CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for June 20, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
RARE FRIDAY HEARINGS TURN DRAMATIC ON CAPITOL HILL ...
1. IRS BLASTED OVER LOST HARD DRIVE: ’NOBODY BELIEVES YOU’ ... Congressional outrage over IRS targeting of conservative groups turned into a partisan back-and-forth in the House. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen defended the agency, but he sparked an uproar from Republicans by admitting it destroyed a hard drive that contained emails wanted in the targeting probe. And he did not apologize. "I don't think an apology is owed,” Koskinen told the Ways and Means Committee. One prominent Republican questioned whether Koskinen was being truthful under oath. “Nobody believes you,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said. – Lisa Desjardins
... BUT DEMOCRATS CHARGE republicans ARE PLAYING POLITICS ... Sarcastically likening Koskinen’s interrogation to questions over previous political conspiracy theories, Democrat Lloyd Doggett said the inquiry over the missing emails was not serious. “I believe it is an endless conspiracy theory that is involved here that is being exploited solely for political purposes,” Doggett said.
2. VA OFFICIALS GRILLED OVER BONUSES ...VA officials found themselves in the hot seat as the House Veterans Affairs Committee grilled them over why senior executives at the agency were awarded bonuses while thousands of veterans were kept waiting for months to see a doctor. “Bonuses are not an entitlement, they are a reward for exceptional work,” panel Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Florida, said. “VA's current practice only breeds a sense of entitlement, and a lack of accountability, and is why we are here today.”
CHRISTIE’S BIG DAY ... It's an important day for Chris Christie ... The New Jersey Governor delivered his first address to a major gathering of social conservatives at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to the Majority conference in Washington DC ... Christie, who was well received by the crowd, touted his credentials on important social issues, and framed the issue of drug addiction and treatment in a social conservative way. "I believe that every life is a gift from God that's precious and needs to be protected," Christie told the audience to applause. – Paul Steinhauser
THE BUZZ: ‘TOTALLY UNCALLED FOR’ ... A miniature foam figure of President Obama was found in a urinal at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference in Washington on Friday. It's unknown who put the item there. One White House official responded with humor to an article about the foam figurine.
Sam Stein (@samsteinhp)
Huffpost Senior Urinal Correspondent –> RT @igorbobic: Scene from a Faith & Freedom restroom #RTM2014 pic.twitter.com/V4oziaNorV
Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44)
@samsteinhp @igorbobic Totally uncalled for: Those ears are huge
Event organizers did not offer a comment.
MARKET WATCH: All 3 major U.S. stock indexes end the week with gains of more than 1%. S&P hits record territory again.
Which four U.S. senators were not born in the United States?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Critics question Clinton's record with women as rape victim speaks out
The victim in a rape case whose attacker Hillary Clinton defended in 1975 is speaking out publicly for the first time since 2008, accusing Clinton of ruining her life. "Hillary Clinton took me through Hell,” the victim, now 52, told Josh Rogin of the Daily Beast, who agreed not to publish the woman’s name. – Dan Merica
See more: Bush is still Clinton's bogeyman
Leading CNNMoney: Obama: 'What have you done to my house?'
This week, the White House played host to a robotic giraffe, a 3-D printer that made Obama-shaped pancakes, and a first 3-D presidential portrait. "What on earth have you done to my house?" President Obama quipped this week at the White House's first maker faire. – Laurie Segall
Leading Drudge: Jeh Jeh Goes To Texas: Open Borders Backlash
The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s arrival in Texas is being met with mixed feelings by some law enforcement officials along the border.
Leading HuffPo: What’s At Stake
Texas Gov. Rick Perry held his hand out straight, tilted his hand fingers downward at a 45 degree angle, and then raised them level again. "This, versus this," he said, explaining why he no longer wears cowboy boots. “This is better,” he said, his hand parallel with the ground to illustrate the flat-soled shoes he now wears. – Jon Ward
Leading Politico: Victim: Hillary Clinton ‘took me through hell’
The victim in an Arkansas rape case in 1975, whose accused attacker was successfully defended by Hillary Clinton, is speaking out in her first extended interview, coming on the heels of unearthed tapes of the former secretary of State discussing the case. – Maggie Haberman
Leading New York Times: U.S. Plans to Step Up Detention and Deportation of Migrants
The Obama administration, stepping up efforts to reduce the influx of Central American migrants crossing the Southwest border illegally and saying that misinformation about its border policies may have helped spur it, will detain more of those migrants and accelerate their cases in immigration courts so they can be deported more quickly, officials said. – Julia Preston
The political bites of the day
- Camp: IRS has lost all credibility –
HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN DAVE CAMP AT A HEARING: “After all the obstruction I fear this Congress and the American people cannot take the IRS at its word. One thing is for certain, you can blame it on a technical glitch but it is not a technical glitch to mislead the American people. You say you have lost the emails – but what you have lost is all credibility.”
- Rand Paul: No money to countries that persecute Christians –
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY, AT A FAITH AND FREEDOM COALITION CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON: “There's a war on Christianity going on, and sometimes you're being asked to pay for it ... I say not one penny to any country that persecutes Christians. ... The vast majority of Christians in Syria, though, are on the opposite side of the war. ... There is an irony that is impossible to escape ... Our tax dollars are funding Islamic rebels, who are killing Christians."
- 2016 Cleanup: Potential candidates walk back controversial remarks -
TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY AT A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR EVENT THURSDAY: “I stepped right in it. ... We need to be a really respectful and tolerant country to everybody. ... Whether you're gay or straight, you need to be having a job, and those are the focuses that I want to be involved with.”
FORMER MONTANA GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER ON HIS FACEBOOK PAGE: "I recently made a number of stupid and insensitive remarks to a reporter from the National Journal. I am deeply sorry and sincerely apologize for my carelessness and disregard,"
- Pope: Don’t legalize recreational drugs -
POPE FRANCIS AT THE INTERNATIONAL DRUG ENFORCEMENT CONFERENCE IN ROME: “Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs! Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise. To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem. Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called “recreational drugs”, are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects. Substitute drugs are not an adequate therapy but rather a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon.”
- Obamas: Daughters should experience hard work, minimum wage job -
PRESIDENT OBAMA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH PARADE MAGAZINE: “Oh, yeah. I think every kid needs to get a taste of what it's like to do that real hard work.”
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA IN THE INTERVIEW: "We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair. But that's what most folks go through every single day."
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
amy walter (@amyewalter)
Dems have an "anger gap" problem in '14. And from Bergdahl to VA to IRS, WH is only making it larger http://cookpolitical.com/story/7438
Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDCNN)
THIS – CONFLICT: Koskinen just told Congress he learned about hard drive issue in FEB. Monday he told me IRS learned about it "late Spring".
Dana Bash @DanaBashCNN
ryan also made pt every voter can relate to – taxpayers asked to keep tax records for 7 years, irs cant keep emails for 6 months?
Where was this Paul Ryan during the VP debate? RT @mattklewis: Paul Ryan slams IRS Commissioner:'Nobody believes you' http://bit.ly/UUBhiH
Igor Bobic (@igorbobic)
Gohmert tells me he's willing to give McCarthy a shot at repping tea party interests as majority leader, but "proof will be in the pudding"
Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson)
"McCarthy didn’t have to gather last-minute support. Instead, he went to Chipotle with his wife and kids." http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/inside-the-house-gop-leadership-shake-up-108103_Page2.html#ixzz35C2zpyiO …
Dana Davidsen (@danadavidsenCNN)
Hunting for trouble: Ethics panel disciplines Rep. Don Young over personal trips http://cnn.it/1qq5mkC @PoliticalTicker
Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN)
I'll take your Brett Favre & raise you a Chuck Woolery-The Mississippi Senate runoff turns into battle of celebrities http://cnn.it/1lcehp4
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, were all born outside of the United States.
McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone at a time when the area was considered an unorganized territory of the United States. He was able to run for president in 2008 because of an April 2008 resolution, ironically signed by both then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, that declared McCain a 'natural born citizen' under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution.
While Canadian-born Cruz considers himself a “natural born citizen,” and many legal arguments support his claim, interpreting the Constitution’s natural born citizenship provision to include children born abroad to U.S. citizens cannot be 100% affirmed without a Supreme Court ruling on the matter, according to Politifact. Earlier this month, Cruz denounced his Canadian citizenship.
Hirono was born in Japan. Bennet, the son of a State Department official, was born in India.
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Congrats to Sean Evins (@Evins) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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