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Rove on political fallout from Benghazi

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 6, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: And in the "Impact Segment" tonight. President Obama's job approval rating stands about 48 percent. Will it go down after the Benghazi hearing this week?

Joining us now from Austin, Texas, Karl Rove. This is a story to me - - again and I'm right on top of story. Because I not only report the Benghazi story and have been pretty fair about doing that since it happened.

But I also see the ratings -- television ratings that come in after we report it. And we do minute-by-minute ratings at THE FACTOR. So we know everybody who is watching at every time and what they are interested in. This story really hasn't grabbed the American public yet, or am I wrong?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No. I think you are right. I mean people are trying to figure it out. To the degree that they figured it out, it's not particularly a favorable towards the administration. The people who are concerned about the President's and the administration's handling this from a negative perspective feel more strongly about it than those who applaud of what he did. But -- but you are right, as of this point it hasn't yet begun to bite. It might this week, given the testimony we're about ready to hear.

O'REILLY: It has to be very strong though. It has to involve Hillary Clinton or President Obama. If it involves unnamed people at the State Department or I told x, y this and that's right, then it just goes away. It's got to get, it's the same thing that happened with Watergate. Once Watergate started to hit Halderman and Ehrlichman, Nixon's big guns, right up there, and then Nixon started to literally sweat about it, then everybody, the folks started to pay attention.

ROVE: Yes.

O'REILLY: But if it's going to be wishy-washy in the hearing on Wednesday and believe me the Democrats are going to try to make it such, folks aren't going to engage.

ROVE: Yes. Well, look, a couple of -- first of all, I think you are right, there needs to be more to this than we've seen thus far. There is a lot here.

There is an excellent piece out by Steve Hayes and "The Weekly Standard" that draws this for the first time right into the White House on the afternoon of the 14th of September, Friday afternoon at about 6:52 in the evening. Early evening, they send out and draft talking points that have been really finalized just before noon earlier that day at the CIA. And they are sent out.

And -- and literally within 40 minutes the spokesman at the State Department Victoria Nuland says these aren't acceptable and later that night Ben Rhodes the national security council communications chief says in an e-mail we're going to decide what these are at a White House meeting on Saturday morning.

And on Saturday morning there is a meeting at the White House. We don't know who is in it but we have a sense of who might have been in it and in those talking points in that meeting they eviscerated the talking points. They removed all the references to Islamic extremists that are warning to the CIA on the 10th of September about their -- about their being potential. They removed all of the references to the wide availability of weapons and fighters in eastern Libya. They removed the reference to the CIA warnings about al Qaeda's activities in Libya and the five attacks earlier that -- that year on -- on western installations and western personnel. That's all removed and it happens in a White House meeting, probably held in the situation room maybe in the office of the National Security Advisor on Saturday, September 15th. So this is now inside the White House.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Do we know whether the President was in residence -- do we know whether he was in residence that day or whether he was on the campaign trail?

ROVE: Well, he is in the White House, I believe, on that day. But look, we already know something about the President that has not stirred up much controversy but to me is just incredible. We know from the sworn testimony in front of Congress by Secretary of Defense -- excuse me -- Leon Panetta and by the -- by comments by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at 4:08 Eastern Time on September 12th, the embassy reports that it's under attack.

At 5:00 Eastern Time, Panetta and the Joint -- the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs tell President Obama in his office that the embassy, the facility is under attack. It's repeated at 6:08. There is a second message about it, relaying that the al Qaeda affiliate in Libya is claiming credit for it.

But between 5:00, that's the last contact that the Defense Department has with the White House over this issue. For the rest of the evening the President's next briefed on it apparently the next morning. So the President is -- you know, normally in a situation like this the situation room would get spun up. There would be a secure video link between it and the Defense Department and the State Department. There will be consultations between the officials -- the President would be briefed on a periodic basis.

But instead they tell the President Benghazi facility is under attack. And he basically says well, great, I will talk to you tomorrow. And this to me is just appalling. Now we've known this now for several months. And there has been no attention on it by the -- by the mainstream media on it. It is shocking to me. But that that -- you know that the President of the United States is (inaudible) when it comes to the attack on our facility.

O'REILLY: And Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State wasn't engaged either on that day was she?

ROVE: Well and we'll hear on -- on Wednesday. Apparently the -- the deputy operations chief for the counter terrorism office at the State Department says she was engaged to the effect of freezing out the guys inside the State Department who is responsibility it should be to respond to a terrorist attack on -- on our facilities.

O'REILLY: But that could have been after the fact. I mean during -- during the thing when it went down. We know what was going on at the White House. But we still don't know where Hillary Clinton was because of that terrible testimony that she gave in front of Congress when they didn't even ask her anything.

And that's what I'm worried about on Wednesday. I'm worried in the sense that I think the American people deserve the truth here. I would like to know what happened. I think we had a number of opportunities. Mitt Romney had an opportunity during the third debate -- he blew it 100 percent. That cost him the election in my opinion.

And I hope we -- we got to get to the bottom of this thing. All right, Mr. Rove. Thanks.

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