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May 16th, 2013
11:42 AM ET

President Obama's second-term challenges: CNN's John King reports

CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King reports on the new developments unfolding in Washington D.C. with the IRS and the September 11, 2011 attack in Benghazi.

President Obama's administration is fighting a battle on capital hill in regard to recent reports that the IRS targeted conservative tea party groups trying to get tax exempt status. The IRS agency's acting commissioner was forced to step down due to the targeting of conservative political groups. His pink slip may not be the last. The IRS’ actions have triggered criminal and congressional investigations. along with promises of reform.

Additionally, President Obama and his administration has been receiving much criticism lately about how the administration handled the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Republicans are still looking for answers.

A new development from the attack on the U.S. consulate in benghazi. The two men who headed up a state department review of the events of last september 11th - are demanding a public hearing to defend their reputation. In a letter obtained by cnn's jake tapper to Congressman Darrell Issa, Admiral Michael Mullen and General Thomas Pickering say it's not in the public interest for them to be questioned behind closed doors.

They write, "In our view, requiring such a closed door proceeding before we testify publicly is an inappropriate condition." The letter concludes by saying "what the committee is now proposing is highly unusual in the context of senior officials who are not fact witnesses but instead are reporting on their own independent review."

READ MORE: First on CNN: Pickering, Mullen challenge Issa to let them testify in public

Filed under: Benghazi • IRS • Politics
January 23rd, 2013
10:08 AM ET

Rep. Chaffetz: Clinton faces hard questions in Benghazi hearings

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony on the Benghazi consulate attack.

Filed under: Benghazi • Benghazi investigation
January 4th, 2013
10:45 AM ET

Howard Kurtz and Lauren Ashburn weigh in on the backlash against conservatives who said Clinton faked illness

Prior to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's diagnosis of a blood clot, some conservative critics mocked her for having the "benghazi flu" after she suffered a concussion. Now there are demands of an apology from those who said Mrs. Clinton was faking her illness to avoid testifying about the Benghazi tragedy. This morning host of CNN's Reliable Sources and Washington Bureau Chief at Newsweek- Daily Beast Howard Kurtz and Daily Beast contributor and Editor in Chief of the Daily Download Lauren Ashburn join “Starting Point” to discuss whether there should be boundaries on political mockery when someone's health is involved.

Kurtz says that while Clinton’s critics probably feel some embarrassment, “There is a media and political culture now of meanness that kind of rewards this stuff.” He adds, “if you’re some public figure, if you’re some back benching member of congress if you’re some wannabe pundit the more outrageous you are, the meaner you are the more incendiary you are, the more you’re likely to get on TV or be retweeted.” Kurtz goes on to say that it is important to “make a distinction between… the normal political lampooning which goes back to the early days of the Republic and this kind of mean-spirited” behavior in modern-day politics.

Ashburn says this “culture of meanness” has always existed but, “with social media its amplified.” She adds, “You have people who do not have to put their names and attach their names to something that they say that is hateful.”

While Kurtz stresses that everyone should get their say he says the claims “the Secretary of State was making up the fact that she had a concussion – that’s just defensive.” Ashburn adds that perhaps “people don’t realize that if they’re on TV that they’ve gone a little bit too far…they’re looking for the sound bite, the ‘Benghazi flu’ sound bite and then they maybe step off and say ‘wow I think I just called her a liar.”

With President Barack Obama’s upcoming inauguration around the corner some politicians and pundits have already began to look towards 2016. Ashburn says in Clinton’s case there are many who believe she will run for president and “people are already beginning the attack” and laying the groundwork for the 2016 election.

Filed under: Benghazi • Benghazi investigation
December 20th, 2012
11:44 AM ET

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) weighs in on the Benghazi report

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) joins "Starting Point" on Thursday to discuss the Benghazi report, an independent review which details the "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" of the State Department in face of the Benghazi attack.

Isakson, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, argues on "Starting Point" that "we need to continue to have the hearing we're having this morning. We need to get the answers and the secretary has to bring closure testifying before Congress as to what steps have been taken to correct the errors and failures of duty on part of the State Department."

Filed under: Benghazi • Politics