CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 14, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: OBAMA PRESS CONFERENCE SETS INTERESTING TONE FOR SECOND TERM …
Defending Susan Rice: “She has done exemplary work. She has represented the United States and our interested in the United Nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace. … If Senator (John) McCain, Senator (Lindsey) Graham and others want to go after somebody they should go after me. … But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation – is outrageous.”
On Tax Cuts: “There is a package to be shaped and I am confident that parties – folks of goodwill in both parties can make that happen But what I'm not going to do is extend [the] Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent that we can't afford and according to economists will have the least positive impact on the economy.”
On Whom He Believes Has the Upper Hand in Fiscal Cliff Negotiations (AKA Remember, I won): “If there was one thing that everybody understood was a big difference between myself and Mr. Romney, it was, when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, I argued for a balanced, responsible approach, and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest Americans pay a little bit more. I think every voter out there understood that, that was an important debate, and the majority of voters agreed with me. Not – by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me. So, we've got a clear majority of the American people who recognize, if we're going to be serious about deficit reduction, we've got to do it in a balanced way.”
On Petraeus: “I have no evidence at this point, from what I have seen, that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security.”
On Election Mandate: “With respect to the issue of mandate, I’ve got one mandate. I’ve got a mandate to help middle class families and families that are working hard to try to get into the middle class. That’s my mandate. That’s what the American people said. They said: ‘work really hard to help us.’”
On Mitt Romney, and his resume: “My hope is before the end of the year, we have a chance to sit down and talk. There are certain aspects of Governor Romney’s record that I think could be very helpful. To give you one example, I do think he did a terrific job running the Olympics. And, you know, that skill set of trying to figure out how do we make something work better applies to the federal government.… What I want to do is get ideas from him and see if there are ways we can work together.” FULL TRANSCRIPT
MEANWHILE: THE ORACLE OF OMAHA PREDICTS AND ENDORSES HILLARY CLINTON IN 2016 … Warren Buffett in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow: “I hope it is Hillary Clinton. … I like what she believes in and I think she is extraordinarily able and energetic for that matter in pushing those beliefs. I don’t see how you could have anyone better qualified.”
How did Paul Pelosi, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s husband, help his wife in her first campaign for Congress?
President Obama made it clear that he is willing to battle Republicans over taxes and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, and then extended an olive branch to his formal rival Mitt Romney.
A clash over the nation’s economy and a war over a potential presidential nomination not only caught our eye, it caused sensory overload early this afternoon. And we thought finding a resolution to the fiscal cliff was going to steal all of Washington’s attention after the intense election.
We were wrong.
The resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, delayed nomination hearing of Marine Gen. John Allen, congressional hearings on Benghazi and now Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham threatening to derail Rice’s potential nomination to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have turned Washington on its head.
And it got very personal. Very quickly. Just 22 minutes after Obama accused the two Republican senators of criticizing Rice “because they think she's an easy target,” Graham fired back in a blistering press release.
“I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack.” Graham said.
An hour later, Graham told CNN, “I want to work with him on the fiscal cliff. I want to work with him on immigration. I'd like to work with him on other things that we need to do as a nation but I'm not gonna give him a pass here.”
Which leads us to the fiscal cliff and Obama’s comments about what are known as the Bush tax cuts.
“What I'm not going to do is to extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent that we can't afford and, according to economists, will have the least positive impact on our economy,” Obama said.
This is sure to fire up conservative Republicans, who believe that the tax cuts should be extended for all Americans – including those who make over $250,000.
But in a day of partisan battles, there was this nugget of bipartisanship that we mentioned earlier.
“My hope is before the end of the year, though, we have a chance to sit down and talk,” Obama said of Romney. “You know, there – there're certain aspects of Governor Romney's record and his ideas that I think could be very helpful.”
Obama added, “He presented some ideas during the course of the campaign that I actually agree with. And so it'd be interesting to talk to him about something like that. There may be ideas that he has with respect to jobs and growth that can help middle-class families that I want to hear.”
While Obama wouldn’t commit to anything specific, nor would a Romney spokesman, we will take it as a step in the right direction in what has been a day full of partisanship.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: New U.S. House: Women and minorities to the left; white men to the right
When the incoming U.S. House freshmen of the 113th Congress take their class photo, the image will reflect two very different visions of the nation. On the Democratic side: Women and minorities - a coalition that, along with young voters, largely helped re-elect President Barack Obama - collectively will for the first time in the nation's history outnumber white male Democrats. On the Republican side: The majority of the House seats will be held by white men - a group which far outnumbers the now dwindled numbers of House GOP women and minorities after the losses of two minority members and about a half dozen women from that caucus.- Halimah Abdullah
Leading Drudge: Come After Me
As I said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and besmirch her reputation is outrageous," President Obama said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Leading HuffPo: Obama Warns GOP: Don't Take 'Hostages'
President Barack Obama has rejected an idea put forward by House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans to close unspecified tax loopholes in order to pay for extending all tax cuts as part of a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Obama's simple explanation: I won.
"But when it comes to the top two percent, what I'm not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don't need it, which would cost close to a trillion dollars. And it's very difficult to see how you make up that trillion dollars, if we're serious about deficit reduction, just by closing loopholes and deductions," the president said at a White House news conference on Wednesday. – Luke Johnson
Leading Politico: Obama slams Susan Rice critics: ‘Go after me’
President Barack Obama offered a fiery defense Wednesday of his administration’s handling of the attack on Americans in Benghazi, challenging Republican critics to question him and not his ambassador to the United Nations. He specifically rebutted Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who earlier Wednesday called for a “Watergate-style” investigation into the attacks and said they don’t trust Rice because of her statements. – Jennifer Epstein
Leading The New York Times: Focus on Petraeus and Taxes as Obama Faces Media
President Obama on Wednesday declared that he would not extend tax cuts at upper income levels but that Congress should quickly do so for the middle class, and he praised David H. Petraeus’s record while saying that national security had not been compromised during the intelligence official’s affair with his biographer. – Helene Cooper
The political bites of the day
– King to caucus with the Democrats –
SENATOR ELECT ANGUS KING AT A CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “I had lengthy discussions with the Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada as well as former majority leader and my good friend George Mitchell of Maine on this very question. I came away from these conversations reassured that my independence would be respected and that no party line commitment would be required or expected and so I have decided to affiliate myself with the Democratic caucus.”
Gut Check Full Service: King’s decision will give the Democrats a 55-45 majority in the next Senate. They have a 53-47 majority in the current Senate.
– Pelosi wants two more years –
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI AT A CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “In order to reignite the American Dream, that's what we're about, to build ladders of opportunity for those who want to work hard, play by the rules, take responsibility, to have those ladders have sides about small business and entrepreneurship and a strong and thriving middle class, we have work to do. And I have made a decision to submit my name to my colleagues to once again serve as the House Democratic Leader when we come back.”
– Moran tapped to head National Republican Senatorial Committee –
SEN. JERRY MORAN (R-Kan.) AT A CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “I fully recognize that the success of politics follows governing well and so I'm looking forward to working with leader McConnell and others in our conference to make sure that we make the right decisions on behalf of America.”
Gut Check Full Service: The Senate Republicans conference in the 113th Congress is… Republican Leader – Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Republican Whip – Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), Republican Conference Chairman – Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Republican Policy Committee Chairman – Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Republican Conference Vice Chairman – Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).
–Warren Buffet downplays risk of recession over fiscal cliff –
Warren Buffett in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, on the likelihood of the United States going into a recession if it goes over the cliff: “I don’t think that is going to happen. I think that if we go past January 1, I don’t know if it will be January 10 or February 1, but we are not going permanently cripple ourselves because 535 people can’t get a long. … We had Hurricane Sandy, which disrupted the economy for a period; we had Katrina many years ago. There are things that will disrupt the economy, 9/11 was an extraordinary case, but we have a very resilient economy, we have had one for hundreds of years. And the fact that they can’t get a long for the month of January is not going to torpedo the economy.”
– Paul Ryan, on his image –
PAUL RYAN EXPLAINS HOW HE LOST HIS HOME COUNTY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH STAN MILAM ON JANESVILLE’S WCLO RADIO STATION: “Well, as you know, Janesville is a very Democratic town, but I’m a Republican. But I’ve always done well here because more people saw me not as a Republican but just as a Janesville guy. When you join the national ticket for a party, you become more seen as a Republican guy than necessarily a Janesville guy. And so, I think my image, or the thought most people had in their mind of me once I joined the Republican ticket was more ‘Paul Ryan, Republican’ than ‘Paul Ryan, Janesville guy.’”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) November 14, 2012
Osama Hamdan of Hamas on CNN: If Israel operations continue, Hamas must resist. #gaza—
Andy Carvin (@acarvin) November 14, 2012
That Susan Rice defense is about as riled up as I've ever seen him at a presser. Big deal.—
Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) November 14, 2012
Estuardo Rodriguez (@EstuardoDC) November 14, 2012
McCain calls reporter dumb, vows to block Rice. Harry and Mitch at odds. Benghazi pounding. Yes, clearly it's a new day in DC post-election.—
Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 14, 2012
If you were hoping for major climate legislation in the next four years, Obama's answer has to be disappointing. Says jobs come first.—
Mike O'Brien (@mpoindc) November 14, 2012
Obama really not giving the "read my lips" response @chucktodd was getting at. Lots of wiggle-room here in Obama's answer.—
Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) November 14, 2012
Abby Livingston (@RollCallAbby) November 14, 2012
TRIVIA ANSWER from (@DanMericaCNN)
When Nancy Pelosi ran for Congress in a special election in 1987, Paul Pelosi, Nancy’s husband, decided to help his wife by going through the San Francisco phone book and writing hand written letters to voters in her district with Italian sounding names. Paul’s mother also joined in the letter writing.
Pelosi first wrote about her husband’s help in her 2009 book, “Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters.”
Pelosi was asked about the passage this year at the National Journal’s Women 2020 Conference. “I do remember,” Pelosi said of the letter writing campaign. “A few Hispanics roped in there,” she joked.
Paul Pelosi is a businessman who owns a real estate and venture capital firm in San Francisco. Paul and Nancy were married on September 7, 1963, and now have five children.
As first reported by CNN’s Dana Bash, Nancy Pelosi has asked the Democratic caucus to continue serving as the Democratic leader in the next House of Representatives. When Pelosi made the announcement to the caucus of her decision to seek another term as leader, a source inside the caucus meeting told CNN that Democratic members began chanting “2 more years!”
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
No correct answers to today’s Gut Check trivia question.
Our inbox awaits: email@example.com
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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.