CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 18, 2012
September 18th, 2012
05:09 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 18, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for September 18, 2012 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: ROMNEY STANDS BY HIS COMMENTS... In an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News moments ago, Romney said, “I recognize that those people who are not paying income tax are going to say, ‘Gosh, this provision that Mitt keeps talking about, lowering income taxes,’ that is not going to be really attractive to them and those that are dependent on government and those that think the government’s job is to redistribute, I am not going to get them. I know there is a divide in the country about that view. I know some believe government should take from some to give to the others. I think the President makes it clear in the tape that was released today that that is what he believes. I think that is an entirely foreign concept. I believe America was built on the principle of government caring for those in need but getting out of the way and allowing free people to pursue their dreams. Free people pursuing free enterprises is the only way we will create and strong and growing middle class and the only way we will help people out of poverty.”

SOCIAL WATCH: ROMNEY’s “47%” COMMENTS REGISTER HIGHER THAN HIS RNC SPEECH ON FACEBOOK… Facebook tells CNN that “The Mitt Romney 47% quote ranked a 5.1 on the Facebook Talk Meter on Monday. This is a touch higher than he had scored the night of his speech at the RNC (a 5.04 on 8/30); also a touch higher than Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC (5.06, 9/4). It falls below Hurricane Isaac (5.24); NFL Kickoff (6.41); the VMAs (6.67); Bill Clinton’s speech at the DNC (7.08, 9/5); and Obama’s speech (7.28, 9/6). The comment seems to have resonated the most with men over the age of 35. Women between 55-64 also seem to be buzzing about this.”

Top 10 places buzzing about this–
1. DC
2. Oregon
3. Washington
4. Massachusetts
5. California
6. Virginia
7. Vermont
8. Idaho
9. Nevada
10. Maryland

For more CNN-Facebook Election Insights, click here.

THE FACTS: “The main reason so many Americans end up with no federal income tax liability is Congress' addiction to tax breaks - tax breaks both Democrats and Republicans have supported.”

AND THE IRONY: "Nobody's really talking about this slice of the pie, but Mitt Romney's "47%" who pay no federal income tax include several thousand of the highest-income households in the country. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 4,000 households with incomes of more than $1 million ended up with zero federal income tax liability in 2011. Another 14,000 made between $500,000 and $1 million." – Jeanne Sahadi

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
When the British set fire to the U.S. Capitol in 1814, what saved the entire building from burning to the ground?

MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

It has been 24 hours since the first video of Mitt Romney making politically unsavvy comments at a closed-door fundraiser appeared on the website of the liberal magazine Mother Jones.

The videos continue to be the dominant issue on the campaign trail, and by the close of business today, it will be difficult to find someone who has not heard about the Republican presidential nominee’s remarks on the “47% who are with him, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.” The 47% to whom Romney is referring are President Barack Obama supporters.

It is hard to say if this video will result in long-term damage to Romney’s bid for the White House. But there are only 49 days remaining in this race for the White House, and with time running short this is not what Romney wants defining his message.

Nonetheless, we can’t help but notice how this story is playing out in the opinion media where the right and left formulate opinions based on their interpretation of the facts.

Mother Jones, which received the video from a source, went big with their “get.” Early this afternoon, three separate stories were linked high on the magazine’s website: “SECRET VIDEO: On Israel, Romney Trashes Two-State Solution”; “SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters”; and “Romney ‘47 Percent’ Fundraiser Host: Hedge Fund Manager Who Likes Sex Parties.”

There are many different takes on Romney’s comments at The National Review website, but the lead column by Jonah Goldberg is less than flattering. The headline on the main page to take readers to the article is titled: “Inorganic Mitt.”

What immediately caught our attention earlier today was a large photo of a child holding a gun with this caption: “Romney: Palestinians have no interest in peace.” It was posted on the Drudge Report and linked to a Jerusalem Post story about comments Romney made at the same fundraiser where he said that “Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish."

In the Drudge context, the picture sought to advance the idea that Palestinians would never agree to peace with Israel in a pejorative way.

No surprise, The Huffington Post also went big with the story “HE ISN'T SORRY!... Comments Were Wildly Incorrect... 'The 47%' Includes Thousands Of Millionaires... DAMAGE CONTROL: Mitt To Hit Fox”

And the most popular story on Breitbart took aim at the coverage of the video coverage: “**SHOCK** 'Mother Jones' Unearths Video of Romney Talking Like a Conservative.”

In this hyper-partisan environment where a story like this can energize the political base, planting the flag early and often can be a successful strategy to control the message, especially as we head into the homestretch of this very long, very expensive, very divisive presidential race. And while we only cite a handful of examples above, supporters of Romney and Obama are planting flags all over the Web on this story – even as we speak.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Secretly taped comments put Romney back on defense
In one ill-fated fundraiser, Mitt Romney managed to offend Palestinians, Latinos and some of the same people he's counting on for support if he wants to unseat President Barack Obama. It isn't the first time Romney's oratory fumbles have put his campaign on its heels, handed opponents material to push the stereotype of him as an out-of-touch businessman and provoked members of the party's conservative base to question his worthiness as their standard-bearer. – Halimah Abdullah

Leading Drudge: 'I Actually Believe In Redistribution'
At an October 19, 1998 conference at Loyola University, Barack Obama spoke against "propaganda" that said government doesn't work and the need to "pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution."

Leading HuffPo: 'My Job Is Not To Worry About Those People'
Just hours after Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign attempted an image reboot on Monday, it found itself under attack over a clandestinely recorded video of the candidate describing nearly half the electorate as "dependent on government" because they don't pay federal income taxes, remarks first reported by The Huffington Post and Mother Jones. The Obama team immediately pounced on Romney's claim about "the 47 percent," with campaign manager Jim Messina saying the former Massachusetts governor had "disdainfully written off half the nation." – Ryan Grim and Matt Sledge

Leading Politico: Obama, Hill Dems differ on taxes
President Barack Obama has made his tax position abundantly clear: Let the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans expire at year’s end. But on Capitol Hill, some in his own party are ready to make a deal. – Manu Raju and Steven Sloan

Leading The New York Times: Criticism Follows Romney’s Blunt Comments Captured on Video
Mitt Romney faced an escalating torrent of criticism on Tuesday from Democrats and Republicans for characterizing 47 percent of the country as government-dependent people who believe they are “victims,” even as new video clips emerged of his blunt comments on other subjects during a fund-raiser in May. – Michael Shear

TRAIL MOMENTS
The political bites of the day

– In light of videos, Romney campaign says they are focused –
KEVIN MADDEN, A ROMNEY SENIOR ADVISER, IN A QUICK NEWS CONFERENCE: “We always ask ourselves as a campaign what maters to voters. What matters to voters is whether or not we’re going to have the answers they need about putting the economy back on track, put the country going back in the right direction, so I think that’s where our focus remains.”

– Carney says POTUS is aware of Romney tapes, takes shot at GOP candidate –
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “When you are president of the United States, you are president of all the people, not just the people who voted for you. You have heard the president saying so many times, because he deeply believes it, that we are in this together - all of us. … I can boldly say that I am confident he (President Obama) is aware of it (the Romney video).”

– ‘That’s not the way I view the world,’ says Brown –
REPUBLICAN SEN. SCOTT BROWN IN AN EMAIL WITH THE HILL’S ALEXANDRA JAFFE: “That’s not the way I view the world. As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs.”

– Kristol jokes about Romney stepping down, calls comments stupid –
WILLIAM KRISTOL IN A WEEKLY STANDARD OPINION EDITORIAL: “It's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47% who don't pay income taxes are Romney supporters… So Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him. It remains important for the country that Romney wins in November (unless he chooses to step down and we get the Ryan-Rubio ticket we deserve!). But that shouldn't blind us to the fact that Romney's comments, like those of Obama four years ago, are stupid and arrogant.”

– Utah’s Democratic Senate candidate: Hatch may ‘die before his term is through’ –
SCOTT HOWELL IN A FUNDRAISING E-MAIL TO SUPPORTERS OBTAINED BY KTVX: “I’m going to be frank. … Orrin Hatch is not a bad guy. But he is an old guy. … Orrin Hatch is old enough to be my father, and I don't want my father running the United States Senate Finance Committee. … We cannot risk the possibility of an 80-year-old man taking office, only to retire or die before his term is through.”

– Eastwood on RNC speech: ‘If somebody is dumb enough to ask me…’ –
CLINT EASTWOOD REFLECTS ON HIS RNC SPEECH IN AN INTERVIEW WITH “EXTRA”: “If somebody is dumb enough to ask me to go to political convention and say something, they're going to have to take what they get. … People loved it or hated it and that's fine. That's what it was supposed to be. ... I was just having fun.” – Dana Davidsen

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Scott Conroy (@RealClearScott)
"Ha. Ha. Ha." – Romney, if he ends up winning 53 to 47.

Daniel Foster (@DanFosterNRO)
~47% don't pay income tax. ~47% are in the tank for Obama. ~47% are net govt dependents. Problem for Mitt is they aren't the same 47%.

Michael Crowley (@CrowleyTIME)
Romney could decisively change the subject by calling a press conference and doing the Gangnam Style dance

Emily Schultheis (@emilyrs)
WaPo poll gives Obama 8-point lead among likely voters in hotly contested Virginia: http://politi.co/V8KNZZ

Doug Adams (‏@DAatNBC)
Latest MA Sen poll shows Eliz Warren up 50-43 over Scott Brown. Makes the debate Thurs one to watch for sure http://bit.ly/SsCN2n

Fareed Zakaria (‏@FareedZakaria)
Pew: 52% of Americans surveyed view #China’s emergence as a world power as a major threat to the U.S. http://bit.ly/S2xAU2 @CNN

Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez)
Ryan reprises line on imagining what would happen when Obama "never has to face a voter ever again. ... It just puts a chill down the spine"

TRIVIA ANSWER

Today is a historic day for the U.S. Capitol building. On this day in 1793, President George Washington laid the first cornerstone for the future home of the county’s legislative branch. Before moving into the building in 1800, the Congress had met in eight cities up and down the East Coast.

When Washington signed the Residence Act in 1790, he was given the power to select where the capital of the nascent country would be located. In 1791, the District of Columbia was created using land given to the federal government by Maryland.

It took years for the Capitol to be completed – plagued by setbacks ranging from a revolving door of architects to an increasingly growing Congress, from the War of 1812 to the Civil War.

During the War of 1812, the British marched on Washington and burned much of the city to the ground on August 24,1814. Though much of the U.S. Capitol was destroyed, a torrential rain blanketing Washington extinguished much of the fire, thereby preserving some of the original building.

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)

The professor is back. Congratulations to Peter Ubertaccio (‏@ProfessorU) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. David Daniel (@CNNLADavid) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) were a close second and third.

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Filed under: 2012 • CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Tax Payer And President Obama Supporter

    I worked hard for 50 years and I still pay taxes. Voted for President Obama in 2008 and will vote for President Obama when early voting starts. Romney wants to destroy our country and send our young people to die in Iran and other places to prove he is a man. If Romney is bored why doesn't he buy a small country and be king or something. Our country does not need someone like Romney that thinks being President looks good on a resume or a notch in his belt.
    As a older American who has experienced a lot I know a phony and opportunist when I see one. Romney just does not care about the average American which is what most of us are. We work hard, pay our bills, buy a house and try to help others when we can. This is the America we are used to, don't put people dowm because you never know what is in store for you and your loved ones.

    September 18, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Early voting starts soon here too, and I and my family will be voting for President Obama.

    I've seen and heard all the lies I care to see and hear from the Vulture/Voucher duo.

    NO more wars unless Mitt's 5 sons are 1st on the front lines.

    September 18, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. angeson

    How can the 1% buy half of the votes? And how much can I get for mine? YOU GOT TO EXCUSE ROMNEY. He's not from around here. Signed, American Citizen

    September 18, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. jeansees

    I worked hard for over 40 years and so has my severly ill veteran husband. We pay taxes and contribute to help others when we can.To look down on other people and say it is not his job to worry about those people 47% almost half of our country... HOW CAN ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND VOTE FOR THIS ROMNEY? His continued insults on the poor and tell them to take care of theirselves and still pay your taxes I impose is the way Roman empire did to their people! This Romney/Ryan team and their Party are strictly for the rich and their selfish ways!.. He is not the American WAY!!!

    September 18, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. Lloyd I Great Falls MT

    Loco Romney thinks middle class is $250,000 a year. Talk about someone that is totally out of touch.

    I may live in a Red State but this vote is going to be Blue this November.

    September 18, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |