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SOTU Scoop
July 24th, 2014
04:29 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, July 24, 2014.

1. Israel-Gaza conflict. A strike on a U.N. shelter in northern Gaza has killed and injured multiple people. The Israeli military acknowledges was engaged in combat with Hamas in the area of the shelter at the time, but that it is reviewing the incident and a rocket fired by Hamas could be responsible. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said he was "appalled" by the violence. Meanwhile Secretary of State John Kerry is continuing his shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East to try and broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

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SOTU Scoop
July 23rd, 2014
04:36 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, July 23, 2014

1. MH17 victims. The country that suffered the biggest loss in the shoot-down of Flight 17 paused for a national day of mourning as the remains of 40 Dutch victims were returned home.  193 of the 298 people aboard the plane were from the Netherlands. The country's king and queen led the nation of 17 million in a solemn tribute.  Thousands of people lined the route where hearses made their way to a forensics lab.  Examination and identification of the bodies is expected to take months.

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SOTU Scoop
July 11th, 2014
06:11 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, July 11, 2014.

1. Three titans scold Congress. Three of the country's biggest business moguls joined forces to push Congress for immigration reform.  In a New York Times editorial, Warren Buffett, Sheldon Adelson and Bill Gates said there is no excuse for inaction. "It's time for the House to draft and pass a bill that reflects both our country's humanity and its self-interest," they wrote. They also said passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation would lift the country's spirits which could in turn, improve the economy. Adelson, a casino magnet and a top Republican Party donor, Buffett, the CEO of Berskhire Hathway and a supporter of President Obama, and Gates, the founder of Microsoft, also chided Congress for its role in Washington's constant gridlock. "It's time for 535 of American's citizens to remember what they owe to the 318 million who employ them," they wrote. We discuss the current border crisis and prospects for immigration reform with Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and four members of the House Sunday on State of the Union.

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SOTU Scoop
July 10th, 2014
03:11 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, July 10, 2014

1. Middle East tinderbox. Israel's military launched a new round of airstrikes on Gaza in response to Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. The Israeli offensive has left at least 80 Palestinians dead, including women and children. So far no Israelis have been killed in the Hamas attacks. Secretary of State John Kerry says a cease-fire is desirable but unlikely until Hamas ceases its rocket assault. The latest Israeli-Palestinian clash was set off by last month's abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. Israel believes Hamas is responsible, although the group has denied any involvement. Last week a Palestinian was kidnapped and later found dead in Jerusalem in what Israeli police believe was a revenge killing.

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SOTU Scoop
July 9th, 2014
04:13 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, July 9, 2014

1. The immigration crisis. President Obama is in Texas where he will discuss the surge of undocumented immigrants from Central America.  He is not visiting the border, as many Republicans as well as some Democrats have urged. Obama will instead discuss the issue with religious and business leaders in Dallas.  The President will also meet with one of his biggest critics: Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Obama's trip to the Lone Star state also includes Democratic Party fundraisers, which has drawn the ire of Republicans. "For him to go to Texas and spend two days shaking down donors and never even getting near the border mess he helped create would be like flying into New Orleans in the highest waters of Katrina to eat Creole cooking, but never getting near the Ninth Ward, the Superdome, or the Convention Center where thousands languished in squalor," said former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

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SOTU Scoop
July 2nd, 2014
02:17 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, July 2, 2014.

1. Immigration crisis.  The federal government's effort to deal with the recent surge of undocumented immigrants from Central America is meeting with resistance.  A group of angry protesters blocked three buses of immigrants who were transported from south Texas to southern California.  Demonstrators in the city of Murrieta forced the buses to turn around while yelling "USA" and "deport."  They also got into a heated shouting match with counterdemonstrators.  The 140 immigrants were eventually taken to San Ysidro and San Diego for processing.  Unaccompanied children account for the vast majority of the immigrant surge, which has been fueled by violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.  Immigration advocates and the White House have described the influx as a "humanitarian crisis."

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Remembering Howard Baker
Howard Baker, President Ronald Reagan and Ken Duberstein
June 26th, 2014
06:55 PM ET

Remembering Howard Baker

By CNN's Susan Garraty

He was a senator, majority leader, Ronald Reagan's White House chief of staff, ambassador, and a Tennessee gentleman. Howard Baker died on Thursday at the age of 88. Ken Duberstein, initially Baker’s deputy while in the Reagan White House and ultimately Baker’s successor in the role of chief of staff, reflects on his mentor.

“Howard Baker restored the integrity and credibility to the Reagan White House following the Iran Contra crisis,” said Duberstein in a phone interview from his Washington, D.C. office.

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The SOTU Scoop
June 25th, 2014
06:27 PM ET

The SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Susan Garraty

The attorney for the embattled former IRS official, Lois Lerner, tells CNN’s State of the Union that if House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wants to give Lerner immunity, there’s a streamlined way forward.

“We have repeatedly suggested that the committee follow the course provided for obtaining immunity for Ms. Lerner. Had it done that a year ago, we would all have been spared a great deal of unpleasantness.” Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor wrote in a statement sent to CNN.

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The SOTU Scoop
June 20th, 2014
03:36 PM ET

The SOTU Scoop

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, June 20, 2014

1.  IRS hearings.  A congressional hearing on missing subpoenaed e-mails of a former IRS official grew heated after the IRS commissioner said he didn't feel an apology from the agency was warranted.  The IRS says the emails of ex-IRS official Lois Lerner are permanently lost because a hard drive was destroyed.  Rep. Paul Ryan (R) Wisconsin, lashed out at IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "This is unbelievable.  The apology that ought to be given is to the American taxpayer not to a government agency that is abusing its power.  "I am sitting here listening to this testimony.  I just – I don't believe it.  That is your problem.  Nobody believes you," Ryan said. "I don't think an apology is owed," said Koskinen "We haven't lost an email since the start of this investigation."  The committee is investigating whether the IRS targeted conservative groups. FULL POST

SOTU Scoop
June 19th, 2014
03:50 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, June 19, 2014.

1. The U.S. response to Iraq's crisis.  President Obama announced he is sending 300 U.S. military advisers to Iraq, but reiterated that combat troops will not be returning to the country.  The President said the U.S. is increasing its intelligence and surveillance, as well as support for Iraqi security forces and is leaving the door open to "targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it."  Obama also called on Iraq's political leadership to rise above their differences to form a government that advances Shia, Sunni and Kurd interests. In the past week Islamic militants have gained control of parts of Iraq as Iraqi forces refused to fight.  The offensive by ISIS fighters have taken them to the outskirts of Baghdad.

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