CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 6, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: HAGEL VOTE DELAYED BY SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN CARL LEVIN, D-MICHIGAN. “The committee’s vote on Senator Hagel’s nomination has not been scheduled. I had hoped to hold a vote on the nomination this week, but the committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete. I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible.”
PANETTA LEGACY WATCH: FIRST ON CNN: PANETTA TO RECOMMEND PAY CUT FOR MILITARY… Just days before he leaves office, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is recommending military pay be limited, effectively decreasing troop salaries next year Panetta will recommend to Congress that military salaries be limited to a 1% increase in 2014. The Pentagon has calculated that the Labor Department's 2014 Employment Cost Index is expected to be above 1% but wants to still cut back on pay because of "budget uncertainties," a department official told CNN. In 2013, a 1.7% increase was approved, based on the index, which has been the basis for military pay for the last several years. – Barbara Starr
SI SE PUEDE: RUBIO TO DELIVER STATE OF THE UNION RESPONSE IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH… Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union address next week, House Speaker John Boehner's office announced Wednesday. An aide to the senator gave CNN a preview of his remarks: “It’s worth noting that his speech will focus on the Republican Party’s agenda to grow the middle class. Immigration will likely be mentioned as one way to grow the economy, but the speech really is about the Republican Party’s commitment to limited government as the best way to help the middle class, and how it differs from the President’s plans for bigger government.”
In what year did President Ronald Reagan receive his first electoral vote?
The great Republican Party Schism of 2013 is only going to get worse.
On one side, you have the “grassroots” Republicans who feel Romney’s defeat was due to his failure to motivate a significant number of white conservative voters to go to the polls. They believe Romney lost because he was too moderate.
On the other, you have the “pragmatic” Republicans who look at the census and say the GOP lost because of changing demographics and are actively trying to recalibrate the party’s message and recruiting.
As political reporters who enjoy storylines, we can’t help but keep our eye on Sarah Palin and John McCain, one time running mates, who are on opposite ends of the schism.
As journalists who believe you need to travel outside of Washington to understand politics, we also increasingly see rural America on one side and the Beltway on the other.
What struck us today is that the news cycle will only add to this growing disconnect between the “GOP rebranding” effort and the passionate voices of Republican talk radio. Think about it: The future news calendar promises a bilingual Republican Party response, a budget fight that pits principal and pragmatism, a debate on the definition of marriage, a decision on the make up of the Boy Scouts and a fundraising campaign by Karl Rove to get money to pick off tea party candidates in the primaries.
Is the health care debate all of the sudden looking tame?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Borger: The new Republican reality show
No matter how hard politicians try, party reinventions are never pretty - and hardly ever subtle. The trick is twofold: First, tell voters you weren't really wrong - your message just wasn't getting through. Next, shift positions, without admitting you had to change positions to survive. – Gloria Borger
Leading Drudge: We're Already Nuclear
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that while Iran is already a nuclear state, it has no intention of attacking Israel. Ahmadinejad was interviewed on the eve of his visit to Cairo, where he will attend the 12th Islamic Summit Conference, due to open there on Wednesday. Before his trip, he gave a long interview to the editor-in-chief of Egypt's newspaper Al-Ahram. Although Al-Ahram ran the entire interview only in its print edition, excerpts appeared on Egyptian websites. – Jack Khoury for Haaretz
Leading HuffPo: Republicans Call Obama's Bluff
As members of President Barack Obama's economic team surveyed the fiscal landscape following the 2012 election, they were haunted by spending cuts set to take effect at the end of the year. But the presidential aides didn't hustle. Instead, they stalled in finding a replacement policy. And as the days drew closer to the sequestration deadline, the angst level rose inside the West Wing. One senior administration official, who helped in planning for the automatic cuts, said that the impact was far more severe than most appreciated. The possibility of a short-term economic recession was discussed, said the official, who spoke on the condition of not being quoted. – Sam Stein and Sabrina Siddiqui
Leading Politico: Immigration's latest ally: Christian right
The usual suspects pushing immigration reform have a new ally in the fight this time — the religious right. Christian conservatives, who stayed on the sidelines in 2006 or opposed reform outright, have sprung into action for the cause. They’re talking to their congregations from the pulpit. They’re urging lawmakers in private meetings to support reform. And they’re even calling for change publicly. – Anna Palmer
Leading The New York Times: Obama Chooses REI Executive to Lead Interior Dept.
President Obama has selected Sally Jewell, the chief executive of Recreational Equipment Inc., to lead the Interior Department, White House officials said Wednesday. If confirmed, Ms. Jewell, a former oil company official and longtime advocate for conservation and outdoor recreation, will take over a department that has been embroiled in controversy over regulation of oil and gas on public lands and waters in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Arctic Ocean. She also will assume responsibility for the stewardship of hundreds of millions of acres of public lands, from the Everglades of Florida to the Cascades of Washington State. – John M. Broder
The political bites of the day
– Christie says Clinton doctor ‘irresponsible’ for CNN interview –
NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE IN A PRESS CONFERENCE: “This is just another hack who wants five minutes on TV. And it's completely irresponsible, completely irresponsible. My children saw that last night. And she sat there on TV and said, ‘I'm afraid he's going to die in office.’ I have four children between 9 and 19. My 12-year-old son came to me last night and said, ‘Dad, are you going to die?’ I mean, come on, this is irresponsible stuff. People who have a medical license, who have the privilege of having a medical license, should in my view, conduct themselves more responsibly than that. If she wants to get on a plane and come here to New Jersey and ask me if she wants to examine me and review my medical history, I'll have a conversation with her about that. Until that time, she should shut up.”
Gut Check Flashback: Christie made light of his weight in an appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Monday night. “I'm basically the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen in your life,” Christie joked. But one medical expert on presidential health cautioned Christie's obesity is no laughing matter. “I'm worried he may have a heart attack. I'm worried he may have a stroke,” former White House physician Connie Mariano, M.D. said in an interview with CNN. – Jim Acosta
– Rush to the Rescue: Bashes Media for Christie Weight Watch –
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “These people have all got Chris Christie dead and buried. He's already gone. It’s just a matter of time, as though he's the only person in America who's ever going to die. But they've got him in the grave. It's over; a fait accompli, done. Nothing he can do about it! I think there is a lot of concern because Governor Christie has shown signs of promise as far as the Drive-Bys are concerned. He's not nearly the strident conservative that people thought he was, and he never really was conservative, by the way. But because he took on the unions and took on some spending, he conveyed that he was very conservative.
– Rain and snow can’t stop the postal service, but Saturday can –
PATRICK DONAHOE, POSTMASTER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, IN A PRESS CONFERENCE: “Beginning the week of August 5th of this year the Postal Service delivery schedule will consist of six days of package delivery and five days of mail delivery. This announcement today is just one part of a much larger strategy to return the Postal Service to long term financial stability. The plan saves $2 billion annually but we have a $20 billion gap to close. We are striving to raise revenue, reduce costs and gain efficiency throughout the entire organization and making this change to our delivery schedule is a big ticket item and it's simply too big of a cost savings to ignore.”
– Another Republican Gov., Snyder of Michigan, accepts Obamacare provision on Medicare –
MICHIGAN’S REPUBLICAN GOV. RICK SNYDER SAID IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “This makes sense for the physical and fiscal health of Michigan. Expansion will create more access to primary care providers, reduce the burden on hospitals and small businesses, and save precious tax dollars. It also puts Michigan rather than Washington in the driver's seat in terms of implementation, which allows us to better address Michigan's specific needs.”
– The Boy Scouts kick the can down the road –
A WRITTEN STATEMENT FROM THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA ON WHETHER TO ALLOW GAY MEMBERS: “Due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy. To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers’ work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Watching President @BarackObama nominate REI CEO Sally Jewell for Secretray of Interior. Inspired choice: outdoorswoman & businesswoman.—
(@sfpelosi) February 06, 2013
"I'm going to try to fill your big boots, but I think i might get lost in your hat"-Sally Jewell to "Cowboy" Ken Salazar #interiorsecretary—
Jennifer Bell (@jenbell230) February 06, 2013
No mail on Saturday is a big deal for political campaigns. Expect more robo calls.—
Matt Rexroad (@MattRexroad) February 06, 2013
Rove and Crossroads is spending $10k on a preemptive anti-Ashley Judd digital campaign youtube.com/watch?v=gK0KQW…—
Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) February 06, 2013
Karl Rove isn't a conservative. Terry Jeffrey explains why. m.cnsnews.com/blog/terence-p…—
Rob Bluey (@RobertBluey) February 06, 2013
The Boy Scouts are delaying their decision until May - just as the Great Salt Lake Council in Utah asked. LDS influence?—
McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) February 06, 2013
Huh. Left is outraged that GOP wld even talk filibuster on Hagel. Meanwhile, Dem. Wyden hints at Brennan filibuster: rollcall.com/news/wyden_hin…—
David A. Graham (@GrahamDavidA) February 06, 2013
Jeanne Whalen (@JeanneWhalen) February 06, 2013
There's no i in team, but there is a T. You're welcome.—
Mr. T (@MrT) February 06, 2013
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
Though failing to gain the Republican nomination in 1976, Ronald Reagan gained his first electoral vote despite having lost his party’s nomination.
Reagan, the then-former governor of California, represented the more conservative wing of the Republican Party when he challenged the more moderate Ford in 1976. The race was close and by the start of the Republican National Convention in August, no winner had been called. On the first ballot, however, Ford narrowly defeated Reagan.
Mike Padden, who worked for Reagan, was an elector from Washington state and instead of voting for Ford, the Republican nominee, he chose to vote for the man he called “an inspiration,” Reagan.
“It has stayed with me over years” Padden laughed in an interview with Gut Check.
Many have said that Padden was a “faithless elector,” someone who was slated to vote for President Gerald Ford, but changed his mind at the last minute. Padden, however, rebuts this notion, stating that he never promised or pledged to vote for Ford when he was selected by the state of Washington.
Padden said he cast the protest vote because he “admired greatly Reagan’s commitment to protecting the unborn. … I so admired Ronald Reagan,” he said.
He said the reaction to his vote was mixed, but that the Reagan campaign released a statement thanking him for the vote.
With hindsight on his side, Padden says he would do it all over again.
“I was ahead of my time, I tell my kids,” Padden said. “I don’t have any regrets.”
A Republican official told Padden after his protest vote he would never win any elected office in the state. Nonetheless, Padden went on to have a career in Washington state politics. He served in the state Legislature from 1981 to 1995 and in November 2011, he was elected to the state Senate and is still serving today.
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