CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 24, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
TIME TO GET BY A TV: Embattled Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri) will hold a press conference in St. Louis County today at 5:15 p.m. ET. Watch CNN or CNN.com/Live.
BREAKING: ROMNEY CAMPAIGN CONTEMPLATING BUMPING RUBIO FOR ANN ROMNEY… The Mitt Romney campaign is considering a dramatic scheduling change for the GOP convention to guarantee his wife, Ann, a much larger national audience – but the shift could also cause tensions with a rising GOP star and Latinos, CNN has learned. If Ann Romney is moved to Thursday night, she would introduce her husband and bump Sen. Marco Rubio from that role. – Mark Preston and John King
2016: THE RACE IS ON, AND THE ESTABLISHMENT’S WINNING: ROMNEY CAMPAIGN PUSHES DELEGATE CHANGES IN RESPONSE TO RON PAUL CHALLENGE… In a move backed by Mitt Romney advisers, Republicans just made it harder for grass-roots activists to undermine the outcome of primaries and caucuses at state conventions. The rules change, approved Friday by Republican National Committee officials in Tampa, Florida, was an implicit response to efforts by Ron Paul supporters to secure delegates at GOP state conventions and overturn the results of various primaries and caucuses. – Peter Hamby
“They are just pushing us further and further away from the Republican Party,” said GiGi Bowman, a grass-roots organizer for Libertarian candidates. “There are still people that believe we could go into the Republican Party and work with them, but it is not worth the fight anymore. Right after this RNC, people are going to leave the party in droves.”
The first Republican convention was in 1856. What city was it in, and who was nominated?
This Friday, we are honoring our tradition to interview a master of politics, and who better than the journalist who just put the finishing touches on a groundbreaking documentary of Mitt Romney: CNN’s Gloria Borger.
In doing all of your interviews with the candidate and his inner circle, what struck you most about Mitt Romney?
GLORIA BORGER: What struck me is Romney’s ease in talking about his family and his faith. His family has been in politics for the last half-century, and he has learned (some say over-learned) the lessons of those victories and defeats. His father is a looming presence – and, some would say, lost his presidential bid after a candid outburst about the war in Vietnam.
It was a lesson Romney would not forget.
Beyond that, there are parts of Romney’s life we explored that we didn’t know much about that might help us to understand him as a person: his years abroad as a Mormon missionary in France in the turbulent ‘60s, a car accident there that almost killed Romney and made him grow up fast, his years as a church leader in Belmont, Massachusetts. When we asked about these parts of his life, he seemed to speak about them with an ease we don’t often see.
Two of Romney’s closest advisers are women: his wife, Ann Romney, and his chief of staff, Beth Myers. This is interesting given the repeated meme this year of a “Republican war on women.” How important are his relationships with these women?
GLORIA BORGER: Very important. It’s clear that he and Ann have a deep bond, and she is his best character witness. In our piece, both of them talk about their courtship, their marriage and the importance of their faith and family. She speaks movingly about her MS and how her family - mostly Mitt Romney - helped her cope. And it’s clear that she is the person who is helping him get through this campaign. She says her kids call her “the Mitt Stabilizer” and you can probably understand why.
Much is talked about Romney’s father, but Romney’s mother, Lenore Romney, had her own political career as well. Is Romney more like her or his father?
GLORIA BORGER: I asked Romney that question, and he says he’s more like his dad. … But I think he actually may be closer to his mom in many ways. He’s got George Romney’s energy, which was legendary. But his father had a bull-in-the-china-shop approach to politics, was unusually open and candid. But Romney learned that candor could hurt, so he’s much more careful than his dad. His mother, on the other hand, was diplomat, a cautious politician. In a way, I think he’s also very much like her.
Romney talks about his religion more candidly with you than he has in the past. Do you think the voters will respond well to this side of him that has been under close wraps since his one speech on the issue in a prior campaign?
GLORIA BORGER: It’s interesting, because the campaign was very reluctant for months to do this interview. But I think the closer you get to the convention - and considering Romney’s deficit on the “likeability” score - there was a sense that he needed to open a window to the American people. This convention will be about introducing Romney to the American people, and I hope our piece will, too. … It’s an important part of the story for voters. When they cast a vote for president, they want to know who you are. Because if they don’t trust you, they won’t vote for you.
Editor’s note: CNN will kick off its coverage of the Republican National Convention with a new 90-minute documentary on Mitt Romney. “Romney Revealed: Family, Faith and the Road to Power” is reported by CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger and will premiere Sunday at 8 p.m. ET & PT, the evening before the RNC begins in Tampa, Florida.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Who is the next Obama?
With both parties set to hold their conventions in the next few weeks, the political world will be watching to see who, if anyone, breaks out to become the next rising Democratic or Republican star. – Martina Stewart
Leading Drudge: Man Fired From Job Goes On Shooting Rampage At Empire State
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised police and civilians for their quick response to a shooting outside the Empire State Building on Friday morning, which left two dead and nine injured.
Leading HuffPo: Mitt Romney Uses Secretive Data Mining To Identify Wealthy Donors
Mitt Romney's success in raising hundreds of millions of dollars in the costliest presidential race ever can be traced in part to a secretive data-mining project that sifts through Americans' personal information – including their purchasing history and church attendance – to identify new and likely, wealthy donors, The Associated Press has learned. – Jack Gillum
Leading Politico: The making of Paul Ryan
One good way to understand how 42-year-old Paul Ryan vaulted over a generation of politicians into the top tier of national Republican politics is to dive into some numbers. 190 times. That’s how often the Wisconsin lawmaker’s name appeared in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal between Election Day 2008—when a Republican rout at the polls left the conservative intelligentsia urgently looking for a new star—and the day this month when Mitt Romney tapped Ryan his running mate. – Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen
Leading The New York Times: For the Ryans, a Union Across Political Lines
Their union was not necessarily one that friends and family saw coming. She was from a prominent Democratic family and dabbled in liberal causes during her college years at Wellesley, even once taking a road trip to Washington to march for women’s rights. And he, an up-and-coming Republican congressman, had worked after-school jobs to help support his family as a teenager and was known for his deeply conservative views. – Susan Saulny and Christine Haughney
The political bites of the day
- Romney makes birth certificate a joke. Really? This is still a thing? -
MITT ROMNEY AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN MICHIGAN: “I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital. I was born at Harper Hospital. No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place where we were born and raised.”
Gut Check Fact Check: Seriously, stop making us do this people.
- … Quick answer: yes. And the Obama campaign responds -
OBAMA CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN BEN LABOLT IN A STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “Throughout this campaign, Governor Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them. It’s one thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff Arpaio, and Kris Kobach. But Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.”
- Ryan: Romney & I avoid being vague (no mention of tax returns) -
PAUL RYAN TOUTS HIS CAMPAIGN’S SPECIFICITY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH WTNT: “Of anybody running for president … has (any) been more specific about precisely how to fix these giant problems facing our country than anybody else? That's leadership. What the political pros tell you is ‘be vague; don't be specific.’ We've been specific. We have specific Romney-Ryan plans on how to save Medicare, how to save Social Security, how to clean up the tax system, how to cut spending, how to get growth and prosperity, how to get more energy independence, how to get better skills for people who need to get back on the path to opportunity. We've been more specific than anybody about this.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
"Once again, there's an awful lot of guns out there." @MikeBloomberg wrapping up ESB presser—
Michael Paulson (@MichaelPaulson) August 24, 2012
DSCC sent $1.4m to state parties July. Top: NE $593,909 MT $308,934 MO $176,000 NV $99,943 ND $66,800 VA $53,000 MA $45,000—
Greg Giroux (@greggiroux) August 24, 2012
While glad storm may miss Tampa, let's realize it is NOT good for storm to get more time over water to strengthen and threaten Gulf coast—
Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) August 24, 2012
Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) August 24, 2012
On the eve of the GOP convention, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) will deliver the weekly Republican media address.—
Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) August 24, 2012
Marlena Baldacci (@MarlenaCNN) August 24, 2012
The first Republican National Convention was held at the Musical Fund Hall in Philadelphia from June 17 to June 19, 1856.
During the convention, the Republicans nominated Gen. John C. Fremont of California for president and Sen. William Dayton of New Jersey for vice president.
Nearly 600 delegates participated, representing all of the Northern states, as well as the border states of Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Virginia (as well as D.C.). There were no delegates from the Southern slave states.
Talk of civil war, along with the “bleeding Kansas” conflict that was dividing the nation, dominated the convention. The Republican Party, founded in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska and Fugitive Slave act – both laws that appeased slave-owning states – had become the anti-slavery party. The sheer fact that delegates from Kentucky, Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina had made the trip to Philadelphia was stunning to some northern delegates.
“We had supposed in accordance with the popular impression that there would be no delegations from any southern or slave states,” wrote the Evening Bulletin during the convention.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Good way to end a week. Congrats to Matthew Gilbertson (@MattRGilbertson) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
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