CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 23, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: Ricin letter suspect released… Paul Kevin Curtis, charged with sending Ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and other officials, was released suddenly from custody Tuesday, said the U.S. Marshal’s office in Mississippi. Chief Deputy Jeff Woodfin did not know the circumstances of the release, only that Curtis was no longer in federal custody. – Bill Mears
CAUSE: A false tweet heard around the web… A tweet by the nation’s largest newswire about a catastrophe at the White House was nearly immediately shot down as false on Tuesday. The Associated Press message read, “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” The group Syrian Electronic Army, behind previous hacks of the BBC and CBS News, claimed responsibility for the false message on its website.
EFFECT: Stocks rebound after fake tweet spooks investors… The market briefly tanked after a fake Associated Press tweet said there were explosions at the White House, but the AP said its Twitter account was hacked and stocks quickly bounced back.
MARKET WATCH: All three major U.S. indexes add more than 1% on strong corporate earnings. Dow jumps 152 points.
What one key program did President Franklin D. Roosevelt leave Vice President Harry Truman in the dark over?
When a provision of gun legislation – expanded background checks – failed to receive the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate last week, the will of nearly 90 percent of the America people who supported it was lost in the halls of Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, shelved the gun bill for the time being, but noted that he and President Barack Obama plan to revisit it in the future. But that doesn't mean government isn't responding to the overwhelming support for background checks.
States such as Connecticut, Delaware and New York have passed new gun control laws since 20 children and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December. The Maryland House and Senate have also passed new gun regulations that Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley will sign into law.
Led by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey may become the latest to impose stricter gun controls. In an announcement that received little attention because of the national focus on the Boston Marathon bombings last week, Christie heralded a proposal that would pin gun ownership to mental-health verification, create stiffer penalties for gun-trafficking, strengthen parental consent for violent video games and ban certain rifles.
Some critics say Christie's proposal is "gun safety light.” But with the latest CNN/ORC International poll finding 86% of the public supporting some form of background checks not currently required by law, Christie is far from walking a tightrope without a net.
Christie's announcement is just another example of how certain states are bowing to public sentiment at a much faster rate than Congress and the White House.
Take same-sex marriage. Over the past three years, support of recognizing same-sex marriage has exceeded 50%, with the latest CNN poll finding that 56% of people say the federal government should recognize same-sex marriage. In 2012, Maryland, Maine and Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage, and legislatures in Rhode Island and Delaware are considering similar laws.
During that same time, North Carolina voters opted to pass a same-sex marriage ban, but that is the only one approved since 2008. Prior to North Carolina, 37 states banned same-sex marriage through legislation or constitutional amendments over a 10-year period.
It is unclear how Reid and Obama will revisit the gun issue. As for same-sex marriage, when do you think Congress, if ever, will address this issue?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Biden, McCain to have a chat
They were once on opposing presidential tickets, but Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. John McCain will sit down for a public conversation next week in Sedona, Arizona. Biden and McCain will share the stage as they open a dinner for the annual forum at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University.
Leading Drudge: Tax, Tax, Tax
Tax-free shopping on the Internet could be in jeopardy under a bill making its way through the Senate. The bill would empower states to require online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. The sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives. – Stephen Ohlemacher for the AP
Leading HuffPo: No Excuses: Boehner, Ryan Out Of Step With Gop Stance
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) each said Monday that the Boston Marathon bombings should not scuttle efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. “If we fix our immigration system, it may actually help us understand who all is here, why they're here and what legal status they have,” Boehner said on Fox News. – Preston Maddock
Leading Politico: Terror takes a front seat
President Barack Obama wasn’t shy about invoking Osama bin Laden’s killing during the 2012 campaign — but when it comes to his larger approach to terrorism he’s pursued a policy of speaking softly and ordering lots of drone strikes. That delicate balance was shattered by the Boston Marathon attack, thrusting a downplayed anti-terror campaign into the spotlight and the issue of terrorism to the top of Obama’s second-term priorities, at least in the short term. – Glenn Thrush and Jennifer Epstein
Leading The New York Times: In Gun Bill Defeat, a President Who Hesitates to Twist Arms
The White House defended President Obama’s efforts on the legislation intended to reduce gun violence, but the president has long struggled to master his relationship with Congress. – Michael Shear and Peter Baker
The political bites of the day
- On sequester, White House takes aim at McConnell’s -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “I find it fascinating that Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, is decrying the sequester that he decried in the past and then supported. This is a result of the sequester being implemented. We made it clear that there would be these kinds of negative effects if Congress failed to take reasonable action to avert the sequester.”
- Grassley looks to clarify terrorism-immigration connection -
REPUBLICAN SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, RANKING MEMBER OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, IN A HEARING: “There is a lot of talk about immigration reform in light of recent terrorism cases. I have not advocated that we quit talking about immigration reform, rather I am advocating that we carefully review the immigration laws and the administrative policies in place to ensure that we are addressing critical national security issues. The tragic events that occurred in Boston and the potential terrorist attacks of the U.S. – Canadian railroad are reminders that our immigration system is directly related to our sovereignty and national security matters.”
- Collins makes rare appearance with Republican colleagues, decries FAA cuts -
REPUBLICAN SEN. SUSAN COLLINS OF MAINE AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “I believe that this is a manufactured crisis. There are many options that the FAA itself and the Department of Transportation as a whole has to avoid this impact, this disastrous impact on the traveling public. The FAA administers the airport improvement program. It is estimated that as much as $700 million will be returned in unobligated funds to the FAA to be re-competed through a grant program. This money instead with legislatively authority from Congress could be used to offset the $206 million cost of furloughing the air traffic controllers.”
- Rush attacks Obama over terrorism -
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “He's trying to convince everybody's Al-Qaeda's on the run. He's trying to convince everybody he's defeated terrorism. He's trying to convince everybody - for the advancement of his agenda - that we beat it back. Remember, this guy wants to cut the defense budget dramatically.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a stroke on April 12, 1945, Vice President Harry Truman had a lot of catching up to do: The late four-term president had left his successor in the dark on a number of programs.
The most important being the secret atomic bomb project.
With the war in Europe nearly over once Truman took office and the Japanese in the Pacific near their breaking point, the possibility of using the bomb was nearing a head early in his unexpected term.
Truman first learned that atomic bomb testing had been successful on July 16, while he was traveling to Europe for the Potsdam Conference, the meeting that decided how to punish the Germans for their defeat in World War II. At the meeting, Truman hinted to Joseph Stalin, the leader of the USSR, that the United States had successfully tested the bomb and the Allied leaders agreed Japan must unconditionally surrender for the war to be over.
Japan rejected that decree, so Truman directed the Department of War to use the bomb any time after August 3, 1945. Two atom bombs were used in the following week – August 6 on Hiroshima and August 9 on Nagasaki. Some estimates say as many as a quarter of a million people died as a result of their use.
In a letter to a newspaper columnist, Truman defended the atomic bomb long after he authorized its use. “I knew what I was doing when I stopped the war,” Truman wrote in 1963. “I have no regrets and, under the same circumstances, I would do it again.”
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