Gibbs defends administration's response to Libya attack
Obama campaign senior adviser on 'Fox News Sunday'
- Duration 15:25
- Date Sep 23, 2012
Obama campaign senior adviser on 'Fox News Sunday'
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And hello again from Fox News in Washington it.
-- anti American violence across the Islamic world and growing questions about what really happened at the US consulate in Libya.
National security has finally become part of the presidential campaign.
Joining us now is Obama senior campaign advisor and former white house press secretary Robert Gibbs Robert welcome back to -- and his -- thanks for having her.
Last Sunday same show same place same death Susan Rice the US ambassador to United Nations came on this program and I asked her.
About the attack on the American Consulate in Ben -- here's what she -- The best information in the best assessment we have today.
Is that in fact this was not a pre planned premeditated.
That what happened initially was it it was a spontaneous.
Reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo.
As a consequence of the video.
I -- ambassador rice good the American people -- information.
Well I think he's you heard ambassador rice say the best information that we had at the point in which he gave that answer.
Is the answer that she gave -- -- ambassador rice Chris has access to far more intelligence.
Data than than I do anymore.
I would say this is we have learned more and and is this investigation continues I anticipate.
We will continue to learn learn more facts about the awful assassination murder.
Of of -- great ambassador in Libya.
Use all the White House say that this was -- terror attack and and nobody wants to get to the bottom of this more than the president and the secretary of state.
So that we can protect our missions that are consulates throughout the world and remaining game.
But I specifically last Sunday -- asked ambassador rice about the president of Libya.
The president Libby who was then saying it was -- -- I specifically asked her about al-Qaeda which said.
That it was revenge for the killing of a top al-Qaeda leader.
This is rice ms.
rice didn't say we don't know I'll get back to you she said it was a spontaneous attack that was not pre planned.
That's spun out of control she had information about time and the information she gave the American people was wrong well again Chris I think.
You look back -- -- answer and she says.
The answer she has the information the answer.
Based on what she knew at that point we've learned more and we're gonna continue to learn more about them the most important thing is we get to the bottom of the intelligence and what happened and what.
May or may not have caused this incident.
That the State Department review of the security of our missions in our console it's not just in Benghazi and Tripoli but throughout the world.
Make sure that that we protect those.
That are there to serve our interest you know Paul Ryan's got a budget that would cut diplomatic security.
We don't think that's a good idea -- so in fact -- your sequestration cut diplomatic security well that sequestration that the congress can solve.
-- win and if they decide to come to the -- -- are part of it in the Defense Department was actually cut as a demand.
By your administration sequestration again was that a result of the super committee involved.
Completely of congress -- being on a day to come up with but the diving -- -- assisted on certain -- and the Republicans -- it and demand certain kinds insecurity -- We're part of the demands of the Obama White House super committee set up an incentive to come to a conclusion and congress yet again.
Shirk it's responsibilities.
And failed to come up with a cuts necessary to implement the debt agreement that.
Speaker Boehner and vice and and President Obama.
-- agreed to but look I think let me come back if I can go to the bad information that was being put out you can say -- in good faith with the bad information that was being put out.
By the Obama administration here's what your successor.
As Press Secretary Jay Carney -- last week let's let's.
We have no information to suggest that it was a pre planned.
Attack but the unrest we've seen around the region has been in reaction to.
A video of this.
Muslims many Muslims find offensive.
Again at the time that he said that there was plenty of information that was a pre planned attack Susan Collins -- co chair of the senate homeland security committee said.
People don't show up to a spontaneous demonstration with RPG's.
-- rocket propelled grenades and machine guns.
Specific question because as -- the really the bottom line did the Obama administration play down what happened in Libya what happened in Cairo because it would make.
Obama foreign policy.
That we absolutely know one intentionally or unintentionally misled.
Absolutely not again that's an answer that that the press secured -- on September the fourteenth is -- September the 23.
We learn more information every single day about what happened.
Nobody wants to get to the bottom of this more than than we do look let's also understand this week we saw a wave of violence.
Throughout the region.
What we -- in Libya though was this weekend has been very important 30000 people in the streets.
Protesting against Islamic terrorists against armed militias.
This is a very dangerous region of the world that is in has embraced democracy.
And is undergoing the beginnings of that democratic action none of this is going to be easy Chris it's important that we remain.
-- fully engaged in this part of the world the president talked with.
The leader in Libya talked to president morsi.
Let made sure they understood their obligations in protecting.
Our consulates and Aaron that's.
You talk about being fully engaged in that part of the world the US has now suspended.
All joint operations with Afghan forces because they keep trying to kill the US trainers.
Iran continues to build its nuclear program the Israeli prime minister Netanyahu.
Says that we don't have the quote moral right to tell them.
Whether or not they can attack Iran.
It's not a successful foreign policy well.
Let's unpack a few of these at a time first and foremost.
Understand that the training of Afghan security forces a few years ago -- getting fitted for uniforms.
Okay we've progressed greatly in training and Afghan security force that's gonna let us.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- We're now going through and rescreening a number of Afghan security forces to ensure -- -- what has happened.
In 51 occasions this year doesn't continue to happen.
Look at our commanders on the ground and our leaders here in Washington certainly want that.
-- Islamic Republic of Iran is suffering under the worst economic conditions because of the toughest economic sanctions.
Ever put on as -- in the slightest indication they're gonna slow down their nuclear program again and Chris I'll have access to the intelligence -- and I haven't been briefed on the edit in more than two years or almost two years there are no reports that I've done about let's declare that doubled the number centrifuges -- one base near the city of outlook let's be clear though.
That they are.
Dealing with -- toughest economic sanctions.
Because the world took a step together based on the leadership of Barack Obama is president -- about.
Chris I don't I don't think you know enough about the intelligence or I know enough about what kinds of some sort of -- -- -- Robert you what you're telling me you have any indication.
That our policy is working in stopping Iran from developing nuclear -- I think our our policy has made it far tougher for them do that absolutely I took the question I assets -- do you think it has had any effect on stopping them from developing nuclear.
Military and my answer is if you listen to the defense minister of Israel Ehud Barack.
He would tell you as he's told the world.
That what we've put in place with the Israel is complicating greatly.
It took to build a nuclear weapons and -- continuing to do it well there's people throughout the world that are continuing to do it -- that doesn't mean we're we're gonna stop.
Working every single day to make sure that they don't do that and that's what this president has said.
Aaron red line is that the Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon.
That's -- red line that's what the president won't force he's taken nothing off the table when it comes to dealing with that.
But I don't think there's any doubt it.
Four years ago Chris we couldn't get the Chinese and the Russians to even implement international sanctions okay.
Because of leadership of ambassador rice and President Obama we were able to put in place the stiff this sanctions.
Ever put on the country of Iraq.
That's what's important and that is definitely slowed them down.
President Obama's going to the UN general assembly this week but with the Islamic world in flying in this.
The White House says he has no plans to have any private meetings with world leaders and well look I think -- -- we have.
We have schedules leaders have schedules and in many cases those schedules are gonna overlap -- understand.
Ambassador rice will be seeing people secretary of state Hillary Clinton will be seeing people and I think it's also important that we -- do we say this that.
Let's not brand.
Everything that's going on as Muslims writ large.
This is clearly.
Radical group of Muslims that have perverted the Muslim religion they've killed more Muslims than any other religion.
They're trying to gain power.
And take -- away from people like those in Libya they wanna see progressive democratic action and give people basic human -- I want to go back to the UN though and New York this week you say that he's got schedules with foreign leaders have schedules.
But the president has blocked out time.
To appear on the view on Tuesday so he has time for Whoopi Goldberg.
But he doesn't have time for world leaders and know Chris that I look.
The president is is going to be actively involved at the UN general assembly -- -- a private later.
Getting a -- Chris we -- it.
They have telephones in the White House last week you talked to the president of Egypt to talk to the the leader in Libya we don't need a meeting in Washington.
Just to confer with leaders we've got but -- does say that I'm -- idea we we have a strong diplomatic I'm sure Houston got an interview with you on Fox News you have no problem with that wealthy house but -- -- that I'm I'm I'm sure that's not the point.
Well look Chris he's got a strong schedule he he's actively involved.
You don't -- -- -- the fact that he's not -- -- -- -- world leaders but he's gonna appear on the -- I have no problem with that because.
Chris you're the president United States every minute of every day.
That that's why you talked to the leader in Turkey that's what a hugely important leader in country in that region world that's why you -- of the phone and talk to the build.
President of Egypt and tell them.
They have to have a strong reaction to this.
And violence -- our embassy they have to protect.
Our consulate and -- embassies in the people that work in them.
-- this isn't just about one meeting on one particular day in New York the presence actively involved and engaged in the most dangerous place in the world.
Every single day of the week.
Mitt Romney released his tax returns Friday and here is what they show.
He paid -- tax rate of fourteen point 1% in 2011.
And and a summary but with no returns over the last twenty years he paid an average of twenty point 2%.
And never less than thirteen point -- percent this may be the single.
Dumbest question I've ever asked in my time here at FOX News Sunday does that -- the Romney tax return issue for the Obama camp.
Well I think you you you put up on the -- the he gave his accountant twenty years and he gave the American people to.
Chris what's he hiding.
Why -- why does he have.
Corporations in Bermuda investments in the caimans why is somebody who says they're -- -- get tough on China investing in the Chinese state oil company and banks in China.
I think the American people deserve to know a lot more about Mitt Romney's finances because he hasn't been straight with the American people about those finances.
And he hasn't -- straight with the American people about.
Their what's gonna happen -- their taxes middle class families as a result of the promises that Mitt Romney is made are gonna see their taxes go up.
While he's gonna cut taxes for people just like him and I do think it is.
Rich in special.
In in many ways that Mitt Romney had to manipulate his tax rate by not taking.
All the deductions he was eligible for something that he said a while we go disqualified from being president.
He had to manipulate those deductions in order raises rate to meet his rhetoric by saying he has paid at least 13% every year.
Deductions by the way if he loses this race he can go back and -- -- and this is somebody his.
He's not been straight the American people what his taxes is not -- -- in the middle class people families in this country about what's gonna happen in their tax okay.
We got a little time left I wanna get quick answers from -- this week we also all of the Romney 47% video.
I promise you I'm gonna ask Governor Walker about that but I -- want to ask you -- policy question.
Let's put -- up on -- -- 49% of Americans now live and a household where someone gets a government benefit that's up from.
30% in the 1946%.
Of Americans don't pay any federal income taxes that's up from 27% in 1992.
The politics and I know at this point there's nothing about politics but the on the politics is it good policy.
For so many Americans not to have any skin in the -- Well I think it's crazy Americans on have skin in the game mean first of all the payroll tax.
Lower -- middle class families quite frankly harder than it does it hit somebody like.
They got skin in the game and in that so called 47%.
You know Mitt Romney includes those that are living solely on Medicare and Social Security right now.
Those are people that paid into the system and now they're getting what's their benefits that are -- look.
Chris I thought the most.
Devastating thing about this video -- it is not just the video itself but the reaction.
From candidate Romney which is to say that he was in elegant in what he said.
Chris how what's the elegant way of saying -- 47% of of people in this country -- teachers who don't care enough about themselves.
And their place in life to take responsibility -- -- I'd love to hear the elegant phrasing of that.
Finally we have a minute maybe we'll hear from Scott Walker finally the president -- governor Romney meet for their first debate ten days from today.
How big a moment in the campaign and who has the of that well I think it will be a very big.
And I think it's always a big moment when two candidates.
Get to sit side by side and answer the same questions I think the American people get a chance to.
To give it a real sense.
What president Obama's been talking about in terms of middle class security and all of a chance to contrast that with Mitt Romney's.
Vision for America look.
Mitt Romney I think has an advantage because he's been through twenty of these debates in the primaries.
Over the last year.
He even bragged that he was declared the winner in sixteen of those debates.
I so I think in that sense having been through this much more recently than President Obama I think he starts with -- event.
Robert thank you thanks for coming in today always gonna talk with -- thank you.