Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, June 6, 2014.
1. Rice defends Bergdahl comments. National Security Adviser Susan Rice says her praise of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was fitting despite questions about whether he deserted his Army post before being captured by the Taliban. "I realize there has been lots of discussion and controversy around this," Rice told CNN. "But what I was referring to was the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That, in and of itself, is a very honorable thing." In a television interview last Sunday, Rice said Bergdahl served his country with "honor and distinction." Three retired U.S. generals offer their very different perspectives on Bergdahl and the deal that led to his release this Sunday on State of the Union.
2. A diplomatic opening on Ukraine? President Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders spoke briefly during a D-Day luncheon in Normandy. The White House says Obama made clear that reducing tensions in Ukraine depends on Russia recognizing President-elect Poroshenko as the legitimate leader of Ukraine. Putin has indicated that he is ready to engage in direct talks with Poroshenko.
3. A milestone for the economy. The U.S. economy has regained all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession. The economy added 217,000 jobs were added in May, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 6.3%. The recovery has been the slowest in U.S. history and most of the new jobs are not paying as much as the jobs that were lost. Still, unemployment in America is at its lowest level since September 2008.
4. D-Day commemorations. President Obama joined European leaders in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day. "Here, we don't just commemorate victory, as proud of that victory as we are; we don't just honor sacrifice, as grateful as the world is; we come to remember why America and our allies gave so much for the survival of liberty at this moment of maximum peril," Obama said in remarks at the American Cemetery in Normandy, where 9,387 U.S. servicemen are buried. More than 156,000 troops crossed the English Channel during the invasion on June 6, 1944. Nearly 10,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded. D-Day is described by some historians as the beginning of the end of the War in Europe.