CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for May 9, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BENGHAZI PANEL CREATED, DEMS STILL WEIGHING OPTIONS … Will it be a boycott or a chaperone? House Democrats remained undecided Friday on whether they would join a select committee created by majority Republicans to investigate the Benghazi terror attack. The chamber's Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, described a split in her caucus over the matter in remarks to reporters that lambasted Republicans for what she called a "political stunt," "subterfuge" and a "diversionary tactic."
Boehner, meanwhile, named the seven Republicans to serve on the new panel chaired by GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, a former prosecutor. Joining Gowdy will be Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Susan Brooks of Indiana, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Martha Roby of Alabama, Peter Roskam of Illinois and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.
In a letter sent to Speaker Boehner later Friday afternoon, Pelosi stated that her caucus is still reviewing Boehner’s proposal, saying it “does not prevent unacceptable abuses by Chairman Issa in any meaningful way.” – Dana Bash, Deirdre Walsh and Tom Cohen
FUN FACT: Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia is the only lawmaker of the seven GOP members named to the select committee that is not an attorney. (h/t Virginia Nicolaidis)
MEANWHILE IN MEMPHIS … RNC EXERTS MORE CONTROL OVER PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES: CNN’s Mark Preston reports: The Republican National Committee overwhelmingly approved a measure Friday that will punish candidates seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination if they participate in debates that are not sanctioned by the national party.
The penalty is meant to give the RNC more control over the presidential nominating process after party leaders watched a nasty, drawn-out primary in 2012 that included 20 major debates. Only seven RNC members opposed the new “rule,” while 152 supported it.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR … RNC Chairman Reince Priebus also announced at the RNC meeting in Memphis that the 2016 Republican National Convention would be held no earlier than June 27 and no later than July 18. The rationale for holding the convention earlier rather than later in the summer is that it will give the Republican nominee the ability to focus his full attention on winning the general election in November.- Mark Preston
BEFORE HIS SPEECH SEN. RAND PAUL TELLS PRESTON: CLINTON SHOULD ‘ABSOLUTELY’ TESTIFY ABOUT BENGHAZI ON CAPITOL HILL … ”I think it’s really important that you know, for six months leading up to Benghazi, there were multiple requests for more security and she turned them down,” Paul said. “There needs to be an explanation as to why there wasn’t enough attention paid to the security requests and we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
INSIDE POLITICS: ARE RED STATE DEMOCRATS RETHINKING OBAMA? … For months, the political conventional wisdom has been that endangered Senate Democrats seeking re-election in red states would steer clear of President Obama and distance themselves from Obamacare. But there are three pieces of evidence this week that confound that strategy.
First, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas, invited Obama to view tornado damage with him in his home state. Then, the White House announced that Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, would appear with Michelle Obama for an event in with veterans in New Orleans on Saturday. Landrieu was unable to appear with the President when he visited Louisiana late in 2013. Finally, Sen. Kay Hagan, D- North Carolina, indicated support for expanding Medicaid as part of Obamacare in her state.
Don’t look for these Democrats to start sounding like Nancy Pelosi and Obama, but it is evidence that conventional wisdom can oversimplify things. – Z. Byron. Wolf
Gut Check DVR: Watch Inside Politics at 8:30am ET Sunday with CNN’s John King and guests Maggie Haberman, Robert Costa, Nia-Malika Henderson, and Julianna Goldman
PUTIN TAKES VICTORY LAP AROUND CRIMEA … Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Crimea on Friday to take part in Victory Day celebrations in Sevastopol, in what is his first visit to the disputed territory since Russia annexed it from Ukraine.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ON PUTIN: HE OWNS THE JOINT … “He does own the joint. And he’s gotten it literally without firing a shot,” Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Friday on “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” McCain, who has vehemently advocated for arming Ukrainians with weapons to defend themselves, says that Putin hasn’t had to pay much of a price to the U.S. for his actions in Ukraine. “The price he’s paid for that and his further fomenting unrest and perhaps even dismemberment of Eastern Ukraine has been that we’ve sanctioned a handful of people. He has paid no penalty whatsoever.”
THE BUZZ: NORTH KOREA STATE MEDIA CALLS OBAMA A MONKEY … North Korea's state media KCNA described President Barack Obama using racial epithets and likened him to a "wicked black monkey." The most offensive piece, published in Korean on May 2 under the title "Divine punishment to the world's one and only delinquent Obama," repeatedly refers to him as a monkey. It's not unusual for North Korea's propagandists to hurl vitriol at state leaders - especially those from the U.S. and South Korea. But the intensity and sheer volume of racial slurs in this latest piece surprised North Korea watchers. – Madison Park
MARKET WATCH: Dow finishes at record closing high. Despite Friday gains, NASDAQ and S&P 500 end lower for the week.
Which is the only mother-son pair to have served simultaneously in Congress?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Tax-writing congressman violated tax law
In Washington, Republican Rep. Todd Young helps write the nation’s tax laws, but back home in Indiana he violated state tax law, claiming a property tax deduction for a house he didn’t live in.- Curt Devine
Leading Atlanta Journal Constitution: AJC Poll: Carter in tight race with Deal, Nunn leading GOP Senate contenders
The poll has Gov. Nathan Deal three percentage points ahead of Democrat Jason Carter and finds that the governor’s approval ratings have fallen firmly below the 50 percent threshold. Michelle Nunn, the Democratic front-runner in the Senate race, has built leads against each of the five top GOP Senate contenders in a potential November matchup, though her lead against businessman David Perdue is particularly narrow. – Greg Bluestein
Leading CNNMoney: Is Beats a mistake for Apple? No diggity!
Apple is in talks to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion, according to several news reports. But if the deal does actually happen, Apple soon may be singing Dr. Dre's "I Need A Doctor." The Financial Times first reported Thursday that Apple is closing in on a purchase of the high-end headphones and streaming music service founded by rapper Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine. It would be Apple's largest acquisition ever - by a long shot. (Apple's biggest purchase to date was Steve Jobs' NeXT, for $400 million). – David Goldman
Leading Drudge: Pope: ‘Legitimate Redistribution’ Of Wealth
Pope Francis called Friday for governments to redistribute wealth to the poor in a new spirit of generosity to help curb the "economy of exclusion" that is taking hold today. – AP's Nicole Winfield
Leading HuffPo: Lawmaker Ignores His Own Facts To Make Debunked Benghazi Claim
Politicians are notorious for pushing witnesses to say things in hearings that will reinforce a certain conclusion. Somewhat less common is the lawmaker who completely ignores the testimony he elicits. But the creation of the new House select committee to investigate the oft-investigated Benghazi attack offers a fine example in Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.). – Michael McAuliffe
Leading Politico: Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity plans $125 million spending spree
The Koch brothers’ main political arm intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives, according to a memo distributed to major donors and sources familiar with the group. – Kenneth Vogel
Leading New York Times: Obama Urges Increased Energy Efficiency
President Obama on Friday stood between patio lights and women’s blouses in a Walmart here as he unveiled his latest executive actions aimed at increasing energy efficiency. Mr. Obama said that he had ordered $2 billion in upgrades to federal buildings to increase their energy efficiency, adding that the Department of Energy would also be adopting new standards that would be the equivalent of taking 80 million cars off the road. – Michael Schmidt
The political bites of the day
– Romney on minimum wage: ‘I think we ought to raise it” –
FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY ON MSNBC: “I think we ought to raise it, because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay, and I think communicating that is important to us.”
Gut Check Full Service: We’ve heard this before … Romney-Kennedy 1994 Massachusetts Senatorial debate: See 20:28:18.
– Rahm Emanuel backs Hillary Clinton for president –
Chicago Mayor RAHM EMANUEL in a statement through a pro-Clinton super PAC: “When I worked with her in the White House, I saw what an effective leader she was … As president, she would continue to move our country forward …Hillary is smart, she's determined, and most importantly, she is a champion for the American people … I'm proud to make my support for her official, and I'm even prouder to join more than two million Americans encouraging her to run.”
– Israel: Ball’s in Boehner’s court –
Rep. Steve Israel, D-New York, to reporters: “We are trying to find a way to make this work but the Republicans have shown no inclination to make it work. If this is going to be a true bipartisan inquiry we will participate. If it is engineered to be a Republican campaign strategy it is much harder for us to participate. We still wait for the Speaker to tell us option A or option B.”
– Boehner spox: Ball’s in Dems.’ court –
SPOKESMAN FOR HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER MICHAEL STEEL: The Speaker's office sent a response to Democrats to address Benghazi concerns. “The ball is in their court."
– House leader calls for U.S. security assistance in Nigeria –
HOUSE Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman ed Royce, R-CALIFORNIA, at a House Foreign Affairs Boko Haram Markup: “It's clear the Nigerian forces are struggling in this fight. Direct U.S. security assistance, intelligence and advisors in the field can make a big difference in rescuing these girls and combating this threat.”
– Pentagon: We know it’s urgent. We’re working on it –
Pentagon Spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby to CNN’s Barbara Starr: “I can’t speak for the other agencies that are participating in it. Our first six just got on the ground this morning. Everybody shares the same sense of urgency here but there hasn’t been a deadline given to them, a date certain where they have to come back with a list of recommendations. It is not like we sent them down there to do a report.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto)
#Putin in #Crimea today: "in places where people are ready to fight for their freedom, the enemy will never conquer" #Ukraine
Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto)
.@statedeptspox calls #Putin #Crimea visit: “provocative & unnecessary", adds "Crimea belongs to #Ukraine"
#Nigeria security forces had 4+ hours advance warning of #Chibok attack. Hear from our researcher: http://owl.li/wFzPt #BringBackOurGirls
Conor Finnegan (@ConorCNN)
Nigerian Defense Ministry has denied the claim made by @Amnesty International that security forces had advance warning of kidnappings #CNN
Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi)
Why the GOP's proposal on the #Benghazi committee fails to meet even a minimum requirement of fairness: http://goo.gl/kHCTlP
Ironic: Ms. Pelosi worries about minority rts on Benghazi special committee; in Senate under HR there are zero: no R amendments, no votes.
Matt Viser (@mviser)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “I thank Governor Romney for urging Republicans to do the right thing."
Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN)
You sure don't see this every day: The Senate Majority PAC shoots an anti-Tillis ad at his primary victory party http://cnn.it/1sasQc8
Tena Ezzeddine (@TenaNBCLA)
#Breaking: #NBA hires Richard Parsons of Time Warner as CEO of LA #Clippers after it's ban of #DonaldSterling. Clippers confirm hire. @NBCLA
Bret Baier (@BretBaier)
VP Joe Biden delivered the commencement address today at #UniversityofSouthCarolina–also home to #1 #NFLDraft pick #jadaveonclowney
Jen Buesinger Sperry (@jenbuesinger)
#FF @CNNsotu Guests this week @DWStweets @MicheleBachmann @RickSantorum @hilaryr @SusanPage @RameshPonnuru @ClaireShipman @JenSeniorNY @IrisKrasnow
Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner)
They say behind every great man is a great woman. Behind an #Ohio barkeeper & his 12 kids, there's a saint: j.mp/1su150b #MomsDay
Jake Tapper (@jaketapper)
friendly reminder: Mother's Day is Sunday.
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Rep. Frances Bolton, R-Ohio and her son, Rep. Oliver Bolton, R-Ohio, are the only mother-son pair to have served simultaneously in Congress.
Most of the time, the duo voted the same way, as they both represented similar populations in Ohio. In one instance however, Frances Bolton jokingly separated herself from her son after a voting disparity. After Oliver Bolton voted against a measure directly after his mother voted for it in the roll call, Mrs. Bolton whispered to her colleague next to her, “That’s my adopted son.”
Frances Bolton served from February 27, 1940 to January 3, 1969. Oliver Bolton served from January 3, 1953 to January 3, 1957 and again from January 3, 1963 to January 3, 1965, thus the mother-son pair served together for a total of six years.
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Congrats to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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'Joining Gowdy will be Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Susan Brooks of Indiana, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Martha Roby of Alabama, Peter Roskam of Illinois and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia."
Watch their war chests and how the money coming in for their campaigns AND spent by third party groups like PACs who support them now changes.
Clearly the only way the GOP can find to stir the blood of their right wing extremist party is to trot out yet again the Benghazi story. They are using the death of four Americans for nothing more than the most cynical fundraising purposes. Shame I say- shame on them.
Given the MSM's penchant for catering to RWNJ's as their guests on Sunday mornings, I'm guessing this Sunday morning is going to be a giant Benghazi circle jerk on every network. Have your tissues ready....
Id love to see Hillary's facial expression as she told the victims familys how they were going to get to the bottom of this and punish that nasty meany film producer guy. Do you think she was actually laughing on the outside as well as on the inside?
Kick out of nancy p
Demorcration are keep lied story what happened about benghizina
When the guys in the whote coats come to haul Harry Reid off to the asylum, the should go to the other side of thee building and pick up Bennie Thompsom too. The two have done as much to create hate and racial division in this country as Obozo and Holder and although the Obozo is corrupt, Thompson ad Reid are thieves of the highest order.