CNN's GUT CHECK for July 4, 2012
Romney confers with his senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom.
July 4th, 2012
05:15 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for July 4, 2012

CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for July 4, 2012 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING ... ROMNEY CALLS ‘OBAMACARE’ MANDATE A TAX, CONTRADICTING TOP AIDE: Romney to CNN’s Dana Bash and Shawna Shepherd in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire: "Supreme Court is the final word, right? The highest court in the land? They said it's a tax, didn't they? So it's a tax, of course, if that's what they say it is.”

In an interview taped with Jan Crawford of CBS earlier in the day: “And so now the Supreme Court has spoken, and while I agreed with dissent, it’s taken over by the fact that the majority of the court said that it’s a tax and therefore it is a tax. ... And the American people know that President Obama has broken the pledge he made. He said he wouldn’t raise taxes on middle-income Americans. Not only did he raise the $500 billion that was already in the bill, it’s now clear that his mandate as described by the Supreme Court is a tax.

FLASHBACK ... Eric Fehrstrom, Romney’s senior adviser, in an interview Monday on MSNBC: "He agreed with the dissent written by Justice Scalia which very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax." When pressed repeatedly if Romney agrees with Obama and Democrats that the penalty is no tax, Fehrnstrom eventually said, "That's correct."

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Author looks to honor vice presidents' 'history of insignificance'
July 4 is Independence Day, but if historian and author Bill Kelter gets his way it will also be Vice Presidents' Day. – Tommy Andres LINK

Leading Drudge: Fireworks!
Iran said on Tuesday it had successfully tested medium-range missiles capable of hitting Israel as a response to threats of attack, the latest move in a war of nerves with the West. – Marcus George

Leading HuffPo: Romney: Individual mandate ‘is a tax’
Contradicting his own top campaign adviser, Mitt Romney on Wednesday declared that the individual mandate contained in President Barack Obama's health care law is, indeed, a tax and not a penalty against those who refuse to buy coverage. – Sam Stein and Mollie Reilly

Leading Politico: Obama: Historian in chief
For Obama, presidential history is less textbook and more guidebook — and his shifting focus on particular presidents has both reflected and informed his shifting sense of his own presidency. – Edward-Isaac Dovere

Leading New York Times: Possible No. 2 to Romney knows ways of the capital
Rob Portman, who has ascended to senator from staff member during nearly three decades in Washington, is a potential pick to be Mitt Romney’s running mate. – Jeff Zeleny

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)

How many foreign, World War II prisoners of war are buried in Arlington National Cemetery and why are they buried there?

MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

“The process of revision continued through all of July 3 and into the late morning of July 4. Then, at last, church bells rang out over Philadelphia; the Declaration had been officially adopted.” a history of the Declaration of Independence.

It is fitting that we do not celebrate the day the colonies voted to form our United States, July 2, but rather the day our forefathers signed this beautiful document.

We set aside some time to read the document again today, and what amazes us is how beautiful America is at its founding.

We hope you join us in reading the words of our young Congress, dated July 4, 1776:

“The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

… The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

… We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

FULL TEXT

TRAIL MOMENTS
The political bites of the day

– Obama: ‘Immigration makes America stronger’–
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SPEAKING TO NEWLY NATURALIZED CITIZENS: “The lesson of these 236 years is clear: Immigration makes America stronger. Immigration makes us more prosperous. Immigration positions America to lead in the 21st century. These young men and women are testaments to that. No other nation in the world welcomes so many new arrivals. No other nation constantly renews itself, refreshes itself with the hopes and the drive and the optimism and the dynamism of each new generation of immigrants.”

– Romney’s Independence Day message to the military -
MITT ROMNEY SPEAKING TO SUPPORTERS AFTER WALKING IN THE WOLFEBORO, NEW HAMPSHIRE, PARADE:
“I had the occasion about four years ago of going to Afghanistan and Iraq and seeing our service men and women there, members of the National Guard and members of the active duty armed forces The sacrifices that are being made by our fighting men and women around the world continue to inspire me, and give me a confidence that our future is bright.”

– Christie defends giving ‘kick[s] in the rear end’ –
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE OF NEW JERSEY, ASKED BY JAKE TAPPER OF ABC IF ‘SOME OF YOUR RHETORIC IS TOO MUCH’:
“No. The answer to your question is no. I don't worry about that. Sometimes people need a pat on the back. Sometimes they need a kick in the rear end. You have to be able to read that. Experienced leaders can read that and do it.”

– Biden on why he left his hometown –
JOE BIDEN TO SEN. BOB CASEY, WHOSE FATHER SERVED AS PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR:
“You know the only reason why I left Scranton? I lived three blocks away from this guy’s father and I knew only one of us was going to make it.”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

TRIVIA ANSWER

Three World War II prisoners of war – German soldier Anton Hilberath and Italian soldiers Arcangelo Prudenza and Mario Batista – are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, which is usually reserved for fallen heroes of the United States.

During World War II, hundreds of thousands of POWs were brought to the United States and a few died in captivity. Hilberath, Prudenza and Batista were all held in the Washington area.

After being captured in North Africa, Hilberath, Prudenza and Batista were forced to work on a farm in eastern Maryland, but they died in captivity. Since the Geneva Conventions require proper burials for POWs who die in captivity, all three were given an honorable burial in the nearest national cemetery – Arlington National Cemetery.

Though largely unknown, Hilberath is not forgotten by the Germans.

“On the second Sunday before Advent, its embassy advises, Germany celebrates ‘Volkstrauertag,’ which means ‘the people's day of mourning,’” reports The Connection, a Northern Virginia newspaper. “If a soldier's grave is in foreign soil, a military attaché places the floral display. Hilberath, therefore, is remembered each year.”

All three enemy combatants are buried in section 15-C, about 200 feet from Arlington’s West Gate.

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)

Today’s trivia question proved to be too hard for our loyal readers. We give you a pass today – have a wonderful July Fourth!

GOT NEWS?
Our inbox awaits: gutcheck@cnn.com
Tips or comments? Send them to Michelle; send complaints to Preston, because he is already in a bad mood. We also want to give a shout out to Dan Merica, who runs our Twitter account @gutCheckCNN and enriches this product every single day.


Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Please correct me if I am wrong but wasn't romneycare ultimately a tax also?
    Too bad that nod of the bishop's five sons cared enough about tier country to serve in the last ten years. Sort of like the bulky prep boy they call father during the Vietnam War.
    Once again the rich boy got a pass (bully, impersonating a state trooper, animal abuse). I am sure there are other stories about this loser.

    July 4, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  2. trex

    ..American Exceptionalism is in WEAPONRY AND WAR............The only way to change this is to GREATLY REDUCE THE DEFENSE BUDGET AND CAUSE OUR LEADERS TO FIND OTHER WAYS TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, rather than blow them to kingdom come.
    How about America stand for....................caring for the sick, ill, injured amoung us, RATHER THAN THROWING THEM UNDER THE BUS...............How about America stand for FEEDING EVERY AMERICAN, PROVIDING HEALTH AND EDUCATION, AND A TRUE CHANCE to make yourself more than you are now.
    See, the Romneys of the world say.......JUST INHERIT YOUR FIRST MILLION..............,and the rest falls into place......................and these people dont serve America, they serve Joe Smith..........................

    July 4, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. ad_iudicium

    of course Obamacare will increase taxes. you don't insure millions and increase the size of the federal government by 10's of thousands for free.

    July 4, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    The only way for the bishop to feel human and good is to have a 3K+ suit on.

    July 4, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. carlos

    “I had the occasion about four years ago of going to Afghanistan and Iraq and seeing our service men and women there, members of the National Guard and members of the active duty armed forces The sacrifices that are being made by our fighting men and women around the world continue to inspire me, and give me a confidence that our future is bright.” ......why didn't you take your five sissies and left them there???,instead you want to send other people's sons and daughters when you become .....no, never mind, you are not...

    July 4, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. abcd1

    Then if obamacare is a tax for those that do not sign-up ,so is the penalty for not joining -up for Medicare benefits at 65 and why are they the republicans not complaining about it ?

    July 4, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. george S

    No Mr. Romney, The Supreme court DID NOT say it was a tax..but a penalty authorize under the government's taxing authority....similiar to the penalty you had in Massachusetts...remember?...further it only effects those that are uninsured and choose not to have health insurance....as you know. Remember?

    You are so etch a sketch!

    July 4, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. Dallas Gard

    Part of the reasoning by the Supreme Court in determining that the penalty portion of the Affordabe Care Act was a tax was because it will be administered by the IRS. Mass. also has a mandate where they impose a penalty very similar to the Federal plan. Does anybody know who in Mass. collects this penalty and whether Romney has a leg to stand on when he attempts to split hairs. Does the tax collecting agency in Mass. collect this penalty/fee/tax? It certainly walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, so is it a duck (tax)?

    July 4, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. CBR

    How did Mr. Romney believe his Massachusetts program would be paid? The state implemented that program and found themselves in debt because of it. Republicans set policies but do not fund them. It was all smoke and mirrors under Governor Romney. OF course, he was campaigning to be the Republican nominee in the last election. As Governor of Massachusetts he implemented some programs that could not be paid for so he raised the taxes. What will he do as president?

    July 4, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  10. Larry L

    Romney needs to get his act together if he plans a serious challenge to President Obama. He bends with the wind – constantly gravitating towards whatever momentary position seems politically wise. He's just a spoiled, gutless preppy who wants to be President because his Dad never made it. America does not need a pampered flip-flopper with no actual convictions for anything but power.

    July 4, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  11. 1rooster

    I would take George W. Bush over Romney any day. At least 'W' wasn't always in a state of confusion. Romney is the most confused presidential candidate the U.S. has ever seen.

    July 5, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |