Who is the best choice for Secretary of State?
Ben Tulchin and Brad Blakeman discuss the potential cabinet changes in Obama's second Presidential term.
- Duration 10:14
- Date Nov 19, 2012
Ben Tulchin and Brad Blakeman discuss the potential cabinet changes in Obama's second Presidential term.
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Lot going -- politics and wanna get right into it without delay we've got our panel Ben told him president -- culture and research he's -- -- San Francisco.
And -- Blake -- Former -- deputy assistant president George W.
What everybody wants talk about right now -- the fiscal cliff but before we get into that.
I'd like to get into some discussion about the cabinet got a new term we gotta get a new -- for the president.
The first cabinet appointment that does seems like it's going to be most significant.
It's certainly in a public guy is secretary of state and that is because Hillary Rodham Clinton has made very clear that she's going to step down.
And the name that comes out first and foremost is Susan Rice who is embroiled now in the Ben Ghazi controversy so -- If I could start when he what are -- thoughts.
Yes good morning.
Yeah actually look I think he denies -- this whole.
-- guys the issue is a tempest that keep I mean it's really.
As we've seen recently in -- reports coming out today.
Or -- last couple days that.
You know she was -- -- the information that she shared with the world is with the information he had and that a lot of the information.
The Republicans are trying to make hay Adams was -- -- wasn't able or a position to share so I think at the end of the day -- in the present Obama chooses to nominate her.
I think I would hope that the folks in congress to evaluate her on her merits and she's got a tremendous.
Record a service.
And foreign policy she's extremely well qualified in that.
To try to block her nomination if she's nominated for sure isn't nominated for -- moment if she is.
I would hope that we have a honest discussion about her marriage her qualifications and not have a sideshow about -- Ghazi.
Well it seems that she was kind of served up as -- clay pigeon now arguably she was sent up before -- -- Sunday talk shows with bad information.
That maybe she didn't know what's bad possibly administration had given a tour that's that's a debate for another time but.
If you do the push to Susan Rice as a potential secretary of state.
Are you all -- she once again cannon fodder for the Republicans.
Particularly because it made it clear that they're not going to a supporter nomination.
And there's no doubt about it -- Susan Rice is not going to be the secretary of state the president.
If he doesn't know that should know that and certainly -- -- senate Republicans.
On the relevant committees have been told the president that they're gonna filibuster her so knowing that why would you go into a fight your first cabinet high level turnover.
As a newly reelected president doesn't make any sense to have a major fight when you're talking about bipartisanship.
What he should do is understand that.
-- most likely the number two choice would be Senator Kerry he would Waltz into that spot.
And and they wouldn't be any controversy and all of matter of fact I think Republicans would herald.
His his nomination so if the president wants a fight he's gonna get one.
But the president doesn't get to select his person without the advice and consent of senate which is not gonna get.
Waltz into that spot.
Amanda I think you -- ask a lot of veterans to that they would not necessarily agree that -- Senator Kerry is an easy pick and he's gonna -- right into wall well.
I think these -- and he's an easy spot for secretary of state he's a hard choice for secretary of Defense Secretary -- he wouldn't be.
Have such an easy shot -- getting secretary of state I think he would.
Then what do you think about Senator Kerry as -- top diplomat for the United States.
Well I think eight -- -- about politics right in the in the internal debate within the senate he's got a lot of good friends in the senate.
I served their long time and that's really what it comes down to -- -- was beyond the fact that he is qualified.
But I do agree that I I think he would Kabila to -- less controversial and Susan Rice at this point that's for sure.
Well it sounds like it's a debate decided from what I'm hearing you guys -- is from you guys you you point Senator Kerry and we move forward he's got that.
His friend -- make it sound like he had the election for senior class president -- lock them anyway and it got really bad again with my -- together the most friends in the house or senate pardon me.
Police -- isn't -- -- -- yeah under the -- served.
It is chairman of the foreign relations committee.
-- -- there is no doubt he is vastly more qualified -- ambassador rice.
So I don't think that would be.
From what we know now for Senator Kerry to be the secretary of state but there's certainly would be would ambassador -- Well let's move on now -- treasury the treasury go ahead go had been.
No I just say you have but it is what -- for the president all of these is gonna -- the ground of the senate Republicans and threatened a filibuster I mean I think that.
The guy just -- one a mandate with pretty convincing.
-- -- election hardly.
Wait he's not a mandate he can -- get you another subject.
-- checked out about a presidential mandate but wealthy and well and -- terms of who wants to go ahead guys.
No way he won a majority the popular vote he what -- electoral landslide college landslide.
He's got the win that is backed politically and and I I mean for him to back down it.
From the threats and two Republican.
Republicans in the US -- I mean he yesterday he interest thinks barring and his accused -- the ground or does he wanna engage in and and and fight and you know he is the president United States last time I checked these are more powerful than.
Couple Republicans in the US senate so we'll see what he decide to do but there's no doubt you're -- -- are battle.
For senate to nominate Senator Kerry but that doesn't mean -- just doesn't wanna nominate the person wants to nominate an and and an ambassador rice.
But today you know you you -- he's got the wind at his back if he picks a fight that he's likely gonna lose and he doesn't have the wind at his back in the knees -- right out of the gates.
From there to save his first back and -- second term.
Yeah well that's it and that's -- -- decision yet to make and I admit but I if you look at we'll see who we decide to -- and whether he wants to pick a fight or not but.
You know firing him -- you know -- some in the press -- the other day he was but look at her five potentially now.
He's got bigger issues.
Bigger fish to fry with the fiscal cliff flew in this debate going on so I I think.
-- put more emphasis on that -- those negotiations but I again the guy just won reelection if I'm president I won reelection with that majority the vote.
An Electoral College landslide I'm not gonna back down if I feel -- the right thing to do is is the best person for the job.
What does that we're talking senator -- and and let you guys know of any other nations.
Yeah I think I think you're right I think Senator Kerry is easy choice big win.
For the administration going forward and the president doesn't have to waste any capital.
I Treasury Secretary.
Not committee Geithner has made pretty clear he's gonna step down really at first available opportunity.
And head off in a private sector probably make a whole lot of money.
So the other names I'm hearing to replace him would be Jack Lew and I don't know a whole lot about Jacqueline when he -- I'd heard you guys.
-- -- is an academic.
As I understand his his career.
And you know I'm not so sure that Jack -- would be the best choice I think -- Other names have to be floated out there the -- there's certainly the White House floated Jack -- because Jack -- has been around he's comfortable with a president.
But just being around the president and being so one of the boys I don't think it is is a good criteria be the secretary of the treasury at such a pivotal time.
In our history.
What other names you know.
Well I I don't I look I'm not.
Privy to the kind of names that the White House will be considering.
But I would I would hope that it would be somebody with practical experience.
And not necessarily somebody from the Goldman Sachs.
And -- you know.
Criteria that seems to be what we seem to nominate time and time again the bush administration and Democrats seem to love Wall Street I would.
If I were advising -- -- say let's stay away from Wall Street and trying to pick somebody with practical experience maybe he's run -- business.
And and and let's let's stay away from Wall Street.
Then -- thought -- -- -- month yeah my view is that the president now has two competing agendas here to some degree he's shown a consistent pattern of loyalty the folks he's close -- knows well.
Gets along with.
You can come at a trade off to is such in this situation I think he should focus on someone who is an advocate for middle class families who just want -- our recovery election.
Based on a an agenda focusing on middle class families and raising tax on the wealthy -- -- and invest in the middle class and our future and I think.
I think you bet he's better served if you're getting -- -- who can represent those values.
And not someone who is focusing on Wall Street first and foremost tonight and I -- primarily I I think that.
Last several here secretary -- have been -- coming from wall stripping too close to Wall Street and I mean there's a balance that that happened you have to do but I do you think.
I'd like to -- the next nominee be someone who it is more to with middle class America than Wall Street.
OK moving on to Defense Secretary -- -- talked about Senator Kerry.
Actually like both of you thought that that's going to be it that's going to be a tough fight you that so many people who would not like him in that position because -- -- the stands that he took following the Vietnam War and and those other things that have added day into its history.
So what are we talking about in the event that Leon Panetta said the steps down.
I've heard the name of Michelle floor -- Who was former undersecretary of defense but I don't know much about -- and I don't she's not been in the headlines and off.
No I think I think somebody secretary of defense if our advice -- the president is Mr.
President you've had some very good choices as Republicans in that spot.
If you were to find a Republican -- -- Lindsey Graham.
To head up.
The Department of Defense again at a critical time of cutbacks and was standing down on wars and retooling our military.
I that would be a great spot to be bipartisan.
I would have said three weeks ago maybe a month ago General Petraeus.
But certain -- that's not in the court -- and but I would I would try and make that about bipartisan post.
And I think the president be well served at a -- like a Lindsey Graham I think would be the perfect candidate.
All right gentlemen we're out of time I get a head to a break right now but I want to thank you both for coming and.