By Tracey Webb [twitter-follow screen_name='WebbWriterguru']
Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, February 13, 2014.
1. Hillary: Critics are my friends. Hillary Clinton says she doesn't consider her critics bad people and deals with them by learning from them. "It's important to learn how to take criticism seriously, but not personally," Clinton said Thursday during a forum on women and girls. "I mean, there's that old saying, 'Your critics can be your best friends,' if you listen to them and learn from them, but don't get dragged down by them." Perhaps a preview of how the former Secretary of State and First Lady plans to deal with political rivals if she launches a 2016 White House bid?
2. U.S. unhappy with Afghanistan. Afghanistan released 65 prisoners despite strong objections from U.S. officials who say they pose a threat to security forces and civilians. In a statement, the U.S. embassy in Kabul called the move "deeply regrettable" and said the Afghan government "bears responsibility for the results of its decision." Afghan officials defended the move, saying the prisoner release was ordered after a careful review of 88 cases. "We took this decision according to our law," said Afghan Attorney General Mohammad Ishaq Aloko. But in a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul blasted the decision, calling it "contrary to Afghanistan's commitment in our 2012 Memorandum of Understanding to take all necessary steps to ensure that detains do not pose a continuing threat to Afghanistan, the international community or the United States."
3. Americans down on Russia. A week into the Winter Olympics, a new poll indicates Americans are down on the country hosting the games. According to a Gallup survey, six out of 10 Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Russia, with just 34% holding a favorable view. That's down from 2012, when half of Americans had a favorable opinion of Russia. A possible reason for the drop: negative news involving Russia. "In the past year, Russia has faced scrutiny for granting former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden asylum, involving itself in the Syrian civil war, and restricting gay and lesbian civil rights," said Gallup. "The threat of terrorism at the Olympics and the allegedly substandard conditions at the Winter Games have also been big media stories in the past several months," Americans also have no love for President Vladimir Putin. The poll found him with an unfavorable rating of 63%.