CNN's GUT CHECK | for December 17, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
HEATING UP: OBAMA, BOEHNER MEET AGAIN TO TALK FISCAL CLIFF… President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House on Monday after the top Republican negotiator made concessions over the weekend that moved the talks to a new level. The 45-minute meeting was their third face-to-face discussion in eight days, a sign of acceleration in the negotiations that seek to avert the automatic tax increases and spending cuts of the fiscal cliff set to take effect in the new year. – Dana Bash. Deirdre Walsh and Tom Cohen
OR, NOT? FISCAL CLIFF THREATS RATCHET UP… Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned that the Senate may have to return after Christmas in order to complete negotiations on the fiscal cliff. “It appears at this stage - we’ll see if anything changes - but it appears we’re going to be coming back the day after Christmas to complete work on the fiscal cliff,” Reid said in a speech on the Senate floor.
Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully embarked on the first flight on this day in 1903. Before aeronautics, what type of shop did the Wright brothers own and operate?
Despite early conventional wisdom that action on gun control was too politically perilous to be tackled, the debate is on.
There is no better illustration of the “tipping point” than Joe Manchin, a senator from the red state of West Virginia who used video of himself with a rifle to show how he would destroy cap and trade, this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” said bluntly that the massacre in Connecticut “has changed the dialogue” and added “I am a proud NRA member and always have been ... but everything has to be on the table and I think it will be.” Manchin pointedly said that the NRA must be at the table, too.
While the passionate voices on both sides of this debate inform us what tough terrain this is for public policy, it was practical advice from CNN contributor David Frum that sparked our newsroom discussion. Frum, former special assistant to President George W. Bush, wrote a piece on CNN.com/Opinion entitled, “Why Obama shouldn't lead fight against gun violence.”
Frum pointed out that any president would polarize a gun debate; but then made an interesting case about Obama in particular:
“Obama has done literally nothing to restrict the (large and growing) rights of gun owners. President Bill Clinton signed two important pieces of gun control legislation and issued many restrictive executive orders; Obama has not so much as introduced even one.
“Yet the election of Obama has triggered an angry reaction among gun owners fiercer than anything seen under Clinton. … Gun buying spiked in the Obama administration, pushing the share of households with a gun all the way back up to 47%, near the 1960 peak, even as crime rates tumbled to the lowest levels ever recorded, making guns less necessary than ever to self-defense. Black Friday 2012 set a one-day record for gun sales.
“What's going on? People who buy guns for self-defense do not look only to the statistics for information about the dangers they face. They are guided by their own perceptions, and often their own misperceptions. By the numbers, Obama's America is probably the safest America ever.
“But in the imaginations of millions of people, Obama's America is threatened by social instability. For many, the president himself is the leading symbol of the changes they fear. The more the president leads the campaign for gun control, the more hopeless that campaign will be.”
Frum argues that policymakers who want to push for gun control should look to the successful push against drunken driving, which was done outside the political system, championed and started by a grieving mother, Candace Lightner, whose legacy can be heard in even casual conversations, as Frum reminded us, “‘Friends don't let friends drive drunk’ has replaced ‘One for the road.’"
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Leading CNNPolitics: New polls suggests elementary school shootings may be changing public opinion
A survey from ABC News/Washington Post released Monday afternoon is the first sign of early evidence that the slayings at Sandy Hook Elementary School will make an impact. According to the survey, 44% now strongly support stricter gun laws, with 32% opposed. That's the first time in ABC/Washington Post polling in five years where significantly more people favor rather than opposed stricter gun control measures. For the first time in surveys dating back to 2000, less than 50% say the best way to reduce gun violence is to enforce existing laws. The number of people saying the best way is to pass new laws edging up to 32%, the highest level since 2000 in ABC/Washington Post polling. – Paul Steinhauser
Leading Drudge: Rising From The South
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced Monday that she will appoint Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to the Senate. Scott will replace Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who is leaving the chamber in January to head up the conservative Heritage Foundation. – Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza for the Washington Post
Leading HuffPo: Walking The Walk
Advocates of what's come to be called the "talking filibuster" are closing in on the majority needed to reform the rules, according to a whip count compiled by The Huffington Post, based on interviews with Democratic senators and with reform advocates who have spoken with senators. Cross-checking the list with prior voting records and public statements indicates that Democrats could lock up as many as 52 votes by this week, when they are expected to introduce a rules reform package to be voted on in the new year. – Ryan Grim
Leading Politico: Tim Scott to succeed Jim DeMint in Senate
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley appointed tea party Rep. Tim Scott Monday to succeed resigning Sen. Jim DeMint, making him the first African-American Republican to serve in the U.S. Senate in more than three decades and the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction. Race and history aside, Haley hailed Scott as a unique political talent with a keen understanding of business and “the value of a dollar.” – Scott Wong
Leading The New York Times: Senator Manchin, Defender of Gun Rights, Shifts His View
Congressional Democrats showed signs on Monday of a more aggressive push on gun control in the wake of the Newtown killings, while Republicans and gun rights advocates remained largely silent on policy matters. Joe Manchin III, the pro-gun-rights West Virginia senator who drew attention in 2010 after running a commercial that showed him firing a rifle at an environmental bill, said that “everything should be on the table” as gun control is debated in the coming weeks and months. – Jeremy Peters
The political bites of the day
- ‘Proud gun owner’ calls on limiting size of gun clips -
SEN. JOE MANCHIN, A CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRAT, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH MSNBC: “It is time. It is time to move beyond rhetoric. We need to sit down and have a common-sense discussion and move in a reasonable way. … I just came with my family from deer hunting. I've never had more than three shells in a clip. Sometimes you don't get more than one shot anyway at a deer. It's common sense.”
Gut Check Full Service… Manchin, who has an 'A' rating with the National Rifle Association, said the gun rights debate is not about vilifying the Second Amendment but a need to prevent another mass shooting like the one in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six adults dead. “This has changed the dialogue, and it should move beyond dialogue,” he said. “We need action.” – Ashley Killough
Gut Check Flashback… In his 2010 run against Republican businessman John Raese, Manchin proved his fidelity to guns by firing a real warning shot in a television ad. In a 30-second statewide ad, Manchin fired a bullet through a symbol of the House-passed cap and trade legislation - a bill incredibly unpopular in his coal-rich state - thereby both highlighting his opposition to the proposal and trumpeting his support of Second Amendment rights.
- Gun advocate calls for fewer ‘gun free zones,’ more guns in wake of shooting -
STEVE DULAN, ATTORNEY FOR THE MICHIGAN COALITION OF RESPONSIBLE GUN OWNERS, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S PIERS MORGAN…
Dulan: Right, it is time (for change) to get rid of some of these gun laws that cause the gun free zones. Look at what has happened. All these attacks this year have occurred where guns are banned. OK, look at the Aurora movie theater shooting.
Piers: What the hell has that got to do with it? Seriously, what has that got to do with it?
Dulan: Look at the Aurora movie theater one, for example? There were seven movie theaters showing the Batman movie within a 20-minute drive of where the killer lived. Only one of those banned guns. He didn’t go to the movie theater closest to his home, he didn’t go to the movie theater with the largest screen, he went to the one movie theater that banned guns. If you look at bans generally, you can’t point to a place, you know, Chicago, D.C., where we ban guns, murder rates, violent crimes went up afterwards. In the UK, Jamaica, Ireland, island nations that have banned guns, you can’t find a place where murder rates have actually gone down. They have gone up, usually by large amounts.
- Debate on guns a ‘logical continuum’ after shooting, says Feinstein -
DEMOCRATIC SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN OF CALIFORNIA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S DANA BASH…
Bash: All of this was discussed when your colleague Gabrielle Giffords was shot and others were killed. It was discussed 6 months later when the movie shooting happened, you discussed in Colorado, and now 6 months later, this. Why do you think this moment may be different?
Feinstein: Because I think it's a logical continuum. If there should be a safe place in America it is an elementary school. And here in this elementary school, look what happened, six year olds with three to eleven bullets from this Bushmaster in their body. Twenty of them. Is this America? I don't think so. And I think these incidents are going to continue until we do something to change the supply mode of these weapons out in our society.
- Rush says values are disappearing, as he predicted -
RADIO HOST RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS SHOW MONDAY: “Remember, folks, during the presidential campaign, I said, ‘Twenty-five years ago we were warning about what was going to happen if X kept happening and Y kept happening and if we didn't stop Z.’ Well, now, we're there. We're no longer talking about what will happen unless we do something about it. We're living it. We're living the collapse. We're living the implosion of our culture and our society. Politically, morally, religiously, you name it, and it all stems from the fact that no one is allowed to have values. Values are judgmental. You have no right to impose values on people.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
W/ Tim Scott in Senate, Reps will have only African American, 2 of the 3 Latinos. And new GOP woman senator entering, tho 2 R women leaving—
Jonathan Weisman (@jonathanweisman) December 17, 2012
Tim Scott is also the first black senator from South Carolina, even including Reconstruction.—
Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) December 17, 2012
Had a great conversation with Governor Haley and future Senator Scott. Asked him about gun laws. Said now is the time for prayer.—
Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) December 17, 2012
US Postal Service has established a PO Box for #Newtown victims - Message of Condolence / PO Box 3700 / Newtown, CT 06470—
(@sgallman) December 17, 2012
e mcmorris-santoro (@evanmc_s) December 17, 2012
David Gergen (@David_Gergen) December 17, 2012
Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring) December 17, 2012
Just In: HBO to air, Martin Scorcese to direct documentary on president Bill Clinton. Has "full cooperation" of the President.—
Alex Weprin (@alexweprin) December 17, 2012
I'm excited to announce the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating, a new way to measure engagement. Read more here: blog.twitter.com/2012/12/coming…—
Chloe Sladden (@ChloeS) December 17, 2012
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
Before Orville and Wilbur Wright were the “Wright Brothers” in aeronautics, the duo was known for a more grounded mode of transportation: bikes.
In 1893, after they began repairing bicycles for their friends and family, the brothers opened a bike shop in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Three years later, the Wright Brothers began producing their own bikes, called Van Cleves and St. Clairs.
The Wright Brothers are most known for making the first successful flight in history in a self-propelled plane. Though biking was not their most notable hobby, it did facilitate their groundbreaking flight that occurred on this day in 1903.
A makeshift St. Claire tricycle was used to test the airfoil design they would then use for their first airplane and their bike shop became the location for many of the wind tunnel tests that perfected the airstream of their first aircraft. Their first airplane, even, was designed and built in one of their last bike shops in Dayton.
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