CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 24, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
WHO IS MAILING RICIN? FBI searches for clues in ricin investigation… FBI agents on Wednesday searched the former martial arts studio of a Tupelo, Mississippi man in connection with the investigation into ricin-tainted letters sent to President Barack Obama and other officials, the man's lawyer, Lori Basham, told CNN. Agents in hazardous materials suits had searched James Everett Dutschke's home on Tuesday, the same day prosecutors dropped charges against another man arrested last week on suspicion of sending the letters.
HOW WILL HISTORY REMEMBER GEORGE W. BUSH? The view of George W. Bush's presidency has improved with time, according to a CNN/ORC International Poll. Forty-two percent now say his presidency was a success, up 11 points since a CNN poll in January 2009, during his final days in office. Fifty-five percent of those questioned say Bush's presidency was a failure, down 13 percentage points since 2009. – Paul Steinhauser
TUNE IN: President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush sit down with Chief National Correspondent John King to discuss key moments during his presidency, his legacy and the opening of his presidential library tonight at 10 p.m. ET on Anderson Cooper 360. On Thursday, the First Lady will take King on a tour of the presidential library in a segment that will air at 8:30 a.m. ET on Starting Point. CNN will have special coverage Thursday of the library dedication, which will be attended by all of the living U.S. Presidents. For full coverage, watch CNN and go online at CNN.com.
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end mostly lower on mixed batch of earnings and economic data. Dow falls 43 points.
The Library of Congress was established on this day in 1800. How much money did Congress first appropriate for the Library?
The president of the United States is consistently the most talked about person in the country with nearly every American having formed an opinion about him as a person and his job performance.
And then the president leaves office because of term limits, a decision not to run again or a loss in November. With that there is no more White House address, Oval Office speeches, critical decisions being made in the Situation Room or the power of the bully pulpit.
But as a president walks away, history begins to take root as college professors, biographers and presidential historians start to take long reflective looks at his time in office.
And that should make former presidents happy.
“History has a way of making presidents, in most cases, look better than they looked during their administration,” said James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies at American University.
As President George W. Bush temporarily re-enters the spotlight with the opening of his presidential library in Dallas tomorrow, will history give Bush the same treatment it gave to his predecessors?
Several presidential scholars including Thurber told Gut Check that Bush’s legacy will be more favorably as time goes on.
“George W. Bush was right at the bottom of the polls at the end of his second term and you certainly come up from that,” Thurber said. “I think he will be viewed through the lens of 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, primarily therefore for his anti-terror activities.”
Near the end of Bush’s time in office, the president hit his lowest point: Only 25% of the country approved of the job he was doing, according to an October 2008 Gallup poll.
Even though Bush left office with the country engaged in two wars and a struggling economy, presidential historian Dave Nichols said several of his predecessors exited during far more turbulent times.
“Hoover leaves in the depth of the depression, Nixon leaves during Watergate and Buchannan leaves during the outbreak of the Civil War,” Nichols said. “If something cataclysmic happens just before a president leaves office, they end up having a tough time recovering.”
So how will history view Bush 43? Tell us your thoughts and we will publish some of the responses in Friday’s edition.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Biden says 'knock-off jihadis' can't break American spirit
Two brothers accused of bombing the Boston Marathon and later killing an MIT police officer are "twisted, perverted, cowardly knock-off jihadis" who failed to instill fear in the American people, Vice President Joe Biden said at a memorial service for the slain officer on Wednesday. – Kevin Liptak
Leading Drudge: Vicious Bird Flu Jumps To Taiwan
Taiwan on Wednesday reported the first case of the H7N9 bird flu outside of mainland China. The 53-year-old man, who had been working in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, showed symptoms three days after returning to Taiwan via Shanghai, the Centers for Disease Control said, adding that he had been hospitalized since April 16 and was in a critical condition.
Leading HuffPo: It Begins: 15-Pt. Plunge For GOP Sen. After Gun Vote
A new poll has New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte down a total of 15 points from her previous approval rating in a survey that followed her vote against requiring background checks for firearms purchases. Ayotte's plunge underscores the changing politics around gun control and gun safety. In years past, lawmakers worried that a vote for gun control would bring the anger of the National Rifle Association. In the new reality, votes against gun control also carry a political risk, as the Ayotte (R) poll indicates. – Ryan Grim and Ariel Edwards-Levy
Leading Politico: Jeb battles Bush fatigue
Jeb Bush can check the boxes needed to win the White House — money, résumé and connections. But he’s also got a problem: his last name. – Anna Palmer
Leading The New York Times: S.E.C. Gets Plea: Force Companies to Disclose Donations
The Securities and Exchange Commission may soon require publicly traded corporations to disclose all of their political donations, and business groups are already preparing a counterattack. – Nicholas Confessore
The political bites of the day
– Congress, White House go back and forth on sequestration and the FAA –
REPUBLICAN REP. BILL SHUSTER, CHAIR OF THE TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE, AT A PRESS CONFERENCE: “We have an FAA problem now we're dealing with. This administration is implementing sequestration to cause the most pain on the traveling public that it possibly can. There's about 80 million people that use the – who fly every month and with the way they're implementing it, across the board cuts without any thought to the implementation is going to cause delays in our air space.”
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “The sequester was a law written by Congress. Congress wrote the law. Congress passed the law. Members of Congress should read the law. The law does not allow for the kind of flexibility when it comes to the FAA budget that some of these members, Republicans principally, all claim it has. They should read the law. They wrote it, they should know what's in it. They passed it. They voted for it. They should know what's in it.”
– Obama’s position on the Bush years –
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NBC: “Obviously we had some deep disagreements in terms of policy. But there's no doubt that anybody who takes on this job has a greater appreciation for the challenge that's involved and it is a humbling job. You know you're going to make some mistakes. You know that there are going to be times where you wish you could roll back the clock.”
– Congressional Republicans continue push on Benghazi –
REPUBLICAN REP. DARRELL ISSA, CHAIRMAN OF THE OVERSIGHT & GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE, AT A PRESS CONFERENCE: “It tells the American people a story that needs to be told and has not yet been completed. The story is we did not protect our people in Benghazi. The embassy asked for more security, Secretary Clinton cabled back `no’ in April 2012. On the very day, September 11, that the ambassador was killed along with three of his colleagues he said `it is not a question of if, but when this attack will come.’ Today Congress has not yet seen a plan that ensures this will never happen again.”
– Napolitano: ‘No derogatory information as to either brother’ –
JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY, IN A SPEECH TO THE AMERICAN HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION: “The asylum system itself requires a lot of re-vetting, re-interviewing as people go through it. When they are vetted, they're vetted against all of our law enforcement holdings, all of the National Counterterrorism Center holdings, and virtually all the Department of Defense holdings. And they are vetted from the time they apply to the time between when they're told they're going to be a citizen and they actually take the oath at a ceremony. So we're continually re-vetting, going back, checking, checking, checking, checking. In this instance in Boston, the systems contained no derogatory information as to either brother.”
– Democrats clash in Massachusetts Senate debate –
REP. STEVE LYNCH AT A TELEVISED DEBATE: “I don’t want to call you a liar, but you are. … I take it back, you’re not a liar, you’re just misinformed.”
REP. ED MARKEY: “He is incorrigible here.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
The establishment of the Library of Congress was actually part of a larger decision: to move the U.S. capital from Philadelphia to Washington.
When President John Adam approved that legislation, a whopping $5,000 was appropriated to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress – and for putting up a suitable apartment for containing them therein.”
The library was initially housed in the Capitol, but when the British set fire to the building in 1814, all the original contents of the initial library were destroyed. In response, President Thomas Jefferson offered his comprehensive library as a replacement.
Jefferson also acknowledged that he had a few books that Congress may not be happy to include in the collection.
“I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection,” Jefferson wrote. “There is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.”
According to the Library of Congress, Jefferson was paid $23,950 for his 6,487 books.
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