'This Week' Transcript: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

ELLISON: I think she has done really good work. I mean, it was her who really went out there and helped get the consequences for the no-fly zone in Libya. That was hard work to do. She came through, she came through for the people attacking her right now, like Senator McCain. And I think it's really unfortunate circumstances. This woman is a great--

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me bring this to Congressman Cole. How much of this is about the merits of the issue and how much of this has to do with some Senate politics as well? Senator Kerry, everyone knows that he's the followup--

COLE: I would like to believe that not much has to do with politics. There's a legitimate concern that she was, just five days after the fact, to propagate a story that we should have known at the time wasn't the case. And there are some serious questions here by the way about our own intelligence people. We saw President Bush out (inaudible) defending something we found out later wasn't true too. Maybe we should ask those guys some questions, but you want a secretary of state in the end that can unite you, not divide you, and that can speak forcefully for the country. Secretary Clinton, frankly, has managed to do that. I am not convinced that Ambassador Rice--

STEPHANOPOULOS: Cokie, let me bring this to you, then, Cokie. So what does the president do right now? If you take them at their word, he had not made up his mind to choose Susan Rice. It was between Susan Rice and John Kerry. You could look at the politics either way. On the one hand, you say, boy, he can't back down to this opposition in the Senate. On the other hand, is this a fight that he wants?

ROBERTS: He wants to have, right. And having a nomination fight over a secretary of state is really an unusual and shocking thing.

And so, I think that probably in the end, he doesn't do it. But I do think that it is -- but he, again, he put her in this position, and then, then she gets the opposition, and then he says, well, I can't name you. It's unfair. And I'm not -- maybe in the end, he realizes that and says--

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: But is this a fight that will necessary hurt the president?

ELLISON: I don't think we should link whether or not she -- what happened in Benghazi and whether she gets the nomination. I would hate to conclude that the reason she doesn't get that nomination is because of this stuff that just happened. They're not necessarily connected. And I just want to --

ROBERTS: Talk radio is just full of Benghazi. It is a big issue.

ELLISON: Which is amazing to me. In 1982, we lost 241 Marines in Lebanon, and the country came around President Reagan. You didn't see all this partisan bickering --

ROBERTS: We invaded Grenada the next day.

(CROSSTALK)

ELLISON: We came together and said that this is a national tragedy, and blame was not parcelled out the way it is now. I think it's unfortunate.

SENOR: You look at 1982, there was actually -- there was an airing. There was accountability, there was an outlet for accountability. Part of the problem here is in the lead-up to the election, when Benghazi got a lot of attention, the president said don't talk about Benghazi. If you do, you are politicizing the issue. So you were not allowed -- Romney and others weren't allowed to --

(CROSSTALK)

SENOR: Here we are after the election, and there's no full airing. We still don't know exactly what happened.

(CROSSTALK)

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