CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for May 23, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
OBAMA TAPS CASTRO FOR HUD, DONOVAN FOR OMB … President Barack Obama nominated San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to be his next secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Friday, a move that comes as part of a wider cabinet shakeup and has stepped up interest in the rising Democratic star. The 39-year old, three-term mayor first gained national recognition when he delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention – the first Hispanic to do so … If confirmed by the Senate, Castro will replace Shaun Donovan, who the President will nominate as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Donovan is an original member of Obama's cabinet, starting with the president in 2009. – Jim Acosta and Dan Merica
Gut Check Flash Back: Castro in an interview for New York Times Magazine in May 2010:
QUESTION: “Would you accept a cabinet position?”
CASTRO: “Not likely, no.”
KERRY AGREES TO TESTIFY ON BENGHAZI: Secretary of State John Kerry has agreed to testify in June before the House Oversight Committee on the deadly Benghazi terror attack, according to a letter from his office to the panel that was obtained by CNN. Kerry was subpoenaed by Oversight panel Chairman Darrell Issa of California after new information surfaced that Republicans say supports their contention the Obama administration politicized its public response to the September 2012 assault. – Jamie Crawford
ISSA IN A STATEMENT: “As the State Department has moved away from pushing the Committee to accept an alternative witness, Chairman Issa accepted the Secretary’s offer to testify on June 12. The Committee looks forward to his appearance.”
CUMMINGS: GOWDY WOULD BE UPSET BY THIS: Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, a member of the House select committee on Benghazi, tells CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “The speaker has lost control of Issa. Issa is trying to inject himself into select committee’s business … Now here we have Mr. Issa trying to bring the secretary in ... It undermines the select committee.”
After having met with committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, Cummings says: “I think Trey would be a little bit upset about this. It’s his committee now and now he says Issa operating on the outside. The speaker said it would not be a circus but we’ve got a circus on the side.”
ETHICS PANEL TO PROBE EMBATTLED REP. MICHAEL GRIMM ... The House Ethics Committee will formally investigate whether Rep. Michael Grimm violated any of its rules. But the panel said it would defer its action for now at the request of the Justice Department, which is prosecuting the New York Republican. Grimm pleaded not guilty last month in Brooklyn to charges of filing false tax returns, mail fraud, wire fraud, hiring unauthorized aliens and perjury. – Deirdre Walsh
THE BUZZ: NBA WILL STILL FORCE SALE OF L.A. CLIPPERS, REBUFFS STERLINGS' OFFER ... The NBA will proceed with a vote to force a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, rebuffing an effort by co-owners Donald and Shelly Sterling to sell the franchise voluntarily, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Friday … His announcement followed reports earlier Friday about how Donald and Shelly Sterling agreed to a voluntary sale of the NBA franchise as the league prepares a vote on a forced sale, according to a source familiar with the situation. – Michael Martinez and Brian Todd
MARKET WATCH: S&P 500 sets closing record, capping a week of gains. Dow and NASDAQ also finish higher for the week.
Who are the only two war veterans on the House select committee on Benghazi? HINT: There is one from each party.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: HUD nominee Julian Castro's rise no surprise to Texas pals
As President Barack Obama's choice to become the next housing secretary, a focus on helping revitalize inner-city areas, colleagues in Texas say, will stand the 39-year-old mayor in good stead. "Based on his focus here in San Antonio on working to improve housing in the city's core and inner city, I suspect he would advance an agenda that has in mind family and children," said Mike Villarreal, the city's representative in the state legislature who is vying to replace Castro as mayor. "I think you're going to be seeing a secretary of housing who understands housing on a human level." – Halimah Abdullah
Leading Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Michelle Nunn joins calls for resignation of VA secretary
Michelle Nunn, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, this morning split with the Obama administration and called for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in response to a growing scandal over delayed treatment and faked records. “There is growing evidence that the Department of Veterans Affairs needs new leadership in order to reform its badly broken bureaucracy,” Nunn said in a campaign release. – Jim Galloway
Gut Check Full Service: West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, the Democratic nominee for Senate, on Friday afternoon also called on Gen. Shinseki to resign.
Leading CNNMoney: Best Buy to Silicon Valley: Please innovate more!
Best Buy's rehabilitation efforts have run into a formidable challenge: A shortage of sexy new products to breathe life into sagging sales. Retailers are having enough trouble luring customers into their cavernous stores, especially customers who want to buy and not just play with toys they can purchase online for cheaper. – Matt Egan
Leading Drudge: Blame Bush
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., repeatedly put the blame for the Veterans Affairs scandal on former President George W. Bush, while arguing that her party has worked hard for veterans in recent years. Pelosi took a shot at Bush while saying that the scandal is a high priority for Obama. "He sees the ramifications of some seeds that were sown a long time ago, when you have two wars over a long period of time and many, many more, millions more veterans," she told reporters during her Thursday press briefing. "And so, I know that he is upset about it."
Leading HuffPo: Leading The Way Kochs, Trump Take Advantage Of Voided Limits
Some wealthy donors have already blown past limits on campaign contributions to political parties that were voided by the Supreme Court's McCutcheon decision last month … Among those taking advantage of the new rules were billionaire conservative funder David Koch, reality television star Donald Trump, two-time Republican Senate candidate and wrestling executive Linda McMahon, hedge fund executive and neoconservative Paul Singer, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and casino billionaire Steve Wynn. The donations were disclosed in reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday. – Paul Blumenthal
Leading Politico: Rangel vs. Sharpton
For decades, they’ve battled for supremacy atop Harlem’s political order: Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, the polished committee chairman and power broker, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, the tracksuit-clad bomb-throwing civil rights leader.Now Sharpton, looking svelte and dapper on his daily MSNBC show, may have his chance to finally take out Rangel — at age 83 and in the toughest, almost certainly final, reelection fight of his 43-year congressional career. – Alex Isensdadt
Leading New York Times: In Policy Change, Justice Dept. to Require Recording of Interrogations
The Justice Department said Thursday that the F.B.I. and other federal law enforcement agencies would be required to videotape interviews with suspects in most instances, bringing the federal government in line with the practices in many state and local jurisdictions. It is one of the most significant changes in F.B.I. policy under James B. Comey, who took charge as the bureau’s director in September. Mr. Comey’s predecessor, Robert S. Mueller III, and senior bureau officials had once opposed the video requirement, saying the tapes could reveal agents’ interrogation tactics and discourage witnesses from talking. – Michael Schmidt
The political bites of the day
– Putin: U.S. backed coup d'état in Ukraine –
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNBC: “What happened there, to a large extent, the responsibility is to be borne by our European and U.S. partners who supported this coup d’état, submerging this country in chaos. Now they want us to clean up for the mess they created and this is the purpose of sanctions. But now all the sanctions are to pick up… people from my immediate circle, as they say, and punish them.”
– Hagel addresses sexual harassment in a speech to Naval Academy graduates –
DEFENSE SECRETARY CHUCK HAGEL AT THE Naval Academy commencement: “You will all be counted on to lead in helping eliminate sexual harassment and sexual assault of your sisters and brothers in uniform. You’ve seen what these crimes do to the survivors, their families, institutions, and communities – you know how they tear people and units apart, how they destroy the bonds of trust and confidence that lie at the very core, the center, the heart of our military. Take this knowledge and do whatever you can to make sure everyone, everyone is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve … What we need to remember – what our entire country needs to remember – is that these brave individuals don’t need to be avoided or stigmatized. They need to be embraced. They need to be helped.”
– FreedomWorks goes after Cochran for praising Obama in 2008 –
COCHRAN IN A VIDEO FLASH BACK: "I really like both the candidates very much and I thought we would be well served however the election comes out."
OBAMA IN A VIDEO FLASH BACK: “If you like your plan you can keep it.”
COCHRAN IN THE FLASH BACK: “He has the personal qualities to grow in the job even though he doesn’t have all of the experiences that some others have … He has proven that he gets along with people. He’s very affable and charming.”
– Grimes pitches Bevin supporters, independents: I’m not a Washington insider –
KENTUCKY DEMOCRATIC SENATE CANDIDATE ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES IN A LETTER: “Senator McConnell and his Washington lobbyist friends said a lot of negative untrue things about Matt Bevin and his family. Indeed, Mitch McConnell is trying to buy his way back to Washington, D.C. He will try that same strategy on me. I ask that you keep an open mind because I believe, despite the millions of dollars in TV ads, you will come to learn that you and I share a love of country and the Commonwealth. I am running because I believe we need a fresh, independent voice in Washington that puts Kentucky and its people first – not Washington insiders.”
– Christie: 'I would love to be the general manager of the Mets' –
N.J. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ON THE "Boomer & Carton" RADIO SHOW:
"I would love to be general manager of the Mets … If Sandy (Alderson, Mets’ GM) would put his crap in boxes and get out of there now, I'd be happy to go there now."
– Obama: "I never take free food' –
PRESIDENT OBAMA AT A VALOIS RESTAURANT IN CHICAGO: “No, no, you've got to take it.” (Hands the cashier two $20 bills). “I never take free food.”
Gut Check DVR: Watch Inside Politics at 8:30am E.T. Sunday with CNN’s John King and guests Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Martin, Nia-Malika Henderson, and Peter Hamby. And catch State of the Union at 9:00am E.T. Sunday with CNN’s Candy Crowley and guests Gov. Mike Pence, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Jeff Miller, Penny Lee, Corey Dade, Alex Castellanos, and Wes Moore.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Rep. Steve Stockman (@SteveWorks4You)
My name in Ukrainian. I am officially a poll watcher for Sunday's #Ukraine elections. #UkraineVotes #UnitedforUkraine pic.twitter.com/9FUP1zylZH
Emily Cahn (@CahnEmily)
Controversial GOP #CAGOV candidate could boost Dem turnout, a scenario one consultant called "a f****** disaster.” http://roll.cl/S0mbWT
Emily Schultheis (@emilyrs)
Nearly a million ballots already returned in California ahead of June 3 primary: http://goo.gl/z9I80l
Niels Lesniewski (@nielslesniewski)
Confirmed: a post-nuclear federal judge puts John Conyers back on the ballot in Michigan: http://roll.cl/1gpB6oU with @RollCallAbby
Peter Lattman (@peterlattman)
Get a load of the new sign being posted outside the @NYTimes newsroom pic.twitter.com/PkubYM1mFC
Paul R. La Monica (@LaMonicaBuzz)
Apple has its mojo back. iOS 8 coming. So is split. And remember Beats? Tim Cook making mark on $AAPL. Buzz video. http://cnnmon.ie/1oo7lVK
Sanford Bishop, Jr. (@SanfordBishop)
Congratulations to Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on being named President of the @BoyScouts!
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Reps. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, and Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, are the only war veterans of the twelve lawmakers selected for the House select committee on Benghazi.
Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. She deployed to Iraq in 2004 as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard and became one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pompeo became a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall after graduating from West Point. According to his bio, he also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the Fourth Infantry Division.
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Congrats to David Daniel (@CNNLADavid) and Erin Robinson (@SomeWheErin) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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