Updated at 10:23 p.m. ET on 8/6
(CNN) – The decision to close a broad swath of American embassies and diplomatic posts across the Middle East in response to a terror threat was not an overreaction, President Barack Obama said Tuesday in his first remarks on the new security precautions.
The U.S. security posture throughout the Middle East, and especially in Yemen, was heightened after officials intercepted a message from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to a top ally in Yemen telling him to "do something." A worldwide travel alert was issued, along with the slate of embassy and consulate closings.
(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul sounded less than thrilled Tuesday when a radio interviewer pressed the Kentucky Republican about his association with a former aide, who once used a pro-secessionist "Southern Avenger" persona while hosting a radio show.
Jack Hunter, who acted as Paul's new media director and previously helped author a book with the senator, submitted his resignation in July.
Follow @PSteinhauserCNN Follow @KilloughCNN
(CNN) – Republican Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas announced Tuesday he will challenge Mark Pryor, the senior senator from his state and one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election next year.
"No one will outwork me in this campaign. I will always defend our shared principles when they are attacked by anyone. I will do the right thing, even when it's the hard thing. And I will never, ever forget how I was raised or where I come from," the freshman congressman told a crowd at his campaign launch in Dardanelle Tuesday.
New York (CNN) - A self-described "ex-madam" who claims she supplied fellow city comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer with escorts several years ago is facing charges of illegally distributing prescription drugs, authorities said.
Kristin Davis, 38, was arrested on Monday night and charged with selling Adderall, Xanax and other drugs. She's also accused of orchestrating the sale of approximately 180 oxycodone pills for cash.
(CNN) - The government has until September 4 to make its first response to a civil lawsuit filed by Jill Kelley, the Florida woman caught up in the scandal which led to last year's resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus. Kelley filed suit against the federal government in early June alleging her privacy had been violated by employees of government agencies.
Last week a federal judge granted a request to give the government 30 additional days before responding to Kelley's complaint. The government cited the length of Kelley's suit and the need to confer with multiple government agencies. Kelley's defense team did not oppose the government's request for more time.
(CNN) - Federal agents and prosecutors investigating the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi have filed charges against several people, including Ahmed Khattalah, a prominent member of a Libyan militia that officials believe was involved in the assault, people briefed on the investigation said.
The charges under seal are the first criminal counts to emerge from the probe.
Follow @politicalticker Follow @psteinhauserCNN
Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET on 8/6
(CNN) – It was some of the harshest criticism directed at Mitt Romney during his 2012 GOP primary battle: he was the “safe” candidate the establishment thought had the best shot of beating President Barack Obama.
And despite his general election loss, Romney still says his best advice for early state voters is to back a candidate with a viable shot of taking the White House.
(CNN) – Former President George W. Bush is recuperating well and is expected to leave the hospital Wednesday, after undergoing surgery Tuesday morning to insert a stent after a blockage was discovered in an artery.
The blockage was detected Monday during Bush’s yearly physical.
CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 6, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: FIRST CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED IN BENGHAZI ATTACK PROBE… Federal agents and prosecutors investigating the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi have filed charges against Ahmed Khattalah, leader of a Libyan militia that officials believe was involved in the assault, people briefed on the investigation said. With the anniversary of the attack looming, the Justice Department has come under criticism for the lack of public progress in the case. – Evan Perez – For more on Benghazi, scroll down to What Caught Our Eye.
FIRST ON CNN: IOWA'S STEVE KING HEADING TO SOUTH CAROLINA… King, whose hard line immigration rhetoric has angered some of his fellow Republicans and delighted Democrats eager to keep Hispanic voters in their fold, is quietly planning meetings with political activists in the early presidential primary state of South Carolina, CNN has learned. – Peter Hamby
(CNN) – The New Hampshire Democratic Party condemned an online game made by an anti-Hillary Clinton group that allows viewers to virtually slap the former secretary of state across the face.
In a fundraising email, the state Democratic Party called on elected leaders Tuesday to tell the group, which is also based in New Hampshire, that it "has no place" in the Granite State.