TODAY | November 28, 2012
>>> let's turn to chris matthews , host of msnbc's "hardball," good morning to you.
>> good morning, savannah.
>> as andrea pointed all indications are that susan rice will be the pick for secretary of state and all indications are that it would be a very ugly confirmation battle. is it worth it for the president to take on this fight, and at this point does he have any choice given how vigorously he's defended her?
>> officially the white house has not made a decision yet. i was told last night right at the top over there they haven't made a decision yet, but he clearly has to get some separation it seems from the fight over what happened in benghazi, the testimony she gave on "meet the press" in mid-september was and the issue of picking secretary of state. if he can separate the two issues by a couple of weeks. if he has to make the nomination right in the middle of this, we'll have an opening act to the second term which will be very messy and hot and not helpful.
>> would that be a fight worth having?
>> it will distract over the next couple of weeks. clear that the president has to win the battle over a fiscal cliff. he's got those on the left who doesn't think it is a cliff and he needs to get the business community to pus pressure on the republicans to get a deal before christmas. the president is playing it right so far, making it about the middle class and get the rich people to pay their taxes. it's really a tough fight. if this were his only fight it would be a tough fight.
>> let's turn back to rice for a moment and look at the substance of that. she acknowledged was what she did was repeat unclassified talking points that came from the intelligence communities. if she had classified information that was somehow different or would have added more to it, obviously she couldn't have said it on the sunday shows, but should she have been more direct that the information she was providing to the american people was at that point not just preliminary but incomplete? i guess the bottom line is did she mislead?
>> right. i think the big question -- it is a question. we don't have the answer. was she a flack out there in politics, mouthing the words that somebody told you, or is she a thoughtful cabinet minister to be a potential cabinet minister, and that's the big question because if she knew the classified didn't square with the unclassified, then she should have left some openings there, but from what i'm told she got the facts directly unchanged, unspun by the white house . nobody changed anything. if anybody's at fault here it's the intelligence community for giving her incomplete information for their own purposes. by the way, this story remains murky for a reason. i only say in politics if it's better than it looks, they will tell you. if it's worse than it looks, we have a cia operation going on in benghazi we're still covering up, and that's what they don't want to talk about.
>> chris matthews , we'll see how it it develops, thank you. catch chris on "hardball" weeknights at 5:00 and 7:00 on msnbc. matt?