CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 2, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
Obama: U.S., Germany united in sanctioning Russia for Ukraine crisis … As growing Ukrainian violence turned deadly Friday, President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to seek harsher sanctions against Russia if Ukraine doesn't stabilize in time for elections this month. Obama said any further sanctions on Russia would target specific sectors of the Russian economy, but he would not go into detail. He did say, however, that "the idea that you're going to turn off the tap" on all energy trade between Russia and Europe was "unrealistic." – Nick Paton Walsh, Michael Martinez and Victoria Butenko
Boehner moves to create select committee to investigate Benghazi … House Speaker John Boehner announced Friday he will form a select committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. "The administration's withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built," Boehner said in a statement announcing the new panel. Boehner said the select committee would “elevate the investigation to a new level.” – Deirdre Walsh and Dana Bash
STATE SEPT. SPOKESWOMAN MARIE HARF: “Everything that this committee would look at has already been looked at ad nauseam by multiple committees … What's the point?”
GOP SENS. KELLY AYOTTE, JOHN MCCAIN AND LINDSEY GRAHAM: “We applaud the decision of Speaker John Boehner … We call on Majority Leader Harry Reid to take similar action and to work with Speaker Boehner to make the Select Committee a joint effort between the House and Senate.”
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID:“While Republicans try to gin up yet another political food fight, Senate Democrats will remain focused on fostering economic growth for all hard-working Americans.”
KERRY SUBPOENAED TO TESTIFY OVER BENGHAZI DOCUMENTS ... House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa announced Friday he has subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about the terror attack in Benghazi. The California Republican called on Kerry to appear at a May 21 hearing. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of withholding documents from Congress that were previously subpoenaed. The terror attack in eastern Libya in September 2012 killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. – Dana Davidsen
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: “These actions are not a responsible approach to congressional oversight, they continue a trend of generating unnecessary conflict for the sake of publicity, and they are shockingly disrespectful to the secretary of state.”
As CNN's Mark Preston first reported this morning: DEMOCRATS EYE FEBRUARY FOR 2016 KICK-OFF ... The first votes cast in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination would take place in February 2016, according to a proposal that cleared a major hurdle Friday at a Democratic National Committee meeting here in the nation’s capital. The proposed nominating calendar would have the Iowa caucuses take place on February 1, New Hampshire primary on February 9, Nevada caucuses on February 20 and the South Carolina primary on February 27. All other states would have to wait until March 1 to hold a caucus or primary and be required to do so no later than June 10.
The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee approved the proposed calendar dates along a unanimous voice vote. The full DNC membership will vote on the measure in August. It was one of several rules and procedures addressed by the Rules committee that will govern how the Democratic Party chooses its next presidential nominee.
POLITICAL BATTLE OVER JOBS REPORT ... A mostly positive jobs report Friday didn't stop Republicans from criticizing the White House over the economy. Soon after the Labor Department announced that the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs last month (more than economists had predicted), some top Republicans went on the attack.
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER PELOSI: “Unfortunately, Republicans continue to stand in the way. Men and women in our country working full-time jobs are stuck raising their families in poverty, yet Republicans refuse to raise the minimum wage."
HOUSE SPEAKER BOEHNER: “While it's welcome news that more of our friends and neighbors found work in the past month, this report also indicates more than 800,000 Americans left the workforce last month, which is troubling.”
THE BUZZ: MCHALE ON HOSTING WHCD: ‘WEIRDEST GIG OF ALL TIME’ … Joel McHaleis excited to host this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, but admits that he and his predecessors say it’s the “weirdest gig” of all time. “I called Conan. I called Seth. I called Jimmy. And I called Craig Ferguson, to gather information,” McHale told CNN's Jake Tapper. “And it was … all pretty much the same advice, which was, ‘this will be the weirdest thing you ever do and it will be the most exhilarating thing you ever do … And keep it short.’”
MARKET WATCH: Despite a modest Friday decline, stocks end higher for the week. Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all gain about 1%.
Which former president died on the day of White House Correspondents’ Dinner, thereby causing the event to be cancelled?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: First on CNN: Rubio backs GOP Senate candidate in Colorado
Cory Gardner, the all-but-certain Republican nominee for Senate in Colorado, picked up a marquee national endorsement on Friday. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a likely contender for the 2016 presidential nomination, is urging his supporters to contribute to Gardner's bid to unseat Sen. Mark Udall. – Peter Hamby
Leading CNNMoney: Hiring is up in April, unemployment down
The jobs recovery is chugging along, but the labor market remains far from fully healed from the crisis. The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, the strongest month for job growth in two years, the Department of Labor said Friday. That number blew away economists' forecasts, and stocks rose following the news, although they have since fallen back. The oft-quoted unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, down from 6.7% in March.- Annalyn Kurtz
Leading Miami Herald: Gov. Rick Scott says he backs medical marijuana bill
As the families of children with intractable epilepsy watched from the public gallery, the House voted 111-7 and sent a compromise bill to the Senate, which is expected to approve it and send it to the governor Friday, the final day of the legislative session. Gov. Rick Scott surprised supporters and told reporters late Thursday that if they pass it, he will sign it. – Mary Ellen Klas
Leading Drudge: What Big Ears You Have
Angela Merkel should ask Barack Obama to destroy her NSA file when she meets the American president in Washington this week, a leading German opposition politician has told the Guardian … The Greens (political party) warn that failure to address the intelligence monitor scandal would risk undermining the credibility of the western alliance during the Ukraine crisis.
Leading HuffPo: Fox News Cuts Away From Obama Press Conference Because Nobody's Asking About Benghazi
Fox News cut away from President Obama's press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday because people weren't asking Obama questions about Benghazi. Obama's conference came just as House Republicans announced that they were forming a select committee to further investigate the 2012 attacks, but Fox News apparently grew frustrated that he was getting questions on the situation in Ukraine and the botched execution in Oklahoma. When a German reporter stood up, Fox News host Harris Faulkner told viewers that the network was cutting away, and that it would stay away unless someone asked about Benghazi. – Jack Mirkinson
Leading Politico: The Senate’s disappearing Fridays
It’s 8 a.m. on a Friday. Do you know where your senators are? Probably not in Washington, where it’s been months since the Senate conducted real business on a Friday, apart from brief housekeeping and pro forma sessions. On Thursday, senators voted in the early afternoon and most exited the Capitol about 2:30 p.m., not to return until late Monday afternoon. To be fair, the House had left an hour earlier. – Burgess Everett
Leading New York Times: Tea Party Challenge to McConnell Hits a Skid
For Matt Bevin, the main challenger in the Republican primary to topple Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the campaign could be boiled down to this, his one chance to try to confront his opponent in person, in the crowded ballroom of a Marriott hotel … Mr. Bevin, 47, has been forced to defend himself for showing up at a cockfighting rally; for padding his résumé; and for backing the bailout of big banks when he worked as an investment adviser, then calling the rescue “irresponsible” as a candidate. – Jonathan Weisman
The political bites of the day
– Obama: ‘Pained me to see … strains in relationship’ with Germany over NSA Spying –
PRESIDENT OBAMA IN A JOINT NEWS CONFERENCE WITH GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL: “This is something that is deeply important to me … It has pained me to see the degree to which the Snowden disclosures have created strains in the relationship … But more broadly, I’ve also been convinced for a very long time that it is important for our legal structures and our policy structures catch up with rapidly advancing technologies.”
– Obama calls for review of death penalty after botched killing –
PRESIDENT OBAMA AT THE NEWS CONFERENCE: “What happened in Oklahoma is deeply troubling … The situation in Oklahoma I think just highlights some of significant problems there … I'll be discussing with (Attorney General Eric) Holder and others to get an analysis of what steps have been taken, not just in this particular instance but more broadly in this area … I think we do have to as a society ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues."
– Begich: Obama challenge "irrelevant" in Alaska
SEN. MARK BEGICH, D-ALASKA, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH REAL CLEAR POLITICS: “"I don't think we should apologize for it (Obamacare). I don’t think we should be defensive about it. I think there is a strong, good, right story to tell … The president challenging me on this is kind of irrelevant … That’s not how I campaign. I look toward what Alaskans care about.”
– King: Only Jeb worries me in 2016 -
Rep. Peter King, R-New York, in an interview with AM970 radio: “Quite frankly, other than Jeb Bush I don’t really see anybody else in the Republican Party that I should be that worried about.”
– Ginsburg: I’m not going anywhere –
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG TO THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: It's expectable. I'm now the oldest judge on the court … I can't say that I ignore it, but I have to do what seems to me to be right … I do know that once I feel I am slipping, I will not stay here, because this is a very hard job … But that time, thank goodness, has not yet come."
– 'Kid president' reveals his favorite thing about being ‘president’ –
KID PRESIDENT AT A POLITICO EVENT: "I kissed Beyonce."
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Jen Buesinger Sperry (@jenbuesinger)
Breaking: Clashes, fire in Odessa leave dozens dead as Ukraine crisis flares. @SenRonJohnson & @RepEliotEngel on #CNNsotu Sunday 9a ET #CNN
Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui)
Cantor says Select Committee needed to "force the administration to end its stonewalling and come clean" on Benghazi http://1.usa.gov/1fB3BQr
Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram)
Rep Frank Wolf (R-VA) was 1st mbr to call for select cmte in November, '12.
The nice thing about having a Benghazi select committee is you can roll it over into the Hillary presidency.
Rebecca Berg (@rebeccagberg)
I'm impressed Harry Reid was able to fit minimum wage, equal pay and the Koch brothers into his Benghazi statement pic.twitter.com/enmpjqqHAH
Josh Weinstein (@JElvisWeinstein)
I'm not really interested in more Bengazi BS but I would love it if "gazi" replaced "gate" as the go-to scandal suffix. #watergazi
Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN)
First on CNN: Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to meet with top Democrats & labor leaders while in Nevada this weekend http://cnn.it/1kwjHYJ
Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDCNN)
THIS. Senate subway driver outlasts every senator: cnn.com/2014/05/01/pol… (my piece on the D. Chapelle, a great human at the Capitol.)
Christopher S. Brown (@chrisbrowntv)
In honor of #NerdProm weekend here in Washington, may we present: "Jim Manley's 11 Types of DC Reporters."... http://fb.me/1j9v207LZ
CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics)
Finally Friday. Just one more day until the #nerdprom! Full #WHCD coverage Saturday 8pET @CNN http://cnn.it/1i0EQvt pic.twitter.com/A1aEZPNhqj
Jennifer Scoggins (@JenScogginsCNN)
Booked for #insidepolitics w/ @JohnKingCNN this Sun @ 8:30am: @jmartNYT, @maggiepolitico, @margarettalev & @mkraju. #WHCD
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
On March 8 1930, the White House Correspondents’ dinner was canceled when Chief Justice William Howard Taft, former President, died on the day of the event. Ironically, hours after Taft’s death another Supreme Court justice, Edward Terry Sanford, died unexpectedly.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Erin Robinson (@SomeWherErin) and Enrique Muñoz (@bingeMAFIA) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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