CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for June 9, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
VA AUDIT: OVER 63,000 VETERANS WAITING FOR CARE ... An audit of hundreds of Veterans Affairs facilities released Monday found that more than 63,000 veterans were waiting to be scheduled for care nationwide, and the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it was scrapping performance bonuses for all senior management in 2014 as part of its response to the review. According to the audit findings released Monday, a 14-day deadline for providing care to newly enrolled veterans such as those coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan proved "simply not attainable" due to growing demand and a lack of capacity. – Tom Cohen
Follow @GutCheckCNN Follow @sarafischer Follow @AlanSilverleib
Drew Griffin CNN (@DrewGriffinCNN)
VA audit: "…pressures were placed on schedulers to use unofficial lists…" to make wait times appear more favorable. AKA SECRET LISTS
Gut Check Full Service from @DeirdreWalshCNN: The bill sponsored by House VA Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Florida, allowing veterans who are on waiting lists to seek care outside the VA system will be on the House floor tomorrow, per House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office.
OBAMA PROMISES STUDENT LOAN RELIEF, SLAMS ‘FAR RIGHT’ ... President Obama announced Monday an expansion of a program that helps student loan borrowers manage their debt ... The plan will expand the criteria for an alternative repayment program, which caps monthly payments for certain federal student loans at 10% of a borrower's discretionary income ... Announcing the plan, the president took a jab at “far-right” Republicans who support “trickle-down” economics for not defending students against high loan costs. “If you're a big oil company they will go to bat for you,” Obama said. “If you're a student, good luck.”
Gut Check Full service: CNNMoney: Few benefit from Obama's student loan program
... AS HILLARY SAYS THE CLINTONS WERE ‘DEAD BROKE’ AFTER WH, RECALLS STRUGGLING TO PAY FOR CHELSEA’S EDUCATION: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the fact she's reportedly made $5 million in speaking fees since leaving the State Department in early 2013 by arguing that her family "came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt.” Clinton, pressed by ABC's Diane Sawyer in a clip of a larger interview that will air Monday night, added that her family had "no money" when they left the White House and "struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea's education." – Dan Merica
RNC SPOKESMAN JAHAN WILCOX FIRES BACK: “Despite a six-figure taxpayer funded income and a book deal worth $8 million, it’s laughable to think that Bill and Hillary Clinton left the White House broke. Between their million dollar mansions in New York and Washington and her ridiculously expensive speaking fees, it’s clear nobody could be more out of touch than Hillary Clinton.”
THE BUZZ: IN BENGHAZI CHAPTER, CLINTON SAYS MARINES WERE IN TRIPOLI ... Discussing the most controversial part of her tenure at the State Department in her new book, "Hard Choices" – the attacks on the U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of September 11, 2012 – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to gloss over the fact that Marines were not sent amid a worsening security situation in Libya, and were only sent after the attack.– Jake Tapper
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end slightly higher after a bevy of deals in the morning. Dow adds 18 points. S&P 500 rises 0.09%.
Who is the only First Lady in U.S. history to be subpoenaed?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: How did 6 die after Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance?
Much attention has been given to the claim made by the former platoonmates of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl that he is partly to blame for the deaths of six soldiers who were killed in the months after Bergdahl disappeared. Some soldiers have gone so far as to say the six died while searching for Bergdahl. Others say he is indirectly to blame - after Bergdahl vanished, essentially every operation became a mission to find their lost colleague in one way or another, they say. – Jake Tapper
Leading CNNMoney:Could Elizabeth Warren have made it in today's America?
Senator Elizabeth Warren wants every American to have the same shot at the American Dream as she did. But the senior Massachusetts lawmaker and former Harvard law professor would likely have had a much tougher time climbing up the economic ladder today. – Tami Luhby
Leading Drudge: Illegals Pour Into USA
Republicans are slamming President Barack Obama for instituting an immigration policy that they say enticed tens of thousands of Central American children to cross America's southern border illegally without any parents to guide them. – David Martosko, Joel Christie and Reuters
Leading HuffPo: Straight up Bribery
The Republican Party in Virginia has resorted to what appears to be outright bribery in its ongoing effort to deny low-income residents in the state access to the Medicaid expansion authorized by Obamacare. – Ryan Grim and Ashley Alman
Leading Politico: How Ed Gillespie could pull off an upset
There’s no doubt Ed Gillespie is the underdog in the Virginia Senate race. He’s polled well behind the man he’s trying to unseat, Democrat Mark Warner. The incumbent is the richest member of the Senate and a well-liked figure in the state. Meanwhile, many Virginians still don’t know who Gillespie is. But Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, is an old hand at campaigns. And now that he’s the candidate, he insists he can pull off the upset. – James Hohmann
Leading New York Times: In Texarkana, Uninsured and on the Wrong Side of a State Line
Arkansas accepted the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act. Texas did not. That makes Texarkana perhaps the starkest example of how President Obama’s health care law is altering the economic geography of the country. The poor living in the Arkansas half of town won access to a government benefit worth thousands of dollars annually, yet nothing changed for those on the Texas side of the state line. – Annie Lowrey
Leading Washington Post: Tom Steyer’s slow, and ongoing, conversion from fossil-fuels investor to climate activist
At the base of the mountain, Tom Steyer was a billionaire hedge-fund manager with oil and gas investments and a seemingly conflicted conscience. But by the time he and environmentalist Bill McKibben finished a hike up two tall Adirondacks peaks on that summer day in 2012, Steyer had revealed that he was ready to change his life — he would unload his investments in fossil fuels and become an activist in the fight against global warming. – Carol D. Leonnig
The political bites of the day
– Kerry defends Bergdahl swap –
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY IN A SUNDAY INTERVIEW WITH CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER ELISE LABOTT: “I'm not telling you that they don't have some ability at some point to go back and get involved (in fighting). But they also have an ability to get killed doing that."
See More: Secy. Kerry visits the French town where his parents met. CNN's Elise Labott talks to him exclusively about the visit.
– Senators call for DOJ to investigate potential VA criminal wrongdoing –
LETTER TO AG ERIC HOLDER FROM 21 SENATORS LED BY JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZONA, AND RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONNECTICUT: “Evidence of secret waiting times, falsification of records, destruction of documents, and other potential criminal wrongdoing has appalled and angered the nation, and imperiled trust and confidence in the Veterans Health Administration. While we commend and appreciate the IG's pursuit of his inquiry, an effective and prompt criminal investigation must inevitably involve the resources of the Department of Justice, including the FBI.”
– Christie on assertion he’s not popular outside NJ: ‘It’s all garbage’ –
NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE TO SPORTS RADIO 94WIP PHILADELPHIA: “I hear people say all the time, ‘Oh you know, you wouldn’t play well in the South or you wouldn’t play well in Iowa.’ It’s all garbage. People are people ... Yeah there are some ... regional differences in our country. But in the end, people like people who are genuine, who are real.”
– Gardner touts Colorado virtues in father/daughter ad –
COLORADO GOP SEN. CANDIDATE CORY GARDNER IN HIS FIRST TV AD FOR SENATE:
GARDNER: “Welcome to Yuma, Colorado. Two hours from the big city.”
HIS DAUGHTER ALYSON: “And a long way from anywhere else.”
GARDNER: “In a place like this, you learn to get along.”
ALYSON: “That’s how we do it here, Dad.”
GARDNER: “It’s too bad Washington doesn’t work that way.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
(FRIDAY) The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN)
The time Obama asked Hillary to attack Palin http://cnn.it/1xjiKeo – @neeratanden @brikeilarcnn on #TheLead
(MONDAY) Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA)
Look who fired the 1st shot in the real "war on women". Hint: it wasn't the GOP. See this excerpt from Hillary's book http://pic.twitter.com/kKBShf9vHj
Reminder: Hillary Clinton received an $8 million book deal in 2000 "after they left the White House" http://natl.re/1qhH3EM
Shawna Thomas (@ShawnaNBCNews)
POTUS on the Tumblr Q&A on student loans he will do tomorrow: "You're laughing because you think, 'What does he know about tumblr?'"
Nirvi Shah (@NirviShah)
Price tag on Obama student loans exec order? @arneduncan "We actually don't know the cost yet." http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/student-loan-repayment-white-house-107608.html… via @alliegrasgreen
Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier)
When those closest to him are quitting on him, it's hard to maintain the audacity to hope that #Obama will change. http://nationaljournal.com/white-house/i- …
John DiStaso (@jdistaso)
.@SenatorShaheen files for re-elect, defends ACA but notes @BarackObama 'not on ballot' in NH; #nhsen #nhpolitics http://nhjournal.com/2014/06/09/shaheen-filing-for-reelection-defends-aca-but-notes-obama-is-not-on-ballot-in-nh/
Chris Cillizza (@TheFix)
$31.5 million had been spent on TV in the NCSenate race. Kay Hagan's campaign is responsible for .34% of that. ow.ly/xMZNv $31.5 million had been spent on TV in the NCSenate race. Kay Hagan's campaign is responsible for .34% of that. ow.ly/xMZNv
Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley)
South Carolina made history this year by passing education reform. We will no longer educate children…http://instagram.com/p/pB7TLcyu6F/
Ryan Donovan (@RyDon21)
And this, children, is why auto-linking your social media properties is rarely a good idea. pic.twitter.com/GX0TFNO772
Jake Silverstein (@jakesilverstein)
World’s oldest man dies at 111. "He attributed his long life to the fact that he and his wife never had children." http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/09/nyregion/worlds-oldest-man-though-only-briefly-dies-at-111-in-new-york.html?smid=nytnow-share&smprod=nytnow …
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Hillary Rodham Clinton is the only First Lady to have been subpoenaed. Clinton was subpoenaed by attorney Ken Starr on January 22, 1996 to testify on alleged involvement with the Whitewater controversy, an investigation into the real estate investments made by the Clintons and associates from Hillary Clinton’s former law firm.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(Why aren’t you in it?)
Congrats to Jessica Niestzche (@jneetch) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
WANT TO SIGN UP?
Do you have a friend who wants to sign up for GUT CHECK or our CNNPolitics Breaking News Alerts? Click here, log on and scroll down: http://www.cnn.com/profile/#my_alerts
Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits: firstname.lastname@example.org