Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell questioned Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday's CBS This Morning over the increase in the number of children illegally entering the U.S., and whether immigration reform is going to be revived in Congress. Rose spotlighted that Rubio received "some political pushback" on the immigration issue, and wondered, "When will we see thorough immigration reform?"
The PBS veteran also noted that the Florida politician is a "leading critic of the V.A. health system," but oddly didn't ask a question about the ongoing scandal. Instead, he ran to Hillary Clinton's defense on the extent of her responsibility for the security lapses leading up the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
CHARLIE ROSE: Well, she [Clinton] has apologized because she said it happened on her watch. I mean, do you hold her personally responsible for the security failure that you cite?
The two anchors brought on Senator Rubio immediately after correspondent Vicente Arenas's report on the rise in the number of illegal immigrant children. Rose first asked, "What should we be doing about those undocumented kids, which are increasing in size? " The Republican answered, in part, that "it's an alarming story, and....this is something we should approach, first and foremost, as a humanitarian issue – not simply an immigration one."
Rose followed up by asking his "thorough immigration reform" question. The Florida senator asserted that "as far as the politics of immigration reform are concerned, it's the right thing to do for the country. I recognize that there is political resistance to that issue. But I also recognize...we were sent here to try to make a difference on an issue of extraordinary importance for our country."
When O'Donnell then asked whether the illegal immigrant children should be deported, Rubio pointed out that "if you allow children to come here and remain legally, you're going to create a precedent...We have to be very careful about that, because suddenly, you have, unwittingly, in an effort to do the right thing or a good thing, unleashed a massive humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexican border."
The two CBS anchors spent the rest of the segment on Hillary Clinton's recent interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer and her remarks on the Benghazi attack:
NORAH O'DONNELL: I want to turn now to the Benghazi story. In an interview last night, Hillary Clinton said she does not appreciate the politicizing of the Benghazi attacks and when asked if it's one more reason for her not to run, here's what she said.
DIANE SAWYER (from ABC News interview): Is that another reason not to run? Just too much-
HILLARY CLINTON: No. Actually – actually, it's more of a reason to run, because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball. We ought to be in the majors. And I view this as, really, apart from – even a diversion from – the hard work that the Congress should be doing about the problems facing our country and the world.
O'DONNELL: Senator, is this minor league ball?
RUBIO: I don't think the issue of Benghazi is minor league ball. Its is – four Americans have lost their lives serving our country. We need to investigate it, to understand what went wrong, so that the people responsible for those decisions can be held accountable; and so that we can put in place measures so that it never happens again. That, to me, is a very valid inquiry.
The State Department had, at its disposal, a steady stream of reporting about how dangerous – and how much danger that facility in Benghazi was in. It is a fact that they did not take sufficient security measures; and it is a fact that, perhaps, they shouldn't have even been there; and it is a fact that they did not have an extraction plan in place that was sufficient. Who made that decision, and is that method of operating still in place now? Because Americans serving in Tripoli today, in Libya, are in similar danger. And I think those are legitimate inquiries, and if she thinks that's not something we should focus on, then, perhaps, that gives you some insight as to why this happened in the first place.
CHARLIE ROSE: Well, she has apologized because she said it happened on her watch. I mean, do you hold her personally responsible for the security failure that you cite?
RUBIO: Ultimately, this was a systemic breakdown of the State Department's security apparatus, and she ran the State Department. She should have known of the dangers that existed there. In fact, in a hearing we had here a year and a half ago, I asked her specifically about meetings she had with the Libyan government, in which she was made aware of the fact that many of these militias that were providing some of the perimeter security were unreliable, and how dangerous Benghazi had become. The Brits had pulled out of Benghazi; the Red Cross had pulled out of Benghazi; the U.S. facility had already been previously targeted. So, not only has she not been held responsible, no one has been held responsible. I believe four individuals were suspended with pay. All four have returned to work. Who made this decision not to have sufficient security, and are those types of decisions still being made? Those are valid inquiries, and she has to have some level of responsibility, because if she's going to brag about her time at the State Department, she also has to talk openly about their failures.