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.
How many presidents have been only children?
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.
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
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.”
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.
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