The Washington Post

Lawmakers react to Libya, Gaza, ‘fiscal cliff’ and Susan Rice

(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Lawmakers appearing on political talk shows Sunday focused primarily on foreign affairs, including the growing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the continued fallout from the U.S. consulate attack in Libya,and whether U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice is qualified to serve as secretary of state.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” House intelligence committee Chairman Mike D. Rogers (R-Mich.) and Senate intelligence committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) appeared together to discuss hearing from former CIA director David H. Petraeus. Most notably, Rogers suggested — without citing proof — that President Obama may have been told about an investigation of Petraeus before Election Day, suggesting that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. may have told the president informally:

Also on “Meet the Press,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) once again raised concern about and criticism of Rice, asking, as he did last week, why she was booked to appear on the Sunday talk shows to explain the administration’s response to the attack in Libya when she had no direct involvement with the fallout:

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Graham’s good friend and partner on foreign affairs, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), sharply criticized Obama’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and suggested that a “high-ranking” American — perhaps former president Bill Clinton — should help lead negotiations between the two sides:

On the same program, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) defended the administration and Rice from McCain and Graham’s attacks, saying that such finger-pointing is misguided and politically motivated. Durbin said McCain is holding Rice to an “entirely different standard” than he held Condoleezza Rice to during a similar period in George W. Bush’s presidency:

The continuing fallout from the Libya attack was also the topic of conversation on “Fox News Sunday,” where Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) appeared. Lieberman agreed with Democrats who say that McCain and Graham’s calls for a select committee to investigate the Libya attacks is unnecessary. He  also said the White House should have been informed about Petraeus’s affair sooner.

Turning to fiscal matters, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told ABC’s “This Week” that a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” cannot exclude tax increases on the wealthy. She said that simply closing loopholes and limiting tax deductions for the wealthy would not suffice — sentiments that put her at odds with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio):

Making what is likely to be one of her final appearances on a Sunday political talk show as a senator, Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) repeated to CBS that Congress needs to work together on a host of issues, including the fiscal cliff and Libya:

On Univision’s “Al Punto con Jorge Ramos,” Rep. Luis V. Guitierrez (D-Ill.) weighed in on the beginnings of a renewed debate over immigration reform:

Ramos also continued his series of separate interviews with incoming lawmakers. He spoke with Reps.-elect Gloria Negrete (D-Calif.) and Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.).

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Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.



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Ed O'Keefe · November 16, 2012