CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 12, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
STILL OPPOSED: RNC re-affirms its position on marriage… The Republican National Committee approved two resolutions Friday re-affirming the party's position on marriage, a move designed to mollify social conservatives angry at GOP leaders who have suggested Republicans tone down their rhetoric in opposition of same -sex marriage in order to appeal to younger voters. “Let me make crystal clear something I've said since January,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a speech before the vote on the resolutions. "While we have to do things differently, there's one thing that can't and won't change: our principles. There are some that would like us to abandon them, but as long as I'm Chairman, we'll stay true to them. Some would have us turn into Democrats-lite, but I refuse.” – Mark Preston
FRIDAY NEWS DUMP: Obama’s net worth drops in 2012 tax returns… President Barack Obama and the first family saw their income drop slightly in 2012, according to tax returns released by the White House on Friday. The returns show the president and first lady Michelle Obama earned $608,611 last year, and paid $112,214 in taxes. Sales from his best-selling books slowed even further in 2012, bringing his overall gross adjusted income down 30% compared to 2011. – Jennifer Liberto
PAUL TRUMPS RUBIO: Poll: Rand Paul more favorable than Rubio among Republicans… According to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, Rand Paul, who was elected with strong tea party support in Kentucky, comes in at 53% among Republicans, and 32% among Independents. Rubio's favorable rating among Republicans, meanwhile, is 48%. Among independents, the Florida senator is at 27%. – Ashley Killough
TESTING MISSILES OR TESTING US? Kerry visits South Korea amid North Korea's nuclear threats… Kerry is in Seoul meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se amid heightened tensions spurred by North Korea's recent nuclear threats and provocations. He landed in Seoul, about 30 miles from the demilitarized zone separating the two countries. – Jill Dougherty
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks finish sharply higher for the week. Dow, NASDAQ and S&P all gain more than 2%.
What Republican politician said this: “Because I am much like Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, I’m such an unconventional political figure.”
What caught our eye today in politics
Just over 300 Democratic delegates – that is the reason Barack Obama enters a room to "Hail to the Chief" and Hillary Clinton was called "Madame Secretary."
The 2008 race for the Democratic nomination – a race that pit then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York – was a case study in momentum and at times resembled a teeter-totter more than a political campaign.
After Obama won the Iowa caucus on January 3, 2008, his national prominence began to sky rocket. Clinton, however, stunted his momentum in the New Hampshire primary where she won by 3 percent. The win carried her to victory in Nevada. Obama, however, came back with a lopsided win in South Carolina. This back and forth continued into Super Tuesday, where both candidates claimed victory.
It wasn't until June 3, after Obama won primaries in South Dakota and Montana, that he secured enough delegates to win the nomination. Obama claimed the title of "presumptive nominee" at a speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Clinton endorsed him on June 7.
Obama went on to defeat Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the general election. Clinton became a strong Obama supporter. She vocally campaigned for her former rival and went on to become his secretary of state.
But what if Clinton's win in New Hampshire and Nevada had totally stunted Obama's momentum? What if Clinton had won more states on Super Tuesday and it was seen as an outright victory for her. Could she have done what Obama did and defeat McCain in the general election? Or would McCain have been able to defeat Clinton?
We reached out to our followers on Facebook and Twitter and the overwhelming sentiment was that Clinton still would have won.
Jane Whetstine: Hilary Clinton! McCain is a fool no matter who he ran against.
Michael Lewyn: After the financial crisis in September 08, the Dems could have nominated anyone and still beaten McCain.
Vijay Reddy: Hillary Clinton would have won easily. EASILY.
Christopher John Bee: Let me start by saying this. If McCain or Hillary became president, our country would be a way better place. I do think Hillary would have won and she would have been awesome. McCain would have been pretty decent too.
Charlene Spontaneous: McCain didn't stand a chance be it Hilary or Obama.
While McCain was nearly shut out, a few people said he would won.
Shankar Narayanan: McCain.. Only because America is not open enough to elect a woman President.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: No sense of urgency: Rocky road ahead for gun legislation in the House
As the Senate opened debate on gun control measures for the first time in nearly 20 years, the path ahead for any gun control measure in the Republican-led House of Representatives is rocky and uncertain. – Deirdre Walsh
Leading Drudge: Nuclear War 'Unavoidable'
North Korea has warned Japan that Tokyo would be the first target in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula, as it increased threats of an attack. In a commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the communist country lashed out at Tokyo's standing orders to destroy any missile heading toward Japan, threatening such actions will result in a nuclear attack against the island nation. – Charlotte Meredith
Leading HuffPo: The GOP's War On Sex
Move over "war on women," the GOP's "war on sex" is here to invade your bedroom and reproductive system. – Nick Wing
Leading Politico: Marco Rubio goes all-in on immigration bill
Marco Rubio is preparing to go all in to support sweeping immigration legislation, offering himself up as the public face of a bill that will split the Republican Party — but that his allies hope will propel him to the front of the GOP presidential sweepstakes. – Manu Raju
Leading The New York Times: Immigration Plan Sets 2011 Cutoff Date for Path-to-Legalization
Illegal immigrants who arrived after Dec. 31, 2011, would be excluded in a plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, said three people with knowledge of the negotiations. – Ashley Parker
The political bites of the day
– Health care costs are stifling global competition, says secretary –
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES KATHLEEN SEBELIUS AT A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING: “America still spends almost twice as much as any developed country in the world on health care per capita, almost twice as much. We have more people uninsured than any developed country in the world without benefits. And we live sicker and die younger than most of our competitors. So that's not a great formula for a global competition.”
– Franklin Graham urges prayer on North Korea –
EVANGELIST FRANKLIN GRAHAM, CEO OF SAMARITAN’S PURSE, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “First of all, I think we need to pray. We need to pray for our president, we need to pray that God will give him wisdom as he makes decision at this point. This is a very critical time, right now, for our country and we need to come behind our president and support him with prayer.”
– Kerry: The U.S. is ready to ‘defend our allies and defend ourselves’ –
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN SOUTH KOREA: “We are all united in the fact that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power. The rhetoric that we're hearing from North Korea is simply unacceptable by any standard. I am here to make it clear today on behalf of President Obama and the citizens of the United States and our bilateral security agreement, that the United States will, if needed, defend our allies and defend ourselves.”
– North Korea is late to the party –
JAY LENO ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “North Korea officials are planning a cyber-attack on the U.S. in an effort to bring our economy to a halt. Nice try, guys. You're five years too late.”
– No helmets, hats or beanies for POTUS –
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AFTER BEING PRESENETED WITH A FITTED U.S. NAVY HELMET AT A WHITE HOUSE EVENT: “That's the official Navy helmet fitted for me. Pretty sharp, huh? Alright. Here's the general rule – you don't put stuff on your head if you're President. So, that's Politics 101. You never look good wearing something on your head.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
During the heat of the campaign, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich compared himself with two Republican political heavyweights: President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
“I think a big mistake on my part was to try to bring in conventional consultants,” Gingrich said during a CNN interview. “Because I am much like Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, I'm such an unconventional political figure that you really need to design a unique campaign that fits the way I operate and what I'm trying to do.”
Gingrich’s statement came near the peak of his campaign’s upswing. While the candidate suffered mightily in the first few months of the campaign, he recovered in late 2011.
Thatcher passed away earlier this week and the British Prime Minister’s office announced on Friday that Gingrich will be attending the conservative leader’s funeral.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Matthew Gilbertson (@MattRGilbertson) for correctly answering the last Gut Check trivia question of the week. Have a good weekend, all.
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