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SOTU Scoop
May 21st, 2014
05:19 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, May 21, 2014.

1. Obama sticks with Shenseki... for now. President Obama made his first public comments about medical appointment delays and alleged fraudulent record-keeping at VA facilities across the country. The most disturbing and striking problems emerged in Arizona, with sources revealing to CNN details of a secret waiting list. According to the sources, at least 40 American veterans died in Phoenix while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA. "If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period," said Obama. But Veterans Affairs Secretary Erick Shenseki, who’s firing or resignation some members of Congress and at least one veterans group have called for, is staying on the job. "He cares deeply about veterans and he cares deeply about the mission and I know that Rick's attitude is if he doesn't think he can do a good job on this and if he thinks he's let our veterans down then I'm sure that he is not going to be interested in continuing to serve," Obama said.  He also said he expects to receive the first results from a review of the VA's system next week.

2. Kentucky slugfest. The vote-counting in the Bluegrass state's primary is barely over, but the general campaign is already full-speed ahead. Both Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes cruised to victories Tuesday night and will face each other in what is expected to be a nasty and expensive campaign. “Kentuckians are not going to be deceived. Alison Lundergan Grimes is Barack Obama's candidate. They know it, and they'll issue the same verdict on this candidate that they've issued twice before on him," said McConnell in his victory speech. Grimes said the election is about McConnell's leadership. President Obama is not on Kentucky’s 2014 election ballot. Nothing about this election will change who is in the White House but we can change who is in Washington, D.C. and finally put someone with the Commonwealth of Kentucky." Pre-primary polls showed McConnell and Grimes in a virtual dead heat.

3. Tea Party chalks up more losses. The Republican establishment won again in Tuesday's round of primaries, with the more conservative candidates losing in Georgia and Oregon, in addition to Kentucky. Businessman David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston will be in a July runoff for the Republican Senate nomination in Georgia. The winner will face Democrat Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. In Oregon, neurosurgeon Monica Wehby won the GOP Senate nomination and will face incumbent Democratic Senator Jeff Merkeley.

4. Benghazi investigation. House Democrats have decided to participate in a select committee established to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans. Many Democrats have criticized the committee's formation as pure politics and urged a boycott. "I could have argued this either way. Why give any validity to this effort? But I do think it is important for the American people to have a pursuit of these questions in as fair and open and balanced way as possible. That simply would not be possible leaving it to the Republicans," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. The panel will be comprised of seven Republicans and five Democrats. The Democrats Pelosi named to the committee are Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD); Rep. Adam Schiff (CA); Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA); Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IL); and Rep. Adam Smith (WA).

5. Missing Nigerian schoolgirls. U.S. troops are involved in the search for more than 200 abducted Nigerian schoolgirls. The White House announced 80 troops have been sent to Chad to assist in locating the girls, who were kidnapped last month by the terrorist group Boko Haram. "These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area. The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required," President Obama said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner information Congress of the action.

 

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