CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 14, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: VOTE TO BREAK HAGEL FILIBUSTER FAILS, AS EXPECTED… The Senate failed to garner enough votes Thursday to stop a filibuster of Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel. Fifty-eight senators voted to move forward with the nomination, while 40 voted to hold it up. The chamber largely voted along party lines, with the exception of four Republicans – Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Susan Collin of Maine, Lisa Murkoswki of Alaska and Mike Johanns of Nebraska – who voted with Democrats. One Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch, announced present. Democrats needed 60 votes to end a filibuster, but the move failed due to GOP opposition surrounding questions about Hagel's finances, as well as remaining tension between some Republican senators and the White House over the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.
REID: “WE’RE NOT GOING TO GIVE UP”: Immediately following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the Senate floor: “He saved his brother's life in combat in Vietnam. They are filibustering him. I'm going to call Chuck Hagel when I finish here and say I'm sorry this is happening. I'm sorry for the President. I'm sorry for the country. I'm sorry for you, but we're not going to give up on you.”
BROTHERS IN ARMS: HAGEL’S BROTHER SAYS EMBATTLED NOMINEE IS “MOTIVATED TO FIGHT HARDER”… Chuck Hagel will not withdraw his name from nomination as Secretary of Defense, his brother told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr. “Knowing him, not only will he not withdraw, but he will be motivated to fight harder,” Tom Hagel said. Tom, who is a law professor, is in constant contact with his brother as the political turmoil over the nomination has unfolded. A source very close to Sen. Hagel, who is not part of his confirmation team, told CNN, “he will never withdraw. The only way he will withdraw is if President Obama asks him to.” Chuck Hagel now feels the fight over his nomination “has become so personal, that it makes him stand even firmer,“ the source said. “If he did withdraw, it might suggest some of it is true, which of course it isn’t,” the source said of allegations against Hagel, including the notion he is anti-Israel. – Barbara Starr
REPUBLICANS WANT A WEEK: Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina said any vote this week was “too rushed.”
ATTENTION: CORY BOOKER. SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG WILL NOT RUN FOR RE-ELECTION… “I will be traveling to my hometown of Paterson tomorrow to announce that I will not seek re-election in 2014,” Lautenberg said in a statement from his office. “This is not the end of anything, but rather the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals, and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey.” Lautenberg’s retirement opens the door for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who created an official campaign committee last month, marking a significant first step towards a 2014 Senate bid.
What presidential couple has had the longest marriage?
In the high stakes public relations battle with the White House, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is eschewing a nationally televised interview to formally respond to President Barack Obama’s call for stricter gun regulations in Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
Instead, LaPierre will appear before the National Wild Turkey Federation, an organization devoted to hunting, which is holding its annual meeting in Nashville.
LaPierre knows his constituency. For the NRA to be successful in preventing passage of stricter federal firearms laws, it must mobilize grassroots activists to try and pressure individual congressmen and senators into voting against the new measures. A hotel ballroom full of hunters makes a lot of sense for the NRA – and we expect LaPierre to make a lot of news – as he has proven deft at crafting language that triggers strong reactions from his base.
LaPierre warned of drug gangs, al Qaeda, financial collapse and natural disasters as reasons why Americans should fight for their rights to own firearms, in an Op-Ed published late Wednesday on the conservative web site The Daily Caller.
“These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe,” LaPierre wrote. “It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival. It’s responsible behavior, and it’s time we encourage law-abiding Americans to do just that.”
LaPierre later added, “The enemies of the Second Amendment will be met with unprecedented defiance, commitment and determination. We will Stand and Fight.”
We will be watching tonight to see if LaPierre issues the same warning, and if so, with the same punch.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Obama touts preschools in Georgia: 'This isn't baby-sitting'
For a second straight day, President Barack Obama touted proposals from his State of the Union address at a campaign-style event outside of Washington, this time visiting a Georgia preschool where youngsters still on winter break showed up to mimic a regular day. Obama's visit to the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center, in the city of Decatur just outside Atlanta, followed his call in Tuesday night's speech to Congress for investments in high-quality early childhood education programs. – Tom Cohen
Leading Drudge: Cruise ship nightmare nearing end for passengers after hellish trip
It's almost, but not quite, over for the 4,229 passengers and crew stuck on a filthy cruise ship stricken by an engine room fire four days ago. “I don't know how much more we could have took,” passenger Larry Poret told CNN via cell phone as the Carnival Triumph limped toward Mobile, Alabama, Thursday afternoon. Poret was aboard with his 12-year-old daughter, Rebekah, who said the ordeal has been “really, really difficult.” – Michael Pearson and Ed Payne
Leading HuffPo: Conflicted – Pelosi: 'More Needs To Be Known'
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is not sure whether the public should be told when the federal government kills an American citizen. “Maybe. It just depends,” she said in an interview with The Huffington Post this week, when asked whether the administration should acknowledge when it targets a U.S. citizen in a drone strike. – Amanda Terkel
Leading Politico: The anti-establishment establishment
If you were to map the geographic center of the conservative uprising against the national GOP establishment, you might settle on a point somewhere in Alexandria, Va. — just within the ring of the Capital Beltway — where a pair of decades-old public relations firms work overtime to stoke and channel the fires of activist outrage. One peek at any Washington reporter’s email in-box would confirm the omnipresence of the two companies: CRC Public Relations and Shirley & Banister Public Affairs. During almost any given controversy, there’s a barrage of indignant subject lines from both firms cementing the backbone of what the national press calls the “anti-establishment” message of the day. Call them the anti-establishment establishment. – Alexander Burns
Leading The New York Times: Details Emerge on Obama’s Call to Extend Preschool
President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address to “make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America” rallied advocates across the country who have long argued that inequity in education begins at a very young age. In details that emerged early Thursday, the administration proposed that the federal government work with states to provide preschool for every 4-year-old from low- and moderate-income families. The president’s plan also calls for expanding Early Head Start, the federal program designed to prepare children from low-income families for school, to broaden quality childcare for infants and toddlers. – Motoko Rich
The political bites of the day
– Following State of the Union, Obama pushes expanded pre-K –
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT AN EVENT IN DECATUR, GEORGIA: “I don't think you will find a working parent in America who wouldn't appreciate the peace of mind that their child is in a safe, high quality learning environment every single day. Michelle and I remember how tough it can be to find good child care. I remember how expensive it can be, too. The size of your paycheck, though, shouldn't determine your child's future. So, let's fix this.”
– The president is a parent too –
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT AN EVENT IN DECATUR, GEORGIA: “They grow up to be like 5`10" and even if they are still nice to you, they basically don't have a lot of time for you over the weekends. They have sleepovers and dates.”
– Obama explains the benefit of a Rose Garden –
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT AN EVENT IN DECATUR, GEORGIA: “I can’t imagine a more romantic way to spend Valentine’s Day than with all of you, with all the press here. Actually, Michelle says hello. She made me promise to get back in time for our date tonight. That's important. That's important. I've already got a gift, got the flowers. I was telling folks the flowers are a little easier, though, because I've got this Rose Garden.”
– Boehner has a message for Obama: Work with the Senate –
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER AT A PRESS CONFERENCE: “The president wants to impose a national cap-and-trade energy tax. I would hope that Senate Democrats would take it up. The president wants more stimulus spending that we know doesn't create jobs. I would expect the United States Senate to go ahead and take it up. The president wants more tax hikes that destroy jobs. Then his Democrat allies in the Senate ought to take it up. This isn't the agenda that many Americans are looking for and I think many in the president's own party won't support those ideas.”
– Pelosi: don’t cut congressional pay –
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI AT HER WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “It's a hard question to ask me because most of my colleagues are the bread winners in their families. A pay cut to me doesn't mean as much. I don't think we should do it I think we should respect the work we do.”
– Warren: Approve my replacement –
DEMOCRATIC SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN OF MASSACHUSETTS IN A PRESS CONFERENCE: “The Republicans, the big banks may want to weaken that agency. They are trying to hold up the confirmation of Richard Cordray not because they have a complaint about Mr. Cordray and rightly so, because there are no complaints to lodge here. They want to hold up his nomination for the sole purpose of trying to weaken the consumer agency and we are pushing back. We've now got 54 senators saying no.”
– Panetta is ready to ‘get the hell out of town’ –
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LEON PANETTA AT AN AWARD CEREMONY AT THE PENTAGON: “The second best Valentine's present would be to allow Sylvia and I to get the hell out of town at the end of the day. I feel like it's Groundhog Day around here.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell)
GOP Senators should take the higher ground & just vote on the Hagel nomination. It's a terrible precedent that the Dems started with Bolton.
Ginger Gibson (@GingerGibson)
After weeks of ducking press, Sen. Menendez walks through crowd of reporters without being pounced. Everyone is distracted by Hagel.
Jim Acosta (@jimacostacnn)
From Hagel to the sequester... It may be Valentine's Day. But you can't feel the love in Washington.
Adam P. Levy (@adamplevycnn)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), the Senate's last WWII Veteran, will not seek reelection http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/reference/three_column_table/WWII_Veterans.htm
jennifer bendery (@jbendery)
Leahy announces Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on assault weapons ban on Feb. 27.
Laura Wingard (@utlaurawingard)
Ex-San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor lost more than $1 billion gambling, took $2 million from nonprofit. http://utsd.us/VgKocz
Sarah Mimms (@SarahMMimms)
Teddy Turner: "Tim (Scott) is not like a lot of us. Tim is black," sez he has hard time relating to black students http://www.islandpacket.com/2013/02/14/2380522/teddy-turner-defends-comments.html#storylink=cpy
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
George H.W. and Barbara Bush have been married for 68 years, longer then any other first couple.
Married on January 6, 1945, George and Barbara met at a prep-school Christmas dance when they were both teenagers. They described their meeting as love at first sight and were marred a short three years later.
Their wedding was held at the First Presbyterian Church in Rye, New York and according to The New York Times, “the bride wore a gown of ivory satin, made with a fitted bodice embroidered with seed pearls and a full skirt. Her veil of heirloom princess and rosepoint lace belonged to the bridegroom's mother.”
In 2005, Barbara and George celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary – becoming the first White House couple to reach the milestone.
Since then, President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter have reached the milestone and have now been married for 66 years.
Other first couples with long marriages: Gerald and Betty Ford at 58 years, John and Abagail Adams at 54 years and Richard and Pat Nixon at 53 years.
The shortest presidential marriage: Theodore Roosevelt and his first bride, Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt. They were married for a measly 4 years.
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