August 6th, 2013
04:55 PM ET
12 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for August 6, 2013

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

COMING SEPTEMBER 16: CROSSFIRE & AC 360° LATER TO DEBUT, WOLF BLITZER TO ADD 1 PM HOUR OF NEWSROOM TO HIS SITUATION ROOM ANCHORING RESPONSIBILITIES. Full details

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end lower. Dow falls 94 points. Nasdaq loses 0.7%, S&P drops 0.6%.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he would run for governor of California on this day in 2003. Where did he make the announcement?

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

Next month will mark the one year anniversary since four Americans – including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens – were killed during a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

With Republicans charging that there is a White House cover-up and the Obama administration complaining of “phony” GOP-led congressional investigations, one thing remains clear: Benghazi – and what happened during the attack – does matter.

Or, as CNN’s Chief National Correspondent John King puts it: “Nearly a year later, Benghazi remains a flashpoint in Washington for two very different reasons: indefensible pre-attack policy decisions and irresistible post-attack politics. … There are legitimate questions about why repeated and specific warnings about the Benghazi security situation were undervalued or ignored.”

Tonight at 10 p.m. ET, a CNN special investigation will look into the Benghazi attack, the political ramifications of the fallout and what Benghazi means for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential run.

Some highlights:

- “That's precisely her (Hillary Clinton) culpability,” Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told CNN. “When you lead the State Department, decisions in one of the most dangerous countries in the world should rise to your level. That's your job to make sure those messages get to you.”

- Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, chairman of the committee leading the House Benghazi review, tells CNN that he wishes outside groups would stop referring to Benghazi in fundraising please. “But it isn't going to happen,” he says.

- Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, the retired Air Force general and a veteran of many Washington dramas, said GOP talk of a cover up is “a loaded word.”

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: U.S., Britain pull some staff from Yemen due to terror threat
Fears of an imminent terrorist attack in Yemen caused the United States to order some Americans to leave the country on Tuesday, while Britain pulled out its embassy staff amid continuing strife. A pair of suspected U.S. drone strikes killed four al Qaeda militants, and a bomb tossed into a mosque west of the capital, Sanaa, killed one person and injured 12, police told the state news agency SABA. – Tom Cohen

Leading Drudge: Woodward: 'It's Very Sad'
If Hell froze over, pigs took wing, sheep fell from the sky, and snow blanketed Hawaii, it still wouldn’t be as astonishing as Monday’s announcement that the storied Graham family is selling The Washington Post to a billionaire online-retailing entrepreneur. – Lloyd Grove for the Daily Beast

Leading HuffPo: The Urge To Purge
Florida Governor Rick Scott is planning a new effort to purge non-U.S. citizens from the state's voter rolls, a move that last year prompted a series of legal challenges and claims from critics his administration was trying to intimidate minority voters. – For Reuters

Leading Politico: Organizing for Action pitches help for Democrats
Organizing for Action is looking to help Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn, marking the first time that President Barack Obama’s political arm has explicitly crossed into Democratic politics. Several political operatives and potential donors told POLITICO that OFA Executive Director Jon Carson made the pitch to help Nunn in various discussions this spring. – Reid Epstein

Leading The New York Times: Senator Amplifies Her Voice to Referee Fiscal Showdown
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is charged with heading off what could be the first shutdown of Washington after three years of near misses. – Jennifer Steinhauer

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

– Clinton comments on Weiner, stays out of it –
FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN IN RWANDA: “Neither Hillary or I was ever involved in the political campaign and they understood that from the beginning. There are too many people running for mayor who have been my supporters. … We are 100 miles from that race and everyone understands that we are not going to be involved as long as our personal friends and people who we feel obligations are involved. So, the feelings I have are all personal and since they are, I shouldn't talk about them.”

– McCain labels Egyptian overthrow a coup –
REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN MCCAIN AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN EGYPT: “I am not here to go through the dictionary. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck.”

Gut Check Full Service: McCain is not in Egypt for the White House, but for Congress, says Press Secretary Jay Carney at Monday’s briefing… “I think they're there representing the United States Congress, the United States Senate.”

– Obama’s schizophrenic stance on terror, per Rep. Peter King –
REPUBLICAN REP. PETER KING OF NEW YORK IN AN INTERVIEW WITH MSNBC: “They have taken out a lot of the al Qaeda leadership. On the other side though, it's almost schizophrenic. On the one hand, he's saying that we're back to pre-9/11 and it's just going to be isolated attacks. On the other hand, we found out that he's extended the [National Security Agency] more than ever before. And that is a mixed message.”

– Iran’s new president has a message for the U.S. –
IRANIAN PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI IN A PRESS CONFERENCE: “What counts is a practical response on the part of the U.S. government. Not statements and communiques. So the entire moves and actions of U.S. government will be watched carefully.”

– Better not lose –
CONAN O’BRIEN ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “This is true though, for his birthday this weekend President Obama played golf with some friends and the winner got to ride in the presidential helicopter. Isn’t that cool? Yeah, the loser had to ride on a jet ski with Joe Biden.”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

CNN Political Ticker (@PoliticalTicker)
Obama calls for phase-out of mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie http://wp.me/p4HKM-1cdR

Callie Schweitzer (@cschweitz)
George W. Bush in "High Spirits" Following Heart Procedure http://j.mp/1cGFTxb

Adam Aigner-Treworgy (@AdamATCNN)
Jay @PressSec says he doesn't believe POTUS has talked to GW Bush but he "obviously wishes him well"

Stefan Becket (@stefanjbecket)
Sydney Leathers wrote a 2,300-word guide to sexting with politicians. http://www.xojane.com/sex/sydney-leathers-guide-for-sexting-with-politicians

Bill Schneider (@BillSchneiderDC)
.@deBlasioNYC & @Quinn4NY could very well produce a runoff in the #NYC Mayoral race. Read my take on who could win: http://huff.to/171vZS0

Michael Tackett (@tackettdc)
Billionaire Soros backs De Blasio in NY mayor's race http://bloom.bg/1eq6HQ9

Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT)
Mary Matalin should win some sort of all-time spin award for "babies don’t move wherever they want": http://wapo.st/17vm0n9

Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak)
U.S. drone strikes kill Yemen militants – none killed were among 25 names on "country's most-wanted list": http://on.cnn.com/15Kp0xH

Gena Mazzeo (@GenaMazzeo)
Neilsen says it has linked Twitter chatter w/ TV ratings http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/545/article/p2p-76924664/ … Chatter->ratings. But are they sustainable, are ads seen?

TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN

From “The Terminator” to the governor's mansion – on this day in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger used an appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno to announce that he would run for governor of California.

"The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing," the actor said. "This is why I am going to run for governor."

The Austrian-born movie star and moderate Republican helped fuel speculation about his political ambitions during the summer, just as his movie "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" was being released.

Democratic Gov. Gray Davis was recalled, leaving an opening for Schwarzenegger. In the October election, the actor beat Democrat Cruz Bustamante.

Schwarzenegger would go on to lead California for eight years.

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

Congrats to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question correctly.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Joan

    CNN did it ever occur to you that maybe the CIA or FBI was actually watching him undercover and hoping to link him to others?. They may have been watching him and hoping it would lead to uncovering plots and other terrorists. Now you may have blown that. Way to go.

    August 6, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. I'm NOT a liberal

    Joan – Is what you have fact or are you just using it for the sake of arguing a moot point? Maybe isn't fact.

    August 6, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "There are legitimate questions about why repeated and specific warnings about the Benghazi security situation were undervalued or ignored.”"

    And instead of trying to answer those legitimate questions, the GOP/Teatrolls invented the answer that they want to be the truth and have spent all their time trying to prove that it's the truth...failing miserably at doing so despite several blatant attempts to manufacture evidence...instead of investigating first and then using the facts to determine what happened and where the failures and problems are that need to be addressed in the future. It's backwards investigating. Bottom line is that it was never an effort to determine what happened and what we can do to fix it, but rather a decision that what happened was X, the magical thing that would the GOP/Teatrolls the most in 2016, and then a massive effort to fabricate the narrative and manufacture the evidence that that's indeed what happened. And it's all just elephants in the strawberry patch.

    August 6, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "There are legitimate questions about why repeated and specific warnings about the Benghazi security situation were undervalued or ignored.”"

    And instead of trying to answer those legitimate questions, the GOP/Teatrolls invented the answer that they want to be the truth and have spent all their time trying to prove that it's the truth...failing miserably at doing so despite several blatant attempts to manufacture evidence...instead of investigating first and then using the facts to determine what happened and where the failures and problems are that need to be addressed in the future. It's backwards investigating. Bottom line is that it was never an effort to determine what happened and what we can do to fix it, but rather a decision that what happened was X, the magical thing that would help the GOP/Teatrolls the most in 2016, and then a massive effort to fabricate the narrative and manufacture the evidence that that's indeed what happened. And it's all just elephants in the strawberry patch. Meanwhile, the GOP/Teatrolls are just trampling strawberries in their effort to locate them, while the MSM pretends the mess they leave behind is actually jam and tries to feed it to us.

    August 6, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  5. I'm NOT a liberal

    Democrats obviously equal haters. Just look at their posts.

    August 6, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. tom l

    Anybody ever hear of David Ubben? Why does it not concern you that nobody knows where Hillary was? Why has there not been one survivor that was on the ground that has testified? Why is the CIA making their people take lie detector tests to make sure they don't talk? Why did CNN find pertinent information at the embassy days after the attack? Why did Obama go to the UN 2 weeks later and still talk about the video being the influence for this? Why did Susan Rice go on all of the talk shows talking about a video knowing full well it wasn't a video? Why did Libyan jets pick up the survivors? I have many many more questions. It seems that none of you on the left want to ask those questions nor find out the answers. So sad.

    August 6, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Joan – Is what you have fact or are you just using it for the sake of arguing a moot point? Maybe isn't fact."

    Maybe you don't get to know and pretending that legitimate reasons why suspects don't get arrested...on a regular basis by law enforcement around the country...need to be "proven" in order to contradict accusations that themselves have in no way been proven, is crazy talk. The RWNJs in this country have gone completely off the deep end with their "I accuse without any evidence and then you have to disprove it" theory of guilt. It's BS.

    August 6, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. I'm NOT a liberal

    @tom l
    Anybody ever hear of David Ubben? Why does it not concern you that nobody knows where Hillary was? Why has there not been one survivor that was on the ground that has testified? Why is the CIA making their people take lie detector tests to make sure they don't talk? Why did CNN find pertinent information at the embassy days after the attack? Why did Obama go to the UN 2 weeks later and still talk about the video being the influence for this? Why did Susan Rice go on all of the talk shows talking about a video knowing full well it wasn't a video? Why did Libyan jets pick up the survivors? I have many many more questions. It seems that none of you on the left want to ask those questions nor find out the answers. So sad.

    All your questions are garbage that the Faux "News" lie machine dreamed up.

    August 6, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Joan

    To "I'm NOT a Liberal", notice I said that MAYBE they were watching him and they MAY have thought he could lead them to more information. Obviously I don't know for sure but neither do you. I have often thought that in a rush to get Breaking News, the media often does more harm than good and reports things that may blow covers or thwart some important plans. Freedom of the press needs to be tempered with some common sense.

    August 6, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. I'm NOT a liberal

    Sniffit

    "Joan – Is what you have fact or are you just using it for the sake of arguing a moot point? Maybe isn't fact."

    Maybe you don't get to know and pretending that legitimate reasons why suspects don't get arrested...on a regular basis by law enforcement around the country...need to be "proven" in order to contradict accusations that themselves have in no way been proven, is crazy talk. The RWNJs in this country have gone completely off the deep end with their "I accuse without any evidence and then you have to disprove it" theory of guilt. It's BS.
    ----
    The Harry Reid school of logic dictates that you don't need proof. You can accuse without proof as he's done on numerous occasions. Example Romneys taxes. So get off your high horse because the bottom line is your chit does in fact STINK.

    August 6, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. don in albuquerque

    Gee, like many investigations, they may have been waiting to see where trail would lead. Takes a real genius.

    August 6, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. Larry in Houston

    LOL – Thanks CNN for the laugh of the day. Jay Carney says What ?? McCain is over in Egypt for what ? LOL . . ."representing who ? the U.S. Congress ? WoW !! Well, to be perfectly honest, that is un-real, isn't it ? I don't know if you ( cnn) will print this or not, and I really don't care. But let me put it this way, I'm not taking up for Reagan, but he wouldn't ever approve of letting a congressman go over to another country, to Just "Represent" the Congress of the U.S. Isn't this getting out of hand ?? LOL – well, like I've been saying all along, If you took all the POTUS's , and I mean every one of them , all the way back to Eisenhower, ( excluding JFK) b/c he wasn't in office to make any sort of Judgement) I'm talking about both bushes / Clinton / Reagan / ford / carter / Nixon /LBJ / Obama / shrink them all down to size, place them all in a paper bag, shake up the paper bag, then place the bag on a table, which ever comes out first, you've pretty much got the same person. nobody has any kahunas, even Obama, I think he's afraid of Putin, especially since the Snowden issue. . . Tell you what I think, Eisenhower was not afraid of anybody. That's who we really need in that W.H. . . . but, I guess the "circus" will go on . . .

    August 6, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |