CNN's GUT CHECK | for September 4, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: ROMNEY GETS NO CONVENTION BOUNCE PER NORMAL… Mitt Romney appears to have gotten a normal convention "bounce" for the modern political era - which is to say, not much of a bounce at all. Just before the GOP convention, Romney was the choice of 47% of all likely voters, putting him in a virtual tie with President Barack Obama, at 49%. Now, Romney wins support from 48% of all likely voters - a gain, or "bounce" of one percentage point. – Keating Holland
The CNN/ORC International survey also indicates that less than four in ten registered voters said the Republican convention made them more likely to vote for Romney, but the former Massachusetts governor got a slight bump in his favorable rating, and on being in touch with the middle class and women, although he still trails President Barack Obama on those two questions. – Paul Steinhauser
After President Jimmy Carter was nominated at the 1976 Democratic National Convention, what was the memorable first line of his acceptance speech?
Framing, framing, framing.
Tonight, the Democratic testimonials begin as the Obama team seeks to control the campaign narrative by trying to prop up the president while at the same time tearing down Mitt Romney.
It will be a delicate dance with the Obama campaign using key allies to attack the Republican presidential ticket, while others serve as conduits to re-introduce the president to the nation.
The headliner is FLOTUS, who will use her prime time address to talk about her husband specifically “who he is as a person,” a senior Obama campaign official tells Gut Check. Michelle Obama, unlike Ann Romney a week ago, “will not do contrast, she’ll focus on her story,” the Obama official said. FLOTUS will not go on the attack.
It will also be the biggest moment in 37-year-old San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s political life. Castro, an unknown nationally as well in many parts of Texas, is considered by Democrats to be a rising star. He will deliver the keynote speech at Barack Obama's convention - a fact worth noting since it was a keynote address in 2004 that put Obama himself, then a state legislator from Illinois, on the political map.
We will also hear from other Democratic heavyweights throughout the evening and as the rain seems to have followed us from Tampa to Charlotte here are five things we will be looking for this evening.
1. What will FLOTUS say? We expect Michelle Obama to bring the house down tonight – she is so popular with the Democratic base and no matter what she says the audience will eat it up. In fact, she is pretty popular with a majority of Americans, according to latest polling. We are told that FLOTUS “will not do contrast,” but what exactly will she say to help capture the hearts, minds and souls of voters? Will her pitch be tailored to suburban moms, military moms, working moms? Or all of the above?
2. Castro’s big moment. Do you remember when then-37-year-old Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivered the response to President Obama’s address to Congress in Feb. 2009? He failed, miserably. And it was a speech that set him back a bit politically – although he has since rebounded. Look back at last week’s address by 41-year-old Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at the Republican National Convention. It was a grand slam. You have got to be wondering if Castro is thinking about these two political stars and wondering which path he will follow. We are told by another senior Obama campaign official that Castro “is going to talk very specifically about his personal story,” said the official who added “he’s an American success. That is very important for us.”
3. Lay on the fire. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to serve as one of the primary Romney critics this evening where he will call into question Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor. But we wonder how far will he go? And will his political red meat lines resonate with an audience who wants to see an Obama second term?
4. Lay on the fire 2 –with an eye towards 2016. It is not only Patrick who will try to lay the heat on Romney. We expect Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to not only criticize Romney, but also talk about a way forward. His speech begins right before 10 p.m. ET – in the prime-est of prime time slots. O’Malley is said to be considering a run for president in 2016 … we suspect he considers this to be a major moment in his political career.
5. Will the policy messaging work. We will hear from FLOTUS – she is tasked with telling us about her husband. We will hear from the likes of Patrick and O’Malley as well as Castro. But the Obama campaign has programmed the next three days around policy achievements as well. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will talk about the auto bailout, Tammy Duckworth will speak on the president’s commitment to veterans issues and people you don’t even know will discuss how Obama’s agenda has helped them. The question is: Will these policy speeches resonate through the red meat speeches? We will see tonight.
6. BONUS. Will Rahm Emanuel curse? We add this as a bonus, because everyone wants to know if the famously blunt Chicago mayor might let a 4-letter word slip in his speech. Well, we are told by an Obama campaign official “We do have a no profanity promise from Rahm tonight!” (The official was only joking, lighten up!)
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Obama revealed: The man, the president
President Barack Obama was elected in part on a promise of hope and change and a vow to unite Washington and the country. Towering expectations accompanied the candidate whose election symbolized much more than political change. Before Obama was sworn in, senior adviser David Axelrod said to the president-elect, "It's been an incredible ride, hasn't it?" – Jessica Yellin, Gabriella Schwarz and Jennifer Hyde
Leading Drudge: Dems set to move big speech to smaller venue?
Democrats are poised to avoid the danger of President Barack Obama accepting his party’s nomination before a partially empty stadium by shifting his speech to an indoor arena and citing “severe weather.” – Toby Harnden
Leading HuffPo: Up in smoke
When President Barack Obama traveled to Cartagena, Colombia, in spring, the big headlines were made by Secret Service agents who allegedly balked at paying a prostitute. The scandal overshadowed real news, an organized attempt by several leaders of Latin American countries to publicly pressure the United States to end its drug war, blaming that battle for violence and lawlessness within their borders. – Ryan Grim
Leading Politico: Michelle Obama won’t take on GOP
Michelle Obama and Ann Romney are very different people, a generation apart with vastly dissimilar narratives. But their roles in the 2012 campaign are remarkably similar. Never have two spouses in the same election been such significant and strategic players in their husbands’ campaigns. – Lois Romano
Leading The New York Times: First lady strives for caring image above partisan fray
This is how Michelle Obama delivers a hug: The nearly 6-foot-tall first lady envelops her target, her long arms often wrapping all the way around the recipient’s back. She leans in close, unafraid to press her body against a stranger’s. Working crowds with her husband, she sometimes falls behind him, because he is more of a hand-shaker or high-fiver, and in the second-to-second choreography of a rope line, the Michelle Obama hug takes time. – Jodi Kantor
Leading Time Magazine: The meaning of Michelle: A once wary first lady fights to keep her job
She may have been wary of the role of first lady at the start, but Michelle Obama is showing a flair for the job: to inspire, speak about her husband and rally the troops. – Michael Scherer
The political bites of the day
- Van Hollen describes Democratic platform, attacks GOP on abortion -
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “We want to make sure we preserve a woman's right to choose. You know, Republicans keep saying they don't want the government to have any role in the economy. They didn't want to help the auto industry. But they're more than happy to have the government intrude on people's decisions when it comes to some of these social issues.”
- Ryan reiterates dubious GM claim, says he meant what he said -
VICE PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL PAUL RYAN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NBC NEWS: “What they are trying to suggest is that I said Barack Obama was responsible for the plant that shut down in Janesville. That's not what I was saying. Read the speech. … What I was saying is the president ought to be held to account for broken promises. After the plant was shut down he said he would lead efforts to restart the plant. It's still idle.”
- Obama charges Romney’s convention speech with lack of new ideas. -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN NORFOLK, VIRGINIA: “They said, first of all, everything's bad, and it's Obama's fault, and Gov. Romney knows the secret to creating jobs and growing the economy. The only problem was he kept the secret. … When my opponent had the chance to offer his secret sauce, he did not offer a single new idea. It was just the same old policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years. They spent a lot of time talking about me, but they didn't spend a lot of time talking about you.”
- ‘He who bumps last, bumps best’ -
DEMOCRATIC GOV. BEV PERDUE OF NORTH CAROLINA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “I think the people in North Carolina are beginning to get engaged in the race. Everybody in the state has heard about the Democratic convention coming to Charlotte for more than a year. Quite naturally they've begin thinking about the Republican convention. He who bumps last, bumps best.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Carl Lavin (@FromCarl) September 04, 2012
Jim Manley (@jamespmanley) September 04, 2012
Andrea Saul (@andreamsaul) September 04, 2012
Kathleen Sebelius at Ohio breakfast: "Are we better off than we were four years ago? You bet your life we are."—
Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN) September 04, 2012
Obama and Romney respond to 14 science debate questions/issues. Their answers might surprise you: sciencedebate.org/debate12/—
Joshua Hatch (@hatchjt) September 04, 2012
Rene Marsh (@Rene_MarshCNN) September 04, 2012
Ryan vows to finish 63-day campaign marathon in 42 days!—
David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) September 04, 2012
With the convention being held in New York City, President Jimmy Carter walked from the hotel to the convention at Madison Square Garden.
If that wasn’t unique enough, Carter opened his acceptance speech with a rousing line.
“My name is Jimmy Carter, and I’m running for president,” Carter said to the crowd that had just nominated him to be the leader of the free world.
In fairness to Carter, he did relate the line back to his presidential campaign.
“It’s been a long time since I said those words the first time, and now I’ve come here after seeing our great country to accept your nomination,” he told the crowd. “I accept it, in the words of John F. Kennedy, with a full and grateful heart and with only one obligation: to devote every effort of body, mind and spirit to lead our party back to victory and our nation back to greatness.”
Carter would go on to become president, defeating incumbent Gerald Ford for the White House in 1976.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Welcome back Peter Ubertaccio (@ProfessorU) and congrats on winning today’s Gut Check Trivia question. With another win for @ProfessorU, a warning shot has been sent to Jonathan Gormley (@JonathanGormley). Both Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) and David Daniel (@CNNLADavid) came in a close second.
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