MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid, Ari Melber Smear Republicans Over Benghazi

In what has become a daily occurrence on MSNBC, liberal hosts and pundits on the network continue to attack the GOP for their scrutiny of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s post-Benghazi spin for the White House on September 16 editions of the network Sunday interview programs. 

Appearing on Wednesday’sMSNBC Live, network contributors Joy-Ann Reid of TheGrio.com and Ari Melber of The Nation appeared on anchor Thomas Roberts's program to continue casting aspersions on Sen. John McCain and other Republicans who have dared to criticize Susan Rice as unfit for a promotion to Secretary of State. Melber and Reid threw in charges of racism and sexism and a conspiracy theory about electing Scott Brown to the Senate.  [See video below page break.  MP3 audio here.]

All that was left out was the kitchen sink, but maybe they'll throw that in tomorrow.

The segment started right off the bat with Roberts immediately rushing to Ambassador Rice’s defense by proclaiming, “a lot of people [are] scratching their heads over some of the strong opposition, you could say, to Ambassador Rice.” 

Following comments made by Republican strategist Chip Saltsman, Reid and Melber went into attack mode blaming everyone from President George W. Bush to John McCain in their effort to cover for Rice.  Melber ridiculously tried to rebuke GOP criticism of Susan Rice by arguing to Saltsman that he and his party:

Come to this debate with a big deficit because you and President Bush and Dick Cheney lied this country into war and you had a lot of lies on foreign policy about WMD’s. 

Ms. Reid follows this up by ridiculously asserting that GOP opposition to Rice is merely a political ploy to have Scott Brown regain his Senate seat in Massachusetts:

I think this whole idea that Republicans are trying to pre-destroy her nomination in order to a more favorable outcome for themselves , meaning John Kerry, which is sort of the rumor that’s being floated out there, that maybe they’re trying to make it so hard to nominate her, that they free up John Kerry’s Senate seat.  It’s a very Machiavellian idea.

Of course, even if Kerry were to leave his Senate seat, there's no absolute certainty Scott Brown or any other Republican would take back the seat in what is a very liberal state.

The bizarre segment concluded with Reid claiming that Senator McCain’s objections to Rice are, “driven a lot by his resentments and his piques.”  Unfortunately, Reid couldn't end her anti-Republican rant there as she concluded that:

But the other thing for the Republican Party is look who they put out there to try to talk about their opposition to Rice.  They had to throw Kelly Ayotte out there who has no foreign policy experience because they I think even understand, going after this woman, going after this, another African-American official in the Obama White House, I know it’s unpopular to say, but they seem to have a pattern that isn’t helpful to them politically so I don’t even see what the margin is for them. 

Reid and other MSNBC colleagues continue pushing the disgusting idea that the GOP is deliberately going after African-Americans in the Obama White House and that Senator Ayotte was “thrown out there” because she is a woman. 

Of course, on her own this morning, Sen. Susan Collins (R) a liberal-leaning moderate from Maine also expressed her reservations about Rice, which were only amplified after her private meeting with the ambassador this morning. 

The tag-teaming by Melber and Reid today is just the latest example of the cynical and desperate attempt by MSNBC to discredit all Republican criticism by essentially boiling down the criticism to racist or sexism. It's a trite tactic best reserved for college campus leftists, not a major cable broadcaster.

 

See relevant transcript below.


MSNBC

MSNBC Live

November 28, 2012

11:00 a.m. EDT

THOMAS ROBERTS: We’ve got our Wednesday political power panel, MSNBC contributor Joy-Ann Reid, also managing editor for TheGrio, MSNBC contributor Ari Melber, also a correspondent for The Nation, and Republican strategist Chip Saltsman.  It is great to have all three of you here.  And a lot to talk about this morning.  So Chip let’s dig in.  A lot of people scratching their heads over some of the strong opposition, you could say, to Ambassador Rice, who hasn't even been nominated as Secretary of State. Listen to what Senator John Barrasso had to say moments ago with Chris Jansing in the last hour.

JOHN BARASSO: I think that she misled the American people five days after a terrorist attack. It happened, killed four brave Americans, and really either didn't know what she should have known, failed to ask the questions.

ROBERTS: Alright so Chip, here we have the fact that the senators are still upset about this. So breaking news from the Senatorial department of redundancy department that they're upset with her. What is the real agenda here? What is the baseline for what they're trying to do?

CHIP SALTSMAN: Well, I think the most interesting thing is what you said earlier, she has yet to be nominated. This might be the ultimate trial balloon by the Obama Administration to put somebody out that they know is going to encounter a lot of resistance up front and then whoever they nominate if it's not her is going to have a pretty easy sail through the confirmation, whether it be a John Kerry or something like that. I think it's pretty unusual that somebody that we don't know is going to be nominated is working the U.S. Senate this hard. And I think the real question Is this an ultimate political genius move by the Obama White House? Are they really thinking they're going to take this into a fight for Senate confirmation?

ROBERTS: Alright so as we said this is day two Joy Ann of this kind of pr campaign to go face the critics on the hill. And Senator Corker is who we're going to have the opportunity that -- rice will have the opportunity to meet with him at noon.  Telling the AP though in advance of today's meeting, "that she always delivers the party line, the company line, whatever the talking points are." Is this an example, though, of Rice facing critics -- displaying the type of diplomacy that she would then need to display if she's going to go into negotiations with China?  You know it's different than, you know, facing your foes on the hill when you're facing those from a different country.

JOY ANN REID: Well you know I think frankly it's inexplicable on the Republican side what sort of game they could be playing. I do think that this is a prelude probably to rice being nominated. And I really don't see how the Republicans would stop her from getting the nomination. I think this whole idea that Republicans are trying to pre-destroy her nomination in order to a more favorable outcome for themselves , meaning John Kerry, which is sort of the rumor that’s being floated out there, that maybe they’re trying to make it so hard to nominate her, that they free up John Kerry’s Senate seat.  It’s a very Machiavellian idea. But I think it's gaining some currency.  Because the opposition to her is kind of inexplicable. An administration official who is placed on a Sunday show to talk about an event the administration has briefed her on is supposed to give the talking points.  That is what they do.  That’s what John McCain does when he goes on Sunday shows.  So are they saying that she should have given the unclassified version of the report that she was given by the CIA because then that would have been criticized and would have been wrong my any measure. 

ROBERTS: And then they could go you're unfit because you're revealing these secrets.

REID: Exactly.

ROBERTS: Ari [Melber] lets take a look at this though because Rice was able to win over someone, Joe Lieberman. Take a listen.

JOE LIEBERMAN: I would not feel that her appearances and anything she said on those Sunday morning talk shows September 16th would disqualify her for appointment to any other office.

ROBERTS: Put Lieberman into context, he's retiring; he's not going to be around really to vote on this. But is he signaling for other Democrats basically that she has a clear path if her name does come up for nomination?

ARI MELBER: I think that's right. Joe Lieberman is conservative, he’s a hawk, he’s respected by some senators on foreign policy issues.  And there may be three Republican Senators who don’t like her.  There’s another 97 who have votes.  The House members who have been campaigning against her don’t.  I want to pick up on something Chip [Saltzman] said though which was he said it would be weird or odd for this process to be playing out if she is not going to be nominated as Secretary of State.  And Chip it shows, I think, a real political premise on your part, and I think unfortunately shared by so much of your party here.  She’s a cabinet-level foreign policy person so if you’re serious about any of these issues it shouldn’t matter if she’s nominated or not, you should care about the substance of them.  But secondly, you and your party come to this debate with a big deficit because you and President Bush and Dick Cheney lied this country into war and you had a lot of lies on foreign policy about WMD’s.  President Bush even said once in May 2003 that we found the WMD’s in Iraq.  Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice talked about links to Al-Qaeda in Iraq.  You’ve never made up for those huge, serious, significant lies in the arena of foreign policy and now you’re picking apart, you basically the very early, and ultimately not misleading, with regard to foreign policy decisions, statements that this diplomat made. 

ROBERTS:  One thing we’re learning right now that the meeting with Ambassador Rice and Senator Corker is happening as we speak so a little earlier than that noon time appointment as we were just telling you about.  But the one thing that we heard also from Senator Barasso in the last hour was John Kerry’s name floated out and that it would be easier for him to sail through.  Ari [Melber], you had the opportunity to work with John Kerry before, and so when we hear about this, is that really what the game as Joy Ann says, this Machiavellian game that’s going on behind the scenes, it’s basically let’s get Kerry in this position and then Scott Brown can take over his seat, run for that seat in Massachusetts, we get Scott Brown back in. 

MELBER: This is a little delicate because I know so many people involved but this is what I’ll tell you from what I’ve heard.  I have heard that Senator Kerry stands ready to serve and is interested.  I have also heard from people close to the White House that President Obama strongly believes in Susan Rice and is leading towards selecting her.  I think he’d be happy with either of them because they’re such strong foreign policy people.  But what I’ve heard at this point in time, subject to change, is that they are serious about Susan Rice.  There isn’t a big head fake here at this point.

ROBERTS: Alright, so Chip, so to Ari’s point about the fact that the right is at a deficit here by going after Ambassador Rice on such an attack on such shaky ground.  Is it completely irrational what they’re doing with Ayotte and McCain and Graham coming out to talk about the fact that their meeting with Ambassador Rice leaves them scratching their heads and wanting more questions.  Of course people want more answers to what happened in Benghazi but it’s not up to Ambassador Rice.  She’s not fronting the investigation. 

SALTSMAN: No, but she’s been part of that team that went on those Sunday shows to talk about those issues to say it was a video that caused this.  Whether it was the talking points, whether it was the intelligence, she’s the one that was in front of the T.V. cameras that was said that.  If this an audition to be the country’s top diplomat, and she’s going into a hostile group to have a meeting you would want our diplomat to have a better relationship after a meeting, not worse.  And what she’s done is she had three Senators that she knew she wasn’t in a great relationship with.  They seemed to be kind of be more open to her over the weekend and she went into a meeting and made it worse and regardless of what you think about Susan Rice, I think as the top diplomat-

ROBERTS: Were they really going to listen to her and come out and be like oh God we love Susan Rice now.  I don’t think that was ever going to be the backside of that meeting. 

SALTSMAN: No, and I’ve known Senator McCain for a long time.  I know a lot of people on your show have listened to him a long time.  He’s never on talking points.  He always talks about what he believes and what he sees.  I’ve seen him go into those kind of meetings where he’s walked out and said, you know I’m still not for her but I’m not as against her as I was, and let me kind of tell you where we found some agreement on.  Apparently they didn’t find a whole lot to agree with during that meeting. And again if she’s auditioning to be the top diplomat, I would hope she would go into a meeting with hostile forces and come out with them being a little better than a lot worse.

ROBERTS: But she’s the one that did request these meetings so it’s not as if they called her up there.  She asked to take these face to face meetings.

SALTSMAN: There’s no question about that.  She’s the one pushing these meetings; she’s the one asking for these meetings.  Like I said if this is in fact auditioning to be our top diplomat, then that’s what these meetings are about. 

MELBER: Sometimes you go into meetings in diplomacy and you do come out aggressively because some foreign countries aren’t our allies and aren’t going to be our allies.  As far as she can tell John McCain doesn’t seem like an ally so this was a tough meeting.  I think that’s fine. 

ROBERTS: Joy I got to give you the last word.

REID: And not only that, but we have to; let’s do a little proper history on John McCain.  He is a man who is driven a lot by his resentments and his piques.  And the idea is that when he was beaten by George W. Bush, suddenly he thorn in Bush’s side.  He has seemed to be driven by his personal sort of animus towards President Obama in his policy pronouncements.  I have no belief that McCain intended to go into that meeting and come out with some sort of fair assessment.  He is determined to be against Susan Rice.  That’s fine.  That’s his political calculation.  But the other thing for the Republican Party is look who they put out there to try to talk about their opposition to Rice.  They had to throw Kelly Ayotte out there who has no foreign policy experience because they I think even understand, going after this woman, going after this, another African-American official in the Obama White House, I know it’s unpopular to say, but they seem to have a pattern that isn’t helpful to them politically so I don’t even see what the margin is for them. 

ROBERTS: What Senator Ayotte has is political ambition.

REID: And she’s a woman, got to have that. 

ROBERTS: And that is something that the Republicans need. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.