CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 26, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
JUST IN: Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, tells Wolf Blitzer that she is “working behind the scenes bringing together all factions of our party,” as the focus now turns to the general election. Bachmann, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination, specifically mentioned that she is reaching out to tea party activists and evangelical voters, in the interview set to air on “The Situation Room” today at 5:25 p.m. ET.
“I have said all along that I will be backing our party’s nominee,” Bachmann said. “What I am doing is working behind the scenes bringing together all factions of our party. Don’t forget, when there was the dust up between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, there were 18 million women who had backed Hillary Clinton, they wanted no part of backing Barack Obama. It took time to get them to come over. I am working behind the scenes to knit together the tea party and the evangelicals to come together with conservatives and back our nominee.”
Who does Time magazine say may be the “the most influential person in American life today”?
Today we were struck by the sharp criticism of President Obama's first term agenda from an outspoken Massachusetts liberal.
The Boston Globe quoted retiring Democratic Rep. Barney Frank today saying it was a mistake to pursue health care reform instead of tackling financial regulation.
“Bad economic times are not good times to do something that makes people nervous,’’ like overhauling the health care system, he said in the Globe interview.
Frank recently offered a similar harsh assessment about the effort to enact health care reform in an interview with New York magazine. “I think we paid a terrible price for health care,” Frank told the magazine. (LINK) “I would not have pushed it as hard. As a matter of fact, after Scott Brown won I suggested going back. I would have started with financial reform but certainly not health care.”
This reminded us strikingly of a similar argument attributed to Vice President Biden by The New York Times back in 2009. "At one January meeting to discuss the budget, Mr. Biden railed that the government was in no fiscal shape to pursue a health care overhaul this year - to the dismay of many present and others who heard about it."
Was Biden right? How about Frank?
It's interesting to stop for a minute and think about politics - which is truly about choices with scarce resources and scarce time. The president was sworn in on January 20, 2009. The health care overhaul was signed into law on March 23, 2010. That represents 428 days of focus, energy and political capital.
That also reflects 428 days of uncertainty for businesses about health care expenses.
Those days of fighting gave the Obama administration a 60 year-dream for the Democratic Party, "a BFD" to quote Biden.
Yet, it also ignited the tea party, helped Republicans take over control of the House and has shaped the current rhetoric about the scope of government.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Boehner offers student loan deal
The House will vote Friday to extend current rates on federally funded college loans for one year, Speaker John Boehner announced on Wednesday.
Leading Drudge: ‘The President Has A Big Stick’
Referring to President Roosevelt's foreign policy quote about "speaking softly and carrying a big stick," Biden told the crowd that Obama followed a similar path while negotiating with Iran.
Leading HuffPo: Haley Barbour Warns Of Danger To Mitt Romney In Lead Up To Convention
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said Thursday he expects President Obama's reelection campaign and their allies to try to capitalize on Mitt Romney's lack of cash flow coming out of the Republican primary, and to try to overwhelm him with negative ads over the next few months.
Leading Politico: John Boehner escalates attacks on Obama
The general election just got a massive jump-start on sleepy Capitol Hill. Speaker John Boehner opened a new — and increasingly harsh — line of attack against President Barack Obama, blaming almost all of the nation’s woes squarely at the White House steps.
Leading New York Times: Two Parties Find a Way to Agree, and Disagree, on Student Loan Rates
As President Obama wrapped up a barnstorming tour of college campuses in swing states on Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans agreed that they wanted to avoid a steep increase in the student loan interest rate this summer. But the chief issue remained unsettled: how to pay the cost of doing so.
The political bites of the day
– A preemptive strike by the Romney campaign on Biden’s foreign policy speech –
FORMER AMBASSADOR PIERRE PROSPER IN A PREBUTTAL ROMNEY CAMPAIGN CONFERENCE CALL TO BIDEN’S SPEECH: “The vice president today will cite what he claims to be accomplishments but effectively he will be glossing over all the negotiating failures and missteps of the president. President Obama has shown himself to be ineffective in this area, negotiating many times against himself and negotiating form positions of weakness. He is constantly giving while the others take and we get nothing in return.”
– Biden criticizes Romney on foreign policy –
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN TALKS TOUGH IN A SPEECH AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: “He (Romney) starts with a profound misunderstanding of the responsibilities of the president and commander in chief. It seems to me governor Romney’s fundamental thinking about the role of the president in foreign policy is fundamentally wrong. That may work, that may work – that kind of thinking may work for a CEO, but I assure you it will not and cannot work for a president and it will not work for a commander in chief.”
– The first lady wants to hang out in Georgetown –
MICHELLE OBAMA SPOKE ABOUT THE LIMITATIONS OF BEING FIRST LADY: “It is hard to sneak around and do what you want. I have done it a couple of times. But you know one fantasy I have, and the Secret Service they keep looking at me because they think I might actually do it, is to walk right out the front door and just keep walking. Just go right over there and go into some shops and stop and have some ice cream, go shopping. I can’t do that. I can’t just up and decide I think I am going to go for a walk. I am going to walk to Georgetown!”
– Ryan says budget conforms to Catholic social doctrine –
REP. PAUL RYAN RESPONDS TO CRITICS ON HIS BUDGET AT A GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY SPEECH: “The work I do, as a Catholic holding office, conforms to the social doctrine as best I can make of it. What I have to say about the social doctrine of the church is from the viewpoint of a Catholic in politics applying my understanding of the problems of the day. Serious problems, like those we face we face today, require charitable conversation. Civil public dialogue goes to the heart of solidarity, the virtue that does not divide society into classes and groups but builds up the common good of all.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Spain & Britain officially entered a double-dip recession, the first time major economies have done so in 40 years. Austerity is not working—
Fareed Zakaria (@FareedZakaria) April 26, 2012
Sen. Maj. Leader Harry Reid on how Secret Service can prevent future partying problems: "Hire more women."—
Rosalind Helderman (@PostRoz) April 26, 2012
Indiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee state Republican parties announce they are behind Romney. file under RNC/Romney "merging/syncing" etc.—
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) April 26, 2012
Hague - Charles Taylor unanimously convicted on all 11 counts for aiding and abetting RUF and AFRC rebels during Sierra Leone's civil war.—
SCSL - Sierra Leone (@SpecialCourt) April 26, 2012
CHILD: Are you as big of a White Sox fan as your husband? MRS. OBAMA: No...I grew up a Cubs fan. We're a mixed marriage—
Roger Simon (@politicoroger) April 26, 2012
With an amazing track record in 5-4 cases, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the U.S. Supreme Court’s swing vote, was dubbed by Time Magazine as possibly “the most influential person in American life today.”
In an entry written by Theodore B. Olson, the 42nd solicitor general of the United States, Kennedy is touted for the “indelible and enduring stamp on American life and institutions” he has left because of his “convictions and unique sense of liberty.”
Kennedy’s swing power is truly remarkable. “So crucial is his vote that lawyers regularly pitch their arguments in close cases overtly to Justice Kennedy,” Olson wrote. In one year, Kennedy was in the majority in all 24 cases decided by a 5-4 vote.
And that sway is not due to change anytime soon. With President Obama’s health care law, along with cases on immigration, speech and religion, now in front of the court, all eyes will be on Kennedy. Kennedy asked tough questions at last month’s health care hearings such as “Can you create commerce to regulate it?” It caused some Court experts predict the law was going down and Kennedy would be the deciding vote.
“President Obama's signature health care legislation, and possibly his re-election next November, may stand or fall based on Justice Kennedy's vote in the case,” Olson concluded.
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