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SOTU Sneak Peek: a very Washington week
July 18th, 2013
05:52 PM ET

SOTU Sneak Peek: a very Washington week

Obamacare has been the talk of Washington as House Republicans attack the law’s implementation and Obama plays defense, and the “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial has inflamed civil rights activists and brought controversial “stand your ground” laws into the national spotlight.  John McCain will be joining Candy Crowley on Sunday to talk immigration reform, Syria, Snowden, and sexual assault in the military.  With developments toward civility in the Senate, a newsmaking interview with Joe Biden, and a potential move for trapped NSA leaker Edward Snowden, there will be no shortage of news to discuss on this Sunday’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley.

Sen. John McCain on SOTU: The veteran Senator has been a leading voice on immigration reform and foreign policy, but he is also known for bipartisan compromise which was apparent this week when McCain worked with Majority Leader Harry Reid to avert the “nuclear option” change in Senate filibuster rules.  McCain made a trip to Afghanistan on the Fourth of July and is a key member of the Senate Armed Services committee, placing him in a strong position to discuss the drawdown of troops and new developments towards deterring sexual assaults in the military. CNN has learned that the Navy and Marine Corps will begin posting their own lists of sex offenders to further discourage assaults.

McCain will talk with Candy Crowley about all this and more this Sunday on State of the Union.

Obstacles in Obamacare implementation: The Affordable Care Act is law, but implementing it has been a struggle for the President and the law’s supporters. On Wednesday, the Republican-dominated House passed two bills delaying requirements that employers provide health insurance and that individuals sign up for coverage, both essential pieces of the Obamacare puzzle. Though Republicans know that neither delay bill is likely to become law, they persisted in adding them to their list of more than 40 attempts to repeal or minimize Obamacare in hopes of tripping up Democrats in midterm elections.

Obama, however, gave a speech on Thursday morning in support of the health care law and highlighted the benefits people are already seeing. The President didn’t end without acknowledging his attackers, “I recognize that there are still a lot of folks – in this town, at least – who are rooting for this law to fail,” Obama said, “If the folks who have been trying to make political hay out of this thing, if they had some better ideas, I've already told them I'm happy to hear them. But I haven't heard any so far.”

State of the Union will be ready to analyze the mounting tensions surrounding Obamacare on Sunday.

Zimmerman: Not guilty, but not over: Although the George Zimmerman trial ended last week, the shockwaves of the “not guilty” verdict continue to resonate as thousands rioted and protested nationwide this week. On Thursday morning Trayvon Martin’s parents spoke out for the first time since the trial, and his mother, Sybrina Fulton, expressed “shock” and “disgust” at the verdict.  Juror B37 spoke exclusively with CNN on Monday and said "I think all of us thought race did not play a role," but both the NAACP and the Martin family are pushing for civil rights charges to be brought by the Justice Department.  “Stand Your Ground” laws are also receiving heavy criticism in the wake of the trial with Attorney General Eric Holder claiming the laws “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods" in a meeting with the NAACP on Tuesday.

We will address the impact of the controversial case this Sunday at 9am ET.

In other news: Vice President Joe Biden said in a GQ interview published Thursday that he could “die a happy man” without ever being President, “but it doesn’t mean I won’t run.”  Most of his party’s 2016 speculations have centered on Hillary Clinton, but Biden is still a contender.

Edward Snowden’s lawyer said on Wednesday that the notorious NSA leaker will likely leave the Russian airport in the next few days, but gave no word on where his next stop would be.  As Snowden hides out in Moscow, top security officials are gathering in Colorado this week at the Aspen Security forum to discuss NSA snooping programs and the dangers Snowden may have caused by revealing them.

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