More roadblocks in Congress

President Barack Obama shakes hands with current Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough in the East Room of the White House in Washington, where he announced that he will name McDonough as his next chief of staff. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

This weekend, we're going to have Dennis McDonough, the new White House Chief of Staff, who is going to be making his first appearance on FACE THE NATION. Nobody's really seen much of him, he's known within the White House of course, and in Washington, but he's going to be making his debut on the Sunday Shows. He'll be our guest--we'll also be talking to Haley Barbour, the former Republican Governor of Mississippi; Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, who plans to run for the Senate now--last night Senator Frank Lautenberg announced he'd retire and would not seek reelection, so we'll ask Mr. Booker if that clears the field for him. Plus we'll talk to Cardinal Wuerl, the Cardinal here in Washington, he's going to talk about what's ahead on the Pope front--this extraordinary situation where you have a Pope resigning. That's news--the first time it's happened in 600 years. So the whole thing is a fascinating subject.

We'll definitely talk about those stalled nominations in the Senate, former Senator Chuck Hagel as Sec. of Defense and then John Brennan as head of the CIA. I think Congress needs more information about Benghazi, and that's one of the reasons Republicans say they're blocking these nominees from moving forward. I think there are two sides to this story. Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Kelly Ayotte are trying to find out what happened on that night when those four Americans died. Senator Graham brought out during the hearings last week that the President got a briefing at five o'clock in the afternoon, and then apparently did not check in with the Secretary of Defense or the Director of the CIA again that evening or overnight. They want to know why. They want to know why, when a rescue team that had been on a chartered plane from Tripoli over to Benghazi, they were held for over two hours at the airport. Senator Graham wrote a letter to the President saying, "I simply want to know the answer to one question--did the President try to call the Libyan government at any time here?" Because he said, if they were released from the airport even fifteen minutes earlier, they might have saved two lives. They want to get those answers. And the other part is, until they get answers to that, and they want to know all about e-mails that went back and forth between the White House and the State Department about talking points and what they said about the attack, they want to hold up John Brennan as well. You've got two nominations being held up now. You've got some people saying, "Well, in the end, Hagel will be confirmed." I'm not convinced of that yet. I think this is going to go on for a while.

You'll want to stay tuned for our roundtable panels as well--I'll talk to Tom Ricks of Foreign Policy Magazine, David Ignatius of The Washington Post, and Margaret Brennan of CBS News on foreign affairs, followed by a domestic policy and political roundtable featuring Cook Political Report's Amy Walter, Michael Gerson of the Washington Post, and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson.



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