CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 10, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
WHAT'S IN OBAMA'S BUDGET: President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed a $3.77 trillion budget for 2014 that would cut deficits by $1.8 trillion over the next decade. Obama's budget blueprint - which has already drawn criticism from the left and the right - offers changes to Medicare and Social Security. It also includes tax increases that would primarily hit high-income households and corporations. – Jeanne Sahadi
SURPLUS ON PRINTING: The budget is 2,460 pages, including the historical tables and the appendix, and weighs a whopping 5.55 pounds.
HIT FROM LEFT: “I made a promise to the people of Rhode Island that I would always oppose cuts to Social Security, and I’m going to keep that promise,” wrote Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in a written statement. “I cannot support a proposal that would force seniors to pay for deficits Social Security had no part in creating.”
PRAISED FROM RIGHT… SORT OF: “He (Obama) does deserve some credit for some incremental entitlement reforms that he has outlined in his budget, but I would hope that he would not hold hostage these modest reforms for his demand for bigger tax hikes.”
MARKET WATCH: Dow and S&P end at record highs. Tech sector leads the rally, sending NASDAQ 1.8% higher.
Ten years ago today, President George W. Bush told Iraqis that “Your nation will soon be free.” How did he get this message to the Iraqi people?
All political sex scandals are not created equal.
Circumstance, timing and level of public outcry all dictate the level with which a wayward politician must atone for his or her sins. But in spite of these differences, one result of a political downfall remains true: politicians almost always look to bounce back.
Which brings us to today’s lesson in the politics of redemption.
What caught our eye was what caught almost everyone’s attention: The comprehensive New York Times Magazine story about Anthony Weiner – the disgraced Democratic New York congressman who resigned office in 2011 after tweeting lewd pictures to multiple women – and his wife, Huma Abedin, a close aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Weiner makes no bones about it in the article: He is looking for a comeback and in particular, the New York City mayor's race in 2013.
“I do recognize, to some degree, it’s now or maybe never for me, in terms of running for something,” Weiner told the newspaper. “I’m trying to gauge not only what’s right and what feels comfortable right this second, but I’m also thinking, How will I feel in a year or two years or five years? Is this the time that I should be doing it? And then there’s the other side of the coin, which is . . . am I still the same person who I thought would make a good mayor?”
Weiner’s rebirth, whether a success or a failure, will be the next chapter in what has become an epically long book on political redemption.
“I want to ask people to give me a second chance," Weiner said in the article. "I do want to have that conversation with people whom I let down and with people who put their faith in me and who wanted to support me. I think to some degree I do want to say to them, ‘Give me another chance.’"
This should sound familiar.
Politicians looking for redemption aren’t starved for company. Quite the opposite, the club is crowded: President Grover Cleveland in 1884, Sen. Gary Hart for president in 1988, President Bill Clinton throughout the 2000s and so on.
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is the most recent redeemer. Just four years after Sanford lied to his constituents and abandoned the state for a week to have an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina, Sanford won a runoff for South Carolina’s First Congressional seat by defeating Charleston County Councilman Curtis Bostic by 15 points. The general election next month and Sanford will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.
Before the primary, Gut Check wrote that Sanford needed voters to “accept his apology.” “I've experienced how none of us go through life without mistakes,” Sanford said in a straight to the camera ad. “But in their wake we can learn a lot about grace, a God of second chances and be the better for it.”
Republican voters in South Carolina have accepted Sanford’s apology and now we wait to see what happens in the general election.
And with that, Weiner may be looking – though from afar – to see what happens in the Sanford race. An odd couple no doubt: the once unabashedly, in-your-face liberal congressman and the tea-party-before-the-tea-party-was-cool former governor.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Pass the salt: GOP senators to dine with Obama
On a day with gun control and the federal budget in the spotlight, President Barack Obama will continue his congressional outreach Wednesday night when he dines with Senate Republicans in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. This marks Obama second dinner with Senate Republicans in a little more than a month, though the guest list is expected to be different from the last meet-up. – Steve Brusk, Jessica Yellin and Gabriella Schwarz
Leading Drudge: 32 Gun Purchases Every Minute Under Obama
During Barack Obama's presidency there have been 32 background checks for gun purchases every minute. Since February of 2009, the first full month of Obama's presidency, there have been 70,291,049 background checks for gun purchases, according to data released by the FBI. – Gregory Gwyn-Williams Jr. for CNS News
Leading HuffPo: No Butts: Obama Plan Pits Kids Against Cigarettes
President Barack Obama's 2014 budget pits education activists against the tobacco industry by proposing to help fund a new early childhood education program with a tax hike on tobacco. The education advocates took up that fight early Wednesday. The Center for American Progress, a left-wing think tank with close ties to the administration, released an analysis showing the expansion is badly needed. – Joy Resmovits
Leading Politico: Obama budget: Don't rock the boat
President Barack Obama’s second-term vision, rolled out in a Wednesday budget proposal, turns out to be little more than a call for a do-over on deficit reduction — a cautious approach as he courts Congress on other issues, including guns and immigration reform. The centerpiece of the thousands of pages of text and tables is a carbon copy of a deal he offered Republicans last December, before the two sides signed off on a smaller fiscal cliff deal. – Jonathan Allen
Leading The New York Times: Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal on Checks of Gun Buyers
A bipartisan collection of senators on Wednesday announced a compromise measure to expand background checks for gun buyers, increasing the chances that a viable package of new gun safety laws will soon hit the Senate floor. – Jennifer Steinhauer
The political bites of the day
- Senators announce bipartisan background check compromise -
REPUBLICAN SEN. PAT TOOMEY OF PENNSYLVANIA IN A CAPITOL HILL NEWS CONFERENCE: “The common ground rests on a simple proposition and that is that criminals and the dangerously mentally ill shouldn’t have guns. … So if we start with the notion that dangerous criminals and dangerously mentally ill people shouldn’t have guns the question is how can we accomplish that? Background checks are not a cure all but they can be helpful.”
DEMOCRATIC SEN. JOE MANCHIN OF WEST VIRGINIA IN A CAPITOL HILL NEWS CONFERENCE: “They (gun owners) understand this is common sense. This is gun sense. We are not infringing on their rights as an individual citizen but basically if you are going to go to a gun show you should be subjected the same as if you went to the gun store.”
Gut Check Full Service: Where is Chuck Schumer? When Toomey and Manchin announced the background check compromise, absent was another lawmaker with a long history of advocating for gun control: Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat. Two sources familiar with the situation told CNN that Toomey did not think it was a good idea for Schumer to attend the press conference announcing a bipartisan background check deal, because Toomey feared it would antagonize the powerful National Rifle Association. – Dana Bash
- NRA: Background checks don’t help -
A WRITTEN STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: “Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. … The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson.”
Gut Check Full Service: “Sen. Toomey Betrays Gun Owners,” says Gun Owners of America in an email to supporters.
- FLOTUS parrots POTUS, says gun bill ‘deserves a vote’ -
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA IN A SPEECH AT A YOUTH VIOLENCE EVENT IN CHICAGO: “Right now my husband is fighting as hard as he can and engaging as many people as he can to pass common sense reforms to protect our children from gun violence and these reforms deserve a vote in Congress.”
CNN Poll: Importance of guns soars, as do gun owner concerns… A majority of Americans generally favor stricter gun control laws, and there has been a big jump in the number of Americans who say that gun policy is extremely important, according to a new national poll. But a CNN/ORC International survey released Wednesday also indicates that the increase is only good enough to move gun control to the middle of the pack when it comes to the issues that Americans think are most important to deal with over the next year.
- Boehner leans toward enforcing current gun laws -
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER AT A NEWS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “One of the issues that we have today is that if there is a background check required that they don’t actually check all the backgrounds and that is what I was suggesting. We are not enforcing the laws that we have on the books today. So if we are going to have a background check that is in the law, let’s make sure we do a real background check, which in not all cases actually happens.”
Gut Check DVR: The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer will air an hour-long special – Guns Under Fire – at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and a representative from Gun Owners of America will examine whether the Toomey-Manchin legislation will even help prevent the next mass shooting.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
More than a month after he declared major combat operations were over in Iraq, President George W. Bush used Towards Freedom TV, a Middle East television station, to air a message directly to the Iraqi people.
In the message, Bush told viewers that America’s war was not with the Iraqi people, but with “Saddam's brutal regime.”
“And that regime is your enemy as well,” he said.
“In the new era that is coming to Iraq, your country will no longer be held captive to the will of a cruel dictator,” Bush implored. “You will be free to build a better life, instead of building more palaces for Saddam and his sons, free to pursue economic prosperity without the hardship of economic sanctions, free to travel and speak your mind, free to join in the political affairs of Iraq.”
Bush closed by saying, “You deserve to live as free people. And I assure every citizen of Iraq: your nation will soon be free.”
The broadcast was paired with a similar speech by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which was also aired on Towards Freedom TV.
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