CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 29, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: Pentagon steps up planning for potential military intervention in Syria… “There is intensified planning in the works as more precise information comes in on the Syrian regime's potential use of chemical weapons and the body of evidence grows,” a senior administration official said. The official, who has direct knowledge of the effort, declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation. If President Barack Obama were to order action, it could involve thousands of U.S. troops. But all of the options face serious military challenges. – Barbara Starr
FROM CONVENTION HOST TO TRANSPORTATION HEAD: President Barack Obama tapped Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx on Monday to head the Transportation Department. If confirmed by the Senate, Foxx would replace Ray LaHood. – Kevin Liptak
MORE COMING: Additional Cabinet picks expected this week… Obama is expected to make two more additions to his Cabinet this week when he likely nominates Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker for commerce secretary and current White House adviser Michael Froman for trade representative. – Jessica Yellin
TONIGHT: Sanford and Colbert Busch face off … Former Gov. Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch debate for the first time in their battle for South Carolina’s vacant congressional seat. – Paul Steinhauser
MARKET WATCH: S&P 500 closes at record high as tech shares spark broad rally. NASDAQ ends at highest level in 12 years.
What president owned a bar and was legally licensed to sell liquor before being elected to the White House?
There was no bigger story in 2000 than Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the presidency.
After a mishandled election process in Florida, the future of the country hung on one decision made by nine jurists in December of that year. Eventually, the court decided to end a manual vote recount in Florida that was mandated by the Florida Supreme Court, cementing Secretary of State Katherine Harris' certification of George W. Bush as the winner.
With 13 years of hindsight, however, Sandra Day O’Connor, one of the justices whose decision assured victory for Bush, expressed doubts about whether the controversial decision should have ever been decided by the high court in the first place.
“It (The Supreme Court) took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue,” O'Connor told the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune. “Maybe the court should have said, ‘We're not going to take it, goodbye.’”
Although O’Connor didn’t question her final vote on the issue, she did question the case’s standing. “Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision,” she said. “It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn't done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day.”
In response to the Tribune story, liberal commentators and pundits on Twitter exploded with disgust that a jurist could doubt a critical decision.
The real question is how could she not? Is anyone – let alone judges – ever supremely confident with every decision they made in the last 13 years? Unlikely.
As George Herbert, the English poet wrote, “He that knows nothing, doubts nothing.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Ricin letters case is wrapped up in small town intrigue
The Mississippi man accused of making a potent toxin found in letters mailed to President Barack Obama and other officials will be held without bond pending a preliminary hearing later this week, a federal magistrate ruled Monday. – Ed Payne and Vivian Kuo
Leading Drudge: War Drums: Syria
US President Barack Obama on Monday raised his concern over the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian military in a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obama also thanked Putin for his help following the Boston marathon bombings two weeks ago, and expressed condolences over a fire that killed 36 patients in a Russian psychiatric facility on Friday, the White House said.
Leading HuffPo: The Wheels Come Off: Deep Cuts Take Toll On Critical Program
Federal funding for senior nutrition has been reduced by budget cuts known as sequestration, meaning less food for old people here and elsewhere. The White House has said the cuts would mean 4 million fewer meals for seniors this year, while the Meals On Wheels Association of America put the loss at 19 million meals. In general, the federal government subsidizes only a portion of the cost of every meal, so whether individual seniors will stop receiving food really depends on the circumstances of whatever local agency serves them. – Arthur Delaney
Leading Politico: Black pols stymied in Obama era
More than five years after Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses and demolished the notion that white voters wouldn’t support a black presidential candidate, progress for other African-American politicians remains elusive. Even as the country elected and reelected Obama, making it seem increasingly unremarkable to have a black family in the White House, African-Americans are scarce and bordering on extinct in the U.S. Senate and governorships. The president is indeed exceptional — but in the wrong sense of the phrase as it applies to other black politicians. – Jonathan Martin
Leading The New York Times: Push to Require Online Sales Tax Divides the G.O.P.
Legislation that would force Internet retailers to collect sales taxes from their customers has put antitax and small-government activists like Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the Heritage Foundation in an unusual position: they’re losing. For years, conservative Republican lawmakers have been influenced heavily by the antitax activists in Washington, who have dictated outcomes and become the arbiters of what is and is not a tax increase. But on the question of Internet taxation, their voices have begun to be drowned out by the pleas of struggling retailers back home who complain that their online competitors enjoy an unfair price advantage. – Jonathan Weisman
The political bites of the day
– WH: Syrian situation would be easier with a team on the ground –
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “It is certainly easier if you are to have a team on the ground, allowed entry by the Assad regime. But we are not waiting for the process, we are moving forward, as we have already, to collect information, gather evidence, we are working with and relying on the Syrian opposition as well as our allies and partners in that effort and that effort will continue.”
– Christie, again, heralds Obama’s help on Sandy –
NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE IN AN INTERVIEW WITH MSNBC: “The president has kept every promise that he made. … Everybody knows I have about 95% level of disagreement with Barack Obama on issue of principle and philosophy, but the fact is we have a job to do. And what people expect from people they elect is to do their job and that is why they hate Washington so much.”
– Jeb Bush: Look to the states –
FORMER FLORIDA GOV. JEB BUSH IN AN OPINION EDITORIAL FOR RARE: “The conventional wisdom coming from the 2012 election was the Republican Party is in decline. We lost on messaging, tone and policies that alienated growing minority communities. What that narrative misses is that conservative principles and Republican leadership are thriving in the states, providing the way forward for the GOP.”
– Ron Paul: “Liberty Was Also Attacked in Boston” –
FORMER REP. RON PAUL OF TEXAS IN A BLOG POST: Forced lockdown of a city. Militarized police riding tanks in the streets. Door-to-door armed searches without warrant. Families thrown out of their homes at gunpoint to be searched without probable cause. Businesses forced to close. Transport shut down. … The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city. This unprecedented move should frighten us as much or more than the attack itself.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
If you had visited New Salem, Illinois, for a few short months in 1833, you would have been able to have a future president of the United States serve you a brandy.
President Abraham Lincoln is the only president of the United States who, before entering the White House, owned a liquor license.
After moving to New Salem in 1831, Lincoln opened a small store with a friend of his – William F. Berry – and on March 6, 1833, the store was granted a liquor license for $7.
According to a book about Lincoln’s time in New Salem, written by Benjamin P. Thomas, the store sold a half-pint of French Brandy for 25 cents and a whisky for 12.5 cents. The salon also put people up for the night – at a cost of 12.5 cents – and served meals, which cost 25 cents, the same as a glass of wine.
Lincoln’s time as a barkeep was short lived, however. According to the same book, Berry had a problem with alcohol and abused the privileges of the liquor license. So, in April 1833, Lincoln sold his share of the store to Berry and got out of the fleeting business.
“In debt and out of a job, he said in his autobiography that he was reduced to the elemental problem of securing bread to keep body and soul together,” Thomas writes in his book. “Many men in similar circumstances would have blamed the town for their failure, and moved away, leaving their debts unpaid. But Lincoln remained. He believed that if he could succeed anywhere he could do so at New Salem.”
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Jonathan M. Williams on Facebook for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing email@example.com
WANT TO SIGN UP?
Do you have a friend who wants to sign up for GUT CHECK or our new CNNPolitics Breaking News Alerts? Click here, log on and scroll down.