CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 1, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
ROMNEY HITS OBAMA FOR CAMPAIGNING INSTEAD OF GOVERNING… In his first post-election interview, Mitt Romney tells Fox News Sunday: “Well, no one can think that's been a success for the president. He didn't think the sequester would happen. It is happening. But to date, what we've seen is the president out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country, and berating Republicans. And blaming and pointing. Now what does that do? That causes the Republicans to retrench and then put up a wall and fight back. It's a very natural human emotion.”
SEQUESTRATUS INEVITABILIS: President Barack Obama blamed Congress for failing to prevent $85 billion in forced government spending cuts that take effect tonight, saying that the sharp reduction will harm economic recovery. The president met with congressional leaders at the White House prior to briefing reporters, but no agreement emerged to avert the automatic austerity that both sides oppose. … The cuts involve roughly 9% for a broad range of non-defense programs and 13% for the Pentagon over the rest of the current fiscal year. They officially take effect just before midnight tonight. – Jessica Yellin and Tom Cohen
THE NEXT DEADLINE: House Speaker John Boehner said after meeting Friday with President Barack Obama that the House will take up a measure next week to authorize federal funding beyond a March 27 deadline to prevent a potential partial government shutdown.
BUT NOT A DONE DEAL: A Senate Democratic leadership aide tells CNN’s Dana Bash that, “if they (House Republicans) send over something that provides flexibility and/or rearranges cuts on the defense side but not the domestic side, it will not fly with our caucus.”
OBAMA FIGHTS BACK... BUT CONFUSES STAR WARS AND STAR TREK:
CNN’s Jessica Yellin: Couldn’t you just have them down here and refuse to let them leave the room until you have a deal?
Obama: I mean Jessica, I am not a dictator. I am the president so ultimately if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say we need to go to catch a plane I cant have Secret Service block the doorway. … I know this has been some of the conventional wisdom that has been floating around Washington that somehow, even though most people agree that I'm being reasonable, that most people agree that I'm presenting a fair deal, the fact that they (GOP) don't take it means that I should somehow do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what's right
Ari Shapiro (@arishapiro)
BREAKING: The President has apparently conflated Star Wars & Star Trek. it's a Jedi mind trick and Vulcan mind meld.
Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy)
Only a Vulcan mind meld will help with this congress. LLAP
The White House (@whitehouse)
We must bring balance to the Force. #Sequester #JediMindMeld pic.twitter.com/lIZlgavhuR
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Even though NATO was founded in 1949, when was their first military action?
MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics
In the spirit of John Kerry’s first foreign trip as the head of the State Department, we decided to look back at his failed run for the White House in 2004.
Even though President George W. Bush was hampered by America’s dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq – and the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found in the country – the incumbent president received three million more votes than Kerry in the 2004 general election.
But what if Kerry never had to face Bush? What if the president had decided not to run for re-election and Sen. John McCain, Bush’s most formidable challenger in 2000, was chosen to lead the GOP ticket in 2004? If the matchup was McCain-Kerry, would Republicans have kept control of the White House? Or would Kerry have been able to defeat McCain and become commander-in-chief?
When we asked our followers on Twitter and Facebook, the response was overwhelming in favor of McCain:
Vijay Reddy: If we're talking 2000 John McCain, he wins in a landslide. If we're talking 2008 John McCain, it's a close call.
Eduardo Castro: McCain. His position on immigration would have helped the GOP on batleground states and the fact that he's a moderate republican would have been a magnet to indie voters.
Kyshon TheWise: John McCain would have won by a considerable amount of support. Iran would be in ruins and iraq would be a second world nation. Oh yea the penagon would be funded better and we would be two trillion less in debt
Ajith Rainold: John McCain all the way !!!
Some couldn’t decide:
Mohamed Osman: Really, it would be a close call. They both have decades of political experience under their belts in both public service and military service. They have their differences, but they're both very respectable.
And then there was this:
Ju An: God forbid! Hopefully an independent!
Gut Check DVR: Gene Sperling, the man who told journalist Bob Woodward that he would “regret” making assertions about President Barack Obama and the sequester, will be a guest on State of the Union with Candy Crowley this Sunday. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will also sit down with Candy to discuss his meeting with Obama and how Capitol Hill plans to deal with the forced spending cuts. State of the Union with Candy Crowley airs Sundays on CNN at 9 a.m. and noon ET.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Shame and blame: Why Washington needs couples therapy
Just two months after the brinksmanship of the "fiscal cliff," Washington is staring at yet another deadline to avoid yet another fiscal calamity of its own making. … If it feels like a child helplessly watching bickering parents repeat a dysfunctional cycle of disagreement, recrimination and contempt while not addressing the root cause of what's wrong in their relationship, there's good reason. – Martina Stewart
Leading Drudge: 'I Am Not A Dictator'
“I'm not a dictator, I'm the president. [If McConnell or Boehner want to catch a plane], "I can't have Secret Service block the doorway. I know this has been some of the conventional wisdom. Somehow, even though most people agree that I'm being reasonable, the fact that they don't take it, that I should somehow do a Jedi mind meld [with them]....” – Tom McCarthy for The Guardian
Leading HuffPo: 'Troll' Slam Hurled At Scalia
Rachel Maddow had some choice words for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia during an appearance on Thursday's “Daily Show.” Maddow told Jon Stewart that she had been flabbergasted to be watching Scalia and his fellow conservative justices lambasting the Voting Rights Act at the same time as a statue honoring Rosa Parks was being unveiled at the Capitol Building nearby. She particularly took umbrage at Scalia's line that the law was a “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” comparing him to an Internet “troll.”
Leading Politico: Sequester summit: Stalemate
One hour. That’s how long congressional leadership and the White House devoted to solving an impasse over $85 billion in spending cuts set to take effect on Friday. And it’s clear that next to nothing was accomplished. The meeting began at 10:18 — just a smidge more than 12 hours before the sequester was scheduled to begin —and ended at 11:10 a.m. – Jake Sherman
Leading The New York Times: Boehner Halts Talks on Cuts, and House G.O.P. Cheers
Speaker John A. Boehner, the man who spent significant portions of the last Congress shuttling to and from the White House for fiscal talks with President Obama that ultimately failed twice to produce a grand bargain, has come around to the idea that the best negotiations are no negotiations. As the president and Congressional Democrats have tried to force Mr. Boehner back to the table for talks to head off the automatic budget cuts set to take effect on Friday, Mr. Boehner has instead dug in deeper, refusing to even discuss an increase in revenue and insisting in his typical colorful language that it was time for the Senate to produce a measure aimed at the cuts. – Ashley Parker
The political bites of the day
– Boehner treats America to a Groundhog Day –
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER AFTER MEETING WITH PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “The House shouldn't have to pass a third bill before the Senate does anything. The House has laid out a plan to avoid the sequester. I would hope that the Senate would act.”
– Cabinet secretaries disparages forced spending cuts –
SECRETARY OF EDUCATION ARNE DUNCAN AT A NEWS CONFERENCE: “Cutting programs for our most vulnerable children is economically foolish and it is morally indefensible. In the State of the Union President Obama called for smarter government. Sequestration, whose indiscriminate approach to slashing the budget, is an example of dumb government, dumb government at its finest.”
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES KATHLEEN SEBELIUS AT A NEWS CONFERENCE: “Arne called it ‘dumb government.’ I guess I'm a little more blunt. To me, it's stupid government. We have a smart way to do things and a stupid way to do things. And what's unveiling today is stupid government.”
– Michelle Obama, on the haters –
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA IN AN INTERVIEW ON NBC’S TODAY SHOW: “That is just the nature of life you know. I mean you know we live in a time when there are bloggers and tweeters and 24-hour news and everyone has a voice in this, you know, in this town square and it is a big one, and it is good. Overall, it is good but that means that at any point in given time somebody is not going to like what you do. That is the nature of things.”
– Romney misses the roller coaster (campaign) –
FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH FOX NEWS SUNDAY: “We were on a roller coaster, exciting and thrilling, ups and downs. But the ride ends. And then you get off. And it's not like, oh, can't we be on a roller coaster the rest of our life? It's like, no, the ride's over.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Ryan Teague Beckwith (@ryanbeckwith)
White House meeting lasted 52 minutes, or about 37 seconds for every billion dollars in #sequester cuts.
Kasie Hunt (@kasie)
U.S. Capitol police notify members of Congress that some doors and security checkpoints at Capitol/offices will close bc of sequester.
Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew)
Wow, outlets from Huffington Post to National Review carried pieces financed by the Malaysian government. http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/covert-malaysian-campaign-touched-a-wide-range-of-american-m
Matt Viser (@mviser)
Woodward story goes international. From today's la Repubblica in Italy (got bigger play than Kerry, who… http://instagr.am/p/WUs-O0KimS/
Tiffany Stanley (@tifflstanley)
NPR: As Benedict left Vatican, he slipped off his trademark red shoes, put on pair of Mexican leather loafers. http://ow.ly/ib4dc
Rob Delaney (@robdelaney)
Obama just said "Jedi mindmeld." What's next, Klingon lightsabers? #Shame #Impeach
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
While the North American Treaty Organization was first founded as a military alliance in 1949, the group did not see military action until decades later – on this week in 1994.
“On February 28, 1994 NATO aircraft shot down four Bosnian Serb fighter-bombers carrying out a bombing mission in clear violation of the UN no-fly zone,” NATO’s website reports. “NATO aircraft also conducted several limited air strikes at the request of United Nations peacekeepers.”
During the fighting in Bosnia Herzegovina, NATO became the lead international body trying to stop the conflict. NATO warships patrolled the Adriatic Ocean, while NATO planes patrolled the skies in an effort to enforce a United Nations mandates no-fly zone. Additionally, the international organization helped protect UN peacekeepers on the ground.
The Bosnian mission required 50,000 NATO troops and, according to the organization, “was the largest and most complex military operation in Europe since the Second World War.”
NATO airstrikes are widely credited, too, with helping end the conflict and leading to the Dayton Agreement of 1995.
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John Boehner savior of the American people.