CNN's GUT CHECK | for DAY, DATE, YEAR | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
STOP THE PRESSES: Current TV cuts ties with Keith Olberman and announces Eliot Spitzer program
BUSH INSPIRES NEW TUNE ON CAMPAIGN MIX TAPE: Former President George H.W. Bush set the tone and the music for the Romney campaign. Yesterday Bush said, “I do think it’s time for the party to get behind Gov. Romney. And was reminding me Kenny Rogers sang, ‘It’s time when to hold ‘em and time when to fold ‘em,’ Well I think it’s time for people to all get behind this good man.” …. Today, on the trail, our Rachel Streitfeld reports the Romney campaign advance team started playing “The Gambler” at its events.
And what is the song du jour in the Santorum corner? "Game On."
Which sitting congressman drove a car shaped like a hot dog on a bun during a summer job?
On Fridays we like to take the temperature of the masters of the political class. With congressional primary season in full swing, which Senate incumbent is in most trouble?
Alex Castellanos, CNN political contributor and Republican ad man extraordinaire, says, “The most vulnerable GOP senator in a primary this year is Dick Lugar. He is an establishment senator in a virulently anti-establishment party. The most vulnerable GOP senator in the general election is a toss-up between Dean Heller in Nevada, who is really running against Harry Reid, and Scott Brown in Massachusetts, who is sledding uphill against a good Democratic candidate with a well-funded campaign in a state Barack Obama is going to dominate.”
What about the Democratic side? Castellanos says, “The most vulnerable Democrat is Claire McCaskill, a terrific candidate, in a state Obama will lose by a lot more than last time (Missouri). If all four lose, the Democrats will keep control of the Senate.”
CNN contributor and veteran Democratic strategist Donna Brazile looks at Congress and sees a moving target: “The number of Senate races in the toss-up category has moved from eight in January to 10 in March. Sen. Olympia Snowe’s announcement that she would not seek re-election in Maine moves a safe Republican seat to a toss-up. And then, we got the entry of former Sen. Bob Kerrey to try to hold retiring Sen. Ben Nelson’s seat in Nebraska. Democrats must still hold on to seats in Hawaii, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Florida, Connecticut, Virginia, North Dakota, Missouri, Michigan and look for pick-ups in Arizona, Nevada and Indiana.”
Who do you think is the most vulnerable Senate incumbent? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Romney gets Ryan's endorsement, leads Wisconsin poll
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked up another major endorsement Friday when conservative favorite Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, whose state votes Tuesday, called Romney "the right person for the job."
Leading Drudge: Biden: "We Want To Create A Global Minimum Tax"
"For years, American manufacturers have faced one of the highest tax rates in the world. We want to reduce that by over 20%. We want to drop the rate, particularly, for high-tech manufacturers like you, Mr. President (of PCT Engineered Systems), even further than the 20%," Vice President Joe Biden said at a manufacturing plant in Davenport, Iowa this week.
Leading HuffPo: Mitt Romney Gets George H.W. Bush Endorsement, But George W. Bush Remains Absent
George W. Bush is as hard to find in his father's office as he is in the 2012 presidential contest.
Leading Politico: Is Mitt Romney winning the Karl Rove primary?
As a political analyst on Fox News, Karl Rove is often asked to play the role of hypothetical adviser to various GOP candidates. And no matter how hard Sean Hannity teasingly tries to get him to admit who he supports, he refuses to endorse one. When he riffs about what a “terrific speech” that Mitt Romney made in November, he’ll make sure to interject, “I’m not here to make his case."
Leading New York Times: Romney Supporters Yearning for the Personal Side
The voters were pleading with Mitt Romney to share personal details of his life. They stood at town-hall-style meetings and chatted before rallies, clamoring for a story or an anecdote that would help them connect with the real Mitt Romney.
The political bites of the day
– Romney: Obama is the one that has a problem connecting –
MITT ROMNEY SAID THIS AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN APPLETON, WISCONSIN: “President Obama thinks he is doing a good job. I am not kidding. He actually thinks he is doing a great job, an historically great job. According to the president only Lincoln and FDR and Lyndon Johnson have accomplished more. And no, we didn’t say that on Saturday Night Live. How can this be? I mean is it that the president is so disconnected from what is happening across America that he doesn’t grasp the real consequences of his failures? The answer is easy. The answer is yes, of course.”
– Pundit Joe’s big worry: The Eurozone –
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN HANDICAPPED THE 2012 ELECTION AT A CHICAGO FUNDRAISING EVENT LAST NIGHT: “I don’t think we’ll be beaten by those candidates. I think we’ll be beaten - if we are – by something happening in the eurozone or something happening in the Gulf, which could be difficult for us, or this barrage of SuperPAC money. But even with that I feel good.”
– Rick rejects opportunity to be a pundit –
RICK SANTORUM RESPONDED TO A REPORTER’S QUESTION ABOUT PAUL RYAN’S ENDORSEMENT OF ROMNEY: “Talk to political pundits. I'm running for office.”
– Obama: Forget the Russian ‘reset,’ here’s one for Magic Hat –
PRESIDENT OBAMA DROPPED A BIT OF PRESIDENTIAL VISIT TRIVIA TODAY AT A CAMPAIGN SPEECH IN VERMONT: “Now out of all 50 states, Vermont has gone the longest without a presidential visit. ... the last time a president stopped by was President Clinton in '95, so today we've decided we are going to reset the clock.”
– Gingrich: Send a package to illegal immigrants –
NEWT GINGRICH SAID THIS AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN OSHKOSH, WISCONSIN: “In the world of innovation, we have 24 million packages a day being tracked by UPS and FedEx. In the government, we can't find 11 million illegal immigrants, even if they're sitting still. So one of my proposals has been why don't we send a package to everyone who's here illegally? And then when the package arrives, we'll pull it up, we'll know exactly where they are and we would have identified all of them for about 9 dollars apiece.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Brian Stelter (@brianstelter)
Olbermann will be replaced by "Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer," according to Current TV.
Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum)
Tonight I'll be on @CNN with @JohnKingCNN 6pm EDT
Rick Klein (@rickklein)
If Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan are the GOP "establishment," I want to meet the party's non-establishment. Or maybe I don't...
Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick)
IBM's new CEO is a woman. Augusta has always made IBM CEO a member. But Augusta doesn't allow women members. Uh-oh.
CNN Natl Security (@natlsecurityCNN)
U.S. official refutes report SSG Bales being moved to Walter Reed for mental eval, says will get 'sanity board' eventually but location TBD
Mike Memoli (@mikememoli)
"West Wing Week" nugget: Obama did another interview with CBS Sports' Clark Kellogg yesterday at the WH
Ana Navarro (@ananavarro)
What were Gingrich & Romney doing in an early morning secret rendezvous? Simple- negotiating Newt's ambassadorship to the Moon!
It is Gut Check’s assumption that Rep. Paul Ryan does, in fact, know that Oscar Mayer Wiener Song. The Wisconsin Republican and House Budget Committee chairman drove the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile as part of a summer job while in college at Miami University in Ohio. According to multiple press accounts from Wisconsin, Ryan was an Oscar Mayer salesman in Minnesota and spent the summer hawking a new Mayer line called Lunchables to supermarkets in the state.
After his time with tubular meat on wheels, Ryan moved to Washington and worked on the Hill for a number of congressional offices, including the Senate small business committee and then-Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas. In 1998, Ryan ran for Congress as a 28-year-old from Janesville, Wisconsin. He ended up capturing 57% of the vote and has been in Congress ever since.
“I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener/ that is what I’d truly like to be,” says the Oscar Mayer song and we hope someday we can get Ryan to sing it for us.
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