CNN's GUT CHECK | for July 24, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: ROMNEY SEIZES ON COMMENTS BY SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, LEADING THE CALIFORNIA DEMOCRAT TO DEFEND HERSELF:
– Feinstein pushes White House on leaks –
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN ON MONDAY IN A QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION AT THE WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL: “I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks. I don’t know specifically where, but they have to begin to understand that, and do something about it. There’s one book they can read and see it very clearly, and I think that should be the case. I think you know what the president actually knows about this is difficult, because with respect to intelligence, he’s in a bubble. He has his daily brief, called the PDB, the president’s daily brief, early every morning. And so he gets a briefing of intelligence. I don’t believe for a moment he goes out and talks about it. I don’t believe the briefers go out and talk about it. But who knows who else.”
– Romney quotes Feinstein –
MITT ROMNEY IN A SPEECH TO THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS: "It is not enough to say the matter is being looked into, and leave it at that. When the issue is the political use of highly sensitive national security information, it is unacceptable to say, 'We'll report our findings after Election Day.'"
– Feinstein pushes back on Romney’s use of her comments –
DIANNE FEINSTEIN IN A PRESS RELEASE: “I am disappointed by the statements made by Mr. Romney today regarding a question I was asked yesterday at the World Affairs Council. I was asked whether the White House might be responsible for recent national security leaks. I stated that I did not believe the president leaked classified information. I shouldn’t have speculated beyond that, because the fact of the matter is I don’t know the source of the leaks.”
Dianne Feinstein just got Cory Bookered—
Eric Fehrnstrom (@EricFehrn) July 24, 2012
On this day in history, Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev engaged in their famous “kitchen debate.” When Khrushchev saw the debate getting heated, what did he say he wanted?
Only 24% of Americans say that foreign policy is extremely important to their vote in the presidential election, yet this week it is the issue on the front burner because of back-to-back speeches by Mitt Romney and President Obama to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention as well as Romney’s upcoming overseas trip.
Yes, the presidential election will be largely decided by the candidate who voters think has the best plan to turn the economy around. But we shouldn’t dismiss foreign policy as an influencing factor even if the polls suggest it is not a major issue.
Why? In simple terms, foreign policy allows Obama to highlight some of his biggest successes: killing Osama bin Laden and ending the Iraq war, while Romney is using the subject to question the president’s decision making on key issues such as cuts in defense spending and national intelligence leaks. The VFW speeches provided Obama and Romney a platform to promote their respective points.
Obama, in his VFW speech Monday, also took credit for helping the United States regain its international standing. “Because we’re leading around the world, people have a new attitude toward America,” he said. “There’s more confidence in our leadership.”
Romney, of course, disagreed in his speech to the VFW just hours ago and said that “this president has diminished American leadership.”
“American leadership depends, as it always has, on our economic strength, on our military strength, and on our moral strength,” Romney said later in his speech. “If any of these falter, no skill of diplomacy or presidential oratory can compensate. Today, the strength of our economy is in jeopardy.”
It is no surprise that Romney sought to then tie foreign policy with the current economic conditions. While only 24% of Americans in the CNN/ORC International Poll said that foreign policy was extremely important to their vote, this number jumped to 51% when asked about the economy.
Over the next six days, Romney will seek to build his foreign policy credentials, an issue area where he trails Obama by double digits. Voters have more confidence in Obama than Romney, 53% to 41%, when it comes to foreign policy, according to the CNN/ORC Poll. Romney hopes this trip will help give voters a better understanding of his foreign policy positions and ultimately close the gap on this issue.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Romney walks tightrope on foreign policy
Mitt Romney's political tightrope in his quest for the presidency has been especially evident on foreign policy, with Romney sounding conservative while also espousing more moderate approaches similar to his opponent, President Barack Obama. – Tom Cohen
Leading Drudge: 'Joker' On $26k Federal Grant
James Holmes, the alleged gunman in the recent theater shooting that left 12 dead in Aurora, Colo., was previously awarded a $26,000 federal grant.
Leading HuffPo: Postal Service On Edge: What Would A World Without Mail Look Like?
Americans may soon witness the fraying of an institution that, despite the rise of the internet, they still badly need. Even for those of us who pay our bills online, the postal service is intertwined in our daily lives, delivering the products we buy, the magazines we read and, in many cases, the medications we rely on. – Dave Jamieson
Leading Politico: The hidden Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney is a man of faith, successful in business and with the executive experience that comes from running a big state. A perfect presidential résumé? Pretty close. Only one problem, as his critics note: Romney doesn’t spend much time talking about it. – Maggie Haberman
Leading New York Times: Romney Goes After Obama on Defense Cuts and Information Leaks
Mitt Romney set the stage on Tuesday for a weeklong trip abroad with a tough speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in which he accused President Obama of allowing devastating defense cuts and of failing to stop leaks of classified national security secrets. – Michael Shear
The political bites of the day
– Myers speaks highly of Virginia governor, other Republicans –
BETH MYERS, HEAD OF ROMNEY’S V.P. SELECTION PROCESS, AT A VIRGINIA WOMEN FOR ROMNEY EVENT: “But one thing that is true is that this year, we have a ton of qualified Republicans. It is amazing. It made my job really, really hard. Because it wasn’t a year where there were three people who might fit the bill. We have a deep bench, including your governor – an incredibly able guy. And all sorts of really able people. And I'm sure that whoever Gov. Romney decides to pick will be a great addition to the ticket.”
– Congressional hearing blasts state of U.S.-backed Afghan hospital –
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN, IN A COMMITTEE HEARING ON CAPITOL HILL: “Photographic evidence and firsthand accounts indicated that wounded Afghan soldiers endured starvation, bed sores and botched operations. Wounds were left undressed and Afghan doctors conducted procedures without anesthesia or painkillers. In his written testimony, Col. Carozza described the conditions as ‘Auschwitz-like.’ Oftentimes, Afghan doctors and nurses would demand bribes in exchange for care. Those who could not afford to do so died in their hospital beds. The medical care in Afghanistan was so substandard that it was ranked in the lowest 1% by the World Health Organization. All of this was funded by the U.S. taxpayers.”
– ‘Barack knows the American dream because he's lived it’ –
MICHELLE OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN SPEECH IN COLUMBUS, OHIO: “Barack knows the American dream because he's lived it. And he believes that when you've worked hard and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other people a chance to succeed as well. That's what the American dream is about. And more than anything else, that's what's at stake in this election.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Here's how Obama has done on his top 25 campaign promises bit.ly/ftDWML—
PolitiFact (@politifact) July 24, 2012
Sara Ganim (@sganim) July 24, 2012
78% of Americans support using military force to end a genocide, poll finds bit.ly/MUuOJN—
Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) July 24, 2012
The FAA (@FAANews) July 24, 2012
While taking a tour of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, then-Vice President Richard Nixon got into an animated argument with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. At the height of the argument and after warning Nixon of “very bad consequences,” in threatening him, the Soviet leader backtracked a bit and told Nixon that all he wanted was “peace with all other nations, especially the United States.”
The debate, which was called the “kitchen debate,” came to symbolize the Cold War and the heated differences between communist Soviet Union and capitalist United States. Most publications had the argument plastered on their front pages and people in the United States became well aware of the showdown.
The “peace with all other nations” line was not the only memorable one from the exchange, however. Khrushchev also told Nixon he didn’t “know anything about communism–except fear of it” and that the vice president should “not be afraid of ideas. After all, you don't know everything.”
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
No Gut Check Trivia winner’s today. We did enjoy this answer – “I want a little of everyone else's food.” – which was tweeted to Gut Check by Pete Royston (@Omni10). Check back tomorrow for another trivia question.
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