(CNN) – Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, defended her initial comments about the September 11, 2012 attack that resulted in four Americans dead in Benghazi, Libya.
“When discussing the attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary,” Rice, who has come under fire for her early account of the attack, told reporters outside the United Nations on Wednesday.
CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 21, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: CEASE-FIRE REACHED IN GAZA CONFLICT… After more than a week of violence between Israel and Hamas, a cease-fire Wednesday promised to silence the warplanes and rocket launchers and restore a tense peace to the troubled region. The cease-fire, announced in a joint news conference in Cairo with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, took effect at 9 p.m. (2 p.m. ET). … Israel launched the conflict eight days ago with a stated goal of ending the frequent rocket attacks on southern Israel from inside Gaza. Hamas officials have termed it a criminal expansion of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.
DEVELOPED: JESSE JACKSON JR. QUITS CONGRESS, CITES HEALTH REASONS… Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress effective Wednesday, citing the need to spend time "restoring my health." Jackson, 47, announced his resignation in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner. … Jackson is the subject of several investigations. He won a 10th term this month, despite legal and health troubles. – Alan Duke
“The constituents of the Second District deserve a full-time legislator in Washington, something I cannot be for the foreseeable future,” Jackson wrote in his resignation letter. “My health issues and treatment regimen have been incompatible with service in the House of Representatives. Therefore, it is with great regret that I hereby resign as a member of the United States House of Representatives, effective today, in order to focus on restoring my health.”
Gut Check Full Service… Governor Pat Quinn announced today “Within five days, I will set forth a schedule for a special election to allow the people of the 2nd District to choose a new member of Congress to represent them in Washington. This election will be carried out in a manner that is fair to the electorate and as economical as possible for taxpayers.”
(CNN) - President Barack Obama took on the annual tradition of pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey on Wednesday, with Cobbler the turkey being the lucky bird.
"The only cobbler anyone's eating this Thanksgiving will come with a side of ice cream," the president said in the Rose Garden at the White House.
(CNN) – As congressional leaders and President Barack Obama search for common ground to tame the national debt as the weeks dwindle down to end of the year, House Speaker John Boehner said the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, must be included in deficit negotiations.
"We can't afford it, and we can't afford to leave it intact," Boehner wrote of Obama's signature healthcare initiative in the Cincinnati Enquirer. "That's why I've been clear that the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation's massive debt challenge."
(CNN) - U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Junior resigned from Congress effective Wednesday, citing the need to spend time "restoring my health."
Jackson, who announced his resignation in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, has been is the subject of several investigations and was recently treated at the Mayo Clinic for what was described as "several serious health issues."
Washington (CNN) - With the world facing “perilous times” and “anxiety stemming from economic challenges,” evangelical leader Franklin Graham is asking congregations to pray for President Barack Obama, even though Graham endorsed the president’s opponent in the 2012 election.
“Having just come through a divisive national election, I am urging pastors across this country to lead their congregations in praying daily for our president, Barack Obama … for wisdom, Divine guidance, and that God would accomplish His will and purposes,” Graham said in a statement. “While politics is noticeably partisan, prayer must never be partisan. Americans need to come together, and people of faith should lead the way, by praying diligently for our leaders whether or not they agree with them or their policies.”
(CNN) - Obama for America, the name of the president's re-election campaign, is already at work in an adjusted role as a policy advocate for President Barack Obama's second term.
Those on the campaign email list likely received a message Wednesday from the group, explaining the consequences of the so-called fiscal cliff and the president's plan in the ongoing negotiations to avert the economic disaster.
Washington (CNN) – Peace, one of two turkeys pardoned by President Obama last year, was euthanized Monday, according to an official who insisted the timing of the death - days before the Thanksgiving holiday - was not suspicious.
Rebecca Aloisi, vice president for marketing at the Mount Vernon Estate, confirmed that Peace had died after a weekend "illness." But Aloise knew neither the nature of the illness, the manner of death, nor what had been done with the remains of the large, edible bird.
Washington (CNNMoney) – Fiscal cliff negotiations are proving to be the perfect excuse for President Obama and the business community to smooth over a rocky four years.
The White House has struggled to make and keep friends in the business community, thanks to contentious policy fights over financial and health care reforms. Obama famously dubbed Wall Street as "fat cat bankers" and bashed health insurers for raising premiums and denying coverage.