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May 12th, 2013
04:51 PM ET

SOTU Crib Sheet 5/12

ON STATE OF THE UNION

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) talked to Candy about the Benghazi hearings saying "clearly politics was at play" in the editing of the talking points after the attack and revelations that the IRS targeted some Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny: “It is absolutely chilling that the IRS was singling out conservative groups for extra review. And I think that it's very disappointing that the president hasn't personally condemned this and spoken out.”

Then, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, chair of the state department's accountability review board on the Benghazi terror attacks, said the criticism of the review board’s report was groundless “I'm waiting to see whether there's any there there, Candy. I've looked at it very carefully. I've listened to the hearings. A number of the criticisms were not based on the actual happenings."

Plus, two Congresswomen who are also Iraq War combat veterans, Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), react to the Pentagon’s report showing a 30% rise in the number of service members anonymously reporting sexual assaults over the past two years and the military’s failure to handle:
Duckworth: "The military leadership, at this point, have shown that they have not been capable of fixing this problem. ... this is not only a crime against the victim, this is a betrayal to your unit. This is a betrayal to your nation."
Gabbard: “The trust that we're trying to build with this climate of understanding that you can safely go and report when you've been a victim of a heinous crime.  And this really undermines whatever progress has been made over time.”

Plus, the one person everyone in Washington likes... Mom. A special tribute from our Getting to Know series as politicians salute their mothers.


GETTING TO KNOW

Watch our online exclusive segment “Getting to Know” Sen. Susan Collins


STATE OF THE UNION HIGHLIGHTS

(For more videos check out our website or cnn.com/video)

IRS admits it targeted Tea Party groups
Sexual assaults rising in the military
Discovering the truth about Benghazi
Benghazi: Facts Vs. Politics
Rand Paul goes after Hillary on Benghazi
Taxing day for the IRS
A Mother’s Day tribute

Thomas Pickering, Former Ambassador, on Rep. Issa’s criticism of his Benghazi ARB report
“I'm waiting to see whether there's any there there, Candy.  I've looked at it very carefully.  I've listened to the hearings.  A number of the criticisms were not based on the actual happenings.  We did, of course, see the secretary.  We saw Secretary Byrnes.  We saw secretary - Deputy Secretary Nides.  We interviewed Pat Kennedy.  So, a number of the questions they raised, were we capable and were we complete? And I believe that we still were.”

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) on the IRS targeting conservative groups
“This is truly outrageous.  And it contributes to the profound distrust that the American people have in government.  It is absolutely chilling that the IRS was singling out conservative groups for extra review.  And I think that it's very disappointing that the president hasn't personally condemned this and spoken out.”

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) on the Boston attacks
“I believe that better information sharing might have allowed us to prevent this attack. First of all, I don't think there was aggressive enough follow-up when the Russians first alerted the FBI to the fact that these two brothers were becoming increasingly radicalized.  Now, we don't get tips from the Russians every day.”

Reps. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) on the alarming rise in military sexual assaults
Gabbard: There are no excuses.  It's not enough just to say this is not something we'll stand for, we'll hold these people accountable unless you're providing a system and process to actually do that.  And I think there are two things we really need to look at.  What is the core reason why this hasn't really gotten better over the years?  One being we have to make sure it's a victim-centered response from the moment that the victim makes that report all the way through to the point where the perpetrator is prosecuted, and charged and punished. And secondly, making sure that we are investigating those who are retaliating and abusing their positions of command or power. 

Duckworth: It's absolutely unacceptable, Candy.  I want the military to be a place where women can succeed and thrive the way I was able to.  And the military leadership at this point has shown that they have not been capable of fixing this problem. 

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