June 5th, 2014
05:19 PM ET
5 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for June 5, 2014

CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for June 5, 2014 | 5 p.m.
—  n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

LAWMAKERS TOLD BERGDAHL WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED IF DEAL WAS LEAKED ... Senators were informed at a classified Sen ate briefing on Wednesday with the White House that the U.S. obtained credible information that if anything about the Bergdahl prisoner exchange swap became public, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would be killed. Obama administration officials showed a so-called "Proof of Life" video of Bergdahl at the briefing, but the session failed to convince numerous skeptics that swapping Taliban terror detainees for the captured Army sergeant was the right thing to do. Meanwhile, other senators said they believed that Bergdahl’s health appeared to be in poor condition in the video. (See reactions from both sides in HOT SOTS below.)


MCCAIN: I WOULD HAVE REJECTED THE DEAL ... Republican Sen. John McCain, himself a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, says his "heart goes out" to Bowe Bergdahl, but slammed the deal that swapped five Guantanamo Bay detainees for the captured Army sergeant. "I wanted him home. I didn't want to risk the lives, and don't want to risk the lives of Americans," McCain said on The Lead with Jake Tapper. "I would never agree with that." Asked if he would have rejected the deal, even if that meant Bergdahl would still be held prisoner in Afghanistan or Pakistan, McCain says he would have. – Jake Tapper, Sherisse Pham

BERGDAHL BACKLASH SHOCKS WHITE HOUSE ... White House officials expected controversy when the deal was announced to free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for the release of five Taliban detainees from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Despite the feel-good moment in the White House Rose Garden featuring President Obama and Bergdahl's beaming parents last Saturday, the five-for-one trade was sure to create an uproar, a White House official acknowledged. What came as a surprise to White House aides, one official says, was the barrage of harsh personal attacks aimed at Bergdahl and even his family. – Jim Acosta

Gut Check Full Service: Security worries lead officials to call off the welcome home celebration for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Hailey, Idaho.

OBAMA ON BERGDAHL SWAP: “I MAKE NO APOLOGIES” ... President Obama stressed Thursday he has no regrets about the decision. "I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody's child–and we don't condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back," he said at the end of the G7 summit in Belgium.

THE BUZZ: INSIDE POLITICS: THE CASE OF THE MISSING TWEETS ... When news of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s return home in exchange for five Taliban prisoners broke last week, a handful of politicians took to social media to send a welcome home message to the former prisoner of war. But a few days into the Bergdahl swap controversy, some lawmakers and congressional candidates quickly retracted their tweets, including Iowa GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Massachusetts, and Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio. Cochran, who faces a competitive runoff to retain his Mississippi Senate seat after 36 years, deleted the first tweet below and tweeted out a much different message four days later.

May 31: Sen. Thad Cochran (@SenThadCochran)
Welcome home Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. A grateful America thanks you for your service.

June 4: Sen. Thad Cochran (@SenThadCochran)
Details of Pres Obama’s Taliban prison exchange & propensity to ignore the law raise serious natl security questions: 1.usa.gov/TeLRA5

MARKET WATCH: Another record-setting day for Dow and S&P 500 after European interest rates are cut. NASDAQ gains 1%.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer Below)
What four words are written on the official POW/MIA flag?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Bob Gates was ‘very uncomfortable’ with prisoner swap idea in 2011
Then-Secretary of Defense Bob Gates was “very uncomfortable” with the idea of a Guantanamo prisoner swap for Bowe Bergdahl when it was raised in 2011, a former senior Defense Department official familiar with Gates’ thinking told CNN. – Gloria Borger

Leading CNNMoney: How much $ do you need to be happy?
When asked how much would do the trick, just over half of people surveyed in CNNMoney's American Dream poll said it would take less than $100,000. Nearly a quarter of the people who took the poll, conducted by ORC International, said between $50,000 and $74,999 would work. That calls to mind the results of a Princeton study, which found that emotional well being rose with income, but not much beyond $75,000. – Jeanne Sahadi

Leading HuffPo: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
A new ad campaign by national veterans group VoteVets.org Action Fund takes aim at GOP Sens. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Richard Burr (N.C.). Their qualm: Both senators talk about the importance of supporting services for veterans while voting against increases that would pay for such services. – Kasey Varner

Leading Politico: Big Brother: Meet the Parents
You’ve heard of Big Oil and Big Tobacco. Now get ready for Big Parent. Moms and dads from across the political spectrum have mobilized into an unexpected political force in recent months to fight the data mining of their children. In a frenzy of activity, they’ve catapulted student privacy — an issue that was barely on anyone’s radar last spring — to prominence in statehouses from New York to Florida to Wyoming. – Stephanie Simon

Leading New York Times: Democrats See a Break in a Gain for the Tea Party in Mississippi
It is a major headache for the national Republican Party and perhaps the biggest break Democrats have been handed in this difficult election year: a three-week runoff campaign in Mississippi between a party elder, Senator Thad Cochran, and the sometimes unpredictable Tea Party favorite, Chris McDaniel. – Jonathan Weisman

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

– Lawmakers disagree on whether Bergdahl’s condition was poor –
SEN. ANGUS KING, I-MAINE, ON CNN’S “NEW DAY”: “He looked terrible. And I think that video should be released at some point. He could barely talk. He couldn't focus his eyes. He was downcast. He was thin. He looked like a man - I looked around the room, as that video was shown, and I think it was clearly effective and when the video stopped, it wasn't very long, maybe 30 seconds, there was a dead silence in the room.”
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLORIDA, TO REPORTERS WEDNESDAY AFTER VIDEO BRIEFING: “I remain as deeply skeptical about this as I did before this conversation that we just had with the administration. For two days now, we've asked questions, many of which have not yet been fully answered.”

– GM axes 15 after report reveals new information on botched recall –
GM CEO MARY BARRA AT A PRESS CONFERENCE: “What it (the report) found was a pattern of incompetence and neglect ... It represents a fundamental failure to meet the basic needs of these customers ... We simply didn't do our jobs. We failed these customers ... While everybody who was engaged on the ignition switch issue had the responsibility to fix it, nobody took responsibility ... Throughout the entire 11-year history, there was no demonstrated sense of urgency, right to the very end."

– Reid has a Hillary moment: ‘What difference does it make?’ –
REPORTER TO SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID: “How come it seems that you were the only one who got a heads up the day before?”
REID: “I am not sure I was the only one. I mean they made a big deal over nothing. Was it Friday or Saturday – what difference does it make? What difference does it make?”

Begala on GOP’s response to Obama’s handling of Bergdahl –
DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST PAUL BEGALA ON CNN: "If Barack Obama cured cancer, Republicans would attack him for putting oncologists out of work."

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Ed O'Keefe ‏(@edatpost)
24 Republicans joined all voting members of Senate Democratic caucus in confirming Sylvia Matthews Burwell to lead HHS

Peter Baker (‏@peterbakernyt)
Obama hails Burwell vote: "Sylvia is a proven manager who knows how to deliver results" and has ties with "Democrats and Republicans alike."

Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN)
In @QuinnipiacPoll, 45% in PA say they'd back @HillaryClinton, 41% back @GovChristie. Margin w/in sampling error | http://bit.ly/1hBCplj

Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN)
With the "Hard Choices" book release closing in, here's a look at the groups that have Hillary Clinton's back http://cnn.it/1hC5vkI

Mark Leibovich (@MarkLeibovich)
"Can you hate the federal government but love the money it spends on you?"The Mississippi paradox wapo.st/1pGAHBi via @washingtonpost

Zach Wolf (@zbyronwolf)
.@AmericanXRoads statement on @senthadcochran was like a "drive by shooting" a member of GOP establishment told @JohnKingCNN #insidepolitics

Alex Burns (@aburnspolitico)
Tea Party Express PAC $ email: "We just got off the phone with the McDaniel campaign and they need our help!"

Evan Pérez (‏@evanperez)
Bergdahl backlash: Ted Cruz says he plans bill to stop all Gitmo transfers http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/ted-cruz-bergdahl-guantanamo-prisoner-stop-107483 .html#.U5C3x6ZaDe1.twitter …

Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto)
POTUS says #Russia must cease support of separatists and recognize new #Kiev govt. No mention of #Crimea

Alex Castellanos (@alexcast)
.@BarackObama says he talks w/ Putin on phone a lot. suggest he stop of Russians will have bases in Florida. #naive

John Newsome (‏@JohnNCNN)
First Lady Michelle Obama (@FLOTUS) will deliver remarks Saturday at a private memorial service for Dr. Maya Angelou

Senate Democrats ‏(@SenateDems)
Read Sen. Al Franken's commentary on #tbt college pics of @SenateDems. Do it now. http://www.buzzfeed.com/senatorfranken/as-dem-senators-tackle-college-costs-a-tbt-post-e04l

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
The four words that appear on the official POW/MIA flag are “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.” The flag was designed by a World War II pilot almost 30 years after his service.

Newton Heisley was commissioned in 1971 to design a flag that would garner support for the efforts of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia. While working on the design, Heisley’s son, 24-year-old solider Jeffrey Heisley, contracted hepatitis during a Marine Corps training program.

Jeffrey Heisley’s shrunken condition is what inspired his father to draw his silhouette on the POW/MIA flag.

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

Congrats to Adam Sharp (@AdamS) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "You forgot to mention Gates, Panetta and Hillary Clinton all were opposed to this deal. And I know for sure the reason that they opposed. It's obvious, right Sniffit? I mean, how much clearer could it be?"

    That's over two years ago, especially for Gates. As soon as you can produce evidence for me that Gates, Panetta or Clinton were privy to any of the information, circumstances or negotiations beginning this past January that all led people to believe that there was a small and rapidly closing window for saving this guy's life, you let me know. So yeah, couldn't be any clearer that the MSM and GOP/Teatrolls trying to use Gates and Panetta or whatever in this argument are using irrelevant information and doing it for no other reason than to stoke the nontroversy.

    And BTW, when have I ever posted anything trying to call you or anyone else out by name when I wasn't explicitly responding to (and quoting) something you have said? Hint: I don't. You should be giving the rest of us the same respect instead of childishly trying to name people or call out "the gang" and thereby deliberately derail and poison the debate by trying to make things personal. None of this is or should be personal...at all...get that thru your tinfoil hat.

    June 5, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. just asking

    Senators were informed at a classified Senate briefing on Wednesday with the White House that the U.S. obtained credible information that if anything about the Bergdahl prisoner exchange swap became public, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would be killed.
    --------

    just another in the very long list of lies told by these pathological liars. they kept him alive for 5 years and was a valuable bargaining chip. dead he was worth nothing. since the lie of the guy being on death's door has been exposed, they are now scrambling for new lies to cover why they did inform congress of the release of gitmo detainees.

    maybe the dmeorcaty party should just rename itself to liars anonymous? nobody believes anything that they spew anymore. lying worse than two year olds caught with chocolate cake all over their face.

    June 5, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    ""If Barack Obama cured cancer, Republicans would attack him for putting oncologists out of work.""

    Indeed...and I'll say it again....if he walked on water, they'd have two responses:

    1. What, he can't fly? What a failure.

    2. See...I told you they can't swim.

    June 5, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. tom l

    blah blah blah You should be giving the rest of us the same respect instead of childishly trying to name people or call out "the gang" blah blah blah
    =======

    Says the dude who refers to republicans as "TeaTrolls" and without any evidence or proof calls anyone that dares to questions President Obama a racist or a bigot. And then the best part as he continues:

    "deliberately derail and poison the debate by trying to make things personal. None of this is or should be personal...at all...get that thru your tinfoil hat."

    So, perhaps you're not aware but you just made it personal by saying I wear a tinfoil hat (whatever that means) ANND you derail and poison any debate with your claims of bigotry or racism when someone has the audacity to question our president. Man, you are the least self aware person of all time.

    June 5, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "just another in the very long list of lies told by these pathological liars."

    Yeah....that threat is just soooooo out of character for these terrorist guys and it's just sooooo not believable that a party to a POW negotiation would threaten to kill the prisoner as a means of trying to increase their elverage at the bargaining table.
    -
    "since the lie of the guy being on death's door has been exposed"

    No it hasn't. In fact, Senator Angus King would beg to differ:

    “He looked terrible. And I think that video should be released at some point. He could barely talk. He couldn't focus his eyes. He was downcast. He was thin. He looked like a man – I looked around the room, as that video was shown, and I think it was clearly effective and when the video stopped, it wasn't very long, maybe 30 seconds, there was a dead silence in the room.”
    -
    "lying worse than two year olds caught with chocolate cake all over their face."

    Chocolate? Of course...racist....(lolz)

    June 5, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    -good riddance of these five that are eating free food, free medical care at tax payer expense. Great news for parents of Bergdahl that came home safely from illegal war. That drained millions and millions died in vain with GOP idiocy.

    June 5, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. just asking

    Gurgyl
    -good riddance of these five that are eating free food, free medical care at tax payer expense. Great news for parents of Bergdahl that came home safely from illegal war. That drained millions and millions died in vain with GOP idiocy.
    ---

    you mean the war the democrats voted for? the war obama called the good war? the war that obama escalated but then told the enemy when we would withdraw? you mean the war that has had the majority of the fatalities while obama has been in office? you mean that democrat war right?

    June 5, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  8. Chris-E...al

    Dems want and have tried to keep the poor poor B Clinton sent 0ur good paying textile jobs to south america and gave the fruit to illegals . We would love 2 have those 11 to 20 buck hr jobs back . how do they sleep and hand out crumbs they have n0 job solutions except jobs bill that helps illegals find jobs building roads ? woopee .

    June 5, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. Donna

    Why did the government make all of the people in Bergdahl's platoon sign confidentiality agreements that kept them quiet about the circumstances surrounding his desertion? What were they trying to hide? They did the same thing with the survivors of the Benghazi attack. It sounds like intimidation tactics used when the truth could be damaging politically.

    June 5, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  10. smith

    After my debates with others on the Ticker about the legal procees I decided to some research when I got home from work. I have stated that Bergdahl's command can handle his case without a court martial. Here is my proof from military author and retired servicemember R. Powers-It's actually impossible to say with total accuracy what will happen to a deserter or absent member upon return to military control. In the civilian world, in most jurisdictions, the District Attorney (DA) decides what happens when a person is accused of a crime. In the military, that decision is made by the individual commanding officer(take note of). The commander decides how to process desertion and absentee cases after examining all the circumstances of the case, speaking with the accused, and conferring with his/her senior advisors and the JAG (Judge Advocate General) office. The commanding office can inpose an Article 15 or NJP, an other than honorable discharge(or both), or a court martial.
    In the majority of cases where desertion/AWOL is referred to trial by court-martial, the member is allowed to request "discharge in lieu of court-martial," which means they agree to accept an other-than-honorable conditions (OTHC) administrative discharge, without fighting it (i.e., waiving their right to a board hearing), in exchange for not being tried by court-martial.
    Being that the Pentagon has already stated they do not plan to punish Bergdahl on the judicial route and the fact that Bergdahl was held captive an Article 15(NJP) or an other than honorable dicharge seems likely. I rest my case on the facts.

    June 5, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. Thomas

    John McCain lost in 2008 , just a reminder !

    Close GTMO Now !

    June 5, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  12. J.V.Hodgson

    Typical CNN big quote of McCain saying No. hey CNN check your own shows because what he says he is a total flip flop of what he said when he appears on Anderson cooper in February many people on the senate committees clearly knew of the secret negotiations which got leaked casus he mentioned 5 detainees!!
    Now its a big surprise when Obama goes ahead (and does not tell anybody, already discussed) and implements it 30 days notice be damned like 90 days notice .
    Can you imagine the furore if he had been killed!?
    Awe shucks I forgot its Obama who I damned if he does and damned if he doesn't
    Stop playing childish games with a soldiers life. answer The question what would you have done differently... If you think not negotiating keeps him alive fantastic ( they've killed so many already) . great you have just told me we are prepared to leave our soldiers behind... PPS before the uproar starts ... stop finding him Guilty of desertion until he is charged and then convicted. Even so he should not be left behind.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    June 6, 2014 02:21 am at 2:21 am |