CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 25, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: Former Surgeon General of the United States C. Everett Koop died in his home in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was 96. Koop served as surgeon general from 1982-1989, under then-Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He was outspoken on public health issues and did much to elevate the office of the surgeon general.
FORCED BUDGET CUTS WATCH: ‘THESE CUTS DO NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN,’ OBAMA SAYS… In his latest push to pressure Congress before automatic, government-wide spending cuts kick in on Friday, President Barack Obama is bringing state governors into the conversation. The president spoke on Monday before the National Governors Association at the White House, where he urged the state executives to weigh in on the matter. – Ashley Killough
OBAMA: “While you are in town, I hope that you speak with your congressional delegation and remind them in no uncertain terms exactly what is at stake and exactly who is at risk. Because here's the thing: These cuts do not have to happen. Congress can turn them off any time with just a little bit of compromise.”
GET ‘ER DONE: REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS SAY THIS SHOULDN’T BE DIFFICULT… After Obama’s remarks, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said the president is “trying to scare the American people”:
Jindal: “I think that the president needs to stop trying to scare the American people, that absolutely you can cut less than three percent without all these awful consequences, without people losing access to critical vaccines … without jeopardizing food inspections … without hollowing out the military.”
... And Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina says Washington is “psychotic”:
Haley: “I could not be more frustrated than I am right now. How many more times are the governors going to have to pick up the mess of Washington, D.C.? How many more times are we going to have to deal with these issues over and over again because of the finger pointing and the blame game that keeps on happening in Washington?”
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE IS SCHEDULED TO TAKE UP FOUR GUN BILLS THIS WEEK: In addition to the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 (S.150), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy announced that his panel on Thursday would address three other gun-related bills including: Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013 (S.54), Protecting Responsible Gun Sellers Act of 2013 (S.374), and the School Safety Enhancements Act of 2013 (S.146). – Kevin Liptak
Why were the Oscars postponed in 1981?
On Friday, we asked you, our loyal readers, if Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy had won the Democratic presidential nomination in 1980 would he have defeated Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan in the general election?
While we received some great responses, we were particularly intrigued by what former Kennedy aide Bob Shrum had to say on the matter.
Shrum was Kennedy’s principal speechwriter when the senator delivered this famous line at the 1980 Democratic National Convention: "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”
Shrum told us, “it would have been a completely different election."
"Mike Deaver (an aide close to Reagan) told me years ago that the Reagan campaign wanted to run against Carter, not Kennedy,” Shrum wrote. “The Democrats would already have disposed of Reagan's signature question: 'Are you better off today than you were four years ago?' Kennedy used to pose variants of that during the primary. He was a candidate of change. So the election would have been a choice, not a referendum.”
In particular, Shrum wrote, that Kennedy would have captured Reagan-leaning Democrats in the general election, primarily because they supported him in the primaries.
“There would have been a great debate about big government versus effective government,” Shrum wrote. “Bottom line: iffy history is unpredictable, but I believe Kennedy would have won - and Democrats certainly would not have lost the Senate.”
But that isn’t what happened. Reagan thumped Carter in the general election, using the weak economy and the Iran hostage crisis as a bludgeon against the beleaguered president and would go on to become a conservative icon.
As Thom Serafin, a former aide to Gary Hart in 1988, once told Gut Check in a previous edition of Fantasy Politics: “History is written by the winners.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Spending cut countdown: What's Congress doing?
There are four days left before $85 billion in widely disliked forced spending cuts start to take effect. So what's Congress - back from a weeklong break - doing Monday to change course? Not much - at least publicly. – Alan Silverleib
Leading Drudge: Obama Crashes Oscars
First lady Michelle Obama made a surprise and unprecedented appearance on Sunday's Oscars telecast when she presented the award for Best Picture, the first time a president or first lady has ever presented an Academy Award. Appearing live on screen from the White House in Washington, almost 3,000 miles from the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood, Obama praised the work of the movie industry before announcing the Iran hostage drama "Argo" the Best Picture winner. – Tim Reid and Nichola Groom for Reuters
Leading HuffPo: Waging War
Top Republican leaders are lining up to oppose President Barack Obama's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour. And that apparently puts them at odds with a large number of the people they represent. Roughly half of Republicans - and 71 percent of Americans overall - support raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour, according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center and USA Today. – Bonnie Kavoussi
Leading Politico: Dems 2016: Will Hillary Clinton clear the field?
The ranks of Democratic governors are filled with ambitious politicians boasting records that would probably play well with primary voters in 2016. But even as they eye a move from the statehouse to the White House, there’s broad recognition among the chief executives that the next generation of Democrats may have to wait longer than four more years to take their place as President Barack Obama’s heir. – Jonathan Martin
Leading The New York Times: Obama Urges Congress to Find Compromise on Budget Cuts
“These cuts do not have to happen,” President Obama told a gathering of the nation’s governors. “Congress can turn them off at any time with just a little bit of compromise.” – Michael Shear
The political bites of the day
– Republican aide: no filibuster threat on Senate spending bills –
A SENIOR REPUBLICAN AIDE TO CNN’S JIM ACOSTA: “There will be two votes this week: One on the Democrats tax hike, one on a Republican alternative. There is no filibuster threat – the votes were locked in by unanimous consent.”
– Conservative blogger argues gay voters are gettable for the GOP –
DANIEL FOSTER IN A POST ON THE NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: “According to post-election analyses, President Obama won the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) vote by about three to one, and LGBT voters constituted about 5 percent of the electorate. If you’re a conservative who thinks that’s not a chunk of the vote worth fighting for, consider that nationally Romney and Obama split the straight vote 49–49. Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are all top-ten states in terms of total gay population, and New Hampshire, Colorado, and New Mexico are all in the top ten in terms of the percentage of gay residents. … Bringing GOProud into the conservative fold is the sort of symbolic action that could contribute to breaking up this two-way shame. It’s also the type of action that could have real spillover effects with the political middle, broadly speaking, as polls continue to show that the center of the country is becoming more gay-friendly.”
– Kerry cites president’s ‘significant mandate’ in answer on how to deal with Syria –
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN ENGLAND: “I understand the reason people question another meeting, but I am a new secretary of state. I am here now beginning a fresh term with a president who has just been re-elected in a significant mandate in the country. The president of the Untied States has sent me here and sent me to this series of meetings and sent me to Rome because he is concerned about the course of events and he is currently evaluating precisely what steps we will take in order to fulfill our obligation to innocent people as well as to lead on this important issue.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
rarely do the people in a democracy get threatened this bluntly by their own government. cnn.com/2013/02/24/opi…—
Alex Castellanos (@alexcast) February 25, 2013
Jonathan Strong (@j_strong) February 25, 2013
Ashley Alvarado (@AshleyAlvarado) February 25, 2013
It may be 2013.. but the ad wars over Mitch McConnell's 2014 re-election bid are already raging: on.cnn.com/YSZ5h5—
Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN) February 25, 2013
Hotline Quote of Day: The Univ of Texas will change its colors to maroon & white before TX goes purple, much less blue -Rick Perry via WSJ—
Abby Livingston (@RollCallAbby) February 25, 2013
(@FLOTUS) February 25, 2013
Re FLOTUS at Oscars: Forget separation of church and state -- we need a separation of Hollywood and state.—
Nolan Finley (@NolanFinleyDN) February 25, 2013
The only way conservatives would be more mad at Michelle Obama is if she redistributed the Oscar to a poor family: on.cc.com/13hVZKn—
Indecision (@indecision) February 25, 2013
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
The 1981 Oscars were delayed 24 hours after the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981.
The Academy of Motions Picture Arts and Sciences had planned to hold the 1981 award show on the same day, with the Reagan news breaking, the show was moved to the next day.
"Ordinary People" was the big winner of the night, taking home the Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Redford) and Best Supporting Actor (Timothy Hutton).
The 1981 change was not the only time the Oscars were moved. "In 1968 the Awards ceremony was postponed from April 8 to April 10 out of respect for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been assassinated a few days earlier, and whose funeral was held on April 9," according to the Oscars website. The 1938 show was the first to be postponed after massive flooding ravaged Los Angeles.
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