CNN's GUT CHECK | for December 18, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: NRA ANNOUNCES FRIDAY PRESS CONFERENCE; SAYS IT IS 'PREPARED... TO HELP MAKE SURE THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN’… The National Rifle Association America on Tuesday released a statement on Friday's Newtown Elementary School shooting that left 26 people dead. “The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown,” reads the statement. “Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting. The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again… The NRA is planning to hold a major news conference in the Washington, DC area on Friday, December 21.”
DEVELOPING: AFTER SUSTAINED QUESTIONING BY CNN’S, BRIANNA KEILAR, WHITE HOUSE VOICES SUPPORT FOR GUN CONTROL... Press Secretary Jay Carney at the White House briefing, speaking about President Obama: “He is actively supportive of, for example, Sen. Feinstein's stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban. He supports and would support legislation that addresses the problem of the so-called gun show loophole and there are other elements of gun law legislation that he could support. People have talked about high capacity ammunition clips, for example, and that is something certainly that he would be interested in looking at.” FULL TRANSCRIPT
FISCAL CLIFF WATCH: A senior House democrat tells CNN's Dana Bash that "the closer the president moves toward the speaker, the farther the speaker moves away."
On top of being a longtime legislator and an honored war hero, Sen. Daniel Inouye was also an actor. What movie was he in and what role did he play?
We were struck today by CNN senior analyst Jeffrey Toobin’s piece on the Second Amendment and the question of if it would prevent Congress from passing gun control legislation.
Toobin brilliantly explains that originally the Second Amendment defended the right of state militias “to bear arms—but did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon.” Then, a political shift at the NRA successfully pushed a change in understanding: “The new group pushed for a novel interpretation of the Second Amendment, one that gave individuals, not just militias, the right to bear arms.”
He makes an interesting point that: “conservatives often embrace ‘originalism,’ the idea that the meaning of the Constitution was fixed when it was ratified, in 1787. They mock the so-called liberal idea of a ‘living’ constitution, whose meaning changes with the values of the country at large. But there is no better example of the living Constitution than the conservative re-casting of the Second Amendment in the last few decades of the 20th century.”
The history of the courts’ action on gun control shows how much power politics has in the law, and how much movement there has been on interpreting the Constitution even in the last three decades.
With public opinion in shock and politicians demanding action, it is natural to look to the courts for guidance. Toobin, one of the smartest court watchers in America, says the future is unclear: “The law of the Second Amendment is not settled; no law, not even the Constitution, ever is.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Boehner Proposes Short-Term Tax Fix; Democrats Say No
House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday proposed letting tax rates go up on income above $1 million as a short-term step to avoid some of the fiscal cliff while continuing to negotiate a broader deal with President Barack Obama. The White House and Democratic leaders immediately rejected Boehner's move, saying the focus of the incremental negotiations should be a comprehensive deficit-reduction agreement. – Dana Bash and Tom Cohen
Leading Drudge: Boehner Adopts Pelosi Plan
Speaker of the House John Boehner's "Plan B" to avert the fiscal cliff would cut taxes for incomes under $1 million — a higher threshold than the White House demands, but one that had a powerful backer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. In May, Pelosi sent Boehner a letter calling for the immediate passage of middle class tax cuts up to that level, while President Barack Obama was on the campaign trail calling for taxes to rise on incomes over $250,000. The White House has since revised that target at $400,000 in ongoing negotiations with Boehner, but has shown few signs it would accept the $1 million level. – Zeke Miller
Leading HuffPo: Pay It Backward
President Barack Obama, with his latest fiscal cliff offer, proposes extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone earning less than $400,000 a year, and paying for it by increasing taxes on the middle class and cutting Social Security and Medicare. Obama's offer would allow the payroll tax holiday to expire, meaning middle class workers will see smaller paychecks in 2013. Economists have warned that the recovery is too fragile to risk a broad tax hike on workers. It would also gradually reduce Social Security, pension and disability benefits seniors are due to receive, taking a small bite up front, but building up to much larger cuts over time. – Ryan Grim
Leading Politico: John Boehner's fiscal cliff ‘Plan B’ going nowhere in Senate
House Republicans, discouraged by the slow pace of negotiations with the White House, will move their own bill that would hike tax rates on income above $1 million, Speaker John Boehner told his colleagues on Tuesday morning. Boehner (R-Ohio) told President Barack Obama of his plan last night on a phone call, according to sources. The “Plan B” bill would keep the Bush-era tax rates on income under $1 million.
Leading The New York Times: Obama’s New Offer on Fiscal Crisis Could Lead to Deal
President Obama delivered to Speaker John A. Boehner a new offer on Monday to resolve the pending fiscal crisis, a deal that would raise revenues by $1.2 trillion over the next decade but keep in place the Bush-era tax rates for any household with earnings below $400,000. The offer is close to a plan proposed by the speaker on Friday, and both sides expressed confidence that they were closing in on a major deficit-reduction plan that could be passed well before January, when more than a half-trillion dollars in automatic tax increases and spending cuts would kick in. – Jonathan Weisman
The political bites of the day
– Boehner Offers Plan B –
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “Our hope continues to be to reach an agreement with the president on a balanced approach that averts the fiscal cliff. What we've offered meets the definition of balance but the president is not there yet. The White House offer yesterday was essentially $1.3 trillion in new revenues for only $850 billion in net spending reductions. That's not balanced in my opinion.”
– White House thinks “perimeters are clear” –
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “The president has demonstrated obvious willingness to compromise and to move more than halfway towards the Republicans. To leave that offer on the table including the $1.22 trillion in spending cuts that the president has put forward because you don't want to ask someone making $950,000 a year to pay more in taxes would be a shame and it would be bad policy. So, the president believes that the opportunity is there, the perimeters of a deal are clear, the path to a compromise is clear and he hopes that the Republicans will meet him on that path and do something that would be very good for the American people, to the middle class and for our economy.”
– Virginia governor advocates for arming school officials –
REPUBLICAN VIRGINIA GOV. BOB MCDONNELL IN AN INTERVIEW WITH WTOP, A RADIO STATION IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA: “If people were armed, not just a police officer, but other school officials that were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would be an opportunity to stop an individual trying to get into the school. … I know there is a knee-jerk reaction against that, but I think we should have a discussion about it.”
– Gun violence, a national security issue? –
PETER BERGEN, A CNN CONTRIBUTOR, IN A CNN OPINION PIECE: “Consider that jihadist terrorists have only been able to kill 17 Americans in the United States since 9/11. Meanwhile, some 88,000 Americans died in gun violence between 2003 and 2010, according to the U.N. study. That means that in the past decade, an American residing in the United States was around 5,000 times more likely to be killed by a fellow citizen armed with a gun than by a terrorist inspired by Osama bin Laden.”
– Lieberman says ‘we all ought to feel guilty’ after Newtown school shooting –
INDEPENDENT SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN OF CONNECTICUT IN A SENATE FLOOR SPEECH: “There is not only a heartbreak across our country about this, not only anger, but I think there is guilt and we all ought to feel guilty because as a society what the attacks in Newtown said to us is we have failed to fulfill what would seem to be our most natural, natural law, if you will, responsibility, which is to protect the safety and lives of our children. So, I hope we will act. There would be no better tribute, no better source of consolation to the families that have lost loved ones.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Steven Shepard (@HotlineSteve)
.@globeglen reports that Ed Markey has a poll in the field ahead of a possible special election http://bo.st/Wm2DsO
Beatrice Elizabeth (@MissBeaE)
Senator Patrick Leahy was selected by unanimous consent to become President Pro Tempore following the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye.
MT @Slate: Anyone else think it's a bad idea to have 88-year-old senators third in line for the presidency? http://slate.me/T4Rwnn
Robert Costa (@robertcostaNRO)
Lots of Senate Repubs privately think Obama wants to go over the cliff, for a variety of reasons, but mostly b/c he wants to burn GOP
Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher)
CNN says ex-Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) has "inside track" to be next defense secretary and has met with both Obama and Biden. http://bit.ly/TXj9Ri
Dan Senor (@dansenor)
Abe Foxman on #Hagel: "His record relating to Israel and the US-Israel relationship is, at best, disturbing, and at worst, very troubling."
michele salcedo (@michelesalcedo)
Panetta: Golden retriever, Bravo, sat in on almost all the meetings regarding bin Laden raid. He's leakes nothing. #NPCLunch
Megan Grant (@MeganGrantCNN)
Our @deirdrewalshcnn + @DanaBashCNN are winners of the @natpress Dirksen Award. Their report: http://on.cnn.com/12nlgkh Congrats!
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
Sure, it was a small role, but in the minds of many, Sen. Daniel Inouye was a veritable movie star.
In the 1994 production of “The Next Karate Kid,” a movie that featured a young Hilary Swank and the iconic Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi, Inouye stepped into a role he was born to play: a senator.
Inouye, a World War II veteran who received the Medal of Honor and represented Hawaii in the Senate for five decades, died of respiratory complications on Monday at age 88.
After learning of his death, President Barack Obama described Inouye as “a true American hero.”
"In Washington, he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus, and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve," Obama said in a statement. "But it was his incredible bravery during World War II - including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor - that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Inouye family."
The story of how the late senator earned his Medal of Honor is harrowing and inspirational. Read it here.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congratulations to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. Not sure if Steve is an Inouye or “Karate Kid” fan – or both.
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