petraeus was reported to have told the Senate Intelligence Committee in closed hearings that he thought it was terrorism within 24 hours, which calls into question the narrative put out by the White House, subsequently, that they -- and for the eight days afterwards, they said, no, no, al-Qaeda had nothing to do with it. This was the fault of the, you know, anti-Islam video on YouTube.

    GIGOT: The video on YouTube.

    KAMINSKI: Yes.

    GIGOT: Bill, does that mesh with what we've been told the CIA had been telling Susan Rice?

    MCGURN: Well, I think the real problem for General Petraeus in this story is that it not only does not mesh with what the White House was saying, it doesn't mesh with what we're told General Petraeus said in the immediate aftermath, where he is said to have talked about a spontaneous flash mob --


    GIGOT: To members of Congress.

    MCGURN: To members of Congress behind closed doors as well. And this is the problem. It's not only that we know that that's not true now. It's that, at the time, there were a lot of other indications that indicate that was not true. It was denied by the Libyan prime minister.


    MCGURN: The CIA station chief called it an act of terror. We had the FBI and, I believe, the National Center for Counterterrorism also giving briefings, saying this.

    GIGOT: That's right.

    MCGURN: Why was General Petraeus's testimony then so at odds with other parts of the community?

    GIGOT: But does this -- would this give -- I mean, what does this mean for, say, Susan Rice and the administration then? Is this -- does this help them politically by shielding them or does Petraeus here, saying I thought it was a terrorist attack, does that mean this puts, for example, Susan Rice's statements more up to scrutiny?

    KAMINSKI: Well, I think it doesn't really answer the fundamental question, did they deliberately mislead on this case for political reasons because they were driving the narrative that al-Qaeda had been decimated and the war -- the tide of war is receding, or was it a question of incompetence. Neither of those two things is good for the administration. Although, it's after the election, so they can deal with the consequences.

    GIGOT: Let's take a look at the president talking about Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, who many think he will nominate to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.


    OBAMA: 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.

    GIGOT: Kim, that sure sounds like a president who is ready to nominate Susan Rice for the State Department.

    STRASSEL: Yes.


    GIGOT: And my sources suggest that that's exactly what he's going to do. Of course, my source haves been wrong before. But if he -- and I've been wrong before. But if he does that, is this going to be a really big fight?

    STRASSEL: Oh, it's going be to be a huge fight because you have had Republicans come out already and say, you drop her in the Senate nomination battle, and then we are going to go to the wall on this one. But I do believe you're right, not only is the president taking an unusual step of devoting during the press conference to this very hefty defense of her, but you have seen across Washington Democrats in all types of forums now coming out to defend Susan Rice and make the case for her. So, in this case, you're probably right, Paul.

    GIGOT: OK.