CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 21, 2012| 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: RON PAUL MAKES A DEAL… A stand off between Ron Paul supporters and the Republican National Committee over convention delegates appears to be easing, and both sides are close to announcing a deal that could help avoid a potentially embarrassing moment for Mitt Romney on the day he receives the GOP presidential nomination. – Mark Preston
DEVELOPING: ROMNEY WEIGHS IN, BUT AKIN WON’T BACK DOWN… Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney pushed for Akin to step aside, writing in a statement: “As I said yesterday, Todd Akin's comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country. Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race.”
Yet earlier a defiant Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri said Tuesday he will stay in the Senate race to unseat Democrat Claire McCaskill despite mounting calls from across the political spectrum for him to withdraw over incendiary comments on rape and pregnancy. Akin cited what he called a grass-roots conservative movement in the country that needs a voice in government for his decision to reject increasing pressure from the Republican Party, congressional colleagues and others to step aside. – Tom Cohen
The historian Flavius Josephus once wrote that "One may call this place the ambition of Nature." What place was he talking about?
Our eyes were fixated on the writing and reporting of a singular reporter today: CNN’s Peter Hamby. Hamby is in Tampa, Florida, chronicling the moves of the co-ed Republican Platform Committee with detail and diligence. Here is a day in the life of one of the best reporters on the campaign trail:
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 7:09 am
GOP platform draft, facing approval today, will condemn Fast and Furious & the Obama administration's effort to "repeal" (!) welfare reform
Email from Peter Hamby at 7:18 am:
This line shows up in the draft language of the GOP platform that will be debated today: "So many are now outraged by the Obama administration's recent decision to permit waivers for work requirements for welfare by the Obama administration's recent decision to permit waivers for work requirements for welfare benefits, in other words, to administratively repeal the most successful anti-poverty policy in memory."
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 8:35 am
Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, immigration hard-liner, is one of the delegates helping write the Republican Party platform
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 9:39 am
and if anyone was wondering, multiple Romney campaign advisers have been present and involved in both days of GOP platform debate
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 9:53 am
GOP delegate introducing language into platform endorsing civil unions. we'll see how this goes.
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 9:58 am
and the proposal to include support for same-sex civil unions in the GOP platform goes down by LOUD voice vote
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 10:24 am
Republicans reject proposal to endorse same-sex civil unions >> http://on.cnn.com/NelpCs
Email from Peter Hamby at 11:36 am: abortion platform being debated now
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 11:37 am
GOP's abortion plank passes easily w/out big changes: McDonnell thanks committee for "affirming our respect for human life" ... "well done"
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 1:32 pm
Republican Party approves tough anti-abortion stance > http://on.cnn.com/NeBwjs
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 2:04 pm
Kris Kobach's amendment to endorse national e-verify system is being opposed a delegate from .... Arizona
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 2:07 pm
GOP platform committee agrees to strike language comparing illegal immigrants to "cattle"
Email from Peter Hamby at 3:46 pm:
Here is the language they finalized on Medicare: “While retaining the option of traditional Medicare in competition with private plans, we call for a transition to a premium-support model for Medicare, with an income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice. This model will include private health insurance plans that provide catastrophic protection, to ensure the continuation of doctor-patient relationships. Without disadvantaging retirees or those nearing retirement, the age of eligibility for Medicare must be made more realistic in terms of today’s longer life span.”
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 3:26 pm
to clarify earlier tweet: GOP platform condemned traffickers who treat illegal immigrants like "cattle." committee still killed language.
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) – 3:48 pm
GOP Platform says Obamacare is "disastrous" and has been "struck down in the court of public opinion."
Stay tuned to CNN television for the latest … Hamby appears on OutFront with Erin Burnett at 7 pm E.T.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Missouri voters weigh in on Akin's Senate bid
"#Akin" was still trending on Twitter on Tuesday, two days after the Missouri congressman committed a gaffe on rape. And Missouri voters were still reeling from what many viewed as an incendiary choice of words. – Moni Basu and Chris Welch
Leading Drudge: WH Tells Reporters What To Ask
The White House is doing something with its local TV interviews that it could not easily get away with in encounters with the White House press corps, which President Obama has been studiously ignoring: choosing the topic about which President Obama and the reporter will talk. – Keith Koffler
Leading HuffPo: GOP Platform: Anti-Abortion Amendment, No Rape Exemption
Draft language for the 2012 Republican Party platform includes support for a constitutional ban on abortion without specifying exclusions in the cases of rape or incest, according to CNN. The news comes amid ongoing controversy surrounding Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) suggestion that victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant. The GOP Senate candidate running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) has faced calls to abandon his campaign from both parties despite attempting to walk back his remarks.
Leading Politico: 2012 brings bevy of bumbling candidates
It took a catastrophic, unforced error from a major U.S. Senate nominee to prove the point: In 2012, candidate quality matters – a lot. – Alexander Burns
Leading The New York Times: Akin Says He Is Staying in Senate Race, Defying G.O.P.
Representative Todd Akin said definitively on Tuesday that he would not leave the race for the Senate in Missouri, saying on Mike Huckabee’s radio show that "there’s a cause here" and that an outpouring of grass-roots support would propel him to victory without the support of the Republican establishment. – Jonathan Weisman
The political bites of the day
- Akin says don’t judge on ‘one word in one sentence in one day’… -
REP. TODD AKIN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH MIKE HUCKABEE: “I do receive continuing calls from other congressmen and people who are very supportive of what we are trying to do. I guess my question is - is there a matter of some justice here? That I misspoke one word in one sentence in one day and all of a sudden over night everybody decides well, Akin cant possibly win. Well, I don’t agree with that.”
- … while the drumbeat continues -
AMY KREMER, CHAIRWOMAN OF TEA PARTY EXPRESS, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “I think what he said is completely indefensible and changes the narrative of what's going on here. The fact Claire McCaskill wants him to stay in the race speaks volumes. We need a good strong candidate. If he looks at the bigger picture, he will do what's best and step aside.”
REPUBLICAN U.S. SENATOR ROY BLUNT OF MISSOURI IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “We do not believe it serves the national interest for Congressman Todd Akin to stay in this race. The issues at stake are too big, and this election is simply too important. The right decision is to step aside.”
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “Congressman Akin made a deeply offensive error at a time when his candidacy carries great consequence for the future of our country. In his heart of hearts, I’m certain that he is sincerely sorry for what he said but in this instance, when the future of our country is at stake, sorry is not sufficient. To continue serving his country in the honorable way he has served throughout his career, it is time for Congressman Akin to step aside.”
- Obama complains about GOP big donors… but not his own -
PRESIDENT OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN STOP IN COLUMBUS, OHIO: “The other side will spend more money than we have ever seen ever, I mean they got folks writing $10 million checks, $20 million checks. They should be contributing that to a scholarship fund to send kids to college.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Uninvited visitor in Tampa during the RNC Convention: @jimacostaCNN confirms VP Biden will campaign there.—
Steve Brusk (@stevebruskCNN) August 21, 2012
Belief Blog editors (@CNNbelief) August 21, 2012
FRC's Tony Perkins said he's traded messages with Todd Akin. If Akin stays in, Perkins will remain behind him.—
Rosalind Helderman (@PostRoz) August 21, 2012
Nico Hines (@NicoHines) August 21, 2012
Akin says that if he thought he was hurting Romney & Ryan, he would drop out. But he's "not about politics, I'm about principle."—
(@jimgeraghty) August 21, 2012
It isn’t often that Flavius Josephus gets Gut Checked – so you know we had to have a reason.
Josephus was speaking about the Sea of Galilee when he wrote, in the Wars of the Jews, Book 3, Chapter 10, that “one may call this place the ambition of Nature.” Little did he know that 20 centuries later, a U.S. congressman would be disrobing and taking a dip in this lake that “nourishes different sorts of autumnal fruit beyond men's expectation.”
After a long, hot day on a congressional trip to Israel, Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas jumped into the Sea of Galilee without any clothes on, according to reporting by CNN.
Even though the swim happened a year ago, an ensuing FBI investigation followed into whether “U.S. officials were putting themselves at risk, or if any information the lawmakers possessed could have been exposed by a night of drinking and partying.”
The Sea of Galilee is a holy site for Christians, a location where the Bible says Jesus walked on water.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congratulations to Bernard Lin (@blin11592) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Lin, who has won our trivia contest before, must be a big Flavius Josephus fan.
Our inbox awaits: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing email@example.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.