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."
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
How many foreign, World War II prisoners of war are buried in Arlington National Cemetery and why are they buried there?
“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.”
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.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) July 04, 2012
Thankfully, King George III didn't have a Super PAC. Happy 4th of July!—
Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) July 04, 2012
America, I love you more than a fat kid loves cake. Happy 4th—
Tracy Morgan (@RealTracyMorgan) July 04, 2012
(@OurPresidents) July 04, 2012
Joey Chestnut wins the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest by downing 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes—
Jeremy Ryan (@CNNJeremy) July 04, 2012
Is this an oasis or could it really be a power truck in front of our house? yfrog.com/klomocuj—
Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) July 04, 2012
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!
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