CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 8, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
JOBS, JOBS, JOBS: UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FALLS TO LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 2008… Hiring picked up in February, helping to bring the unemployment rate down to its lowest level since December 2008. The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February, according to a Labor Department report released Friday. That's much stronger growth than in January, when employers hired a revised 119,000 workers. The unemployment rate dipped to 7.7%, as 12 million workers were counted as unemployed. – Annalyn Kurtz
SPINNING THE JOBS REPORT…
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER IN A WRITTEN PRESS RELEASE: “Any job creation is positive news, but the fact is unemployment in America is still way above the levels the Obama White House projected when the trillion-dollar stimulus spending bill was enacted, and the federal government's ongoing spending binge has resulted in a debt that exceeds the size of our entire economy.”
DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST AT THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “The jobs numbers are, that came out today, are the latest data point to indicate that our economy is gaining traction as we recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.”
IMMIGRATION AND FAITH: OBAMA PUSHES EXPEDITED TIMETABLE ON IMMIGRATION REFORM IN MEETING WITH FAITH LEADERS… President Barack Obama emphasized the need to get immigration reform accomplished this year in a meeting with a diverse group of faith leaders at the White House on Friday. During the discussion, these faith leaders said, Obama made it clear that he wanted to see a bill on immigration reform in the next 60 days. – Dan Merica
When did President Ronald Reagan first use the term "Evil Empire" in reference to the Soviet Union?
Today’s Fantasy Politics:
A billionaire with a willingness to spend his own money, many people think that Ross Perot helped Bill Clinton defeat President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 race for the White House.
Perot, a folksy Texan, was ardently pro-choice, opposed to the legalization of drugs and obsessed with balancing the federal budget. As a political independent, Perot took policy positions from each political party and spent a whopping $60 million of his own money in an effort to win the presidency.
He was challenging a politically wounded incumbent, who was criticized by fellow Republicans for breaking a promise not to raise taxes, and a fresh faced Democratic governor from Arkansas. When the dust settled on Election Day, nearly 19.7 million people checked the box for Perot.
Sure, Perot didn't win, but he had an impact on the race. Clinton defeated Bush by capturing 43 percent of the popular vote and 370 votes in the Electoral College. Still, Bush was only five million votes behind the Democrat.
So, what if Perot had not run in 1992? What if the Texas billionaire had saved his $60 million and the presidential election only featured Bush v. Clinton? Would have the incumbent president won re-election?
As we expected, there were differing opinions about what would have happened and we have highlighted some of the answers below:
Charlie Black, senior advisor to Bush: Our polling in 1992 indicated that it would have been a very close two-way race. The demographics of the Perot vote were closer to those of the Bush voters, than to Clinton's. That's about as much as one can objectively say.
Jeffery Baxter: Clinton would've won either way. At the time, people were concerned about taxes. Bush said in his famous speech "read my lips....no new taxes", but unfortunately he did raise taxes on the middle class and poor. Ross Perot was there to enjoy the show.
Joshua Burdette: I think Clinton still would have won, though it would have been a closer race for sure. Bush-I had made some missteps during the general election, and by the Fall of 1992, he was running just behind Clinton. Clinton also had a lot more charisma, and was very politically savvy. Interesting question.
Corby Brester: I still think Clinton would have won. Bush had lost touch with the people, and Clinton had too good a campaign.
Jonathan M. Williams: In order to defeat a sitting president, a challenger must be able to sell a compelling vision to the American people. That's exactly what Bill Clinton did. However, it was Perot that opened the greatest wound to Bush's re-election hopes: the deficit! Without Perot steering voters attention toward economic issues, Clinton's campaign may have eventually sunk over the numerous scandals that dogged him during the primaries. So, a Perot-less 1992 campaign certainly would have benefited Bush.
Anthony Juanillo: I think that George Sr. would had won because he was gaining ground on Clinton after the '92 RNC & all the sudden Perot jumps back into the race to steal the momentum away from Bush. Plus, Perot took away more votes from Bush than he did from Clinton. Also, Perot received votes from some conservatives that were disappointed with Bush due to breaking his no new taxes pledge.
Jim McGowan: Bush would of won, Clinton never would of became president if Perot would of stayed out of the race. It would of changed our history forever! Although it is possible, Clinton could of won after Bush ended his second term.
And then there were the Perot devotees.
Christopher Hightower: I voted for Ross Perot, I wish one of the other two would have dropped out.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Clinton urges Supreme Court to overturn DOMA
Former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996, is now calling on the Supreme Court to rule the same law unconstitutional. The law, which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, denies federal benefits to same-sex couples in the nine states where same-sex couples can now legally wed. – Ashley Killough
Leading Drudge: 89,304,000 Not Working
The number of Americans designated as "not in the labor force" in February was 89,304,000, a record high, up from 89,008,000 in January, according to the Department of Labor. This means that the number of Americans not in the labor force increased 296,000 between January and February. – Elizabeth Harrington for Cybercast News Service
Leading HuffPo: Why Gallup Blew The Election
Gallup, which has long touted itself as the most trusted survey brand in the world, is facing a crisis. If Barack Obama's reelection in November was widely considered a win for data crunchers, who had predicted the president's victory in the face of skeptical pundits, it was a black mark for Gallup, whose polls leading up to Election Day had given the edge to Republican nominee Mitt Romney. – Mike Blumenthal
Leading Politico: Secret Supper: Obamas, Clintons dined at W.H. on March 1
President Barack Obama has been hosting a lot of high-profile dinner companions lately, but here's one guest list that didn't leak for a week: On March 1st, the president, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enjoyed a quiet, three-plus hour dinner in the private residence to celebrate Hillary's retirement from the administration, POLITICO has learned. – Glenn Thrush
Leading The New York Times: Latinos Gain Political Muscle, and Fund-Raisers Show How
A new generation of Latino leaders — highly educated, sophisticated and rich — is tapping into Hispanics as a fund-raising pool to influence elections and policy. – Sheryl Gay Stolberg
The political bites of the day
– The WH is not immune to forced spending cuts –
DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST AT THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “The White House and the components of the White House are effected by the sequester in a way that's similar to other government agencies. I can tell you that we're making significant, that we're also faced with making some tough decisions when it comes to ongoing projects, when it comes to purchasing equipment and supplies, but we're also a pretty personnel heavy agency, if you will, so that means that there will be agencies, that there will be employees of components, who work here at the White House that will be facing pay cuts, that will be facing furloughs.”
– The difference between Rand and Ron Paul –
A SOURCE CLOSE TO RAND PAUL’S THINKING ABOUT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2016 TO CNN’S DANA BASH: “At the end of the day, Ron saw himself as a truth teller but he hated politics. He didn’t want to think about how to message things. He wanted to travel around and speak truth and let chips fall where they may. Rand wants to be honest and truthful and principled, but he is very conscious of his messaging and language. He wants to make a winning political argument.”
– Wyden sees a new political movement around civil liberties –
DEMOCRATIC SEN. RON WYDEN OF OREGON IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “I think there is a sense that there is a new political movement emerging in our country, and it crosses party lines and it is all about Americans who want to see policymakers strike a better balance between protecting our security and protecting our liberty. And certainly over the last few weeks, Americans have seen there is a sharp difference between protecting secret intelligence operations and not keeping our laws which are public secret, and that's the information we've gotten out.”
– Thanks for dinner, you spendthrift –
CONAN OBRIEN ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “President Obama, this is nice, he took a group of Republicans to dinner at a restaurant last night. And at the end of the meal, the president personally picked up the tab. Isn't that nice? Afterwards, Republicans said - typical Democrat, spend, spend, spend.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
CONGRESS GAVE BONUSES: last quarter, as rest of gov. lurched toward fiscal cliff. bit.ly/13Lccs8—
Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDCNN) March 08, 2013
The situation on the Korean Peninsula grows more tense as North Korea ramps up pro-war rhetoric. edition.cnn.com/2013/03/08/wor…—
Jim Clancy (@clancycnn) March 08, 2013
Kevin Baron (@FPBaron) March 08, 2013
Say, theoretically, North Korea flattens Seoul on Monday. It'd still be horribly immoral to nuke Pyongyang in response.—
(@MarkLGoldberg) March 08, 2013
Vatican Press Office: Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 ...In the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave.—
Eric Marrapodi (@EricCNNBelief) March 08, 2013
Five years ago, McCain's stand against Paul would have been popular in GOP. Today, he's putting himself on an island.—
Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP) March 08, 2013
Obamacare comes to the White House - in the form of a lactation room wapo.st/Xvyiv5—
Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) March 08, 2013
.@DonnaCassataAP reports Brennan, to reaffirm rule of law, asked to be sworn in on an original 1787 copy of Constitution w/GW's notes on it—
Josh Lederman (@joshledermanAP) March 08, 2013
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
It is one of the most iconic phrases of the Reagan presidency. But when did he first use the term “Evil Empire” in reference to the Soviet Union?
Reagan first used the phrase "Evil Empire" on this day in 1983 in a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals.
"In your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride - the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil," Reagan said to loud applause.
Many believe this was Reagan's second use of the term "Evil Empire," but that assumption is false. Although Reagan delivered a speech in 1982 called "The Evil Empire" speech, the Republican president never actually used the term evil empire. It wasn't until the 1983 speech that Reagan actually used the phrase.
Reagan had long been a hardliner on communism and the USSR. He campaigned on it, governed by it and many say his presidency led to the downfall of the superpower.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Daniel Francis on Facebook for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia Question. First time winner, long time reader.
Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing email@example.com
WANT TO SIGN UP?
Do you have a friend who wants to sign up for GUT CHECK or our new CNNPolitics Breaking News Alerts? Click here, log on and scroll down.