CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 9, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
GUNS LIKELY TO GET A VOTE: Reid to force a vote Thursday on debating gun proposals… The U.S. Senate plans to vote on Thursday on whether to open debate on gun control legislation that some Republicans have pledged to filibuster, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Tuesday. Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois tells CNN that he thinks there are enough votes in the Senate – from both Republicans and Democrats – to overcome a filibuster.
ANY DAY NOW: U.S. believes North Korea could test fire missiles at any time… Recent intelligence shows it is likely North Korea has completed preparations for test firing mobile ballistic missiles, a U.S. official said. Based on that intelligence, the Obama administration now calculates it is likely North Korea may test fire mobile ballistic missiles at any time. The official cautioned most of the information is coming from satellite imagery so it's impossible to reach a definitive conclusion because the U.S. has no means to gather information on the ground. – Barbara Starr
FEELING THE CUTS? A CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday indicates that the cuts, known inside the Beltway as the sequester, appear to be mostly affecting lower-income Americans.
MARKET WATCH: Dow adds 60 points to close at a new record high of 14,673. NASDAQ rises 0.5%, S&P gains 0.4%.
What president was the first to invite a professional baseball team to the White House?
What caught our eye today in politics
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have become some of the most vocal activists behind comprehensive gun control legislation. After Giffords was shot in the head outside a Tucson grocery store in 2011, her recovery – though slow – has become an inspirational symbol for gun control activists.
That is why it would surprise some that Kelly and Giffords still very much appreciate gun culture, including taking target practice with the same type of gun that nearly killed her.
CNN’s Dana Bash got exclusive access to Giffords and Kelly. During the interview, Kelly shows a Glock 9 millimeter handgun to Bash but points out a difference between the weapon he brandishes and the one that almost killed his wife. “In that case it had a magazine that held 33 rounds,” he said. “This, when it's full, holds 17.”
During the interview, Kelly shows a Glock 9 millimeter handgun to Bash but points out a difference between the weapon he brandishes and the one that almost killed his wife. “In that case it had a magazine that held 33 rounds,” he said. “This, when it's full, holds 17.”
The mention isn't happenstance: Kelly has been an ardent supporter of restricting the size of gun magazines.
In the sit down interview, Giffords updates Bash on her progress. The process has been arduous and long, but the former congresswoman looks remarkably similar to the way she did before the shooting.
“Her golden locks are back, so is the sparkle in her eyes and her broad smile. Gone is the short hair and thin frame we saw at the beginning of her recovery,” Bash writes. “Yet she knows she will never be the same.”
But after spending time with Giffords, one thing remains clear: she will likely never been the same.
“Being with Giffords, who was shot in the head two years ago during an appearance in front of an Arizona supermarket, it is obvious that she understands and absorbs everything around her,” Bash continues. “She follows conversation, reacts, engages and offers unsolicited ideas - usually in the form of a single word or gesture that makes clear what she means. But at times, even simple words are a struggle, like when she tries to explain how she spends her days.”
It remains to be seen whether Giffords’ efforts to enact gun control legislation will be successful. What is clear, however, is that even with the struggles, this woman who nearly died two short years ago, still has a lot of living to do.
Giffords and Kelly’s full interview with Bash will air tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET on CNN.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: McConnell campaign calls in FBI over secret recordings
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign is "working with the FBI" on how Mother Jones, a liberal magazine, obtained a recording of political aides meeting with McConnell and discussing opposition research on Ashley Judd, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton told CNN Tuesday. In the recordings, political operatives huddling at the senator's campaign headquarters in Kentucky, are heard discussing potentially attacking Judd's mental health, as well as her left-leaning politics, if she had decided to make a bid against McConnell, who's running for a sixth term in office next year. – Paul Steinhauser and Jim Acosta and Ashley Killough
Leading Drudge: Warns Foreigners to Leave South Korea
North Korea intensified threats of an imminent conflict against the United States and the South on Tuesday, warning foreigners to evacuate South Korea to avoid being dragged into “thermonuclear war.” – Christine Kim and Joyce Lee for Reuters
Leading HuffPo: No Mercy
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's reelection campaign said Tuesday that it is working with the FBI and contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office after audio of a February meeting discussing potential Senate challenger Ashley Judd's weaknesses was leaked to Mother Jones magazine. – Luke Johnson
Leading Politico: Reid: Gun deal deadline today
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has given Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) until 5 p.m. Tuesday to reach a background checks deal with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), according to several sources close to the issue. If there’s no agreement by that deadline, Reid will move to start debate over a gun-control package that is a wish list for gun-control advocates. But Republicans have already threatened to filibuster the bill, and it is unlikely to pass in its current form. If there is no deal and a filibuster is surmounted, votes could start as early as Thursday. – John Bresnahan, Reid Epstein and Anna Palmer
Leading The New York Times: Conservative Group Helping Industry Fight Federal Cuts
The American Conservative Union is quietly working with business lobbyists to tame the activists pushing Congress to adopt some of the most austere spending limits in decades. – Nicholas Confessore
The political bites of the day
- Boehner endorses Sanford in South Carolina… -
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER’S SPOKESMAN, CORY FRITZ, IN AN E-MAIL STATEMENT TO THE HILL: “This election offers the voters of South Carolina's First Congressional District a clear choice between a Republican who will work to reduce spending, balance the budget and grow the economy, and a Democrat who will stand with President Obama's policies that are making it harder for people to find work. The Speaker supports our Republican nominee and knows that, if elected, Mr. Sanford will work tirelessly to help expand opportunities for all Americans.”
- … while Colbert Busch stresses independence in her first television ad -
DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE ELIZABETH COLBERT BUSCH IN A TELEVISION AD: “I’m Elizabeth Colbert Busch, and as a single mom raising three young children, I had to be independent and do what was right for them. Now, I’m going to take that lesson to Congress. I won’t take any special interest pledges or follow any party line. To create jobs in South Carolina, we need a well-educated and skilled workforce and we need to get rid of government waste. The deficit is killing jobs. I approve this message because my only pledge is to do what is right for you.”
- Graham’s tough talk on China -
REPUBLICAN SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM IN A SENATE ARMED SERVICE COMMITTEE HEARING: “I think this is a Communist dictatorship that fears individual expression. They fear freedom of thought. They fear freedom of religion. They fear anything not controlled by the state and it is now time to deal with these people more directly. … Their behavior is not only provocative, it is obscene. They're stealing American intellectual property. They're attacking us every day through cyberspace. They're propping up one of the most dangerous regimes in the world that directly threaten our interests.”
- Reid honors ‘Tark the Shark’ and needles the NCAA -
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID IN A SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “Jerry Tarkanian made it into the Hall of Fame – 20 years too late but he made it. Why didn’t he get in earlier? Because this courageous man took on the NCAA which has absolute control over college athletes. And I would hope that as years go by that we as a Congress will take a look at that more closely.”
Gut Check Full Service: Tarkanian was the legendary coach of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels basketball team from 1973 to 1992. He coached the Rebels to the National Championship in 1990 by beating Duke by 30 points, the largest margin of victory in any NCAA title game. Full disclosure: One member of Gut Check’s love for UNLV Basketball may be the reason this made it in.
- Conan puts ‘most attractive’ controversy into context -
CONAN O’BRIEN ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “President Obama is in a lot of hot water. He is in hot water for saying that California’s female Attorney General Kamala Harris is good looking. When asked for comment, Bill Clinton said ‘that guy is out of control.’”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
The presidency and baseball and inexorably tied – from the presidential first pitch to inviting championship baseball teams to the White House.
And much of that started when President Ulysses S. Grant invited the first professional team – the Cincinnati Red Stockings – to the White House in 1869.
While Grant started the fire between the presidency and baseball, his predecessors carried the torch.
President Benjamin Harrison was the first president to attend a Major League Baseball game – an 1892 contest in Washington. President William Taft, in 1909, became the first president to attend a game outside of Washington when he attended one in Pittsburgh.
Taft was somewhat of a baseball trend-setter. He was also the first president to start the tradition of a presidential first pitch when, in 1910, he did so at a Washington Senators' Opening Day game.
Every president since Taft has thrown out at least one first pitch during their presidency.
And with that, Go Nats!
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Where have all the presidential baseball fans gone? No correct answers today, although Matthew Gilbertson (@MattRGilbertson) gave it a few shots.
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