CNN's GUT CHECK | for December 3, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: WHITE HOUSE SLAMS GOP OFFER ON FISCAL CLIFF… Statement from White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer: “The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve. Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded that middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires. While the President is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates. President Obama believes – and the American people agree – that the economy works best when it is grown from the middle out, not from the top down. Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won’t be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs.”
EARLIER: HOUSE GOP OFFERS FISCAL CLIFF COUNTERPROPOSAL… The new proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff would bring $2.2 trillion in savings over the next decade. These would include $800 billion from tax reform, $600 billion from Medicare reforms and other health savings, and $600 billion in other spending cuts, House GOP leadership aides said Monday. – Dana Bash
RETURNING: MITT ROMNEY TO REJOIN THE MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL BOARD… Romney in a press release: “It is an honor to once again be able to serve in the company of leaders like Bill Marriott and Arne Sorenson and to support the work of the tens of thousands of Marriott associates who make Marriott International the renowned success that it is.” J.W. Marriott, Jr., the company’s executive chairman in a press release: “We are delighted that Gov. Romney has agreed to rejoin our board, on which he has served with distinction twice before. We will benefit from his tremendous energy and capability to guide long-term success in an increasingly complex business environment. We look forward to working closely with him again as a member of our strong, talented and diverse board.”
Gut Check Full Service: From CNNMoney's Chris Isidore, "Marriot directors received a base pay of $60,000 in 2011, the most recent year for which pay has been disclosed, along with $110,000 in Marriot stock. In addition they received $1,250 for every meeting they attended.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the SMS text message. What was the first text?
Less than 24 hours after Bob Costas advocated for stricter gun control laws on national television, the head of the NRA said his organization expects an “unprecedented” attack on Second Amendment rights in the new Congress.
“I think it is going to come hard, I think it is going to come fast, and I think it is going to come soon,” Wayne LaPierre, NRA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, said in an interview with Gut Check.
Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher’s killing of his girlfriend and subsequent suicide Saturday pushed the issue of gun control back into the national conversation – a discussion that was greatly overshadowed by the economy and foreign policy in the 2012 election.
Gun control did make a high profile, yet brief appearance during the October 16th presidential debate when an audience member asked President Barack Obama about assault weapons. Obama emphasized he was a supporter of the Second Amendment, but noted he was interested in trying to pass a new law outlawing assault weapons, which were banned from 1994 to 2004. Obama’s declaration further enflamed the NRA, which had already been working to try and defeat him.
Still, except for a handful of instances such the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater massacre in July and the killings at then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords constituent meet-and-greet in Tucson, Arizona, in January 2011, gun control did not become an issue. A CNN/ORC International Poll from this summer showed that the nation was divided on the gun control issue and only 22 percent of Americans said it was “extremely important” to how they would vote.
Even though gun control was not an issue in the 2012 election, LaPierre said he is convinced that Obama is the “biggest threat to the Second Amendment … in our lifetime.” Other than Obama’s talk about trying to outlaw assault weapons, LaPierre did not offer specific legislative examples of what he thinks is going to happen next year, but added the NRA has good sources in Washington, DC who said it is coming.
“We are going to stand and fight,” he said. “We are prepared to do what we have always done. Our strength isn’t the [NRA] building, it is not money … our strength is the individual people all over the country who value their ability to own a gun.”
LaPierre also charged that Costas was using the Belcher murder-suicide to “piggyback his social agenda on the back of a tragedy,” and later added that “people just think it is reprehensible.”
Costas did take some heat on social media right after he made his remarks, but he had supporters as well including the organization “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.” This group, headed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, sent an email asking people to thank Costas for his comments.
“It’s a tragedy,” the mayors wrote in the email. “And when so many gun murders go unnoticed by our media and ignored by our leaders in Washington, it’s important to recognize public figures like Costas who have the courage to tell it like it is.”
We wait and see if Obama tries to ban assault weapons next year, which could lead to an epic legislative battle that LaPierre predicts will happen.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: J.C. Watts as RNC Chairman? Republicans say no way
The prospect of former congressman J.C. Watts leading the Republican National Committee was met with chuckles by members of the organization Monday, who said that current chairman Reince Priebus is all-but-guaranteed to be re-elected to his post next month. Watts, a former Oklahoma congressman who for a time in the 1990s was the only African-American Republican serving in the U.S. House, told Politico over the weekend that he is being "encouraged" by Republicans to seek the RNC chairmanship. – Peter Hamby
Leading Drudge: 54 Trees
Amazing how a re-election can reshape an incumbent's thinking about many things. Now safely ensconced in the White House for 49 more months, the Obamas have decorated the place with 54 Christmas trees this year. Even allowing for the usual Washington excesses with taxpayer money, that's a whole grove of Christmas trees. – Andrew Malcolm for Investors.com
Leading HuffPo: In A Bind
When Susan Rice's potential nomination to the post of secretary of state hit another snag this past week, the White House found itself in a quandary. On Wednesday, a publication affiliated with the Natural Resources Defense Council dug into the ambassador to the United Nations' financial disclosures, and discovered that she and her husband were heavily invested in several oil companies in western Canada including one, Transcanada, that currently has a project under review at the State Department. – Joshue Hersh and Sam Stein
Leading Politico: 2016 contenders court mega-donors
A week after Election Day, three Republican governors mentioned as 2016 presidential candidates — Bobby Jindal, John Kasich and Bob McDonnell — each stopped by the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino to meet privately with its owner Sheldon Adelson, a man who could single-handedly underwrite their White House ambitions. Planning a presidential campaign used to mean having coffee with county party chairs in their Iowa or New Hampshire living rooms. The courting of Adelson, a full four years out from 2016, demonstrates how super PAC sugar daddies have become the new must-have feature for White House wannabes. – Kenneth P. Vogel
Leading The New York Times: Criticized as Weak in Past Talks, Obama Takes Harder Line
Amid demands from Republicans that President Obama propose detailed new spending cuts to avert the year-end fiscal crisis, his answer boils down to this: you first. Mr. Obama, scarred by failed negotiations in his first term and emboldened by a clear if close election to a second, has emerged as a different kind of negotiator in the past week or two, sticking to the liberal line and frustrating Republicans on the other side of the bargaining table. – Peter Baker
The political bites of the day
- Team Obama says they are looking for specifics -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY IN THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “What we hope for is some specificity from Republicans. We can't, if they need something different, if their ideas are different from ours, we can't guess what they are. They need to tell us and we look forward to the time when they are specific with ideas in the way that we have been.”
- Stop playing poker with the debt, says GOP’s Gutierrez -
FORMER COMMERCE SECRETARY CARLOS GUTIERREZ IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “The big picture is more than just the fiscal cliff. And a lot bigger than ‘do we raise taxes on people who are there to make more than $250,000 a year.’ This is about the debt. It’s about the fiscal deficit. It’s about our economy. It’s about our future. It’s about our children and President Obama is playing a very risky game because in the end, this is his presidency and you're going to look back and have a bar chart of deficits and debt and there's not going to be an asterisk that says it was the Republicans' fault. I think we've got to stop playing poker, work together and understand we're working to save the country.”
- Defeated Allen West compares himself to Lincoln -
FORMER REP. ALLEN WEST IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NPR: “Look, you know, God closes a door so that he can open up greater doors. I will continue to, you know, stand up and fight for this country. That's my goal. I have two daughters, 19 and 16, and I want to make sure that they grow up in a great America that provides them all the opportunities that it provided to their mother and father. … And always remember, Abraham Lincoln only served one term in Congress, too.” LINK
- With Norquist on the ropes, it is time to break with him -
CNN CONTRIBUTOR DONNA BRAZILE IN A CNN OPINION PIECE: “In the 113th Congress, the one just elected that will begin in January, 219 of 234 Republicans in the House signed his tax pledge; in the Senate, nine of 41 Republican senators signed it. By contrast, before the 112th Congress, which is still in session, 248 representatives and 41 senators signed it. The drop in support has brought the pledge into the media limelight. … More Republicans must put their country before someone else's agenda, and their Pledge of Allegiance before "The Pledge" to Norquist.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Phillip M. McKenzie (@pmmckenzie)
Mr. President, can you assure us that any "fiscal cliff" negotiations regarding entitlement reform will not hurt the most needy? #My2K
The White House (@whitehouse)
.@pmmckenzie we can reduce deficit in balanced way by ending tax cuts for top 2% + reforms that strengthen safety net & invest in future -bo
Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner)
GOP makes another serious offer to avert #fiscalcliff via balanced approach of spending cuts & pro-growth tax reform http://j.mp/TC3Cq6
Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh)
Another moderate Republican heading for the exits: Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Josh Rogin (@joshrogin)
Kerry introduces McCain at presser. McCain says, "Thank you very much Mr. Secretary." Kerry turns beet red.
Jill Jackson (@jacksonjk)
Sen. Kerry quips back at Sen. McCain-Thank you very much, Mr. President. See, this is what you get when you have two losers..
Jamie Tarabay (@jamietarabay)
And a thousand gossip mag editors crack open champagne – covers for at least 9 months... Kate Middleton Pregnant http://huff.to/Ss89Jk
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
On December 3, 1992, Neil Papworth, a 22-year old engineer in the United Kingdom used a computer to send an SMS text message to Richard Jarvis’ Vodafone.
The text: “Merry Christmas.”
Now 20 years after that average message, more than 80 percent of mobile phone users send SMS texts. The practice has become a standard in American culture and has led to countless changes in jargon and lexicon.
Here are some other facts about texting from CNN’s Heather Kelly:
– In the United States, 75% of teenagers text, sending an average of 60 texts a day. According to Pew Internet research, texting is teens' most common form of communication, beating out phone conversations, social networks and old-fashioned face-to-face conversations.
– Women are twice as likely to use emoticons in text messages, but men use a wider variety of emoticons, according to a recent study by Rice University. :-)
– The practice of exchanging sexual messages or photos (yes, "sexting") isn't just for single people and politicians. It's also popular among committed couples. According to a study by psychology professor Michelle Drouin, 80% of young adults in relationships sent or received naughty texts, and 60% upped the ante by exchanging photos or videos.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
O-M-G, in what was possibly the fastest response for Gut Check Trivia, it took Jonathan Kappler (@jonathankappler) seven seconds to correctly tweet “Merry Christmas” – the correct answer. Sean Evins (@Evins) was a close second, but not quite as fast as Kappler.
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