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SOTU Scoop
April 30th, 2014
04:41 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By Tracey Webb

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

1. Oklahoma's botched execution.  Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered an investigation after the execution of a death row inmate went wrong Tuesday night.   The 3-drug cocktail given to Clayton Lockett was supposed to make him unconscious, and stop his breathing and heart. But 16 minutes after the execution began, witnesses said Lockett was able to lift his head off the gurney and appeared to be under a great deal of physical distress.  He died of a heart attack 43 minutes after receiving the first lethal injection.  Gov. Fallin says state execution procedures will be reviewed to determine what went wrong.  She also issued a 14-day stay of execution for another death row inmate.  Lockett was convicted of shooting 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman and ultimately burying her alive.

2. Racially charged remarks.  Rep. Bennie Thompson (D) MS, is the latest person whose remarks about race are raising eyebrows.  In an interview on the New Nation of Islam webcast over the weekend, Thompson called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an "Uncle Tom," and said some white lawmakers oppose President Obama because he is African-American.  Thompson, who is the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, didn't back down from his remarks in an interview Wednesday with CNN's Dana Bash.  "I've been here a long time.  I've seen a lot of issues come before Congress.  I've never seen the venom put forth on another candidate or a president like I've seen with this president and that's my opinion," Thompson said.

3. Stevens says money is not speech.  Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says it's time to do something rein in big money in politics. Stevens said unlimited donations currently allowed in campaigns are not necessarily protected by the Constitution.  "While money is used to finance speech, money is not speech.  Speech is only one of the activities that are financed by campaign contributions and expenditures," Stevens said.   "Those financial activities should not receive the, precisely the same constitutional protection as speech itself. After all, campaign funds were used to finance the Watergate burglaries, actions that clearly were not protected by the First Amendment."

4. Political dynasties. Former First Lady Barbara Bush has said she does not want her son Jeb to run for president in 2016 and thinks "If we can't find more than two or three families to run for high office, that's silly." It turns out most Americans agree.  In a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 69% of people surveyed back Mrs. Bush's statements, while 25% disagree.  Jeb Bush has been generating a lot of buzz of late about whether he'll enter the 2016 fray.  The former Florida governor says he'll make a decision by the end of the year.  Meanwhile the poll asks a hypothetical Bush-Clinton 2016 match-up.  Hillary beats out Jeb 53% to 41%.

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