CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 15, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: DETAILS EMERGE IN REP. JESSE JACKSON JR. PLEA DEAL… Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and a co-conspirator admitted to concealing about $750,000 in campaign funds for their personal use, court documents showed Friday. Jackson released a statement Friday: “Over the course of my life I have come to realize that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties. Still I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made. To that end I want to offer my sincerest apologies to my family, my friends and all of my supporters for my errors in judgment and while my journey is not yet complete, it is my hope that I am remembered for things that I did right.”
What story about President Theodore Roosevelt is considered the inspiration for the teddy bear?
What if Ron Paul supporters got their wish and it was President Paul delivering an inaugural address last month, instead of President Barack Obama?
Paul, the longtime congressman from Texas, ran a spirited campaign in 2012 – his third run at the presidency. He participated in almost every Republican debate, finished second in a number of primaries and never endorsed the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. Paul’s support came from an eclectic group of loyal, anti-war, fiscally conservative, libertarians who donated millions to his campaign.
Paul’s true believers – the Ron Paul Army – were so devout that they followed his campaign around the country on their own dime, waited hours in the rain to hear him speak and even protested the fact that he wasn’t nominated from the floor of the GOP convention in Tampa, Florida.
In the end, though, Paul wasn’t able to connect with everyday Republican voters in the same way he galvanized libertarian support. On May 14, 2012, Paul announced that he would no longer actively campaign for the GOP nomination – effectively ending his campaign.
But what if Paul was able to connect with everyday Republicans and he was able to overcome Romney’s financial and organizational advantage? What if Paul had won the Republican nomination? Could the Texas congressman have defeated Barack Obama in the general election?
We were inundated with great responses through Facebook, Twitter and email.
Most respondents thought Obama would still have won…
Patrick Weeks Onassis: I'm not sure Ron Paul would have won. I mean, I like the guy, and I did vote for him in the 2012 Republican Primary only because, at the time, he was the last one standing who was close to what I believed in. In any case, I really can't answer for this, but it does look interesting!!
Gregory Gardener: Fantasy match-up for Obama. Nightmare match-up for Ron Paul. Paul would've gotten his clock cleaned.
Steve Liguori: He (Paul) would have gotten the same 10% that voted for him in the primaries. Obama wins a landslide.
Joy Tao: Ron Paul is too polarizing, though his ideas are better overall than the other Republican contenders
Bill Bailey: Obama would still have won, but by an even bigger margin. Paul was too qwerky, not likable and his ideas a bit too radical
But Ron Paul had his outspoken defenders…
Ty Chan: Are you kidding?? Someone who will actually take their oath to the Constitution seriously, maintain individual liberties, promote peace and non-interventionism, free markets and actual prosperity?... duh. Ron Paul hands down.
Burnal Roy Hansen: Ron Paul could talk Obama under a table and leave him speechless, Obama would be forced to resort to demonizing tactics. Or at least his campaign would.
Lissette Angelique: I voted for and LOVE Obama but I'm afraid that Paul would have won....he seems to represent the "great compromise" everyone seems to want but Congress can't seem to do. I think America would've voted for him.
Robert Campbell: Ron Paul. He was the only true alternative to the status quo.
Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s former campaign manager: As independent polling regularly showed, Ron would have had a great shot to beat President Obama. The president is obviously a tough customer and we would have had a hard fought battle, but I believe Dr. Paul would have won the White House if given the opportunity. Ron has the unique ability to unite social conservatives with libertarian independents, was the only candidate offering a real plan to balance the budget, inspired young people in a way no Democrat could and would have undercut the president's base on issues of Peace and Civil Liberties as well as with non-white voters. My hope is that the GOP learns from Dr. Paul and continues to incorporate his ideas to build a winning coalition.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Independent's Day: King hopes to bridge divided D.C.
Angus King knows a thing or two about deep political divides. … In today's harshly polarized political climate, King, 68, is the rarest breed of Washington politician - an independent, beholden to neither political party. A popular former two-term governor, he was swept into the Senate last November in a landslide. He now occupies the seat previously held by Olympia Snowe, who surprisingly announced her retirement in early 2012. Snowe also was a rarity in national politics, a genuinely moderate Republican in an age of growing tea party turmoil. – Alan Silverleib
Leading Drudge: Separate Vacations
The White House confirms today that President Barack Obama will be vacationing in Florida this weekend. His wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, will be in Colorado. The two daughters will be with Michelle. – Daniel Halper for The Weekly Standard
Leading HuffPo: Not Over It
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday that Republican opposition to defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel can be traced back to the former Republican senator's attacks on George W. Bush over the Iraq War. McCain, who voted to delay a final vote on Hagel's confirmation, told Fox News' Neil Cavuto that Hagel's old colleagues haven't forgotten his criticism of former President Bush. “To be honest with you, Neil, it goes back to– there's a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly, at one point said he was the worst president since Herbert Hoover, said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which is nonsense, and was anti his own party and people,” McCain said. – Mollie Reilly
Leading Politico: Why Elizabeth Warren scares Wall Street
Some bankers hoped that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the liberal firebrand who helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, would be subdued in her first term as she learned the ways of the Senate. Warren’s avoidance of the Beltway media appeared to stoke these hopes. Well, forget it. Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, came out blazing Thursday in her first high-profile appearance as a member of the Senate Banking Committee, ripping into regulators and starkly suggesting banks might be cooking their books. – Ben White
Leading The New York Times: Election Opponents Team Up on Panel to Fix Voting System
President Obama hopes that bipartisan leadership on a new commission led by two of the nation’s pre-eminent election lawyers — Robert Bauer and Ben Ginsberg — will yield results. – Jeff Zeleny
The political bites of the day
- Before passage, House argues over freezing federal pay -
REPUBLICAN REP. DARRELL ISSA OF CALIFORNIA ON THE HOUSE FLOOR: “We have to make tough choices and I join with anyone who wants to make tough choices on behalf of those in harm’s way. But let’s remember we are talking here, the vast majority, these are federal civil servants who, in fact, are paid pretty darn well, are not leaving and we are asking for a small sacrifice.”
DEMOCRATIC REP. GERRY CONNOLLY OF VIRGINIA ON THE HOUSE FLOOR: “It is easy when we don’t suffer low wages to perhaps lose perspective about the real need even in our federal workforce. And at the higher end – the more we disparage our federal workforce, the more we make it less attractive, the more we treat them like a piggy bank the less attractive that service will be.”
- Obama’s faith guru explains his White House departure -
JOSHUA DUBOIS, FORMER DIRECTOR OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S OFFICE OF FAITH-BASED AND NEIGHBORHOOD PARTNERSHIPS, IN A CNN BELIEF BLOG OP-ED: “As U.S. Sen. Obama’s adviser on faith issues on Capitol Hill, as candidate Obama’s religious affairs director on his 2008 campaign, and as President Obama’s director of the White House faith-based initiative, I have had the honor of seeing firsthand the life and heart of a president who cares deeply about his country, his family and his God, in times of prayer, conversation and diligent work. I’ve also been able to manage the White House faith-based office, leading a phenomenal team that expanded partnerships with faith-based and nonprofit groups around the country. Over the last four years, we’ve dealt with our fair share of challenging issues, and played a role in some of the country’s most contentious debates. But more than anything, we’ve been able to marshal and amplify the extraordinary kindness of millions of Americans: religious and secular groups who are putting it on the line every day, expanding opportunity and dignity to those who need help most.”
- Dem leader charges Republicans are making ‘communities’ less safe -
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “Republicans would have us return to our districts with nothing to show our constituents, notwithstanding the fact we've been here for six weeks this year, who are deeply concerned about how the sequester will make their lives more difficult and their communities less safe - our country less safe and our communities less safe as a result of sequester.”
- Whoa: ‘Lincoln’ screenwriter really doesn’t like Mitt Romney -
TONY KUSHNER, THE SCREENWRITER FOR THE OSCAR-NOMINATED MOVIE “LINCOLN,” IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CHARLIE ROSE: “Democracy in 1865 was still a question, and it’s still a question today. I mean, I know so many people that woke up on election morning, where I live on the upper west side at any rate, woke up thinking, oh my god, what if at the end of the night, we have Mitt Romney as president? And, you know, what does that say about the American people, is democracy a bad idea, is what you start to think. Have the people been so misled and bamboozled that they would elect this really unworthy - sorry, Mitt, but I think a person not worthy of the office - and not re-elect this guy who I think is one of our great presidents. And you get reconfirmed in your faith. but it’s still a question. God doesn’t really guarantee the existence of our country. No divine right of kings does. We sort of made it up and we keep it going and I think that’s fascinating.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Small world. Just ran into Tim Geithner at the Delaware rest stop. We were both walking our dogs. Racing him to MA.—
Scott P. Brown (@ScottBrownMA) February 15, 2013
CNN.com Writers (@CNNWriters) February 15, 2013
Lisa Buffet (@WiredPress) February 15, 2013
Molly Ball (@mollyesque) February 15, 2013
Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) February 15, 2013
The pope's mixed legacy with Latino Catholics – our latest via John Blake religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/15/the…—
Belief Blog editors (@CNNbelief) February 15, 2013
Justin Lear (@CNNJustin) February 15, 2013
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
Teddy Roosevelt: famous president, war hero… and inspiration behind the Teddy bear?
Answer: Yes, yes and yes.
While on a hunting trip in Mississippi, one of Roosevelt’s assistants, Holt Collier, corned a black bear and tied it to a willow tree. The trip has been a bust for the most part – not a single bear was located before this – and the assistants wanted to make sure the president came home with a kill.
When Roosevelt was asked to come shoot the bear, the president saw it as incredibly unsportsmanlike, according to accounts from The Roosevelt Birthplace Historic Site. He refused to shoot the bear.
Newspapers picked up on the act of compassion, primarily because Roosevelt was renowned as a somewhat savage hunter. When cartoonist Clifford Berryman penned a cartoon of the event in the Washington Post on November 12, 1902, the story’s legacy was cemented.
Over three months later, on this day in 1903, Morris Michtom, a toy store owner in Brooklyn, New York, who was inspired by Roosevelt’s bear story, put two stuffed Teddy bears in his store window. Over a dozen people, according to the Smithsonian, entered the store that day to buy a bear.
A fan of Roosevelt, Michtom didn’t want to offend the president by using his name on the product, so he sent a bear to the White House and asked for the president’s permission. According to Roosevelt’s birthplace museum, Roosevelt said yes, although he doubted the name would make a difference in sales.
He was wrong. Teddy bears became so popular that Michtom left the toy store business and strictly concentrated on producing the bears. The president even used the bear as a symbol of the Republican party in his 1904 presidential run.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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