CNN's GUT CHECK for May 15, 2014
May 15th, 2014
04:51 PM ET
7 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 15, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 15, 2014 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

MAD AS HELL… Veterans Secretary responds to sharp criticism on Capitol Hill: Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki told a Senate committee on Thursday he was "mad as hell" about allegations of deadly waiting times and cover-up at VA hospitals. "Any allegation, any adverse incident like this makes me mad as hell," Shinseki said at the first congressional hearing since reports of 40 deaths in Phoenix due to a lack of timely care for American veterans.

… BUT NOT RESIGNING: Despite calls for his ouster, Shinseki told lawmakers that he has no plans to resign. "This is not a job," he said. "I am here to accomplish a mission that I think they critically deserve and need and I can tell you over the past five years we have done a lot to make things better. We are not done yet. I intend to continue this mission until I have satisfied either that goal or I am told by my commander-in-chief that my time has been served."

DO LIKE BEYONCE: House Dems: Focus on 'all the single ladies'… Party officials recognize that Democrats' chances of retaking control of the House are remote at best, but by zeroing-in on unmarried women, who helped propel President Barack Obama to his second term, they believe they can shrink the GOP majority. More than 60% of the candidates included in the House Democrats' "red to blue" program – which funnels resources to top tier races – are women. – Deirdre Walsh

RESPONDER-IN-CHIEF: A familiar role for the former president … Bill Clinton has never had a problem getting into the muck of politics. Since leaving the White House in 2001 and stepping into the role of the Democrats' elder statesman, the former President has continually shown why he rose from humble roots in rural Arkansas to president of the United States in the first place: his political chops and willingness to use them. – Dan Merica

EXPECT GOP TO POUNCE: U.S. could have acted sooner on Boko Haram, official says… Robert Jackson, the principal deputy secretary for African affairs, told a Senate subcommittee that the initial debate within the State Department over a terror label "was really about the Nigerian attitude towards designation" for the Islamic extremist group that advocates Sharia law. Pressed by Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, Jackson acknowledged that "in retrospect, we might have done it earlier. I think the important thing is that we have done it and that we've offered a reward for the top leadership of Boko Haram's location." – Laura Koran

REMEMBERING 9/11: President Barack Obama memorializes 9/11 victims at the September 11 Memorial Museum: "We come together, we stand in the footprints of two mighty towers, graced by the rush of eternal waters who look in the faces of nearly 3,000 innocent souls, men and women and children of every race, every creed from every corner of the world and we can touch their names and hear their voices and glimpse the small items that speak to the beauty of their lives. A wedding ring, a dusty helmet, a shining badge. Here we tell their story so that generations yet unborn will never forget."

THE BUZZ: The 8 worst places in the world to be religious … Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has kept a list of the world's worst abusers of religious rights. As the most recent report notes, it has never lacked for material. Persecutions of people of faith are rising across the globe. Among the most worrying trends, according to the State Department, are "authoritarian governments that restrict their citizens’ ability to practice their religion." The 8 worst countries: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan.

MARKET WATCH: Stocks fall across the board after Wal-Mart's disappointing results. Dow sheds 166 points. Wal-Mart tumbles 2.4%.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, under fire for deadly waiting times at VA hospitals, is a wounded veteran himself. How many times was Secretary Shinseki wounded in battle?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNN Politics: On the comeback trail with help from the Clintons… It's a large district in and around Philadelphia. It's not a swing seat; it's a safe Democratic stronghold—not a nail biter. But in this midterm election, the 13th Congressional District race has attracted some national attention and some rock star fundraisers: Bill and Hillary Clinton. – Gloria Borger, Kevin Bohn and Brian Rokus

Leading Drudge: NYT Shock Memo: 'Our Journalism Advantage Shrinking'… A 96-page internal New York Times report, sent to top executives last month by a committee led by the publisher’s son and obtained by BuzzFeed, paints a dark picture of a newsroom struggling more dramatically than is immediately visible to adjust to the digital world, a newsroom that is hampered primarily by its own storied culture. – Myles Tanzer from Buzzfeed

Leading HuffPo: Net Neutrality One Step Closer To Death… U.S. telecommunications regulators on Thursday formally proposed new "net neutrality" rules that may let Internet service providers charge content companies for faster and more reliable delivery of their traffic to users. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has come under fire from consumer advocates and technology companies for proposing to allow some "commercially reasonable" deals in which content companies could pay broadband providers to prioritize traffic on their networks. – Reuters via Huffington Post

Leading Politico: The big biz of spying on little kids… The NSA has nothing on the education tech startup known as Knewton. The data analytics firm has peered into the brains of more than 4 million students across the country. By monitoring every mouse click, every keystroke and every split-second hesitation as children work through digital textbooks, Knewton is able to find out not just what individual kids know but how they think. It can tell who has trouble focusing on science before lunch — and who will struggle with fractions next Thursday. – Stephanie Simon

Leading NY Times: At 9/11 Museum, a Promise to Never Forget… President Obama on Thursday toured the museum commemorating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and declared a resolve to never let terrorists shatter the spirit of America. – Peter Baker

Leading CNN Money: GM's recall total hits 10 million… The recall nightmare at General Motors just won't end. General Motors has recalled another 3 million autos, bringing the troubled automaker's total for the year to about 10 million. – Chris Isidore

Gut Check Flashback… Hillary Clinton at an event in March: "I am impressed by the new CEO of GM, who was dealt a very bad hand."

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

What does Condoleezza Rice think about the 2016 field?
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE RICE IN AN INTERVIEW WITH OZY...
On Jeb Bush: "I think Jeb would be fantastic. … First of all, nobody, Jeb hasn't said whether he will run. He's a friend. I hope he does, frankly."
On Ted Cruz: "While I don't agree with Ted Cruz on everything, he's energetic. He's working hard. He loves his country. And from time to time when I disagree, I'll tell him."
On Marco Rubio: "Marco Rubio is also a fantastic young presence in the party. Great background. Speaks volumes to the American Dream. Speaks volumes to who we are as Americas, which is that we are not of a particular ethnicity, or nationality or religion. We are every color, shape and size."
On Hillary Clinton: "First, Secretary Clinton obviously hasn't decided what she's going to do. I have a lot of respect for her. … I'm a committed Republican. I'll continue to fight for that party, and I'll fight for that nominee."

Thank you Idaho
HARLEY BROWN, A POLITICAL NEWCOMER WHO IS RUNNING FOR THE REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL NOMINATION IN IDAHO, DESCRIBED HIS POLITICAL STYLE DURING WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S DEBATE: "As it says on my motor cycle club, 'Hey, diddle, diddle, right up the middle,' that is my style."

SERIOUSLY: THIS DEBATE WAS AMAZING.

– Come on America… –
SETH MEYERS ON HIS NBC LATE NIGHT TALL SHOW: "According to a new survey, 55% of Americans think that they are smarter than the average American. Said the average American, ‘55%, that's almost half.’”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Mark Preston (@PrestonCNN)
cnn's Michelle Jaconi, @mjaconicnn, delivering the keynote speech at the google event for media. http://instagram.com/p/oBRTMGPtgy/

Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN)
New Quinnipiac 2016 poll in Ohio indicates Clinton still ahead of potential GOP opponents, but her lead has shrunk http://cnn.it/1lj9RK8

Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel)
Carlyle CEO David Rubenstein predicts Jeb-Hillary 2016 but "I thought Carter was going to get reelected, so my ability to predict is modest"

Henry C.J. Jackson (@hjacksonAP)
Strong 2016 reporting in this @sppeoples piece - Business execs skeptical of Christie's chances (from @AP) http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268743/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=XWc1gF2n

Rebecca Berg (@rebeccagberg)
You too could have a private lunch with Bill and Hillary Clinton! For a price. http://washex.am/1v9UmLk

reason (@reason)
Louisiana subsidizes Duck Dynasty, now Bobby Jindal will be part of the season premiere – http://bit.ly/RUMa2n

Timothy P Carney (@TPCarney)
Yes, Jindal personally benefits from his state's subsidies to Duck Dynasty–but he tried to curb those subsidies http://www.nola.com/movies/index.ssf/2013/03/louisiana_film_leaders_says_ji.html

Jim Roberts (@nycjim)
#Turkey rescuers find body of miner clutching note to his son. Heartbreaking. http://bit.ly/1iP7BY9 pic.twitter.com/xK2p7tmT8x

Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand)
My new @TIME OpEd on our effort to support student activists in fight to end campus sexual assault: http://ti.me/1hO37kU Because #1is2Many

wandrew (@religital)
"Antonio Banderas may be cast as Pope Francis in biopic" http://feedly.com/e/q043JXhc

Callie Schweitzer (@cschweitz)
All the junk food you love is pricier this year http://j.mp/RSHF8m

TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN

After attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, Eric Shinseki was commissioned as a second lieutenant and served two combat tours with the 9th and 25th Infantry Divisions in Vietnam.

During his years of service, Shinseki was wounded three times, including when a mortar round hit him in the shoulder and chest and when a helicopter crash broke the future VA secretary's jaw and arm.

It was in April 1970, however, that Shinseki stepped on a landline in Vietnam and had part of his right foot blown off. Despite the injury, Shinseki remained in the service and earned two Purple Hearts and three Bronze Stars for his time serving in Vietnam.

In an interview with PBS, Shinseki was asked why he stayed in the service after his third injury.

"The reason I stayed on active duty at the time I did was because I had the utmost respect for the young American soldier I encountered in a place called Vietnam," he said. "And even though we came back to a country that wasn't quite sure that we did great work there, that young soldier did everything we asked of him and her and never complained. And I just thought that I could not serve in a better organization–that's why I stayed."

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

No winners today. Better luck tomorrow.

GOT NEWS?
Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits: gutcheck@cnn.com
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing gutcheck@cnn.com

WANT TO SIGN UP?
Do you have a friend who wants to sign up for GUT CHECK or our new CNNPolitics Breaking News Alerts? Click here, log on and scroll down.


Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    They should put the va under the ACA and the veterans would get MUCH BETTER service for LESS MONEY!!!!!

    May 15, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Tommy G

    "I am here to accomplish a mission that I think they critically deserve and need and I can tell you over the past five years we have done a lot to make things better.
    --

    Yet ANOTHER Obama administration incompetent that refuses to resign and Obama refuses to fire. OUR VETS ARE DYING BECAUSE OF THESE PEOPLE!!! And yet no heads roll. It is clear he has FAILED at accomplishing his mission if this stuff is going on. He didn't just get there either. He has been there a while.

    How many Americans have to die at the incompetent hands of this adminstration before ANYBODY is held to account?

    Fast & Furious – Hundreds, maybe thousands, or dead Mexicans, one dead American that we know about
    Benghazi – 4 dead Americans, many injured.
    VA – hundreds? thousands? of dead vets denied the care they needed.

    Is this the change you all voted for?!!

    May 15, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    @Tommy G
    "I am here to accomplish a mission that I think they critically deserve and need and I can tell you over the past five years we have done a lot to make things better.
    -

    Yet ANOTHER Obama administration incompetent that refuses to resign and Obama refuses to fire. OUR VETS ARE DYING BECAUSE OF THESE PEOPLE!!! And yet no heads roll. It is clear he has FAILED at accomplishing his mission if this stuff is going on. He didn't just get there either. He has been there a while.

    How many Americans have to die at the incompetent hands of this adminstration before ANYBODY is held to account?

    Fast & Furious – Hundreds, maybe thousands, or dead Mexicans, one dead American that we know about
    Benghazi – 4 dead Americans, many injured.
    VA – hundreds? thousands? of dead vets denied the care they needed.

    Is this the change you all voted for?!!
    --------------
    "How many Americans have to die"?
    Well Bush got up to 4000 American soldiers killed, and many more 1000's non Americans and got off free so Obama has a ways to go before he gets in trouble. A ways to go on executive orders to anywhere near the record too. And don't forget the 9/11 deaths on his watch with warnings. Loooong way to go.

    May 15, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "OUR VETS ARE DYING BECAUSE OF THESE PEOPLE!!!"

    NO they are not. First, any causal connection has not been proven yet...not in terms of any actions or failure to act on the part of Shinseki or any policies he put in place. Second, these are quite long-standing systemic/institutional problems that pre-date Obama's presidency (see Walter Reed scandal). That these particular issues are coming to light and need to be addressed is precisely the point. Just because they surfaced now does not mean they are the fault of whoever happens to be in charge now. He should have an opportunity to address them and attempt to fix them. Only if he fails at THAT, then he should resign. Your ridiculous, hysterical hyperbole and your knee-jerk attempt to levy partisan blame-game attacks, because you see it as an opportunity to damage Obama and the Dems, are deeply disrespectful of the servicemen and women this affects and show a complete disregard for the seriousness of the issue.

    May 15, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    In fact, your partisan scalp-hunting game and immediate turn to demands for resignations because you think it's wonderful fun to try to disrupt the administration and spend all your time trying to tear it down...all of that...will only achieve one thing: delay. How many more have to suffer while you delay and obstruct people from trying to implement solutions and fixes? Hmmm? All because you'd rather self-righteously and selfishly use the issue for what you believe is political gain?

    May 15, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. don in albuquerque

    Tommy G
    Your assertions are ridiculous and childish. You do realize that every thing you mention points right back to George W Bush. The person has not been born yet that could fix everything that idiot left this country in six or eight years. They will probably not be fixed in twenty. Just like the rest of the GOTP all you do is screech about the issues which your party created. God forbid trying to help fix them.

    May 15, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    Rice "On Ted Cruz: "While I don't agree with Ted Cruz on everything, he's energetic. He's working hard. ..."
    -------–
    Isn't that the type of polite thing you say about the crazy but creepy guy so he doesn't get mad at you?

    May 15, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Is this the change you all voted for?!!"

    Nope. While we fully expected that some things would change, in that all the latent racism in the country and partisan conservative crazy would surface in a big way upon the election of a black Dem as POTUS, that was not the change we voted for...it was just an unfortunate side-effect we knew could not be avoided. That clear things up for you a bit, champ?

    May 15, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Tom l

    Sniffit,
    While I agree with you about it being too soon for the dude to resign I do find it odd ironic and laughable that you would accuse someone of being too partisan. You couldn't be more partisan. It's not possible

    May 15, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    Bring VA rules within the purview of ACA Laws. Period.

    May 15, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. tom l

    Did Sniffit really just accuse someone of being too partisan and using an issue for political gain?

    May 15, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    This has been going on for decades and while it's a big problem and should not be happening to our veterans. The reason it has come to,light is because of all these men and women who are in deep psychological crisis thanks to the Iraqi war and Afghanistan.

    May 15, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. 2_indy1600

    According to wiki, this man was chosen for an earlier position by Bill Clinton originally. Eventually history will have to ask how Obama's legacy could've differed with out R-obstrucion and D-corruption. With friends like these he wouldn't be in the alphabet benghazi,aca,irs,va soup he's in. Just put the Clinton's back on the stand, and leave Obama alone.
    They both know just how to perform under oath.

    May 15, 2014 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  14. ZuluAlpha

    This creep needs to go bye bye. The next person filling this position needs to be as well qualified as humanly possible.

    May 15, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. Scottish Mama

    To tommy g, this is the change, the vet scandal and abuse has gone on before Obama was in office. This is where the change begins, finding the wrongs to our protectors and giving them better than they are getting now. Change starts with acknowledging the problem.

    May 15, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. Scottish Mama

    Fast n furious started in 2006 by Bush adminitration. Tommy G the uninformed.

    May 15, 2014 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  17. Scottish Mama

    The posts about Serco is ongoing, I wrote a posts about KMOV.com here in St. Louis Mo is having other workers in other states blow the whistle on this government contractors ripoff of tax payers money. Which is money that could pay for our vets and the underinsured easily. Come on Serco workers blow the lid off this wasteful spending of our tax dollars.

    May 15, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  18. J Anthony

    @Donna: nice attempt trying to justify the legalized bribery of our post-Citizens United electoral politics. Are you naive or are you on the take as well? "Selling of ideas?" You have got to be kidding.

    May 15, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  19. tom l

    Did I just read in Forbes that Jill Abramson was fired from her job because she was "pushy" and that she reportedly was fired also because she was concerned that she wasn't making as much money as her male predecessor? But hey, at least the NY Times SAYS they're for women's rights.

    May 15, 2014 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki is a honorable man in an over stressed , over crowded , under staffed , under funded , bureaucracy .

    It's easy for GW Bush to go bike riding with 40 vets on his ranch . It's hard to provide quality health care for 24.5 million veterans . It's easy to send people to war , It'd not so easy to bring them home .

    May 16, 2014 01:38 am at 1:38 am |