"Face the Nation" transcripts December 30, 2012: Sens. Durbin and Coburn
DUFFY: Yes, exactly. Neither Democrats or Republicans take both tricks there. It's a libertarian streak in the public that seems to be -- that's harder than it was for a few years ago for the president. Joe Biden is working on a plan. It will take a lot of blocking and tackling and it won't happen in a year I'm guessing.
MYERS: But I think there is some possibility that keeping the guns out of the hands of mentally ill is some place you can find a compromise. An assault weapons ban is much harder, especially as Senator Feinstein is going to impose it has -- you know, a more narrow definition -- a broader definition, actually, of what an assault weapon is. It was hard enough to get that through in '94, when the definition was pretty squirrelly. If you tighten that up, it's going to be nigh on impossible.
O'DONNELL: President Obama is going to have a big change in his cabinet, most likely, in 2013. And I've been interested in this. If you look at the big four cabinet positions right, Justice Department, Treasury, Defense, and State, all of those are likely leaving at some point in the next year. Is that, Michael, a concern at all for President Obama that there could be that many top people, especially in national security roles -- that are moving on and you'll have new there?
DUFFY: Oh, it's usually disrupting to have to find replacements and then in this environment try to get them confirmed. I think some folks are not leaving because it's too disruptive. I think Eric Holder will stay at Justice because that's a fight maybe they don't want to have right now. It's a little unclear what will happen in some of the others. We thought we would have some of these announcements already. He's had, obviously, a desire to have some people take these jobs. He's had to walk back. So this is a complicated part of what's going on.
O'DONNELL: I want to ask you, Joe, about the Defense Department, because you have always covered the Pentagon and done lots of trips with our military leaders. And we see Senator Hagel who is sort of hanging out there, if you will, with not even being nominated but as -- it's out there that he's a preference of the president's. And you just heard Senator Coburn say this morning he could not vote for him. Senator Graham say he could not vote for him. The Democrats say they would vote for him, but the Republicans won't support a fellow Republican.
KLEIN: Well, I think that the Hagel nomination signifies a much larger fight. Most of the opposition is coming from the Israel lobby, not to put too fine a point on it. They are upset about statements he's made in the past which I think are fairly moderate, main stream statements but they don't like it. AIPAC has been out there make phone calls against him. And I think if the president gives in on this, it if he nominates Hagel and Hagel is still a possibility as far as I understand from the White House, if he gives in on this, it's going to empower neoconservatives who have been wrong about everything in foreign policy for the last decade, when it comes to making a deal with Iran later in the year, which is a real possibility. They're going to try and block any kind of arrangement that we make in terms of a nuclear deal.
O'DONNELL: Speaking of cabinet changes, we all know that Hillary Clinton is moving on. We've not seen her for three weeks. Has anyone heard how she's doing? And what's next for Hillary Clinton? Dee Dee?
KLEIN: You get that question, Dee Dee.
MYERS: No, you know, she was very sick with the flu, fell and hilt her head, as we all know, and suffered a concussion, which was pretty serious and had real repercussions for her. So she was really out of -- you know, incapacitated -- not incapacitated that's too strong a word -- but she was really suffering from the effects of having hit her head. And so glad to see that she's returning to work on Monday -- or I guess right after the holiday. And it was too bad to see some Republicans taking shots at her, that was really cheap under the circumstances. What does she do next? That's the -- you know, $63 million question -- whatever she wants is the answer. Clearly she wants to continue work on behalf of women and girls globally. She has done a phenomenal job raising that issue. And she said that is the global civil rights issue of the century. She's going to continue to play a role on that. And then of course we'll all sit around and wait for the next however long Hillary wants us to wait to decide whether or not she runs for president. That's obviously a live option for her and something she wants to take her time to think about.
DUFFY: Everything she said. I think she'll run.
KLEIN: She's running.
O'DONNELL: She's running, she's running.
NOONAN: Will she testify on Benghazi? I mean, where does that all stand?
MYERS: I think she will, yeah.
KLEIN: I'm sure she will. I mean, there is no scandal with Benghazi. This is one of the most trumped up, ridiculous exercises that I have ever seen.
NOONAN: Joe, then perhaps she should have come forward some time ago and talked in public about Benghazi.
KLEIN: They were doing -- they were doing a study. They were doing a study within the department, which is pretty conclusive about what happened there.
MYERS: And she accepted all the recommendations from the study.
KLEIN: And she accepted all of the recommendations. What you have here say very angry Senator John McCain who was conducting a vendetta against Susan Rice because of things that she said about him during the 2008 campaign. Several of his pals, like Lindsey Graham have joined on top of it. And from my knowledge of the State Department and having a son who is a foreign service officer who has served in difficult places, this sort of situation could have happened anywhere.
O'DONNELL: Let's turn now, since this is the last show of 2012, we get to look forward and predictions for 2013. Michael, you have a prediction for what...
DUFFY: This is not going to strike anyone as terribly brave. But Chris Christie will run for governor. He will win as governor of New Jersey.
O'DONNELL: Oh, going on a limb there.
DUFFY: Yeah, I'm going far. But then he will turn around and run -- start running for president.
O'DONNELL: And what about Cory Booker's chances in the Senate?
DUFFY: I can't comment. That's just too far. That's a...
O'DONNELL: OK, got you. Dee Dee?
MYERS: I -- we have already talked about this a little bit, but my prediction was that an assault weapons ban will not pass, even though one of my former boss, Senator Feinstein, will make a valiant effort as will Senator Biden, but I'm hopeful other restrictions on gun ownership, particularly for people with mental disabilities will.
NOONAN: I think -- oh, sorry, was that me...
O'DONNELL: Yeah, sure. Ladies first, right?
NOONAN: One of the-- one of the big stories of the coming year after we get past the anybody stuff we're in right now is will-- will be the sometimes awkward, sometimes herky-jerky, attempt of the Republican Party in Washington to come to terms with the meaning of the 2012 election, to come to terms with the demographic and cultural changes that have swept the nation they wish to lead. This will evolve over the next few years. It's going to be one of the great things to watch.
O'DONNELL: You know think that will happen this year?
NOONAN: I think it will begin this year or boy they're going to be in trouble.
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