Interview with Senator Amy Klobuchar

By Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel Maddow Show - November 12, 2012

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW November 12, 2012

Guest: Amy Klobuchar

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you, my friend.


MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.

Whatever post-election lull in the news we figured we`d be able to count on right now, the lull has apparently been cancelled this year.

New reporting tonight about the scandal which has forced General David Petraeus out of government, out as head of the CIA, and there are a ton of questions which we will try to get answer tonight with some fresh reporting.

And even though President Obama`s reelection was settled at about 11:15 p.m. Eastern last Tuesday, the election overall is still underway in some parts of the country, including one place where it appears to have mostly just broken down with a bunch of federal level races still undecided. And the state in question is not Florida for once. Important updates coming up there including what may be a de-concession, an un- concession, by a Democrat who previously thought he had lost in a big important U.S. Senate race.

That is all ahead.

But we have to begin with breaking news out of Washington. "The Washington Post" is reporting tonight that President Obama is considering Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as his new secretary of defense. That`s right, defense -- putting the decorated Vietnam veteran and former Democratic presidential candidate in charge at the Pentagon and not at the State Department, as had been widely speculated.

"The Washington Post" is sourcing its reporting to unnamed senior administration officials. So that doesn`t help much.

Senator Kerry is also not commenting tonight. If Senator Kerry does move to the cabinet for defense or for any other post, there, of course, will be an immediate political question for the Democrats as to what happens to his U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts.

Senator Kerry had mostly been talked about as a potential replacement for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The post reporting tonight that that nomination for secretary of state is instead almost certain to go to United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice. Republicans tried to make into a scandal Susan Rice`s Sunday news show comments after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. Her comments that the attack was thought to be linked to Islamist protests in Benghazi and around that part of the world, rather than an organized terrorist attack.

But the administration and the intelligence community have both stepped up to defend Susan Rice`s remarks that Sunday. And if she is tapped by President Obama to replace Secretary Clinton as secretary of state that would imply that the president is willing to keep backing Susan Rice up all the way.

The current defense secretary, of course, is Leon Panetta. He used to run the CIA where he was succeeded by General Petraeus. That CIA job is also now available as of Friday, after General Petraeus resigned unexpectedly.

The same senior administration sources talking to "The Post" tonight also telling them that the president`s chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, is the top contender for the CIA job if he wants the job Post- David Petraeus. Mr. Brennan has made known his desire to leave public service, to leave government work. But if he does reconsider, apparently the CIA chief job should be his.

If Mr. Brennan decides he does not want the job, the agency`s current acting director, Michael Morell, looks likely to keep the job.

Again, we will have more on the questions surrounding the Petraeus scandal and his abrupt departure from the CIA later on in the show with a reporter who broke the story, NBC`s Andrea Mitchell.

Beyond the shape of President Obama`s second term administration and who is in his cabinet, we now know that President Obama has scheduled a major meeting for tomorrow in Washington with labor leaders. That will be on Tuesday. And then on Wednesday, the president is going to be meeting with a lot of CEOs, with business leaders.

Obviously, the world of big business in some ways large and small chose Mitt Romney over President Obama during this election season. They made their choice early and loudly and publicly and put a ton of money behind Mr. Romney.

And it did not work. Their guy did not win. President Obama got reelected anyway.

There presumably is some sort of reckoning from that, which presumably will start this Wednesday at that meeting at the White House. If not a reckoning, then at least a turn of the page. The White House is signaling that the president actually wants to enlist business leaders in his effort to end Bush era tax cuts for income over a quarter million dollars and for a spending deal to go along with that plan. The president wants the business community to bring their political capital to bear on an effort they might get something in return for.

The White House characterizing their plans as a deal that would actually help bring down the deficit, but without destroying the economic recovery and the middle class along with it.

It should not come as a surprise that President Obama is pushing hard on ending the Bush tax cuts for income over a quarter million dollars. That`s probably been the president`s most consistent, most repeated promise on policy.

I mean, here`s what he said about the Bush tax cuts on high income right as he was agreeing to extend those tax cuts back in 2010.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m as opposed to the high end tax cuts today as I have been for years. In the long run, we simply can`t afford them. And when they expire in two years, I will fight to end them.


MADDOW: Even as he was agreeing to extend the tax cuts that time, the president was promising right there that he would not do it again. In April of last year, he went one step further. He issued an ultimatum.


OBAMA: In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can`t afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.

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