CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 26, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: OBAMA OVER 50… Fifty-two percent of Americans approve of the way President Barack Obama is handling his job, with 43% saying they disapprove, according to a new CNN/ORC International survey released Monday afternoon.
FILED: CHRIS CHRISTIE FILES FOR RE-ELECTION… New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has filed papers to set in motion a run for re-election, a source close to the New Jersey Republican said Monday.
How many members of the Taft family have represented Ohio in the U.S. Senate?
The American public’s lack of confidence in Congress and President Barack Obama’s ability to work together to avert an economic crisis is troubling and it’s what caught our eye 36 days until the fiscal cliff.
A whopping two-thirds of Americans said they think Washington officials will behave like “spoiled children” in the fiscal cliff discussions, according to a new CNN/ORC International survey released Monday. Only 28% of Americans think the people they elected to govern the country will behave like “responsible adults."
It’s worth repeating these numbers again: 67% of Americans think that in the fiscal cliff discussions, Washington officials will behave like spoiled children, while 28% think these officials will behave like responsible adults.
A troubling statistic given that 78% of Americans in the poll said the fiscal cliff will affect their personal financial situation, while two-thirds responded that the mandatory across the board spending cuts and automatic tax increases will lead to a crisis or major problems for the country.
Three weeks after the election and there is very little optimism about how business is done or rather not done in Washington. One thing is clear, 67% of the American public believes the best way to resolve the fiscal cliff is through a mix of spending cuts and tax increases.
Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, each took to the Senate floor and spoke about the best way forward. No solution was reached. Thirty six days and counting until the fiscal cliff.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: GOP resistance to anti-tax pledge grows
Is it a slow leak that will grow into a cascade, or a minor drip easily plugged? More and more, conservative Republicans in Congress are breaking from a pledge they signed years earlier against any kind of tax increase or additional tax revenue. – Tom Cohen
Leading Drudge: 'Our Lord And Savior Barack Obama'
Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx recently called Barack Obama "our lord and savior." This occurred at the previously recorded Soul Train Awards broadcast on BET Sunday. – Noel Sheppard
Leading HuffPo: Downward Spiral
Several congressional Republicans said Sunday that they would be open to increasing the amount of money the government collects in taxes, with a senior Republican member of the U.S. Senate going so far as to say he is willing to break his earlier promise to not support tax hikes in any form. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he opposes raising income tax rates, but that he is open to increasing tax revenue by reducing the availability of deductions for things like charitable giving and mortgage interest. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) also said Sunday that he would support limiting deductions. – Arthur Delaney
Leading Politico: Democratic super PACs get jump on 2014, 2016
Winning changes everything. It took Democrats a while to warm up to super PACs, but their glee over 2012 is — for now — eclipsing any moral qualms about big money eroding democracy, and they’re already busy at work courting their wealthiest supporters and planning even more ambitious efforts for future elections. – Kenneth P. Vogel and Tarini Parti
Leading The New York Times: Trying to Turn Obama Voters Into Tax Allies
With lawmakers scheduled to return to work on Monday to begin intense discussions before a looming fiscal deadline, Mr. Obama’s aides are trying to harness the passions that returned him to the White House, hoping to pressure Republicans in Congress to accept tax increases on the wealthy. The president’s strategists are turning first to the millions of e-mail addresses assembled by the campaign and the White House. – Michael Shear
The political bites of the day
– Norquist labels talk of tax hikes as ‘impure thoughts’ –
GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT OF AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “No pledge taker has voted for a tax increase. You've had some people discussing impure thoughts on national television. However, even Lindsey Graham, if you listen to him – he would support higher taxes if it was used to pay down the debt. Of course, it won't be. It would be spent. If he got, you know, 10-1 ratios on entitlement reform. I've had long conversations with Lindsey Graham. He says I would raise taxes if … then he lists this incredible list of reforms and entitlements that the Democrats would never give him. I suggested, ‘senator, you're offering to trade a tax increase for a pink unicorn that doesn't exist.’”
Gut Check Flashback: Over the weekend, two senior Republicans pondered whether to break Norquist’s tax pledge:
Sen. Lindsey Graham on ABC: “I'm willing to generate revenue. It's fair to ask my party to put revenue on the table. We're below historic averages. … I think Grover is wrong when it comes to … we can't cap deductions and buy down debt.”
Rep. Peter King on NBC: “A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress. For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed the declaration of war against Japan. I'm not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed. The economic situation is different.”
– In first day back from Thanksgiving break, fiscal cliff looms large in Senate –
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “As we continue to negotiate a responsible path forward I remind everyone within the sound of my voice of one fact: this Congress is already one vote away from avoiding the fiscal cliff for middle class families and small businesses. We can solve the greatest economic emergency facing the nation today if only the House would consider the Senate-passed bill freezing tax rates for 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses.”
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “Republicans have stepped out of our comfort zone. We have been clear about what we’ll do and what we won’t. And yet we remain at an impasse leading us to ask why? Because a vocal minority on the hard left continues to argue to leaders of their party from the president on down that Democrats in Washington should do absolutely nothing about short term or long term spending problems. This is the Thelma and Louise crowd, the ones who dream about higher taxes and bigger government that will pay for regardless of the impact on jobs or the economy or America’s standing in the world.”
– After perfect election predication, Silver touts high quality polling –
NEW YORK TIMES STATISTICIAN NATE SILVER IN AN INTERVIEW WITH MSNBC: “I think that high-quality polling really differentiates itself now because if you take an automated poll, you miss people who have cell phones, which is about a third of the population now. And they're mostly younger urban demographic, mostly Democrats, so you will under sample Democrats, to use that buzzword, if you don't call people who have cell phones. And lo and behold, those polls had a Republican bias this year. Not because the pollsters are evil partisan, but because, hey, if you miss a big chunk of the population that's Democratic-leaning, you're going to have problems.”
– What's the GOP message if the economy booms? –
DAVID FRUM, A CNN CONTRIBUTOR, IN A CNN OPINION PIECE: “For five years, U.S. politics have been shaped by economic hardship. In 2008 and 2010, voters rejected the party in power, booting Republicans out of the White House, and then sweeping Democrats out of Congress. … But the indicators are suggesting that by 2013 and 2014, the Obama record will begin to look a lot better, assuming, that is, that the two parties in Washington don't recklessly push the country off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year. … For too long, the Republicans have predicted apocalypse, debt crisis, the loss of freedom, the overthrow of the constitution. As the economy improves, that doom-saying will seem even more out of touch than ever. Republican political chances will depend on the Republican ability to devise a positive program to address the country's fiscal problems in ways that improve people's lives. It's a new day, guys, and it demands a new game.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
By a 40-point margin, Americans prefer to reform the tax code and remove loopholes rather than raise tax rates wapo.st/WRcGJJ—
Brendan Buck (@Brendan_Buck) November 26, 2012
Notice "rates." RT @GOPLeader: Raising tax rates is not something that is good for this economy– or that will help grow jobs.—
Alex Parker (@AlexParkerDC) November 26, 2012
The woman POTUS is designating as SEC Chair, Elisse Walter, does not have to be reconfirmed by Senate. She's already an SEC commissioner.—
Shawna Thomas (@ShawnaNBCNews) November 26, 2012
Damian Paletta (@damianpaletta) November 26, 2012
James Murphy, Iowan who logged 17,000 phone calls for Obama's re-election, died Sat. at home in Davenport. He was 64. dmreg.co/XWVTqb—
JenniferJacobsDMReg (@JenniferJJacobs) November 26, 2012
Chatted w/ a Senate aide on the way back from Disney. He tells me the Senate GOP is running as a herd in thinking Norquist is a paper tiger—
Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) November 26, 2012
Reid Wilson (@HotlineReid) November 26, 2012
Terrence Dopp (@tdopp) November 26, 2012
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
Robert A. Taft is the most notable of the Taft family in the Senate, largely because of his vocal opposition to many of the New Deal programs proposed during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. Taft served from 1939 to 1953, and in 1957 he was named one of the five greatest senators of all time.
Kingsley A. Taft is generally the most forgotten of the three Tafts because he served fewer than two months – from 1946 to 1947 – in the Senate after filling in for Sen. Harold H. Burton who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Robert Taft Jr. served in the House before being elected to the Senate for one term starting in 1971. He lost reelection in 1976 and resigned his seat shortly after the election. Another Taft, Charles Phelps Taft, served as a congressman from Ohio, but never was elected to the Senate.
The Taft family has always loomed large in the state of Ohio, but has also held elected office in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont.
The most notable Taft is President William Howard Taft, who occupied the Oval Office from 1909 to 1913. After the presidency, Taft became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congratulations to first time Gut Check winner Cory Fritz (@corymfritz) for correctly answering today’s trivia question. Cory, though seemingly unsure of his answer, correctly tweeted three.
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.