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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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SOTU Scoop
June 18th, 2014
03:25 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, June 18, 2014.

1. The crisis in Iraq. Iraq's military says it has prevented Islamic militants from taking over the country's largest oil refinery. But ISIS fighters, who have already seized control of parts of the country, are still trying to take over the city of Baquba, which is just 37 miles from Baghdad. Meanwhile President Obama is set to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi about possible steps the U.S. will take to quell the chaos in Iraq.

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SOTU Scoop
June 13th, 2014
05:38 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, June 13, 2014.

1. Chaos in Iraq.  President Obama is ruling out a return of any U.S. troops to Iraq to help fight rapidly deteriorating situation in that country. The terrorist group ISIS has taken over large swaths of the country as it continues its push toward Baghdad.  The president said the U.S. is prepared to assist the Iraqi government short of boots on the ground. "We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraq security forces and I'll be reviewing those options in the days ahead, " Obama told reporters Friday before leaving on a trip. He also challenged Iraq's leaders to work toward a political solution to end the country's sectarian violence.  "We can't do it for them and in the absence of this type of political effort, short term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won't succeed," the President said.

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SOTU Scoop
June 12th, 2014
02:39 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, June 12, 2014.

1. The next House Majority Leader.  House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), appears to have the inside track to replace Eric Cantor.  Cantor, who lost in a stunning Republican primary upset Tuesday, announced a day later that he would step down as majority leader.  McCarthy's path to become the House's number two Republican was made easier after Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he would not seek the post.

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SOTU Scoop
June 11th, 2014
04:28 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, June 11, 2014.

1.  The Cantor bombshell.  It may take days to assess what House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary loss really means.  It's obviously a huge, if unexpected win, for the Tea Party, which was targeting Mississippi Republican Senator Thad Cochran as its big "get" later this month.  But Cantor's loss seems to have come out of nowhere, or did it?  Cantor's defeat is being attributed to everything from low voter turnout to his backing of some type of immigration reform to his alleged inattention to his congressional district. In any case, the defeat of the number two Republican in the House has shaken the GOP.  "It's just sending shivers throughout the Republican conference," Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) told CNN.  Cantor plans to announce he will resign as majority leader July 31.

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SOTU Scoop
June 6th, 2014
02:23 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

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.

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SOTU Scoop
June 5th, 2014
03:02 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, June 5, 2014.

1. Obama: "No apologies." President Obama forcefully defended the deal that freed U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from nearly five years in captivity. The agreement to give up five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl has ignited a political backlash from many Republicans and a few Democrats in Congress. At a news conference in Brussels, where he attended the G-7 summit, the President offered no regrets. "We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated, and we were deeply concerned about, and we saw an opportunity, and we seized it. And I make no apologies for that," Obama said.

FULL POST

SOTU Scoop
June 4th, 2014
05:30 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, June 4, 2014.

1. Prisoner swap backlash. Questions and criticism are piling up for the Obama administration about the deal that freed U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The White House says it did not give Congress the required 30 days’ notice about swapping Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners because it felt time was running out to get Bergdahl back. But several Republican lawmakers are angry about the deal itself and the Senate Intelligence Committee's Democratic chairwoman Dianne Feinstein is upset that her committee wasn't informed about the swap beforehand. "It comes with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law and in an issue of this kind of concern to a committee that bears the oversight responsibility, I think you can see that we're very dismayed about it," Feinstein said. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), says the deal is paving the way for the President to close Guantanamo Bay. "It is not the best deal we could have gotten. It is the deal they wanted. I don't think there was any real effort – would you just take one? Would you just take two? I don't think they thought very hard to not release five because they are looking for ways to get rid of these people," said Graham.

FULL POST

SOTU Scoop
May 30th, 2014
03:30 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, May 30, 2014

1. Shinseki resigns.  President Obama announced that he accepted VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation "with considerable regret."  He offered praise for Shinseki, calling his commitment to veterans "unquestioned," but added Shinseki did not want to be a distraction. "His priority is to fix the problem and make sure our vets are getting the care they need," Obama said.  "That was Rick's judgment on behalf of his fellow veterans, and I agree."  Shinseki had been under increasing fire since CNN first reported delayed medical appointments and phony bookkeeping at a VA hospital in Phoenix.  By Thursday, more than 100 members of Congress had called for Shinseki's resignation.

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SOTU Scoop
May 29th, 2014
02:51 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, May 29, 2014

1. VA crisis.  A growing list of Democrats is calling for VA chief Eric Shinseki's ouster, after a preliminary report by the VA Inspector General's office found at least 1,700 military veterans who sought medical care were never scheduled for an appointment and were never placed on a wait list at a VA hospital in Phoenix.  Since Wednesday, Democratic Senators Mark Udall of Colorado, John Walsh of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Al Franken of Minnesota, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Warner of Virginia, and Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico have said Shinseki should resign.  All but Heinrich are up for re-election this year. With the White House acknowledging that Shinseki is on "thin ice" pending the outcome of the IG's investigation, it many now be a matter of not of if, but when, President Obama cuts the retired four-star general loose.

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