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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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politics lead

June 5th, 2013
05:45 PM ET

GOP chairman: Rice lacks judgment to be NSA

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is replacing Tom Donilon as President Barack Obama's national security adviser, a move that many Republicans are opposed to - not that they have any say, as Rice will not have to go through a U.S. Senate confirmation for the position.

Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, signed a letter to the president in November, accusing Rice of willfully or incompetently misleading the American public on the Benghazi attack.

Rice represented the administration on all the Sunday shows five days after the Benghazi attack, saying they were not premeditated, and were a reaction to an offensive video. It was later revealed that it was in fact a terrorist attack, though Rice did not play a lead role in crafting the inaccurate talking points she shared on the shows.

Back in November, McCaul opposed the idea of Rice as Secretary of State, and he is similarly displeased with Obama's announcement Wednesday.
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politics lead

June 5th, 2013
04:50 PM ET

CNN exclusive video: First lady confronts heckler

CNN has obtained exclusive videos and images of first lady Michelle Obama being heckled at a fundraiser hosted by a couple at their upscale Washington home.

"We need to be better for all of our children. Do you understand? Our kids in this country, because they are counting on us to give them the chances they need to get the futures they deserve," Obama told attendees on Tuesday.

But one woman in the crowd wanted to talk about something else - gender equality.

Ellen Sturtz interrupted the first lady to ask her why the president has not signed an executive order that would bar a company that contracts with the federal government from discriminating over sexual orientation or gender equity.

The heckling did not go over well with Mrs. Obama or with the crowd.

"I don't care what you believe, wait, wait, wait. One of the things, one of things I don't do well is this," Michelle Obama responded, prompting cheers from the crowd.
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politics lead

June 5th, 2013
10:52 AM ET

Analysis: About those meetings with Stephanie Cutter and the IRS chief...

By Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper

Comments made by former White House adviser and Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter on CNN's "The Lead" last week about meetings at the White House attended by both her and the then-director of the Internal Revenue Service, Doug Shulman, have prompted some conservatives to question her role in those meetings.

The White House has acknowledged that IRS officials seem to have inappropriately focused on conservative groups when vetting whether the groups qualified for special tax exempt status. White House visitor logs suggest that Shulman was cleared to attend meetings in the White House or Eisenhower Executive Office Building 157 times, which has prompted questions from Republican officials as to whether the targeting of conservative groups was ever discussed. More than 50 of Douglas Shulman's scheduled visits are described as "health care meetings" or "health care reform meetings," according to the visitor logs.

On "The Lead's" political roundtable discussion about Shulman’s visits on Friday, Cutter – now a CNN contributor – said that “many of those meetings were for health care implementation. I was in them with him. So there is nothing nefarious going on.” (You can read the transcript HERE, or watch the roundtable discussion in the video above.)

Many conservative outlets have seized upon Cutter’s presence in the meetings as reason for suspicion. “The president's deputy campaign manager attended the ‘nonpolitical’ ObamaCare implementation meetings with the former IRS commissioner at the White House,” wrote an Investor’s Business Daily editorial. “She wasn't there to discuss the Easter Egg Roll.”
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