June 17th, 2014
04:06 PM ET
6 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for June 17, 2014

CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for June 17, 2014 | 5 p.m.
—  n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

HAPPENING NOW: 5 THINGS TO WATCH IN HILLARY CLINTON'S CNN TOWN HALL ... CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour moderates a CNN town hall meeting with Clinton and takes questions from the audience and Tumblr at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday. Here are five things to watch for:

1. Talk of Iraq, the capture of a key Benghazi suspect, and other danger zones ... 2. Mention of marijuana and what else she hasn't been asked ... 3. Whether she is as open as she says she is ... 4. Her tone with the media ... 5. Questions from people all over the world – Dan Merica


See more: 10 things our poll tells us about Hillary Clinton– Paul Steinhauser

U.S. NABS BENGHAZI ATTACK SUSPECT ... U.S. forces working with the FBI captured a key suspect in the deadly 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, officials say. Libyan militia leader Ahmed abu Khattalah was captured over the weekend. His is the first arrest in connection with the armed assault that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. He is now being held in a location outside Libya. – Evan Perez and Michael Martinez

CNN’S ARWA DAMON INTERVIEWED ABU KHATTALAH LAST YEAR: "HE APPEARED CONFIDENT": “We met him about a year ago,” Damon told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “He did not seem to be acting like a man who was in hiding. He was very confident. We met in a public space in Benghazi at a fairly well known hotel at a coffee shop. He was accompanied by a few members of one of the other Islamist militias. ... There were a lot of holes in his story, things that did not quite match up.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA IN PITTSBURGH:It’s a message to the world, that when Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice. Regardless how long it takes, we will find you.”

WH CONSULTS WITH CONGRESS ON IRAQ RESPONSE ... NSC Spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan says the Obama administration is consulting with members of Congress to “share views and discuss possible responses.” She adds, “These consultations will continue, including closed briefings with a number of committees this week."

Asked if the White House is doing a better job of picking up the phone about Iraq compared to Bergdahl, an aide to House Speaker John Boehner tells CNN, "We're not complaining."

THE BUZZ: WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF HILLARY CLINTON?

Michelle Jaconi (@mjaconiCNN)
@CNNPolitics I remember watching a tape of her holding baby Chelsea during Bill Clinton's announcement speech for Arkansas gov #CNNTownHall

Elise Labott (@eliselabottcnn)
@CNNPolitics first saw @HillaryClinton speak in @UniversityofW in 1992 for @billclinton.Fast forward to 2009, crowd welcomed her @StateDept

Trevor Kinney ‏(@TrevorKinney)
@CNNPolitics when she was sworn in as VP in the movie: Itchy & Scratchy 2 on The Simpsons pic.twitter.com/tGCEPxEWxL

Gloria Borger ‏(@GloriaBorger)
@CNNPolitics @HillaryClinton Can't forget the "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies" line in 1992.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer Below)
As first lady, Hillary Clinton stashed more than 75 bottles of what in the White House family kitchen cupboard?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Dave Brat makes first post-primary campaign stop
Dave Brat’s remarks Tuesday at a Rotary Club breakfast in Richmond mark his first official public appearance since toppling House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the GOP primary in Virginia's 7th Congressional District. "Today we're hitting the ground running, meeting with people across the 7th District," he said, echoing a populist refrain he's repeated since his unexpected win last week.

Leading CNNMoney: Hollywood eyes Bowe Bergdahl's story
Two filmmakers are reportedly developing features about Bowe Bergdahl, the 28-year-old soldier who returned to the United States after five years in Taliban captivity. Bergdahl's "life rights" are "still up for grabs," according to The Hollywood Reporter, one of the entertainment news outlets that wrote about the competing projects on Monday. – Brian Stelter

Leading Drudge: Price Of Meat, Chicken, Fish Soars To All-time High
The seasonally-adjusted price index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs hit an all-time high in May, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). – Ali Meyer

Leading HuffPo: Silence
Not a single member of GOP leadership in the House or the Senate had anything to say about the president's forthcoming order. Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), confirmed that the office had not issued a statement. Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), had no comment. A request for comment from the conservative House Republican Study Committee was not returned. – Sam Stein and Jennifer Bendery

Leading Politico: Kochs launch new super PAC for midterm fight
During a closed-door gathering of major donors in Southern California on Monday, the political operation spearheaded by the Koch brothers unveiled a significant new weapon in its rapidly expanding arsenal — a super PAC called Freedom Partners Action Fund. The new group aims to spend more than $15 million in the 2014 midterm campaigns — part of a much larger spending effort expected to total $290 million, sources told POLITICO. – Ken Vogel and Daren Goode

Leading New York Times:Court Rulings on Voter Restrictions Create Limbo as Midterms Near
With the midterm elections only months away, efforts to carry out some of the country’s strictest photo ID requirements and shorten early voting in several politically pivotal states have been thrown into limbo by a series of court decisions concluding that the measures infringe on the right to vote. – Lizette Alvarez

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

– Lawmaker: If CNN can interview suspect in Benghazi attack, why can't FBI? –
RE. JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH, TO REPORTERS: "One of the pertinent questions today is why we have not captured or killed the terrorist who committed these attacks? ... News out today that CNN was able to go in and talk to one of the suspected terrorists, how come the military hasn't been able to get after them and capture or kill the people? How come the FBI isn't doing this and yet CNN is?"

Feinstein: Prosecute Benghazi suspect in federal courts –
SENATE INTEL CHAIRMAN DIANNE FEINSTEIN IN A STATEMENT: “I fully support the administration’s efforts to gather intelligence from Abu Khatallah and prosecute him in federal court. Past cases against terrorists like Abu Khatallah have shown that we can obtain intelligence, convict terrorists and lock them away for a very long time. The U.S. criminal justice system has successfully convicted over 500 terrorists since 9/11, and I have full confidence in the ability of our federal courts.”

– Rubio: Send Benghazi capture to Gitmo –
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLORIDA, IN A STATEMENT: “The Obama administration should immediately transfer him to the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay for detention and interrogation. In order to locate all individuals associated with the attacks that led to the deaths of four Americans, we need intelligence. That intelligence is often obtained through an interrogation process.”

– Leahy: Sending Benghazi suspect to Gitmo is not the brave thing to do –
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN PATRICK LEAHY, D-VERMONT, TO REPORTERS: "Oh for God's sake, we go to Guantanamo, the rest of the world says how can you lecture us about secret prisons? ... We go to our federal courts, we show the rest of the world we're brave, we can do it. We don't have to run and hide. I like our justice system. (Citing federal prosecutions of suspected terrorists since 9/11). Look at everybody we've had in there. We've convicted every one of them. That, the rest of the world says, you followed your criminal justice system."

– Reid denounces GOP reaction to Benghazi arrest –
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “It doesn’t matter what your ideology is you should feel good about this. There is no conspiracy here. This is actual news. But the reaction from some of the Republicans I have been told is to downplay and insult the brave men and women of our Special Forces and the FBI. They are trying to say `well, it is no big deal.’ I wonder if the men and women who captured the terrorist agree with the Republicans that it is no big deal? Even in these days of polarization created by the obstruction, delay and diversion of the Republicans – even in these days of polarization their reaction is shocking and disgusting.”

– Former U.S. administrator in Iraq: U.S. needs Special Forces on ground in Iraq –
PAUL BREMER TO CNN'S ERIN BURNETT MONDAY: “We need to get away from this idea that we're not going to have troops on the ground but we will have, we will have to have Special Forces and intelligence observers, fire control officers, people identifying targets in those cities so that drones can hit them. You can't subdue a city with fighter jets, you're going to need drones.”

– Dr. Oz defends diet advice on Capitol Hill –
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MISSOURI, IN A SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE HEARING: “Why would you say that something is a miracle in a bottle?”
TV PERSONALITY MEHMET OZ M.D., HOST OF “THE DR. OZ SHOW” RESPONDS: “My job is to be a cheerleader for the audience when they don't think they have hope. ... I have things I think work for people. I want them to try them so that they feel better, so that they can do the things we talk about every day on the show. ... When I can't use language that is flowery, that is exulting, I feel like I've been disenfranchised."

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Ali Weinberg (@AliABCNews)
In a statement, @JohnKerry calls #Khatallah capture a "mission of unfinished business"

Peter Baker ‏(@peterbakernyt)
Dempsey: troops who captured Abu Khattalah "acted with extraordinary skill, courage & precision” in "operation resulting in no casualties."

Kevin Baron (‏@DefenseBaron)
President has been clear. "He is not considering a new combat mission for American troops inside #Iraq," @PentagonPresSec reminds.

Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDCNN)
EXCLUSIVE: IRS Chief Koskinen told me IRS investigators knew about the crashed Lois Lerner hard drive in "late spring".

Guy Benson ‏(@guypbenson)
"How long should I keep records?" Helpful tips from the #IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/How-long-should-I-keep-records

Colleen Nelson (‏@ColleenMNelson)
Obama says Malia wrote him a letter for Father's Day, adding that it was more important to him than if she had "just texted a little emoji"

Jennifer Epstein (‏@jeneps)
Based on a cursory search of White House transcripts, this was indeed the first time a president has spoken publicly about "emoji"

Cassie Spodak (@CassieSpodak)
Biden celebrates with U.S. team in locker room after World Cup win: "You played one hell of a game" http://cnn.it/SQTjAr

Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory)
Hey @united landed in Dublin yesterday morning from Newark and still no golf clubs... Sort of need them this week... Can someone help!?

United (@united)
@McIlroyRory We have good news. Your clubs will be in tomorrow and we'll deliver them to the tournament for you. ^JH

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

When it comes to Hillary Clinton’s palate, the hotter the better. The former presidential candidate, who told CBS in 2008 that she eats hot peppers to stay healthy on the campaign trail, has had a knack for spicy food for years.

Even before her days running for office, Clinton was a hot sauce fanatic. White House chef Walter Scheib told the New York Times in 2012 that Clinton kept a stash of 75 to 100 hot sauces in a cupboard in the family kitchen of the White House when she resided there as first lady.

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

Congrats to Erin Robinson (@SomeWhererin) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Hillary Clinton: Butcher of Benghazi

    Three words Killary... Old and Ragged.

    June 17, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Hillary Clinton: Butcher of Benghazi

    Three words Killary... Old and Ragged.
    ---------------------
    Three words, Republicans. .... Dumb and Dumber.

    FIFY

    June 17, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "That intelligence is often obtained through an interrogation process.”"

    Clearly, nobody ever interrogated Rubio.

    GOP/Teatroll argument in a nutshell: "Unless Obama waterboards this guy, he is failing."

    Please proceed, islamaphobe torturer nutjob bigots, please proceed...

    June 17, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    ""That intelligence is often obtained through an interrogation process.”""

    And BTW, you can interrogate someone ANYWHERE. Why is Rubio insisting it be at Gitmo? Because what he really means is TORTURE. These morons really think we can't read between the lines of speak Teatroll dogwhistle code-speak?

    June 17, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "4. Her tone with the media "

    Yeah, and how whiney, butthurt and vengeful the MSM gets every time she points out just how freekin ridiculous they behave on a regular basis.

    June 17, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    ""One of the pertinent questions today is why we have not captured or killed the terrorist who committed these attacks? ... News out today that CNN was able to go in and talk to one of the suspected terrorists, how come the military hasn't been able to get after them and capture or kill the people? How come the FBI isn't doing this and yet CNN is?""

    Because sometimes, Captain Moron, the best way to get additional information is to leave him alone and follow his movements, gather intel on who his contacts are, intercept phone calls, etc. Seriously...are these idiots really this stupid? Chaffetz in particular probably is, but a lot of them aren't...they're just saying whatever is most convenient to criticize and belittle and degrade the POTUS.

    June 17, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "RE. JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH, TO REPORTERS: "One of the pertinent questions today is why we have not captured or killed the terrorist who committed these attacks? ... News out today that CNN was able to go in and talk to one of the suspected terrorists, how come the military hasn't been able to get after them and capture or kill the people? How come the FBI isn't doing this and yet CNN is?"

    Good God. A GOPer willing to suggest they and CNN share talking points. One almost suspects this was discussed prior to events unfolding, giving us a lead in to what Hillary had in store during her 2016 presidential debates. How cool is that?

    Ah well. Cat's out of the bag, eh, CNN?

    June 17, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. Silence DoGood

    @Hillary Clinton: Butcher of Benghazi
    Three words Killary... Old and Ragged.
    --------
    Two conspiracies theories in one – well done.

    June 17, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |