McCain: Susan Rice had 'responsibility' in verifying Benghazi facts

Arizona senator John McCain talks UN Ambassador and fiscal cliff negotiations


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 26, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Personal Story Segment" tonight. Senator John McCain involved in two big controversies on Capitol Hill. First is the tax mess, will Democrats and Republicans finally agree on how to fund the government? And secondly the Susan Rice controversy.


SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: When discussing the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary. And that our investigations would give us the definitive answers.


O'REILLY: Joining us from Washington is Senator McCain. So I think it's obvious that -- that Secretary Rice was a mouth piece here. She was sent out and she was given some talking points about the Libyan violence and the assassination of our ambassador there. And she just spouted them off. I don't think she did anything deceitful. She is just a team player. They told her what to say. She went out and said it. Am I wrong?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, I think you are correct to a certain degree but don't we all have a responsibility before we go out and talk to the American people and all five Sunday morning shows for verifying that those facts are true? There was classified information which she has access to which clearly contradicted that.

She also by the way said that al Qaeda was decimated along with bin Laden being killed. Al Qaeda is not decimated. Al Qaeda is roaring back in those parts of the Middle East.

O'REILLY: But isn't -- isn't she -- I know but isn't she -- what Washington is these days a bureaucrat? She does what she is told. She is a good soldier. And she's going to be rewarded by the President with the Secretary of State slot because she did his bidding. I think that's what this is, Senator.

MCCAIN: I think that may be the view of the President of the United States. But I think we're all responsible for what we say, particularly in positions of -- of positions of responsibility to -- to have all of the facts together before you tell the American people.

And by the way, this is also about the President of the United States who did not tell the people of this country, either did not know or didn't tell people as long as the 25th, two weeks later. He was at the U.N., after being on "The View" and Letterman saying that they didn't know what - - still saying that this was a hateful video that inspired a -- a demonstration.

O'REILLY: He still hasn't explained it. He still hasn't explained it. Right.

MCCAIN: He still hasn't explained it because -- because there were people who were survivors from the consulate who were interviewed two days later in Germany that said there was no mob.

O'REILLY: Right but the President -- look, he didn't want us to intrude on his campaign so he just said the press isn't going to bother me. I know I can get away with it and that's what he did.

But here is the key question about Ambassador Rice and then we'll get to the tax stuff. Is she a dishonest woman, Senator? Is she dishonest? Did she go out there knowing what she said was false and say it anyway? That's the crux of this matter.

MCCAIN: I don't think it was a matter of dishonesty, it was a matter, again, of responsibility. There was plenty of information out there, which she has access to --

O'REILLY: She didn't bother.

MCCAIN: -- which contradicted what she said.

O'REILLY: Right.

MCCAIN: Well you have a -- if you're telling the American people speaking for the White House, who has sent her out, you have a responsibility to make sure that those facts are accurate just like Colin Powell, had a responsibility before he went to the United Nations Security Council and gave information which later turned out to be incorrect.

We are all responsible when we are talking to the American people on behalf of the either the American government or the American Congress.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, if -- if President Obama nominates Secretary Rice as Secretary of State. Is that a direct disrespectful move toward you and the other critics of this whole situation? Is that an "in- your-face I don't care what you say, I'm going to do it anyway"?

MCCAIN: I think this is really about four dead Americans.

O'REILLY: No, no. No, come on, Senator. Answer my question now. Is it disrespectful to you?

MCCAIN: Yes, ok. No. I don't think it's -- no I don't think so. Because I think the President has the right to nominate whoever he feels can best serve.

O'REILLY: But he knows -- he knows the controversy that engendered. He knows that she didn't speak truthfully for whatever reason, it could be incompetence. It could be whatever. And he's still going to do it. He has Kerry. Kerry wants the job. You know that. He's got a lot of people who could have that job.

It seems to me that if President Obama nominates Secretary Rice he's sending a message to the Republican Party going blank you guys, I don't care what you think.

MCCAIN: I'm not sure that he thinks that. He also thinks that he just won an election which he did. And he also can nominate those that he thinks is best. But it's also the job of the United States Senate, according to the Constitution, for advice and consent. And that's our role and I take that very seriously.

O'REILLY: All right. All right on tax and the funding, are we going to work this out here and what's the time line?

MCCAIN: Well, they are not meeting this week which is interesting, but so there doesn't seem to be as much a sense of urgency as the markets indicate. I don't know what's going to happen Bill because I think it depends on both sides and what they view as a lesson of the election. The Republicans maintain their majority in the House. The President won a victory. I think that there is every possibility that we could kick the can down the road for six months or so by just saying put everything on hold.

But also, if you're really going to solve this problem, if you're going to address it you've got to go after entitlements and everybody knows that's the third rail. That's why that part has to be bipartisan the way it was with Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan.

O'REILLY: All right, so what I'm hearing you saying is that you think that Congress may pass a short-term extension of what we have now so they can have more time to debate it with the new people coming in.

MCCAIN: I think it's very possible. I hate to see that result because once you delay that also gives reasons for further delay. But I wouldn't be surprised if that's the results.

O'REILLY: Yes but you know -- you know the Congressmen and Senators have to go shopping, and you guys, you know a lot of you guys are going to go to Belize and then get tan you know we can't intrude on that. You know that Senator.

MCCAIN: Well we we're in a -- we were in Christmas Eve when we were debating Obamacare a couple years ago.

O'REILLY: That's right. That's right. I remember that and you weren't happy about it either.

MCCAIN: No, no. I'm not overjoyed. Thanks for having me on.

O'REILLY: Always good to speak with you. Right, thanks for being so candid. We appreciate it.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

O'REILLY: Here are the results of our poll. We ask you was Mitt Romney wrong saying that many voters supported the president because of entitlements. Five percent say he was wrong. A whopping 95 percent agree with the Governor's assessment and my assessment as well. About 25,000 of you voted and we thank you all for that.

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