CNN’s GUT CHECK for October 4, 2012
October 4th, 2012
05:09 PM ET
6 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for October 4, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for October 4, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: WALL STREET JOURNAL: OBAMA GETS FINANCIAL SALVE “The Obama campaign set a new monthly fundraising record for the 2012 election cycle, taking in more than $150 million in September … The September total far surpasses the $114 million raised in August, when the Obama team snapped a three-month streak in which it was outraised by Republican challenger Mitt Romney. At the time, the $114 million was the most the Obama campaign had collected in any one month in the 2012 election season. The most the Romney campaign has collected so far was $111 million in August. – By Peter Nicholas

(Answer below)
What national landmark broke ground on this day in history?

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

There were no zingers in last night’s debate unless you consider Mitt Romney’s proclaimed love for Big Bird. The first face-off between the two candidates was heavy on policy with very good contrasts as we head into the fall. Dare we say last night’s discussion was substantive and entertaining?

There is no question Romney won the night, and he did so by setting the tone with a strong offense. President Barack Obama was forced to play defense.

As is in every debate, there are specific moments, comments and interactions that are not only memorable but explain why a candidate won or lost. Here are two moments that caught Mark’s eye and two moments that caught Michelle’s:

Mark’s Moments

“It's fun, isn't it?”
- Mitt Romney

Early on, it became clear that Romney was starting to hit his stride. Less than 20 minutes into the debate, the former Massachusetts governor tried to rebut a statement Obama had made about small business, but he was interrupted by moderator Jim Lehrer who noted that time had expired for the segment.

“Excuse me,” said Lehrer, as he tried to take back control of the format. “Excuse me. Just so everybody understands, we're way over our first 15 minutes.”

Romney’s response, “It's fun, isn't it?”

At that point, the Republican presidential nominee showed that he was loose and had a command of his talking points. And it was clear he was in charge, as Lehrer relented and allowed him to finish his point.

“No, I think - I had five seconds before you interrupted me.”
- Barack Obama

After losing the economy rounds to Romney, the subject turned to health care – an issue the Republican presidential nominee’s primary rivals said would be his Achilles’ heel in a general election match-up with Obama. After all, Obama has repeatedly said that he has modeled “Obamacare” after the health care law that Romney, as governor, enacted into law in Massachusetts. (Interestingly, a CNN/ORC poll of debate watchers conducted immediately after last night’s event said the person who would better handle health care was Romney 52% to 47%. The figure is well within the margin of error, but still worth noting).

But it is not necessarily the poll that caught our eye, rather Obama’s reaction to Lehrer’s efforts to try and cut him off as he was explaining the benefits of the health care law.

“Now, the last point I'd make before,” Obama started saying before Lehrer jumped in to say, “Two minutes - two minutes is up, sir.”

Obama, who probably is not used to being interrupted, seemed irritated and quickly responded, “No, I think - I had five seconds before you interrupted me,” and he went on to finish his thought.

At that point in the debate, it was clear Romney was winning and the calm and cool president was starting to get rattled.

Michelle’s Moments

So much of a presidency is determined by unforeseen events, which is why getting a peek at into a candidate’s decision-making process - without aides or teleprompters - is so valuable:

“What things would I cut from spending? Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they don't pass it: Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?”
– Mitt Romney

“China” is the vessel of this election cycle - the single word that carries various meaning to each demographic, but basically taps the economic angst across age, gender and educational groups. (In many ways, China is the flip of how “Obama” was the vessel for hope in 2008). It’s hard to think of a way Romney could have connected on principal more effectively than he did with that line. He made a contrast without attacking; he used terms that were relatable and understandable. He pleased fervent tea party patriots … as well as average men and women struggling to balance their checkbooks without a paycheck.

The other moment that sealed Romney’s command performance was in rebuttal to Obama’s attacks on Romney’s tax plan: “Look, I've got five boys. I'm used to people saying something that's not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I'll believe it.”

With this surprisingly real, humorous and relatable line, coming out of a candidate sold as being detached and unrelatable, you can see why - despite getting less talk time than Obama - Romney’s words are the ones we remember.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Obama accuses Romney of dishonesty in debate
A day after losing the first presidential debate to Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama and his campaign accused the Republican challenger of dishonesty over tax policy and other issues. "If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth," Obama told a campaign rally Thursday in Denver in reference to the former Massachusetts governor who is challenging him in next month's election. "So here's the truth: Governor Romney cannot pay for his $5 trillion tax plan without blowing up the deficit or sticking it to the middle class. That's the math." – Tom Cohen

Leading Drudge: Uh O
Mitt Romney delivered a series of tough shots at President Obama's first term during Wednesday's first presidential debate, leaving the president on his heels for much of the night and potentially gaining badly needed momentum for the final stretch of the 2012 race. There were no knock-out punches at the forum in Denver, but Romney framed Obama as incapable of turning around the economy, accusing the president of ushering in an era of "trickle-down government" that left Americans in need of a fresh path to the future. – Brian Hughes

Leading HuffPo: 'Fast And Loose With The Facts'
Democratic surrogates in the cable TV spin rooms Wednesday night seemed to have trouble explaining President Barack Obama's weak debate performance. By Thursday morning, however, the Obama campaign had settled on a explanation for why their guy lost: Mitt Romney lied. – Matt Sledge

Leading Politico: How Obama's debate strategy bombed
A stunned Obama campaign acknowledged Thursday that President Barack Obama delivered a lackluster and even ineffectual performance in his leadoff debate against Mitt Romney, mistakenly opting for a cautious approach to handling his opponent that all too often left Obama looking timid and disengaged. – Alexander Burns, Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman

Leading The New York Times: In Fallout After Debate, Obama Asks, Which Mitt Was That?
President Obama and his team woke up here on Thursday morning confronted by the realization that he lost his first debate by passively letting Mitt Romney control the conversation. Then the president and his advisers resolved to do what he himself did not the night before. – Mark Landler and Pater Baker

The political bites of the day

- Romney’s contrast: Freedom vs. trickle-down government -
MITT ROMNEY AT AN UNPLANNED CAMPAIGN STOP IN COLORADO: “Last night I thought was a great opportunity for the American people to see two very different visions for the country. I think it was helpful to be able to describe those visions. I saw the president's vision as trickle-down government, and I don't think that is what America believes in. I see instead a prosperity that comes through freedom.”

- Obama: That guy who beat me last night was not real -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN COLORADO: “When I got on to the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that. The real Mitt Romney said we don't need any more teachers in our classrooms. … But the fellow on stage last night - he loves teachers, can't get enough of them.”

- Palin warns Obama could ‘pull something’ after poor debate performance -
SARAH PALIN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH SEAN HANNITY: “If Mitt Romney continues to gain and gain and gain just by being truthful and experienced and intelligent, that doing a good job as a presidential candidate - these guys in the Obama camp, they're not going to go down without swinging. They're going to pull something, Sean, and the American public with the media's help, these lap dogs in the media, kind of going along with whatever it is that Obama and his people want to do to shake some things up. Don't rely on the filter of the media. And just be aware that something could be pulled here to turn things around if Mitt Romney continues to gain so much ground.”

- McCain says Lehrer should have stopped the fight -
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN IN AN INTERVIEW ON CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “I was surprised at how well Mitt did. And I think it was very important, because he came across as the person he really is as opposed to how he has been portrayed by hundreds of millions of dollars of attack ads. I was surprised, frankly, at the president's poor performance. … Last night was so bad if it had been a fight, they would have stopped it.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

UN-TOPPABLE FACEBOOK POST… Mark Zuckerberg announces that Facebook has surpassed 1 billion users: “This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month. If you're reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you. Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life. I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too.” LINK


When Gutzon Borglum first saw the pristine Black Hills rock outcrop called Mount Rushmore, he said, “America will march along that skyline” - and so began the 14-year process to carve Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

Work on the national monument began on October 4,1927, and lasted until 1941. It cost just under $1 million - all of which was provided by the U.S. government - and took about 400 workers to complete the four busts.

Borglum’s plans called for even more work, too. The sculptor had originally planed to carve inscriptions into the hill and had hoped to portray the presidents from the waist up – not just their heads. Funding dried up in 1941 and construction was halted.

(why aren’t you in it)

It has been a while, Lin. Congratulations to Bernard Lin (@blin11592) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.

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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.

Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    When is a tax cut not a tax cut?

    When CNN "takes his word for it".

    October 4, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. james lee

    I could not stand watching Romney lying after lying about everything. He said everything that he used to say is not truth and every time President saying is not truth. I was so mad at Romney about denying everything he said is not right is so absurd and he is a big liar. I think that President won the debate two hand down. It is very easy to blaming President for every bad things happened in this country, but that was started from the Republican Policies

    October 4, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    My advise to Obama, please come after eating you Dinner, you looked tired and hungry. Please for our sake. Ask 47% directly in Mitt eyes then look to people's eyes that are watching. Ask outsourcing by Bain capital, Texas why mitt is hiding. Cayman island stashed money. Please. Michelle, feed him before sending him. Yes, on Obama12.

    October 4, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Thank you President Obama for allowing Mitt Romney to tell the American people his lies, this was the first time the majority of Americans know who Romney is and what he stands for because he's been lying all along, now they know. Romney doesn't care about the 47% because he refuses to admit his tax plan is for the rich and the middle class will pay.

    October 4, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. jaimie

    Romney and Ryan ........ Laurel and Hardy of the 2012 Presidential Campaign

    October 4, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  6. jaimie

    Romney ........ No honesty No integrity

    October 4, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  7. jaimie

    Romneyhood ........ Give to the Rich take from the poor

    October 4, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. Pete

    Last nights debate may be Jim Lehrers last,I thought he was DOA on the stage last night.No personality,nothing just a flat boring moderator just wishing it were over..And can anyone on these sites tell me how you debate a pathelogical liar,a Mormon one as well..It's evident the president can't be polite,cordial,just come out swinging much like Kennedy did with Romney in their senatorial debates and you know who won that one don't yah!!Romneys approach to last nights debate was lie your ass off and pray like heck to your daddy that's all,no facts,no details,just lie ,lie, lie and hope yah don't fall in one that's all,right you pathedic republicans ,proud of him now I wouldn't be,but he's yours isn't he!!!

    October 4, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |

    Romney knows that in the U.S , for every Larry there are 2 Daryls.

    October 4, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  10. Garth

    You can't read one positive thing about Romney without an Obama bolstering story beside it. There is no do over. You got the closest to the real Obama we've ever seen, Four years in the White House and that's all he had to say. Romney displayed an honesty and excitement about facing the country's problems. Let the Obama clingers continue to hold on. A lot of liberal factions have a big stake in this, They underestimate the real candidate we want to lead us, and send the other out to pasture. We will.

    October 4, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Garth

    How long does "moderation" take CNN? Democracy in action.

    October 4, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  12. Garth

    Total media Bias.

    October 4, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    Romney lies over and over hoping people will believe it. And, obviously, a lot of people in the red states (those 47%) are believing him. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Education is definitely lagging in some states in this country. What tools. "Lyin for Votes". ha ah ha ha haha ha ha

    October 5, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |