CNN's GUT CHECK | for October 30, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
ONE WEEK UNTIL ELECTION DAY
BREAKING: EARLY VOTING SHOWS DEMOCRATS UP IN NEVADA, GOP UP IN COLORADO… Early voting turnout numbers released Tuesday in two western battleground states show mixed results one week before Election Day. In Nevada, more Democrats have cast their ballots already, while more Republicans have done the same in Colorado, according to the official numbers. – Ashley Killough MAP
On this day in 2001, President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at Game 3 of The World Series in New York City – just months after the attacks of September 11th. This was the second time during the Major League Baseball season that Bush threw out a first pitch. Where was the first?
Mitt Romney’s most effective surrogate in this campaign, in terms of blunt, stark criticism of President Barack Obama, has changed his tone.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is now heaping praise on the president, one week before Election Day. Why? Sandy.
Make no mistake about it, Christie supports Romney for president, but it is hard not to watch and listen to what he has had to say about Obama over the past 24 hours.
The governor did not just make an off-the-cuff remark thanking the federal government for the focus on his state in this time of crisis – the governor has been downright effusive about Obama’s focus on it.
In a trio of tweets over the past 24 hours, Christie expressed: 1. Confidence in the president; 2. Thanked the president personally; 3. Praised the president for his leadership.
Governor Christie (@GovChristie)
I have confidence that we will have support from the President and federal authorities. #Sandy
October 30 at 4:27am
Governor Christie (@GovChristie)
I want to thank the President personally for all his assistance as w recover from the storm.
October 30 at 1:28am
Governor Christie (@GovChristie)
President Obama then said if I needed anything to call him directly. I appreciated that leadership and I will if/when we do.
October 29 at 11:54am
In several interviews, Christie echoed his praise. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “It’s been very good working with the president.” On NBC: “I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the president personally. He has expedited the designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area.” To Politico: “The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit.”
Not exactly what you would expect to hear from the tough-talking New Jersey governor, who defied political odds in 2009 to defeat the deep pocketed incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine in one of the bluest of blue states. It is Christie’s “tell it like it is” demeanor that prompted several wealthy Republicans last year to try and convince the New Jersey governor to run for president. Instead, Christie backed Romney and he has become a favorite of Republican audiences on the campaign trail.
But for now, one of Romney’s top surrogates is sidelined as he focuses on helping his state recover from the devastating storm. Asked on Fox & Friends if Romney will visit New Jersey to see firsthand the damage Sandy wrought, Christie was, well, blunt.
“I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested,” he said. “I have got a job to do here in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. And I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power, I’ve got devastation on the shore, I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, than you don't know me.”
As if this wasn’t damning enough to a campaign that is out of the news cycle a week before Election Day, Christie will stand side-by-side with Obama tomorrow as they tour the storm damaged areas.
In the closing days of the campaign, it is a photo-op that a political consultant can only dream of.
Which consultants' dreams came true? In the short term, Obama’s. And next on the list, Christie’s own advisers who have an eye on a different calendar year: The governor’s up for re-election in 2013.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Looking presidential: The optics of leadership during a disaster
As Sandy took aim at the East Coast, President Barack Obama discarded campaign events in Florida and Virginia to return to Washington and address the storm from the White House. Mitt Romney adjusted his schedule to hit the battleground state of Ohio and direct campaign resources in Virginia and New Hampshire to focus on storm relief. – Halimah Abdullah
Leading Drudge: Hell And High Water
A huge fire destroyed 80 to 100 houses in a flooded beachfront neighborhood Tuesday, forcing firefighters to undertake daring rescues and injuring three people. More than 190 firefighters contained the blaze but were still putting out some pockets of fire more than nine hours after it erupted. – Larry Neumeister
Leading HuffPo: Atlas Drenched
If it had been up to Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, disaster response agencies would likely face lower funding to handle the huge costs of dealing with storms such as Hurricane Sandy, a review of his much-touted budget shows. The budget plan put forward by Ryan as chairman of the House Budget Committee requires massive cuts to discretionary spending, which includes everything but entitlements. Those cuts would almost certainly extend to the Department of Homeland Security and its disaster relief programs under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). – Elise Foley
Leading Politico: Hurricane Sandy shakes up campaign calendar
Hurricane Sandy has cut in half the final stretch of the presidential race, leaving both the Obama and Romney campaigns uncertain as to when it’s possible to resume a full political schedule with a week to go until Election Day. – Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman
Leading The New York Times: Storm Pushes Aside Presidential Politics, Mostly
The presidential campaign entered a delicate and disrupted phase on Tuesday morning, suddenly becoming a sideshow to a devastating storm that posed an improvised leadership test to both sides as they sought to navigate the politics of a natural disaster. – Michael Barbaro and Michael D. Shear
The political bites of the day
- Obama: ‘no bureaucracy, no red tape’
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN A STATEMENT AT THE RED CROSS IN WASHINGTON: “My instructions to the federal agency has been do not figure out why we can't do something, I want you to figure out how we do something. I want you to cut through red tape. I want you to cut through bureaucracy, there's no excuse for inaction at this point. I want every agency to lean forward and make sure we are getting the resources … where they're needed as quickly as possible. So I want to repeat, my message to the federal government: No bureaucracy, no red tape, get resources where they're needed as fast as possible.”
- Romney heralds makings a difference -
MITT ROMNEY AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN OHIO: “We won't be able to solve all the problems with our effort this morning. There are a lot of people that will be looking for goods even though we've gathered these things as you know. One of the things you learn in life, is you make the difference you can. And you can't always solve all the problems yourself. But you can make the difference in the lives of one or two people - as a result of one or two people taking an effort.”
- Biden on FEMA: “One hell of a job” -
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN BEFORE A FLIGHT IN OHIO: “This is working like it's supposed to. FEMA has been reorganized; they are doing one hell of a job. They pre-positioned resources. The governors are all cooperating with one another. Mayor's all cooperating. Never in all my experience (have I) seen cooperation, and acknowledgment of that cooperation, from city, state, and federal levels. It’s working like it's supposed to.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Romney relief event seemed to mostly hit the right tone. Optimistic, but not very political. A few nonpartisan remarks, then canned goods—
McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) October 30, 2012
TV pool asked Romney about his plans for FEMA as president. No response.—
Rachel Streitfeld (@streitfeldcnn) October 30, 2012
David Mark (@PolitixDavid) October 30, 2012
Nick Valencia (@CNNValencia) October 30, 2012
Shouldn't Michael 'Brownie' Brown be the absolute last person to criticize emergency response efforts? blogs.westword.com/latestword/201…—
Will McAvoy (@WillMcAvoyACN) October 30, 2012
Disney bought LucasFilm for 4 billion and announced Star Wars 7. I'm sure it will be terrific. Did I say terrific? I meant terrible.—
Men's Humor (@MensHumor) October 30, 2012
Hurricane victims: If you can find Obama's transcripts, Donald Trump will donate $5 million to your relief. #sandy—
Ryan Teague Beckwith (@ryanbeckwith) October 30, 2012
In April of 2001, President George W. Bush was a new president and was invited to throw out the first pitch at the new Miller Park in Milwaukee.
After the September 11th attacks, Bush, in a sign of American strength, threw out the first pitch at Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium in New York. On October 30, wearing a FDNY sweatshirt, Bush threw a strike in front of the sell out crowd.
Before becoming president, Bush owned the Texas Rangers – the first president to be a baseball owner before occupying the Oval Office.
Bush also threw out a first pitch at the College World Series and the Little League World Series in 2001.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Wow, that took a long time. Congrats to Rich Killion (@nhkillion) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question after countless incorrect answers by some Gut Check staples.
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.