Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable
self-deprecating jokes. After my stellar 2013, what could I possibly talk about? We rolled out healthcare.gov. That could have gone better. In 2008, my slogan was, yes, we can. In 2013, my slogan was control alt delete. Things got so bad the 47% called Mitt Romney to apologize. Some good timing there from the president last night. More on the dinner later. To the "Round table" right now. Here with David Plouffe, Rick santorum, the runner up in the gop nomination for president last time around. Served in the senate from Pennsylvania. Author of the new book, "Blue collar conservatives." Laura Ingraham and Dan Jones, from CNN's crossfire. And cokie Roberts. David Plouffe, you're on the e-mail that caused so much trouble this week. En e-mail to you and several others from Ben Rhodes. Everybody keying in on the e-mail to underscore the goals of the Sunday morning appearance, to underscore that these protests are rooted in internet video, not a broader failure of policy. A lot of republicans saying this is a smoking gun. Was it a mistake not to release this earlier? No. I think, lawyers have spoken to this. And it's out there. Benghazi was a tragedy. We have to figure out how to prevent what happened from happening again. And to try those accountable as we did bin laden. It took 11 years, but we did. On the "Uss Cole" 17 sailors died. President bush said it's time for the nation to speak as one voice. You couldn't handle that today. This has been politicized as never before. Richard Nixon talked about a silent majority. There's a loud delusional minority driving our politics, in control of the republican party. There is no conspiracy here at all. A loud delusional minority, laura? This is why Obama won in 2008. This guy is really good. What we know now from the e-mail, from the beginning the administration saw benghazi as a political problem. You're on the e-mail. You were the senior adviser. This was a political problem. You had a tough campaign. You had Mitt Romney, didn't thin it was going to be a big blow out at that point. You said, I want to go back. This is important. You said on September 30th, you said in the days afterward, it wasn't clear it was a terror attack. In November, you said, it's unprecedented politicization. That politicizing was going on at the white house. And that e-mail was clear evidence of it. And the state department admitted. In the new e-mail just released. Cheryl Atkisson had the report. The assistant secretary of state, Beth Jones, said ansar Al saria was responsible. You knew it was a terror attack. I don't think we have a prosecution here. I think people want a prosecution. You do. Look at the reporting on benghazi, it's like alternate universes. A group of people saying we were not doing anything. Another group saying it was all evil. Truth is, the white house should have released this e-mail. That was a big either mistake or a denality. It is true that everybody does talking points before Sunday programs. The talk points are about politics and limiting political damage. First of all, I worked in the white house. You get these requests. Let's talk about reality. You get these foyer requests. It's a judgment call. You have a lot of stuff to get out there. They got out there what they thought was appropriate, looked at it again. There was two bullet points out of 20 that were on benghazi. They went, let's get more out. No good deed goes unpunished. They did another review. Put more out there. Now that's a -- This was an atrocity. But, I want to bring this over to Rick santorum. You're not serving right now. We did see at the end of the week that the speaker appointed a new special commit too. There have been countless reviews, hearings. Do you think it's wise politics for the develop to be pushing this again? There's a fire storm across America about what a lot of republicans believe we have not been diligent in taking this issue on. And this e-mail, is going to confirm all of that and so, I think the speaker has no choice but to move forward and, he needs to put on someone who has credibility among the republican base. I think trey Goudy is that person. I'm hopeful that the speaker will put him in that position. I think it speaks to the forces in the republican party. John Boehner didn't want to do this. The committee appointed to look at this, chaired by admiral mullen, the former joint chiefs of staff. There were a lot of points suggested. They've been implemented. Start there. I think one of the things that actually is troubling here, we actually are in a situation with republicans that are yelling about this now did not do the appropriate funding early on. How do you respond to that? First of all, we have to not forget. We have four dead Americans. U.s. Ambassador's body was dragged through the streets. Okay? It was beyond heart-breaking and infuriating. No one in custody. An arrest warrant out. No one in custody. In the immediate aftermath, the response was to go political. I would say David or van, if this were George bush, would have done anything like this, you would be going nuts on it. Okay? That's not fair. You would be going ballistic. No. Fall, there were 13 embassy attacks under George W. Bush. 88 people died. 11 -- you had your turn. 11 Americans died under George W. Bush in embassy attacks. We did not politicize it. We did not politicize it. I knew ambassador Stevens. This is a disservice to him. You're saying this is handled well? This is a disservice to him for you to take national tragedy and use it as a political opportunity. We're always doing this business of trying to prosecute and criminalize horrible disasters. We didn't do that with George bush. It's been going on for years now in Washington. I understand that. And the fact is that the -- that just is not -- it doesn't get you anywhere. The only place it gets you -- the only place it gets you is to some political points with the base of your party. I think, you know, I think the white house has handled this horribly. I think the fact is that, you know, you start dribbling it out in e-mails. People then start to be very, very suspicious. The only difference here is that the bush administration did not put out a false narrative as to what happened in those situations. They put out a narrative that was not supported by the evidence. That is not true. They knew it was false. From the very beginning, they knew it was a terrorist incident. They put out something they knew or at least a lot of people knew was wrong. That's what makes this -- When you have a transcript -- Don't try to equate the two. George bush did not try to move the ball to something else. The Sunday shows. Actually, miss rice did say terrorist attack. It's there in the transcripts. It's not that she put the whole thing on the video. It's just that there were people trying to -- clearly trying to -- Are you still trying to sell it as a protest? No. I can't even believe you're saying that. This was happening in real-time. As soon as information was identified, it was released. There was no politicalization. The rose garden talked about it as a terrorist attack. Why did he go to a fund-raiser the day after the ambassador was murdered? What is happening here, it's stoked by the talk radio personalities and Fox News, it's an amazing thing. You're masters of this. Is this going to be an issue in the 2014 midterms? Will it help republicans or democrats? I don't think it will. To the extent the republicans stay mired in this instead of a positive agenda, I think it hurts them. I think this will be an issue in 2014 and a bigger issue in 2016. Hillary Clinton? 2:00, who is answering the phone in the white house? Yes, it is going to matter. It won't be the only issue. Jobs and the economy. They're number one. For a very narrow section of the republicans, this is their Whitewater. Their trumped up thing they want to go for. Most American feel heart-broken about the four Americans who died. They want to make sure it doesn't happen again. This election is about the economy. It's not about this. But it could have an effect in 2016. I agree. I agree with that.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.