CNN's GUT CHECK for May 8, 2013
May 8th, 2013
04:54 PM ET
12 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 8, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 8, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

SLAMMED: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION RESPONSE BLASTED AT BENGHAZI HEARING Top Republicans and witnesses ripped the Obama administration's response to last year's deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, calling key executive branch officials unresponsive in the critical hours after the assault and uncooperative in the investigations that followed. Our goal "is to get answers because their families (of the victims) deserve answers," said California Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which heard from State Department "whistleblowers" at a hearing on Wednesday. – Alan Silverleib Dan Merica

MORE: For a full account of the House’s Benghazi hearing, scroll down to What Caught Our Eye.

UNFIT: 17 Air Force officers stripped of authority to launch nuclear missiles… In an unprecedented action, an Air Force commander has stripped 17 of his officers of their authority to control and launch nuclear missiles. They are being sent to undergo 60 to 90 days of intensive refresher training on how to do their jobs. The action comes after their unit performed poorly on an inspection and one officer was investigated for potential compromise of nuclear launch codes, according to Lt. Col. John Dorrian, an Air Force spokesman. – Barbara Starr

MARKET WATCH: Dow adds 48 points to close at record high. S&P gains 0.4% to also hit new record.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
How many presidents have been only children?

DAN (@DanMericaCNN) & MARK (@PrestonCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

The much anticipated House committee hearing on the Benghazi terror attacks featuring State Department whistle-blowers today featured an ebb and flow of energy and excitement. Here are our four key moments:

– Emotionally responding to Clinton –

In what seemed like a response to Hillary Clinton's Senate testimony – in which she said “what difference, at this point, does it make” over how the violence started – Eric Nordstrom stressed it was important to get to the bottom of the attack.

“It matters to me personally, and it matters to my colleagues, to my colleagues at the Department of State,” he said, growing emotional. “It matters to the American public for whom we serve. And most importantly, it matters to the friends and family of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, who were murdered on September 11, 2012.”

– ‘Greg, we’re under attack’ –

In describing the night to the committee, Greg Hicks discussed how he found out about the Benghazi compound coming under attack. Hicks said he received a call from the then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens while the compound was being stormed.

"I found two missed calls on my phone, one from the Ambassador and one from a phone number I didn't recognize," Hicks said. "And I punched the phone number I didn't recognize and I got the Ambassador on the other end and he said, 'Greg, we're under attack'."

– Defending Clinton –

Although former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not mentioned at length during the hearing, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York defended former the former secretary of State.

“I find it truly disturbing and very unfortunate that when Americans come under attack the first thing some did in this country was attack Americans, attack the military, attack the president, attack the State Department, attack the former senator from the great state of New York and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and I would like to ask some questions about these attacks to get at the real facts,” Maloney said.

– Embarrassed –

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was the face of the administration in the days following the attack, and maintained in several media appearances its account of events – that the assault on the compound was the result of a demonstration that turned violent.

Later, the administration called the Benghazi attack an act of terrorism.

During the House hearing, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina asked how Hicks reacted to the interviews, where, he said Rice perpetuated a “demonstrably false narrative.”

“I was stunned, my jaw dropped and I was embarrassed,” Hicks said.

For more from the Benghazi hearing, check out the CNN Politics live blog.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Sanford will no longer appear in court for trespassing
Mark Sanford, elected to the U.S. Congress Tuesday in South Carolina, will no longer be required to appear in court this week to face allegations he violated his divorce terms after trespassing at ex-wife Jenny's beach house. A consent order from family court in Charleston County indicates the two parties reached an agreement ahead of the May 9 court date, under which Sanford admitted “that he is in contempt for this and previous instances of trespassing upon plaintiff's property.” – Kevin Liptak

Leading Drudge: 'What Difference Does It Make?'
If the buildup doesn’t disappoint, you can expect plenty of news out of the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing on May 8, 2013. The panel, which includes freshman U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, will review how President Barack Obama’s administration - including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - handled the Sept. 11, 2012 bombing at the U.S. consulate in Benghzai, Libya. – Tom Kertscher for the Journal Sentinel

Leading HuffPo: Not 'Worthy': Graham Issued Tea Party Warning
FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe had tough words for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and other congressional Republicans this week, warning that the Tea Party group wouldn't support candidates just because they are incumbents. During an interview with Yahoo News' Top Line posted Wednesday, Kibbe pointed to Graham's opposition to Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) filibuster on the Obama administration's use of drones as a reason the South Carolina senator may be challenged. – Mollie Reilly

Leading Politico: Benghazi hearing gets emotional
The dramatic and personal stories of State Department staffers — one of whom was in Libya at the time — injected real emotion on Wednesday into what was expected to be a purely political hearing on Benghazi. – Ginger Gibson

Leading The New York Times: Comeback Achieved, Sanford Takes Spotlight
After getting a few hours’ sleep, Mark Sanford made a victory lap Wednesday morning. He showed up on several national television news programs not only as the newly elected congressman from South Carolina’s First District, but also as a symbol of a political comeback many here and across the country thought could never happen. – Kim Severson

TRAIL MOMENTS
The political bites of the day

– White House charges Republicans are politicizing Benghazi –
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “This is a subject that has, from its beginning, been subject to attempts to politicize it by Republicans when, in fact, what happened in Benghazi was a tragedy. … This administration has made extraordinary efforts to work with five different congressional committees investigating what happened before, during and after the Benghazi attacks, including over the past eight months, testifying in 10 congressional hearings, holding 20 staff briefings and providing over 25,000 pages of documents.”

– Senate Republican leader lashes out at Labor nominee –
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL IN A SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “By all accounts Tom Perez is not just a man with a heart for the poor he is a committed, a committed ideologue who appears willing quite frankly to say or do anything, anything to achieve his ideological ends. His willingness, time and again, to bend or ignore the law and to misstate the facts in order to advance his far-left ideology lead me and others to conclude that he would continue to do so if he were confirmed to another and much more consequential position of public trust.”

– Border resources need to be sustained, even when focus is elsewhere, says Napolitano –
SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY JANET NAPOLITANO IN A SPEECH AT THE COUNCIL OF THE AMERICAS: “We have, you know, record amounts of man power, technology, whatever at the southwest border. To me, as a former governor of Arizona, one of the problems historically has been that those once – that once the attention is turned to something else, the resources go away. Those resources need to be sustained. This is a big border, it's a heavily trafficked border and we know we can do even more to secure it so let no one think there's not a commitment to doing that.”

FLOTUS responds to Christie’s lap-band surgery
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NBC: “I think Governor Christie is terrific. His family is wonderful, and I wish them the best. The one thing that I will say is that there are millions of people like the governor who struggle with adulthood obesity, and that's one of the reasons why I think 'Let's Move' is so important, because we want to start working with kids when they're young so that they don't have these challenges when they get older.”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN

None. No presidents have been only children.

While Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were the only child born from the parents that produced them, all had half-siblings and therefore are not considered only children.

Roosevelt had a much older half-brother – James. Ford had a half-brother and two half-sisters by his father’s second marriage and three half-brothers by his mother’s second marriage. Clinton had one half-brother, Roger Clinton Jr. and Obama has one-half brother, Malik, from his father’s first marriage.

That said, even though every president has had some sort of a sibling, Gut Check can’t confirm whether they liked them.

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Erin (@Erin_in_AR) for correctly answering today’s gut check trivia question.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "Our goal "is to get answers because their families (of the victims) deserve answers," said California Rep. Darrell Issa"

    But the Newtown victims apparently didn't even deserve a vote. Grandstanding witchhunt with a tight script. That's all we witnessed today. And CNN still refuses to report in any way on the grand partisan histories and ties to the GOP...including being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the GOP congress during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal...of the attorneys claiming to represent these witnesses (diGenova and Toensing). Why? Because that would somewhat rain on the parade CNN has scheduled and would make it far harder to mischaracterize grandstanding, pontificating Republican conspiracy salesmen and their coached witnesses, whose testimony wasn't all that damning really, as having "ripped" the POTUS etc. And why no reports on the fact that Issa refused to let Ambassador Pickering testify? Same reason. Any peeking behind the curtain is not allowed when the GOP/Teatrolls are feeding the MSM the salacious red meat manufactured controversies it needs to perpetuate a 24/7 "news" cycle and give their bobblehead pundits something to chatter about.

    May 8, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Larry in Houston

    # 1 ) Benghazi – that horse has been beat to death – how about the 5000 + that died in Iraq ? How about Afghanistan ? & the list goes on – Yes, the Obama administration should have gotten the memo – and Yes, they had people only 2 hours away – in Italy, or somewhere- but the republicans are not going to let up on this one. Truth be known, Obama will probably not ever live that down. It's a mistake – It was an accident – I'm sure IF they (the administration) had it to do over again, they would have gotten that crew in there from Italy, or wherever the closest base was, to help those guys get Out. But It's Past Tense. Go & Learn from this. I mean, come ON, we were once "under attack" at pearl harbor.
    # 2 ) As far as the "unfit" 17 goes – they need to abide by the rules – plain & simple – maybe they need a "re-fresher" course.
    # 3 ) Market Watch – as the "dubya" would say : Stay the Course !!! ( of course)
    # 4 ) The FLOTUS ? well, she said good words about Christy – what else can I say ?
    # 5 ) Graham & the "freedom works" president Kibbe ? LOL – well, ever since Obama got reelected, they GOP has been having "infighting" within their own group. Sounds like 1/2 of them don't agree with one another, in some way, shape or form.
    # 6 ) As far as 'ol Mitch "Lashing out" LOL – This guy would "lash out" at his own Mother over anything trivial, It's a wonder he gets along with his wife, in my opinion.
    # 7 ) and Sanford ? (that's a bigger laugh of the day) LOL – well, all I can say for S.C. is – - Good Luck, & Congrats !

    May 8, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. Blinded by the republican lie

    Nothing but a witchhunt...

    May 8, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Assa, the gop stooge and nra lacky for the brain dead gop and champion of wasting taxpayers money on useless hearings trying to tarnished Mrs Clinton will just cause more of us to vote for her .some dem should run againest this clown who doesn't represent his district ,and just wants his ugly face on tv ,see you in the mid terms assa.

    May 8, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. rs

    Fascinating- despite the expected hyperbole and overheated rhetoric, the GOP today produced... vapor. Evene manufacturing the hearing about this tragedy one would expect something- maybe even anything that might shake the status quo. Conspiracy theory.. space aliens... anything. Nope, NOT like Watergate. Meanwhile the hypocracy is piled ever higher. Issa is a piece of work.

    May 8, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Name willard

    Obama are too big lots problems his word moouth

    May 8, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. Donna

    Blinded by the republican lie
    Nothing but a witchhunt...
    ----–
    Tell it to the families of the 4 dead Americans that died as a direct result of Obama and Hillary Clinton's incompetence. Would you say the same thing if it was one of your children that had died?

    May 8, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Name willard

    I am belived that presdient obama are lots problems with team for 4 year

    May 8, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. rs

    Tell it to the families of the 4 dead Americans that died as a direct result of Obama and Hillary Clinton's incompetence. Would you say the same thing if it was one of your children that had died?
    ____________________________________
    So, wise Donna, what would have prevented the attack? Hmmmm? We had NO TROOPS in Benghazi, the nearest air base with troops was in Italy, and the American diplomatic corp and their security were in Tripoli (look at a map).

    You know the GOP cowards act like the world ends when brave Americans die doing a hard job in a difficult place when it suits them. Otherwise they could care less. Do you have the slightest inkling on how many places around the world Americans are stationed conducting non-military work? That one place got attacked on one night resulting in deaths is a tragedy, but statistically irrelevant. Those diplomats knew the risks- that is what makes them brave and Republicans just bad actors. If the death of children affects you I imagine you were crushed by Newtown, and support full gun control. No? Then you're just another GOP hypocrit.

    May 8, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. Yanni

    Issa is not even reprimanded by the house for his wrongful accusation of the most admired public servant Secretory Clinton after his accusation was found baseless

    May 8, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "Would you say the same thing if it was one of your children that had died?"

    Nah...I'd probably just filibuster legislation designed to help stop it from happening again and then happily take campaign donations from the lobbyists who asked me to do so. Wait...we were talking about Newtown, right?

    May 8, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  12. Liberal Democrat

    I voted for Obama in both elections and am,..or was looking forward to voting for Hillary. But now it looks like they both first totally messed up the reaction to the Bengazi attacks and then totally covered up their incompetence. I just cant bring myself to vote either of them ever again. Oh, and back when Bush was Prez, we tried our best to bring charges and hearings onto Bush but there were just no facts or solid evidence to enable us to do this, that's why there were no special hearings or trials on Bush. We lied and lied and lied, just nothing seemed to stick. But now I hope Obama and especially Hilliary get totally busted.

    May 8, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. kochmachine

    Maloney uses the word "attack" in describing those murdered in Benghazi and those in this administration getting heat. Absolutely unconscionable!

    May 8, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  14. Catmandew

    1 question to all you posters out there, what does Iraq and Afganistan have to do with Benghazu? They are totally different places and the circumstances were totally different. Many Democratic Representatives voted for those wars also. Bush didn't just send our people and equipment to fight like Obama did to Libya. He asked congress like he was supposed to. And congress approved it too so he wasn't the only one that was misinformed. Funny no one notices Syria has WMDS in spades and they're right next to Iraq wonder where they got them from?

    May 8, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |