CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 6, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
MENTOR VS. MENTEE: IMMIGRATION REFORM PITS DEMINT VS. RUBIO… On Friday, Sen. Marco Rubio described former Sen. Jim DeMint as a “great man” and a “mentor.” On Monday, DeMint ran roughshod over the Senate immigration reform effort in part spearheaded by Rubio. – Ashley Killough
LATEST FROM BOSTON: A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation tells CNN that investigators believe that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the one accessing Inspire magazine on the computer that came from the Cambridge apartment that he and his wife – Katherine Russell – shared. The official confirmed not only that the computer had Inspire magazine and other materials of interest on it, but that the Inspire materials included instructions on bomb-making. – Carol Cratty
MARKET WATCH: S&P closes at a record high of 1,618. NASDAQ adds 0.4%, while the Dow slips 4 points.
Who was the first president to visit all 50 states while in office?
Nearly nine months after four Americans were killed in Benghazi,
Republicans continue to seek answers from the Obama administration about what exactly happened and why more wasn’t done to stop the terrorist attack.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is pointing to testimony that Greg Hicks gave to GOP investigators last month, where Hicks expressed concern that more could have been done by the military to protect the U.S. compound and annex that came under attack on September 11 and 12. Hicks is a former top U.S. diplomat in Libya and he is scheduled to testify Wednesday at a public Congressional hearing.
CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash report that Hicks wondered why the U.S. military did not send a plane as a show of force into Libyan airspace, and why four U.S. Special Operations soldiers were not permitted to travel to Benghazi on a Libyan plane the morning of September 12.
The senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Committee, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, is questioning the validity of the GOP investigation.
“Members of Congress have an obligation to actually investigate claims before coming to conclusions and making public accusations,” Cummings said in a statement. “Unfortunately, House Republicans have taken the opposite approach.”
Cummings charged that the GOP “have leaked snippets of interview transcripts to national media outlets in a selective and distorted manner to drum up publicity for their hearing.”
But Issa, a California Republican, dismissed that charge in an interview Bash.
“I think the better question is, ‘Why aren't the Democrats just as upset that we didn’t do all we could do to save American lives?” Issa asked. “Remember, Greg Hicks, Mark Thompson, these are career professionals. These are people who do not have politics on their mind. They're just coming as witnesses to tell us the truth.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: In South Carolina politics, two very different campaign styles
The race for the open U.S. House seat in South Carolina's special election Tuesday showcases two very different candidates with two very different campaign styles. Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch is criss-crossing the district in a fully wrapped tour bus with her name plastered along the outside. It's a look that evokes a presidential campaign. She travels with an entourage that, this weekend, included Jon Bauman, better known as Bowzer from the rock group Sha Na Na. He goes with her to rallies and sings a few chords from "Blue Moon," ending with "Vote for Colbert Busch" in his booming low voice. – Matt Hoye
Leading Drudge: Gore $200 Million Cash In Bank!
In 1999, Al Gore, then U.S. vice president and a Democratic candidate for president, sold $6,000 worth of cows. Fourteen years later, he made an estimated $100 million in a single month. In January, the Current TV network, which he helped to start in 2004, was sold to Qatari-owned Al Jazeera Satellite Network for about $500 million. After debt, he grossed an estimated $70 million for his 20 percent stake, according to people familiar with the transaction. – Kevin Wells and Ari Levy for Bloomberg
Leading HuffPo: 'Rough Business': 'Ugly' Battle Looms Over Bipartisan Push
As a Senate committee prepares to begin voting this week on far-reaching immigration legislation, advocates are watching warily to see whether relatively tame opposition balloons into the kind of fierce resistance that killed Congress' last attempt to overhaul the system. – Erica Werner for the AP
Leading Politico: Gang of Eight plots path to Senate supermajority
Senate immigration negotiators are targeting as many as two dozen Republicans for a show-of-force majority — which they believe may be the only way a reform bill will have the momentum to force the House to act. Reform proponents are looking for votes far beyond the usual moderate suspects to senators in conservative bastions such as Utah, Georgia and Wyoming. – Carrie Budoff Brown
Leading The New York Times: Stories of Struggle and Creativity as Sequestration Cuts Hit Home
The federal budget cuts known as sequestration are being felt across the country, with some programs coping, some struggling and others closing their doors. – Jonathan Weisman
The political bites of the day
– WH remains abundantly cautious on Syria –
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “The fact of the matter is jumping to conclusions and acting before you have all the facts is not a good recipe for weighty policy decision making. We have seen in the not too recent past, I mean not too distant past the consequences of acting before we had all the facts and that's why this president insists that we get all the facts. The intelligence assessments we have are extremely valuable and significant which is why we publicly released that information in a letter of response to some senators, but it is not sufficient to make the kind of determinations that the President will make if and when we can state clearly that a red line has been crossed, that chemical weapons have been used, that the Assad regime has deployed them against the Syrian people.”
– Think tanks refute the Heritage Foundation report –
A WRITTEN STATEMENT FROM THE BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER: “Recent reports have claimed that legalizing the current undocumented population, as proposed by the Senate Gang of Eight, will cost our country $6.3 trillion. We strongly believe that this study’s modeling and assumptions are fundamentally flawed because they do not account for the many contributions that an appropriately reformed immigration system can afford our economy and our country.”
CATO INSTITUTE IMMIGRATION POLICY ANALYST ALEX NOWRASTEH IN AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID DRUCKER: “So far, this Heritage study is as flawed and error-prone as the 2007 version. Their net-fiscal cost accounting is non-dynamic and does not take account of changes in the economy that would result from immigration, including an increase in GDP, native worker productivity, and in wages for the majority of American workers that all result in higher tax revenue. Still reading through it though so I might be pleasantly surprised.”
– DOD concerned about China’s ‘military modernization’ –
DAVID HELVEY, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, AT A PENTAGON PRESS BRIEFING: “What concerns me is the extent to which China's military modernization occurs, in the absence of the type of openness and transparency that others are certainly asking of China, and the potential implications and consequences of that lack of transparency on the security calculations of others in the region. And so it's that uncertainty that I think is a greater concern.”
– Biden’s dirty joke –
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, STAR OF THE HBO HIT SERIES VEEP: “It was so much fun! He's such a wonderful man. He's so affable and charming. It was incredible. We have lunch together, and he was trying to be funny. … He says, 'Hey, does your husband like to sleep with the vice president, because I'm trying to convince Jill it's a good idea!”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
When President Richard Nixon touched down in Greenville, Delaware for a Republican fundraiser in 1971, he became the first commander-in-chief to visit all 50 states as president.
While on the trip, according to an AP story from the day, Nixon press secretary Ronald L. Ziegler was “not bashful about explaining Nixon's unprecedented visit to 50 states in less than three years.”
Ziegler said, according to the story, the travel was consistent with Nixon's opinion that it was important for a president to meet people throughout the country he leads.
“He has done that,” Ziegler said. "I think he will continue to do that."
Since Nixon, most presidents have reached the 50 state-mark. President George H.W. Bush hit all 50 states in his one term as president. It took President Bill Clinton nearly eight full years – he accomplished the feat at the end of his presidency with a trip to Nebraska in December 2000.
President George W. Bush visited 39 states in first year as president, but never got to 50. The only state he missed: Vermont.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Stefan Becket (@stefanjbecket) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Nice work.
Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits: email@example.com
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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.