CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 23, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: NEW GALLUP POLL SHOWS ROMNEY WITH DOUBLE-DIGIT LEAD OVER SANTORUM: “Mitt Romney's national support among Republican voters has surged in recent days, coincident with his decisive victory in the Illinois primary and a prominent endorsement from Jeb Bush. Romney's support has increased to 40%, the first time a candidate has reached that level in this campaign, and his lead over Rick Santorum is back into double digits after narrowing to 4 percentage points on March 20.” LINK
GALLUP DAILY TRACKING POLL
Choice for nominee
Sampling error +/- 3% pts.
THIS JUST IN: Per Ohio Art, it is Etch A Sketch, no hyphens, capitals E, A and S.
What does the colloquial OK stand for? Bonus points if you know its political heritage (And no, Sooners, we aren’t talking about you and your seven electoral votes).
On Fridays, we like to reach out to the political master class to see how it thinks an issue will play. Last week, we brought you James Carville and Mary Matalin’s take on “the Richer Sex.” Today, we bring you Ana Navarro and Paul Begala’s take on next week’s SCOTUS fight – aka the kickoff of the general election campaign.
Gut Check: Health care. The U.S. Supreme Court hearings on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act means health care will be the issue next week on the campaign trail. But what will it teach us about the 2012 campaign?
A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press poll released last week shows the country is divided over what to do about the law: 38% of Americans want it repealed; 33% believe it should be expanded and 20% say it should be left as is.
While Democrats overwhelmingly favor the law and Republicans overwhelmingly oppose it, the voting bloc that will swing the election – independents – is split on the issue, according to the Pew poll. The leading candidate to win the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney, has close ties to the health care debate, and the law is the centerpiece of President Obama’s domestic agenda.
We’ve turned to Begala and Navarro to look ahead as the Court and the nine justices prepare for the hearings.
Q. It has been suggested that if Mitt Romney is on the top of the ticket it will weaken the Republican hand on the issue of health care in November? Is this true?
Ana Navarro, Republican strategist
“It certainly makes it more challenging. Mitt Romney would have to find a creative and convincing way to respond to Barack Obama when Barack Obama tells Mitt Romney ‘I modeled it after your plan’. There are pros and cons to Mitt Romney as a package deal and this is certainly one of his deficiencies he would have to deal with. It (health care) would not come up with anybody else.
“He has got to convince voters that he was talking about a state issue not a federal mandate. And voters need to believe him that he would repeal it on the first day.”
Q. If you were advising President Obama’s campaign, what would you tell them to do heading into next week’s hearings?
Paul Begala, Democratic strategist
“I would be as specific as possible about the benefits of the new law: Most important, I would tell Americans the GOP wants the court to drag us back to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against you and deny coverage for a pre-existing condition. I would tell seniors that they could lose the prescription drug subsidies that are closing the so-called 'doughnut hole,' as well as their annual free wellness checkup under Medicare. I would tell parents they will lose their ability to carry their young-adult children on their plans until they're 26, and I'd tell young adults that as well. I would tell women that insurance companies could charge them more for the 'crime' of being female. Of course, that's what the White House is doing, so I think they have it right.”
Q. Will the health care hearings before the U.S. Supreme Court provide a boost to the tea party movement?
Ana Navarro, Republican strategist
“It depends on what the Supreme Court decides and we likely won’t know that until June. If the Supreme Court rules against the health care law it could help Obama fire up his base. If the Supreme Court upholds it, the tea partiers and the Republican base is going to be breathing fire about it. It is one of these contradictory situations where up is down and down is up. Look, we’ve seen the political debate dominated by Seamus the dog, Etch A Sketch and gaffe of the week. It would be refreshing to be debating a serious issue like health care.”
Paul Begala, Democratic strategist
“Counterintuitively, the tea party wins politically only if they lose legally. If the court upholds the law, the tea party will channel their anger into electoral anger. But if the court overturns the law, you have the Joni Mitchell syndrome: ‘You don't know what you've got ‘til it’s gone.’ Voters may be angry about lost consumer protections. And if the right's biggest bugaboo has already been vanquished, why vote for Mitt?”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Justices to tackle epic debate over constitutionality of health care reform
Most of us go about our daily business never thinking about the U.S. Supreme Court or the cases it decides. But sometimes, it gets a case so big – that could affect your life so much – you simply have to take notice. Next week will be one of those times.
Leading Drudge: OBAMA: 'IF I HAD A SON, HE'D LOOK LIKE TRAYVON'
President Barack Obama weighed in Friday on the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, calling it a national tragedy — and saying that the young man reminded him of his own children.
Leading HuffPo: Obama On Trayvon Martin Case: 'If I Had A Son, He'd Look Like Trayvon'
For the first time since the controversy erupted on the national scene, President Barack Obama weighed in on the killing of Trayvon Martin, calling it a tragedy, urging cooperation among law enforcement and declaring that "some soul searching" was needed throughout the country.
Leading Politico: 5 things Dems got wrong on health care
President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies thought their political assumptions were airtight during the yearlong battle to overhaul the health care system. None of it worked out that way.
Leading The New York Times: Obama Speaks Out on Trayvon Martin Killing
President Obama spoke in highly personal terms on Friday about how the shooting in Florida of a 17-year-old black youth named Trayvon Martin had affected him, saying that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Leading The Times-Picayune: President Obama not running unopposed in Saturday's Louisiana primary
Democrats, do not feel left out. You also have a presidential primary in which you can vote Saturday. While it has not gained the attention of the Republican contest, a Democrat voting Saturday will find that President Barack Obama is not running unopposed for re-election.
The political bites of the day
- Obama: My son ‘would look like Trayvon’ -
PRESIDENT OBAMA ADDRESSED THE TRAYVON MARTIN INCIDENT AT A WHITE HOUSE PRESS CONFERENCE: “My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son he would look like Trayvon and I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness that it deserves and that we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”
- Hey Reince, get everyone in line -
NEWT GINGRICH CHIEF OF STAFF PATRICK MILLSAPS IN A LETTER TO RNC CHAIRMAN REINCE PRIEBUS: “I request that you issue a pledge asking all the Republican presidential candidates to support our eventual nominee. It is imperative that Republicans unite once the nomination process is complete in order to defeat President Obama.”
- Choosing between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum –
RICK SANTORUM AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN WEST MONROE, LOUISIANA: “You guys should do some real reporting and not what Gov. Romney feeds you. I have said repeatedly that we need to have a choice. Can't have a choice between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. What I have said is very clear. … I have said repeatedly I will vote for whoever the Republican nominee is and I will work for them. Barack Obama is a disaster but we can't have someone who agrees with him on some of the biggest issues of the day and that is the problem with Gov. Romney. He doesn't provide the clear choice we need.”
- Biden: GOP can’t get keys to the White House -
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN AT A CAMPAIGN SPEECH IN COCONUT CREEK, FLORIDA: “If the Republicans in Congress and their amen corner of Romney, Santorum and Gingrich, if any one of them get their hands on the White House, the keys of the White House, I promise you, you will see Medicare ended as we know it. And it is not just about what they want to do to Medicare. It is about the other benefits for seniors that they want to undo.”
- I’m not dead, I am doing fine -
NEWT GINGRICH AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN PORT FOURCHON, LOUISIANA: “The morning that Gov. Romney clearly has crossed 1,144 he will be the nominee. Until he crosses 1,144 the nomination is still open. I am running third. Remember, many of your colleagues in the media told me last June and July I was dead. For a guy who has been dead since June I am doing fine. And I have no incentive to get out of the race.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama)
Barack signed the Affordable Care Act into law two years ago today. It's saving lives, and it's up to us to protect it. –mo
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN)
Turns out one of Romney's new health care advisers attacked Romneycare in 2007 http://on.cnn.com/GLqgrFhttps://twitter.com/
Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree)
Over at the US Supreme Court – there are already 5 people in line for the arguments on the Obama health law
R.C. Hammond (@rchammond)
Our traveling press corp. so close to the ocean, yet I can't push them in. http://instagr.am/p/Iha6S-xZl-/
Alex Burns (@aburnspolitico)
Two rules of covering Newt: it's bias not to cover him prominently and it's bias to cover what he literally says
One-hundred-seventy-three years ago today, the Boston Morning Post wrote "o.k. – all korrect." It was their humorous abbreviation that has taken off into every corner of the world. Indeed, the dictionary lists “OK” as an adjective, adverb, interjection, noun and verb. It, like all things in Gut Check, has fun political etymology as well. In the 1840 campaign, supporters of Democrat Martin Van Buren called themselves the O.K. Club. Dictionary.com traces the etymology of the O.K. Club as “in allusion to the initials of Old Kinderhook, Van Buren's nickname, derived from his birthplace Kinderhook, New York.”