MSNBC host Chris Jansing asked Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.) Friday the question on everyone's mind: How does Ambassador Susan Rice's withdrawal from consideration for Secretary of State affect the fiscal cliff negotiations? Jansing seemed to imply in the interview that Republicans could then consider Rice's withdrawal a "concession" in the fiscal cliff negotiations.
CHRIS JANSING: What happened with Susan Rice, do you think that it is adding to, alleviating some of the tension that clearly is going on between some Democrats and Republicans over the fiscal cliff or has no impact at all?
TOM COLE: Frankly, obviously I don't know if it was Susan Rice's decision or the administration's decision, but I think she was going to have a pretty rough and tough nomination process, confirmation process, and that's a fight the president doesn't need right now, it would have been a distraction.
CHRIS JANSING: Does he get credit for that? Does she get credit for that? Do you say, "Okay, there's a concession that's been made here"?
TOM COLE: I think they they both get credit. I don't think that has much to do with the fiscal cliff. I'm sure that the president didn't want to make this move or have this made. But again, you can only fight so many battles. He's got a lot of other fights that are coming. This is one he didn't need, he needs and I think the country would be best served by someone that's a unifying figure and can side step some of these situations. It's unfortunate for the individuals involved, but it's a smart and, frankly, a very clear-eyed decision by the White House.