CNN's GUT CHECK for May 23, 2013
May 23rd, 2013
04:37 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 23, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 23, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

OBAMA, TERRORISM AND THE FUTURE: President Barack Obama in a major counterterrorism speech Thursday defended the American drone program, saying that despite the controversies around it, the strikes are legal and save lives. – Jamie Crawford and Joe Sterling

ON DRONES: “America does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists – our preference is always to detain, interrogate, and prosecute them. America cannot take strikes wherever we choose – our actions are bound by consultations with partners, and respect for state sovereignty. … And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set.”

ON GUANTANAMO: “When I ran for President the first time, John McCain supported closing GTMO. No person has ever escaped from one of our super-max or military prisons in the United States. Our courts have convicted hundreds of people for terrorism-related offenses, including some who are more dangerous than most GTMO detainees. Given my Administration's relentless pursuit of al Qaeda's leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened.”

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CNN's GUT CHECK for May 22, 2013
May 22nd, 2013
04:53 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 22, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 22, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

TAKING THE FIFTH: IRS official says she has ‘not done anything wrong’ The Internal Revenue Service official who headed the division involved in targeting conservative groups invoked her constitutional right against self-incrimination Wednesday and refused to answer questions from a congressional committee. “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules and regulations,” Lerner said. – Tom Cohen

OBAMA TO MOORE: President Barack Obama will travel to tornado ravaged Moore, Oklahoma on Sunday, the White House announced today.

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CNN's GUT CHECK for May 21, 2013
May 21st, 2013
05:03 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 21, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 21, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

LATEST FROM OKLAHOMA: Stephen Eddy, city manager for Moore, told CNN's Jake Tapper that “everyone has been found” who was believed missing because of the devastating twister. He also expressed optimism that his central Oklahoma town would rebound. “We've been through this before,” Eddy said. “We've come back stronger than before every time.” Twenty-four people have died as a result of Monday's storm, nine of whom were children, according to Amy Elliott of the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office.

DISASTER AID:Facing questions on his position about federal disaster aid Tuesday, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma confirmed he would want to offset any relief money with cuts to other parts of the budget but quickly added now was not the time do be discussing such matters. – Dana Bash

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CNN's GUT CHECK for May 20, 2013
May 20th, 2013
05:06 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 20, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 20, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING: WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF KNEW OF IRS REPORT BEFORE ITS RELEASE New details emerged Monday of what the White House knew about the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups, with spokesman Jay Carney disclosing Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was among the top officials made aware of the matter late last month. – Jessica Yellin and Tom Cohen

TRUSTWORTHY AND LIKEABLE: Barack Obama's personal popularity may be one reason he has been able to weather last week's controversies, and his handling of those matters may have helped boost his standing with the public on a couple of key measures. Is Obama honest and trustworthy? 58% say yes, a number that has remained virtually unchanged for Obama since 2009. Obama remains a remarkably likeable figure in American politics - 79% of Americans say he is likeable, underscoring how important his personal characteristics have been to him. That finding suggests that the public is responding favorably to Obama's stern reaction in recent days and hints that, far from catching blame for the latest controversies, Obama may actually be benefiting from them in some ways. – Keating Holland

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CNN's GUT CHECK for May 17, 2013
May 17th, 2013
04:54 PM ET
10 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 17, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 17, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

NOT AN ACT OF PARTISANSHIP: IRS official denies intentional political targeting, lying to Congress… A huge increase in workload, rather than deliberate targeting, led to "foolish mistakes" and the political discrimination in the Internal Revenue Service cited by an inspector general's report, the agency's outgoing commissioner said Friday. – Tom Cohen

STATE POLITICS: First on CNN: Gun battle in states heats up as NRA steps in to recall Colo. Senate president… The national battle over guns is headed to the states in a major way. Already groups supporting more gun restrictions have been active on the local level. And now for the first time in almost two decades, the National Rifle Association is attempting to coordinate the recall of a top state legislator for having successfully passed further gun restrictions in his state, CNN has learned. – Jake Tapper

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CNN's GUT CHECK for May 16, 2013
May 16th, 2013
04:49 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 16, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 16, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

CONFIDENCE IN HOLDER: President Barack Obama said Thursday that he has “complete confidence in Eric Holder” and that “he is an outstanding Attorney General” during a news conference. Holder has been under fire since it was learned that the Justice Department obtained phone records from Associated Press reporters as part of an investigation of classified leaks.

‘SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE’: Obama also used his joint press conference with the Turkish prime minister to address the fact that the IRS was prejudice against tea party and conservative groups that applied for non-profit status. “My main concern is fixing a problem,” Obama said. “We will be putting in new leadership that will be able to make sure that - following up on the IG audit - that we gather up all the facts, that we hold accountable those who have taken these outrageous actions.”

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CNN's GUT CHECK for May 15, 2013
A detainee walks through the recreation yard at the detention center for 'enemy combatants' on September 15, 2010 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
May 15th, 2013
05:13 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 15, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 15, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: First reported on CNN: White House releases 100 pages of Benghazi e-mails The White House released more than 100 pages of e-mails on Wednesday in a bid to quell critics who say President Barack Obama and his aides played politics with national security following the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The exchanges detailing discussions between top Obama administration officials from multiple agencies suggest the CIA took the lead in developing talking points to describe the attack last September 11 that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. – Jake Tapper

TESTY: Attorney General Eric Holder and Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, two men who have locked horns before, clashed in a House Judiciary hearing Wednesday over the Obama administration’s nomination for secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez. After Issa accused the Department of Justice of deliberatively trying to withhold information, the attorney general immediately interrupted him. “No, I am not going to stop talking now,” Holder said. “You have characterized something as something that goes to the integrity of people at the Justice Department. It is inappropriate and is too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It is unacceptable and it is shameful,” Holder said.

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CNN's GUT CHECK for May 14, 2013
May 14th, 2013
04:34 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 14, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 14, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

TABLES TURNED: JUSTICE TO EXAMINE IRS ACTIONS Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday he has ordered an investigation into the IRS targeting conservative groups. While the IRS has admitted that members of its Cincinnati office engaged in political targeting of some conservative groups, documents suggest at least three other offices did the same.

NIXONIAN? White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dismissed the comparison Tuesday that the Obama White House operates in similar fashion to the Nixon administration. “I can tell you that people who make those comparisons need to check their history because what we have here with one issue Benghazi is so clearly, as we are learning more and more a political sideshow, a deliberate effort to politicize a tragedy,” Carney said.

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CNN's GUT CHECK for May 10, 2013
May 10th, 2013
04:14 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 10, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 10, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Friday the only changes made by the White House and the State Department to CIA talking points on the deadly Benghazi attack last year was a decision to change the description of the targeted facility from a consulate to a diplomatic post. Carney also said the Obama administration did not want to “jump to conclusions” about who may have been responsible for the Benghazi attack “before we had the facts,” adding later that we “were very open about what was known.”

TALKING POINTS: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION E-MAILS RAISE NEW QUESTIONS ON BENGHAZI An e-mail discussion about talking points the Obama administration used to describe the deadly attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, show the White House and State Department were more involved than they first said in the decision to remove an initial CIA assessment that a group with ties to al Qaeda was involved, according to CNN sources with knowledge of the e-mails.

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CNN's GUT CHECK for May 9, 2013
May 9th, 2013
04:39 PM ET
12 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 9, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 9, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING: SPEAKER URGES WHITE HOUSE TO RELEASE BENGHAZI EMAILS... House Speaker John Boehner called on President Barack Obama today to release e-mails that he says show how the White House wanted to change the Benghazi attack “talking points.”

ANALYSIS: BENGHAZI INVESTIGATION BOTH LEGITIMATE AND PARTISAN Tough legitimate congressional oversight or partisan politics? Leading Republicans say the former; most Democrats the latter. Truth is, it is both.– John King

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