The Democrats' Benghazi Dilemma

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • WHAT WILL NANCY DO? The House of Representatives voted 232-186 yesterday to establish a new Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi, Libya, diplomatic mission terrorist attacks that killed four Americans on Sept. 11, 2012. All but seven Democrats voted against the resolution while all Republicans voted in favor. ABC's JOHN PARKINSON notes that it remains unclear whether Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will appoint any of her colleagues to the panel. A senior Democratic leadership aide said that Pelosi is considering three options: full participation, no participation and minimal participation. That decision could be made as soon as today, a source close to the discussions said.
  • THE SPEAKER SPEAKS: The committee, which will be formally known as the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, will have the power to subpoena testimony and documents. "This doesn't need to be, shouldn't be, and will not be a partisan process," House Speaker John Boehner said on the floor as he opened up debate on the resolution. "Our system of government depends on transparency and accountability. Either we do this well or we face the terrifying prospect of our people having less knowledge and less power over their own government. And we owe it to future generations to make the right choice."
  • THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, come to "This Week" Sunday. And the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week's politics, with Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile, Weekly Standard editor and ABC News contributor Bill Kristol, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, and radio host Michael Smerconish, author of the new book "TALK." Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. TUNE IN SUNDAY: READ AN EXCERPT OF MICHAEL SMERCONISH'S NEW BOOK:

ATTENTION WALMART SHOPPERS: President Obama becomes the first sitting president to visit Walmart today, as he delivers a speech on energy and climate change at their Mountain View, Calif., store, according to ABC's MARY BRUCE. It's the final event of his three-day California trip, the president will announce new executive actions to cut carbon pollution, promote energy efficiency and boost solar power. He will also announce more than 300 private and public sector commitments intended to create jobs and reduce carbon pollution. Timed to the speech, the White House announced its completed the installation of American-made solar panels as a part of an energy retrofit of 1600 Penn Ave.

WHY WALMART? The Mountain View store was retrofitted with solar panels in 2010 and it underwent a full energy efficiency retrofit in 2011. Union demonstrators are expected to protest the event. Dave Tovar, vice president of communications at Walmart, tells ABC News: "While tomorrow may be the first time the President has called on our stores, this is not the first time a member of his family has paid us a visit. We were honored to host the First Lady in Feb. 2013 to talk about her Let's Move campaign, and discuss how we are providing affordable access to healthy foods."


RAHM EMANUEL NOW 'READY FOR HILLARY' Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who backed President Obama in 2008 despite his close ties to the Clinton family, has no reservations for the 2016 cycle. The former adviser to President Bill Clinton and former Chief of Staff to President Obama will be headlining two fundraisers in early June for "Ready for Hillary," the grassroots super PAC urging Hillary Clinton to run for president announced today, according to ABC's LIZ KREUTZ. The endorsement comes one week after Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine announced his support for Hillary Clinton and the "Ready for Hillary" movement. "Hillary is smart, she's determined, and most importantly, she is a champion for the American people. I'm proud to make my support for her official, and I'm even prouder to join more than two million Americans encouraging her to run," Emanuel told "Ready for Hillary," referring to the group's more than two million supporters.

U.S. OFFICIALS ARRIVE IN NIGERIA TO HELP WITH SEARCH FOR KIDNAPPED GIRLS. U.S. officials are on the ground in Nigeria to help the government there find the hundreds of girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram, Secretary of State John Kerry announced yesterday. "Our inter-agency team is hitting the ground in Nigeria now, and they are going to be working in concert with President Goodluck Jonathan's government to do everything that we possibly can to return these girls to their families and their communities," Kerry said during an appearance with Syrian Opposition Coalition President Ahmad Jarba, according to ABC's ALI WEINBERG. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not say exactly how many officials were in the first group of American experts and advisers to arrive in Nigeria but said the final tally will be in the dozens, in addition to the embassy officials already on the ground there.

NOTED: TOP US MIDDLE EAST ENVOY GIVES POST-MORTEM ON PEACE TALKS. Martin Indyk, who for the past nine months has been shuttling between the Israelis and Palestinians in the latest round of peace talks, gave an expansive post-mortem last night of the failed negotiations in which he blamed both sides for not wanting peace badly enough, ABCs ALI WEINBERG notes. "One problem that revealed itself in these past nine months is that the parties, although both showing flexibility in the negotiations, do not feel the pressing need to make the gut-wrenching compromises necessary to achieve peace," Indyk, speaking at a dinner held by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said. Indyk had particularly pointed criticism for the Israelis, who pursued the construction of settlements in the West Bank during negotiations, stoking the ire of the Palestinians. At one point in December 2013, Israel announced additional settlements along with the release of a tranche of Palestinian prisoners, which was part of an agreement reached earlier in the peace talks. Israelis then claimed that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas had agreed to more settlement activity in exchange for the already agreed-upon prisoners, which caused Abbas to "shut down," Indyk said.

PALIN JUMPS INTO ANOTHER 2014 SENATE RACE. The Tea Party's mama grizzly is roaring again, backing a candidate who has a way, not with grizzlies, but gators. Sarah Palin announced another endorsement yesterday - this time in the Louisiana Senate race, throwing her support behind the non-establishment Republican candidate Rob Maness, notes ABC's JORDYN PHELPS. "In the Louisiana Senate race we have the opportunity to send a true conservative and a real warrior to join that fight. So, today I am lending my support to retired Col. Rob Maness for U.S. Senate," Palin was quoted as saying in a statement sent out by Maness' campaign. Palin's announcement comes on the same day that Maness rolled out his first television and radio ads of the campaign cycle - a combined $50,000 buy. The television ad, titled "Gator," compares the skills needed to be an effective senator to alligator wrangling.

CLAY AIKEN'S N.C. HOUSE RACE STILL DEADLOCKED. Clay Aiken is used to having his fate in the American voters' hands, but usually on elimination night "American Idol" hopefuls would know their destiny, notes ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE. Not this time. Two days after ballots were cast in his primary race for Congress, it's still just too close to call. Aiken ended election night only 369 votes ahead of his opponent textile entrepreneur Keith Crisco in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District, according to the North Carolina Board of Elections. And the results remain that tight. When he spoke to supporters as the race remained too close to call hours after the polls had closed he joked that he "prefer(s) it when they just open the envelope and tell you who won," but that he was "comfortable," despite how close the votes were.


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