This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," December 18, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTORIA NULAND, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: We have been very clear from the beginning that she had a stomach virus, an ugly stomach virus. She got very dehydrated, she fainted. It was later discovered that she had sustained a concussion. On doctor's orders she is working at home this week. She's on the mend. She's going to be absolutely fine. She is working at home. As you know she got the ARB report yesterday. She read through it yesterday. She's been working on the letter that will go with it to the Hill. She's been on the phone and in e-mail contact with senior staff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Secretary Clinton reviewing the ARB report, that is the independent panel report on the Benghazi, Libya, attack that is actually up on Capitol Hill right now ahead of classified hearings this week. Two deputy secretaries will actually testify in her stead after that virus and concussion that was talked about at the state department this week. As you see Deputy Secretary Nides and Burns. We're back with the panel. What about this, the issue -- the whole issue? Charles?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton calls this a "diplomatic illness." And we heard from Victoria Nuland that it's a bad bug. Perhaps it's a Benghazi allergy. She seems to have a severe Benghazi allergy.
Five days after the attack she was not out there to address the American people, she sent out someone whom the president himself said had no idea was not involved at all in Benghazi. And now that she is supposed to speak to the Congress about this she has this illness. Now, I'm not going to say she doesn't have one. I'd be happy to give her a neurological exam, but in the absence of that I'll take her word.
But there is something strange about this. She did say, ostentatiously, "I take full responsibility for the attack in Benghazi." She said that during the campaign, which is completely and utterly meaningless. What does that mean? In Britain, when there was an invasion of the Falklands, the foreign secretary resigned over it even though it wasn't his fault, as a matter of principle. If it happens on your watch, you resign. That obviously isn't going to happen in her case, but she won't even speak about it, which ought to be the minimal requirement. And I think that is incumbent on her to do.
BAIER: A.B., they are saying that she is open to testifying. It's a scheduling issue now. Once you get into January, you are into a new Congress, and what about that possibility?
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: And she doesn't have a job anymore --
BAIER: She won't be secretary of state.
STODDARD: Right. There are people of accusing her of lying and saying this is a fake concussion. I think it would be really hard to fake a concussion and have it actually be leaked to the press somehow that the whole story was concocted. That would be really quite brazen.
But she has been conspicuously absent from any situations ever since this happened on September 11 where she would have to talk about it. Absent. She did finally make a comment about Susan Rice, but absent from defending her, absent from giving an account of what happened, with exception of course of what Charles mentioned that she wanted to make a statement about being fully accountable.
She obviously is examining her prospects for her future. She is considered the front runner 2016 in both parties. And ahead of even Republican prospects in the next presidential cycle, any testimony on Benghazi is going to be a very tough experience. Putting it off until January is a way of softening the blow. But I think she has to do it. I'm not saying she is lying, but it's awkward.
BAIER: This report is going to create some stir.
TUCKER CARLSON, EDITOR, THEDAILYCALLER.COM: That's right.
BAIER: We'll see how much when we hear what we hear. It's a classified hearing.
CARLSON: That's right, the report apparently comes out tomorrow. Keep in mind, I'm not in a position and I can't assess her current condition. But in September you will remember, if you went and looked back at the wording she said she couldn't speak of Benghazi at that point because she had, quote, "a grueling week." It does strain credulity.
Keep in mind, this is not just about Benghazi. It's about this administration's policy toward the Arab and Islamic world, which has seen in the last four years a resurgence of Islamic activity in key big countries, Egypt, Syria, Libya, even in Mali. I am not suggesting the White House is responsible for that, but I am suggesting a smart person could ask a series of pretty penetrating questions about the effects of their policy, none of which appear to have borne fruit -- at least that help us.
She doesn't want to deal with any that. And at some point, it seems to me, as secretary of state she should have to. Last thing, the left often says this Susan Rice thing was a sideshow. They are kind of right. She is the secretary of state. She is responsible.
BAIER: That is it for the panel, but stay tuned to see one effort at handling touchy questions in this town.
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