CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for July 19, 2012 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING … BOEHNER ON ATTACK … In an exclusive interview with Wolf Blitzer, House Speaker John Bohener slams Pres. Obama, “The president checked out last Labor Day. And he's been on the campaign trail nonstop ever since. It's all about him. When the American people elect us because it's about them.”
SNEAK PEEK: Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, tells CNN’s Piers Morgan that he “saw nothing, our team saw nothing in his [Romney’s] tax returns which would have been damaging.” Tune In to “Piers Morgan Tonight” at 9 p.m. ET to hear McCain further explain his position on the Romney tax controversy and other issues.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Scalia dismisses talk of internal court rancor
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia downplayed reports of personal and ideological rifts stemming from the recent landmark health care reform ruling, telling CNN in an exclusive interview "it offends me" to hear criticism of his colleagues over how they ruled. – Bill Mears
Leading Drudge: US Partners With Mexico To Boost Food Stamp Rolls
The Mexican government has been working with the United States Department of Agriculture to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps. – Caroline May
Leading HuffPo: Russia, China Veto Syria Sanctions
Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution on Thursday that threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not halt violence against an uprising, thwarting Western hopes for tough action as the crisis in Syria escalates. – Michelle Nichols
Leading Politico: The left’s lost donors
Democrats have spent months praying for the liberal answer to Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers. For the super PAC supporting President Barack Obama, there are plenty of potential recruits who can write multimillion-dollar checks — just few who have stepped forward. – Maggie Haberman and Emily Schultheis
Leading New York Times: More News Reports Show Up in Campaign Ads, to Journalists’ Chagrin
More and more this election year, campaign ads include footage from television news programs, further blurring the fading lines separating modern journalism and politics. The trend bothers practitioners of journalism more than those in politics. – John Harwood
What bill did President George W. Bush veto on this day in 2006?
If we had to pick one state to embody the 2012 tug of war, it would be the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Virginia, in junkie terms is one of the states Obama “shouldn’t have won” in 2008, but did anyway; he turned the red state “blue” by mounting an aggressive ground operation, and is looking to do it again this November.
Adding to the political intrigue is a new Quinnipiac poll that puts Obama and Romney in a dead heat: 44% to 44%.
The state’s contradictory narrative of the last four years – complete with economic growth but voter doubt, demographic change and resistance to it, makes it a fascinating petri dish for politics this cycle. The fact that Obama had a 50% to 42% lead in March illustrates the fluidity this presidential battleground, which boasts 13 electoral votes.
“Is Virginia the new Ohio? Not quite, but it’s close.” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Virginia is a more conservative state than Ohio – and the country. One of the reasons the president is running so strong personally there is the state has done so much better economically than most of the rest of the country and therefore there is less anti-Obama feeling about the economy.”
Nonetheless, Brown says there are three demographic groups that really matter in deciding who wins this election, and we should look at Virginia and the country through that prism:
1) Hispanics (Kerry got 53% nationally and lost; Obama got 64% and won.)
2) Single women (Obama currently has a 2 to 1 lead nationally among this group)
3) White voters (Right now Obama has 33% of the white vote in Virginia, which is a problem for the president).
Additionally, its Senate race, which pits former Govs. George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D) means more money and more messages swarming the state – and by the way, that race is also within the margin of error, with Allen at 46%, Kaine at 44% according to Quinnipiac.
Our own Candy Crowley is moderating the first Virginia Senate Debate of the general election this weekend, set to air on CNN at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday, and we are certain that Boston and Chicago will be joining Roanoke and Richmond in stopping to listen to the concerns rollicking the Old Dominion.
The political bites of the day
– Obama: Health reform repeal off the table –
OBAMA CAMPAIGNING IN JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: “I’m running because I believe nobody in American should go broke just because they get sick. And because we passed the health care law, we are going to realize that goal. The Supreme Court has spoken. We are moving forward. ... We’re not going to refight that fight for the next four years.”
– Without returns, “imagination” fills void –
NANCY PELOSI AT HER WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE: “There has been a tradition that tax returns are released. There if you decide not to - if you release them, you tell a story, if you don't release them, you leave it up to the imagination of anybody who wants to talk about it, to talk about it. So it's a decision that the candidate has to make. I think it would be important for him to do so, so do many Republicans who are calling for that.”
– Ann Romney brought a new attitude to 2012 campaign –
ANN ROMNEY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH ABC’s GOOD MORNING AMERICA, SAID SHE LEARNED A VALUABLE LESSON FROM HER HUSBAND’S 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: “After the last election, I said I would never do this again because I took everything personally. I took all the attacks personally. It was hard on me. It was very hard on me. And this time when I decided to go forward, I decided, I just made a decision, I would enjoy it. And this is going to be something that is a wonderful experience and all of those negative attacks are going to come and the way I look at it now is they’re just going like this [over her head] right there.”
– “We are all Catholic today,” said Romney –
ASKED ABOUT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN BOWLING GREEN, OHIO ON WEDNESDAY: “They are being told what they have to do that violates their religious conscious that attack on religious freedom is a dangerous and unfortunate precedence. I know we are not all Catholic in this room, but I feel that we are all Catholic today in our battle to make sure we preserve religious liberty and tolerance and freedom in this country it is essential for us to push back against that.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Adam Aigner-Treworgy (@AdamATCNN) July 19, 2012
Sen. Pat Leahy giving his earnings from new Batman movie to the VT library where he read comics as a kid. Good on him.—
Roger Simon (@politicoroger) July 19, 2012
Stacia Deshishku (@staciacnn) July 19, 2012
Christine Delargy (@CADelargy) July 19, 2012
Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) July 19, 2012
On this day in 2006, Bush vetoed an embryonic stem cell bill, saying it “crossed a moral boundary.”
The bill was designed to allow embryos which were frozen as part of fertility treatments to be donated to researchers rather than destroyed. In 2001, the president had announced the only stem cell lines available to researchers receiving federal funds were those which already existed.
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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 Greg Wallace, who is filling the big shoes of the vacationing Dan Merica.