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%.
Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he would run for governor of California on this day in 2003. Where did he make the announcement?
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.
– “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.”
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
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.”
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
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Congrats to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question correctly.
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