CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 12, 2013 | 6 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: OBAMA: READ MY LIPS, NO ADDING TO THE DEFICIT… President Barack Obama in pre-released excerpts of his State of the Union address: “Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.” WATCH THE STATE OF THE UNION TONIGHT ON CNN.
DEVELOPING: HAGEL APPROVED IN COMMITTEE… On a straight party line vote, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense. The vote was 14-11. The nomination will now go to the Senate floor for a confirmation likely later this week.
LAST CHANCE? CNN’S DAVID GERGEN SAYS TONIGHT IS BARACK OBAMA’S LAST CHANCE FOR A GRAND BARGAIN… “The president continues to say he would like a grand bargain but mostly on his terms, and he has done virtually nothing to fight for it. Indeed, in his inaugural, he seemed to step back from overhauling entitlements, portraying himself as chief defender of Medicare and Social Security.” – David Gergen
TOUGH CROWD: BOEHNER TELLS CNN’S DANA BASH: THE PRESIDENT LACKS 'GUTS' AND 'COURAGE'…
On working with Obama: “I've tried repeatedly to come to agreement with the president. Every time I've gotten burned.”
On the next two years: “I think he'd love to have Nancy Pelosi as speaker and Harry Reid as majority leader for his last two years in office. Go back to the inaugural address. He knows that all of that liberal agenda he laid out, he knows none of that is going to happen as long as we have a majority in the House.”
On a path to citizenship: “Woah, woah slow down. How about a little foreplay.” – Dana Bash
TEA PARTY SOFTENS IMMIGRATION STANCE: FIRST ON CNN: IN TEA PARTY RESPONSE, PAUL WILL URGE GOP TO EMBRACE IMMIGRANTS, CUT SPENDING… Sen. Rand Paul will call on his fellow Republicans to be more welcoming of immigrants Tuesday night in a speech where he will also sharply criticize President Barack Obama and his congressional colleagues for failing to reduce the nation’s debt. “We are the party that embraces hard work and ingenuity, therefore we must be the party that embraces the immigrant who wants to come to America for a better future,” the Kentucky Republican is expected to say in the “tea party response” to Obama’s State of the Union address, according to advanced text his remarks acquired by CNN. “We must be the party who sees immigrants as assets, not liabilities.’” – Mark Preston
PLAY ALONG AT HOME: Go to CNN.com/TweetofTheUnion for your viewing companion tonight … so you can eavesdrop to the conversation from the House floor. Wondering how those Democrats in Red States are responding to tonight’s speech? You can follow along at home … even on your phone. Remember that the technology and culture of rapid response is a great story in it of itself: 1) It was only after 9/11 that members of Congress were allowed cell phones on the floor and 2) now there is no rule against it, as long as they don’t take pictures or video.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has been a member of the court for 18 years. In that time, how many State of the Union addresses has he attended?
The White House released a handful of excerpts from President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address tonight:
“It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.”
“It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.”
“It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation of ours.”
“A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”
“Tonight, I’ll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: First on CNN: Obama to announce 34,000 troops to come home
In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, President Barack Obama will announce that by this time next year, 34,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will have returned home, according to sources with knowledge of the president's speech. The move will reduce the number of U.S. forces in the country by more than half. – Jake Tapper
Leading Drudge: Nuclear Snake: 'Serious Threat' To USA
North Korean military ambitions are a "serious threat" to the US, outgoing Pentagon chief Leon Panetta has said. In a speech made after Pyongyang carried out its third nuclear test, Mr Panetta likened the North to Iran, describing them as "rogue states". In New York, the UN Security Council "strongly condemned" the nuclear test. – BBC
Leading HuffPo: Another Flop
Hours before last year's State of the Union address, the Obama administration offered The Huffington Post an exclusive. During his speech, President Barack Obama would announce a new law enforcement unit aimed at exposing and prosecuting financial fraud behind the housing crisis. The unit would be co-chaired by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a progressive champion who'd been pressuring the White House to get tougher on banks. “This is a big achievement and something the entire progressive advocacy community wanted [with respect to] housing policy,” a White House official said back then. A year later, progressives said they consider the panel a disappointment and, possibly, a diversion to placate Schneiderman and homeowner advocates. The Justice Department said it doesn't know what the fuss is about. – Sam Stein and Ryan Grim
Leading Politico: 5 things to watch for in the State of the Union
President Barack Obama on Tuesday gets his second high-profile opportunity in less than a month to set the agenda for his second term. The president views the speech as finishing a thought that began with the Inauguration, aides say, with a deeper focus on job creation and the economy but no shortage of attention to the controversial social issues that top his to-do list. – Carrie Budoff Brown and Reid Epstein
Leading The New York Times: Watching Obama for Signs of Change
On Tuesday night, the president will address the nation and Congress on the state of the union. But many will watch as well for signs of the state of Barack Obama. Inside the White House and out, advisers and associates have noted subtle but palpable changes in Mr. Obama since his re-election. “He even carries himself a little bit differently,” said one confidant who, like others, asked not to be identified discussing the president. He is relaxed, more voluble and even more confident than usual, these people say, freer to drop profanities or dismiss others’ ideas — enough that even some supporters fear the potential for hubris. – Jackie Calmes
The political bites of the day
- Republicans talk SOTU wish list, bemoan ‘long day’ -
REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN CORNYN OF TEXAS AFTER THE SENATE REPUBLICAN’S POLICY LUNCH: “Every time he (Obama) uses the word 'investment' the American people will hear the word 'spending,’ 'government spending' and I also hope we hear him say how we are going to deal with unfunded liabilities to Medicare and Social Security somewhere around the order of $100 trillion, how we are going to get the private sector to create jobs.
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL AFTER THE SENATE REPUBLICAN’S POLICY LUNCH: “We are having a tasting tonight in celebration of the longest day – every year.”
- Rush blasts Hoyer, labels him ‘intellectually incompetent’ -
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “Today, Steny Hoyer, No. 2 Democrat, "No, no, no, we don't have a spending problem; we have a paying-for problem." Now, folks, this is intellectually depraved. This is intellectually incompetent, in addition to being irrelevant and dishonest. Well, of course it's insulting, but these people, the foundation for everything they're doing is built on balsa wood. And at some point it's gonna collapse. This kind of stuff has no legitimacy. This is a totally illegitimate comment.”
- Republicans begin to question Lew’s background, nomination -
REPUBLICAN SEN. ORRIN HATCH OF UTAH IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “If taxpayers are going to prop up failed banks, they have a right to know what a key executive like Mr. Lew did at that time. The American people will want to know what his role was there and how that might have prepared him for this critical job after the most severe financial crisis and prolonged economic downturn in generations.”
- ‘You will be in my heart forever,’ Panetta says at farewell -
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LEON PANETTA IN HIS FAREWELL ADDRESS AT THE PENTAGON: “My friends, it has been the honor of my life to have served with you in this position as Secretary of Defense. It's been the greatest privilege I've had in my almost 50 years of public service to be able to represent the people of this department to our friends and to our partners around the world. … You will be in my heart forever.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Flashback: 1997- President Bill Clinton State of the Union Address at the same time as verdict in OJ Simpson Case time.com/time/specials/…—
Chris Golden (@chrisgolden) February 12, 2013
My heart goes out to person sending Big Bear Resort press releases highlighting fresh snow, downplaying manhunt for triple-murder suspect—
Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) February 11, 2013
Obama by the numbers: New CNN Poll of Polls has the president at 50% approval heading into SOTU on.cnn.com/XytOPI—
Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN) February 12, 2013
El presidente no puede dejar de gastar -> Por eso vamos a exigir un plan para que su presupuesto sea balanceado #RequireAPlan—
Conferencia GOP (@GOPespanol) February 12, 2013
Rep. Steve King: The idea that diversity strengthens America has "never been backed up by logic." huff.to/QjUNPh—
jennifer bendery (@jbendery) August 02, 2012
Senate passes #VAWA reauthorization in vote of 78-22—
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen) February 12, 2013
Obama won't announce regulations on carbon emissions for existing power plants on.cnn.com/XyMm21—
Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN) February 12, 2013
CNN.com Writers (@CNNWriters) February 12, 2013
WaPo issues correction for false report that Sarah Palin is joining Al Jazeera. No explanation of quoting parody site. ow.ly/hEaqL—
(@FishbowlDC) February 12, 2013
Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) February 12, 2013
Brent Pliskow (@bpliskow) February 12, 2013
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
Stephen Breyer is – by far – the Supreme Court’s expert on State of the Union addresses. In his 18 years, Breyer has attended a whopping 17 speeches – far more than any other Supreme Court justice.
Breyer, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, is the only justice to attend each of President George W. Bush’s speeches and was the only justice to attend in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
The only speech he missed: 2000, when no member of the court could attend because of travel conflicts and illnesses.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who was appointed by Bush in 2005, is working on a fairly stellar record himself. Since his appointment, he has attended every State of the Union address. If Roberts attends tonight, he will have attended eight straight speeches.
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