CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 6, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: HOUSE PASSES GOP MEASURE ON GOVERNMENT FUNDING… A House Republican measure to keep the government funded through September, while softening the impact of forced spending cuts on the military and veterans affairs programs won approval Wednesday … 50 Democrats joined most Republicans in supporting it. It now goes to the Senate for consideration. – Tom Cohen
FILLIBUSTERS EN VOGUE…
SENATE REPUBLICANS BLOCK FLOOR VOTE FOR KEY OBAMA JUDICIAL NOMINEE… GOP senators denied a floor vote Wednesday on Caitlin Halligan’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, after expressing concern she would be an “activist” on the bench. Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed to end debate on her nomination. Vote: 51-41. – Bill Mears
PAUL’S OLD SCHOOL FILIBUSTER… At 11:47 a.m. ET, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, took to the Senate floor for a rare talking filibuster in an effort to stall a confirmation vote on John Brennan to be the next director of the CIA. The Kentucky senator, known for his libertarian leanings, has sharply questioned the Obama administration's use of drones against American citizens overseas. Brennan is considered one of the main architects of the drone program. Since starting the filibuster, Paul has been joined by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and others. – Ashley Killiough
RYAN STANDS DOWN ON MEDICARE CHANGE: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, is backing off his proposal to change Medicare for people who are now 57 and younger, after personally lobbying fellow Republicans to support that change … Ryan, in a briefing with reporters, declined to answer questions about specific proposals in his budget that will be released next Tuesday. Ryan, the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012, also declined to address the concerns his colleagues have raised about his Medicare proposal. "I'll get into that next week,” Ryan said. “When I have that finished product we'll show you the finished product. We're still writing our copy now.” – Deirdre Walsh and Dana Bash
MARKET WATCH: Dow extends gains, adding 42 points to close at a new record high. NASDAQ and S&P end little changed.
How many federal jobs did President Ronald Reagan announce he wanted to cut on this week in 1981?
With a select group of Senate Republicans about to break bread with President Barack Obama this evening at the Jefferson Hotel, it reminded us of a story Dan wrote last month about what may be the cause of Washington’s dysfunction. The answer may simply be a lack of personal relationships.
Obama, a former senator, has been asked why he isn’t more collegial with his former colleagues in Congress. His general reaction is to laugh it off, reference his children and move on. He did exactly that on January 15 when a reporter asked him whether the White House was "too insular."
“The nice thing is that now that my girls are getting older, they don't want to spend that much time with me anyway, so I'll be probably calling around, looking for somebody to play cards with me or something, because I'm getting kind of lonely in this big house,” Obama said with a smile.
Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, told Dan that the president’s failure to engage members of Congress is evidence of a larger problem.
“He doesn't really invite Democrats over there very often, let alone Republicans," Lott said in January about invitations to the White House. “Obama is a big part of the problem.”
But former Rep. Dan Glickman, D-Kansas, said personal, social connections are far from the only reason why there is gridlock in Washington.
“What could be done to try and make it better? One of the ways is that it would be nice if members lived here instead of going home every second; it would be nice if they didn’t have to fundraise all the time; it would be nice if they weren’t in a constant pre-buttal campaign.”
Still, will tonight’s dinner be the step in the right direction towards bipartisanship as so many controversial issues face Obama and Congress? CNN’s Dan Lothian reports the dinner with the Senate Republicans was the president’s idea as part of a “continuing effort to reach out to Republican lawmakers.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Will states go where Congress hasn't on gun laws?
The state battles are important because the administration needs to send a signal back to Washington that the gun laws the White House supports need not have negative political consequences, gun policy experts say. Having the vice president reach out to local lawmakers "may provide cover for some states that are passing these types laws so that there is some national conversation on this," said economist and pro-gun advocate John Lott. – Halimah Abdullah
Leading Drudge: Hell's A-Burning
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of the capital, Caracas, as the coffin carrying the body of late President Hugo Chavez processed through the city Wednesday. Draped in Venezuela's blue, red and yellow flag and carried on the top of a car, the casket began its journey from the hospital to the Military Academy, a route of about two miles, shortly after 10 a.m. ET. – Ian Johnston, Brinley Bruton and Becky Bratu for NBC News
Leading HuffPo: Game On: Obama, Dems Ready To Fight 'Tooth And Nail'
President Barack Obama must work with a deeply skeptical partner as he tries to undo painful spending cuts and set U.S. finances on a more sustainable course: the liberal wing of his own party. While Republicans have dug in their heels against further tax increases, many of Obama's fellow Democrats have refused to consider cuts to popular health and retirement programs that are projected to eat up a growing slice of the nation's resources. – Andy Sullivan for Reuters
Leading Politico: Now Dems worry: Did President Obama cry wolf?
President Barack Obama hopes to spark a pitchfork revolt against Republicans over sequester-induced budget cuts — but many Democrats fret that he’s undermined that effort with an early strategy marred by hype, poor planning and muddled messaging. The stakes in the sequester debate aren’t quite as high as they were during the debt ceiling battle of 2011, but Democratic veterans of the Obama-Republican wars of 2009 and 2010 are getting a creepy sense of déjà vu from a White House messaging shop they believe fumbled the rollouts of the stimulus and health care initiatives. – Glenn Thrush and Carrie Budoff Brown
Leading The New York Times: Senators Press Holder on Use of Military Force on U.S. Soil
Senators of both parties on Wednesday criticized Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. for the secrecy surrounding the Justice Department legal memorandums justifying drone strikes aimed at American citizens, while pushing him to say more about when the Obama administration believes it can use military force on United States soil. – Charlie Savage
Leading CNN Opinion: For Obama and GOP, much to chew over
So it's good to see that the president has finally started calling some Republicans. He's even invited some to share a meal. And not just moderates, but also those who have been his most vocal opponents - like John McCain and his buddy Lindsey Graham. So now the White House has decided it's not so silly after all. Dinner is on at a hotel near the White House (neutral turf?) The big question: Why now? – Gloria Borger
The political bites of the day
– Rand Paul filibusters with talk of civil liberties, drones, becomes libertarian heart throb in process –
REPUBLICAN SEN. RAND PAUL IN A LONG SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan's nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes. Until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court. That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is an abomination. It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country.”
– ‘No intention to carry out drone strikes’ –
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER IN THE HOUSE JUSTICE OVERSIGHT HEARING: “The government has no intention to carry out any drone strikes in the United States. It's hard for me to imagine a situation in which that would occur. We have within the United States the ability to use our law enforcement capacity.”
– ‘Newt’s a prick,’ and other musings from Fox News’ Roger Ailes –
VANITY FAIR’S EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT OF ZEV CHAFETS’ BIOGRAPHY OF ROGER AILES…
Vice President Joe Biden: “I have a soft spot for Joe Biden . . . I like him. But he’s dumb as an ashtray.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: “Newt’s a prick. … He’s a sore loser and if he had won he would have been a sore winner.”
President Barack Obama: “Obama’s the one who never worked a day in his life. He never earned a penny that wasn’t public money. How many fund-raisers does he attend every week? How often does he play basketball and golf? I wish I had that kind of time. He’s lazy, but the media won’t report that.”
– Rush blasts ‘childish’ Obama for shutting down WH tours –
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “How many people there do you think have arranged tours to the White House via their congressman or through the White House tour office, and now they're shut down? … There's no need for that. That alone is evidence of what Obama is attempting to accomplish here with this. That's just childish. I mean, that's so immature and so childish, but it's who we're dealing with. … Now, this is just me, and I'm sure many of you are going to disagree with this, but I don't think Obama is that sharp.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
As we allow more and more power to gravitate to the President, we run the risk of living under an imperial presidency. #filiblizzard—
Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) March 06, 2013
Rand Paul is unpredictable. And he's running for president. ow.ly/isK4m—
The Fix (@TheFix) March 06, 2013
Rand's problem is that he's not enough of a Paul for Paulites, and he's too eccentric for mainstream GOPers. No real home.—
Christian Heinze (@CPHeinze) March 06, 2013
Here's Gabby Giffords spking about need for gun BG checks bill... at Safeway parking lot where she was shot in 2011. http://t.co/z6KLKs8Zuf—
jennifer bendery (@jbendery) March 06, 2013
Ex-Bush WH aide Wehner on "CPAC Clown Act": not invited - "popular, accomplished" Christie/McDonnell; invited: "vulgar, buffoonish" Trump—
John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) March 06, 2013
Wages of workers with high school education or less 10% lower than in 1980 (in today's dollars): Moretti ow.ly/is7AB—
Fareed Zakaria (@FareedZakaria) March 06, 2013
Page Six Emily (@PageSixEmily) March 06, 2013
5 reasons bold-faced names should be using Path bit.ly/Zq7wlA—
(@Forbes) March 06, 2013
(@RAGreeneCNN) March 06, 2013
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
In an effort to reduce the size of government, President Ronald Reagan announced on this day in 1981 that he planned to cut 37,000 federal jobs in the following fiscal year.
The decision replaced an earlier "hiring freeze" he had announced with "new permanent ceilings." The aim: save the government 1.3 billion dollars.
"Millions of Americans today have had to tighten their belts because of the economic conditions, and it's time to put Washington on a diet, too," Reagan said at the press conference announcing the cuts. "Gaining control of the size of government, getting our economy back on track, will not wait. We'll have to act now."
According to The New York Times reporting from that day, "Administration sources said later that the reduction meant an undisclosed number of workers now on the Federal payroll would lose their jobs, although attrition would account for most of the employment cutback.”
But after Reagan's presidency, some analysts say the president actually added more government jobs than he cut.
"Over his two terms... Ronald Reagan added 197,000 federal jobs," writes the Economist, citing the Bank Credit Analysts are their source.
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