CNN's GUT CHECK for May 10, 2013
May 10th, 2013
04:14 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 10, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 10, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Friday the only changes made by the White House and the State Department to CIA talking points on the deadly Benghazi attack last year was a decision to change the description of the targeted facility from a consulate to a diplomatic post. Carney also said the Obama administration did not want to “jump to conclusions” about who may have been responsible for the Benghazi attack “before we had the facts,” adding later that we “were very open about what was known.”

TALKING POINTS: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION E-MAILS RAISE NEW QUESTIONS ON BENGHAZI An e-mail discussion about talking points the Obama administration used to describe the deadly attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, show the White House and State Department were more involved than they first said in the decision to remove an initial CIA assessment that a group with ties to al Qaeda was involved, according to CNN sources with knowledge of the e-mails.

INVESTIGATING THE IRS: Carney called for an investigation at the IRS into why the tax authority delayed tea party group applications. “My understanding is this matter is under investigation by the IG at the IRS,” he said at today’s White House press briefing. “The IRS, as you know, is an independent enforcement agency with only two political appointees. The fact of the matter is what we know about this is of concern and we certainly find the actions taken as reported to be inappropriate. And we would fully expect the investigation to be thorough and for corrections to be made.”

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks continue upward climb, ending higher for third straight week. Dow and S&P are just below record highs.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
What current member of Congress worked as the assistant wrestling coach for the Ohio State University?

MARK (@PrestonCNN) & DAN (@DanMericaCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

When Alabama Gov. George Wallace entered the Democratic presidential field on January 13, 1972, he was an experienced candidate who had run two times before. Yet, he had a steep climb ahead of him as he was carrying a lot of heavy baggage given his former views on racial issues.

There were 13 Democrats vying for the party's presidential nomination, including George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey. Running as an outsider and speaking directly to disenchanted voters, the former Alabama governor went from fringe candidate to legitimate contender when he won every single county in the Florida primary.

For four months, the Wallace campaign was running smoothly and picking up Southern states like Tennessee and North Carolina.

That momentum, however, was stymied when, on May 15, 1972, Arthur Bremer shot Wallace four times while the candidate was campaigning in Laurel, Maryland. Although the assassination attempt was not successful – Wallace did not die – the candidate was paralyzed from the waist down.

The shooting effectively ended the Wallace campaign, even though he won two primaries – Maryland and Michigan – after the assassination attempt.

Although McGovern would eventually win the Democratic Party's nomination, he was trounced in the general election by incumbent President Richard Nixon.

But what if Wallace had not been shot and paralyzed in Maryland? What if his momentum and polling numbers continued to grow and he snatched the nomination from McGovern? Could Wallace have defeated Nixon in the 1972 presidential election?

We reached out to our followers on Facebook, Twitter and via email and the majority of the sentiment was that Nixon would have still won the 1972 presidential election.

Jonathan M. Williams: That's a very unlikely scenario... My guess is that had Wallace not been shot, he would still have lost the nomination to either McGovern or Humphrey; then re-entered the fall campaign under his 1968 American Independent Party. One thing seems rather certain; a continued 1972 Wallace effort would have thwarted a Nixon landslide.

Michael Burton: Nixon would have easily won that contest. For better or worse, Watergate break in or not, I think he would have beaten anyone put up against him in 1972.

Joseph Byrn: Nixon won by a huge landslide in 1972. My guess is that he still would have won, maybe not by a landslide.

John Lutton: Nixon would have won in landslide. Wallace had lots of sympathy for his cause but Nixon had a conservative and running start on him.

Many of those who spoke out against Wallace used his history with racism to discredit the candidate.

Patricia Garabrant: I would hope that Wallace wouldn't have won, he was another Democrat racist.

Jackson Linford: "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever" -George Wallace

Not everyone, however, agreed that Nixon would have continued his 1972 landslide victory.

Allison Cox: Interesting. I remember the news of Wallace being shot. If he or Humphrey had won, we would not have had Watergate.

Bhawani Singh: George Wallace any day

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Following tea party complaints, IRS admits 'mistakes'
Responding to a flurry of complaints from conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, the Internal Revenue Service admitted Friday it made "mistakes" in the last few years while trying to process those requests. Multiple tea party groups reported significant delays and excessive questioning from IRS officials while trying to obtain 501(c)(4) status. – Ashley Killough

Gut Check Full Service… House Speaker John Boehner calls IRS targeting as the “most shameful abuses of government power in 20th-century American history”: “Today, we are left with serious questions: who is ultimately responsible for this travesty? What actions will the Obama administration take to hold them accountable? And have other federal agencies used government powers to attack Americans for partisan reasons? House Republicans have made oversight of federal agencies a top priority on behalf of the American people, and I applaud the work that members such as Charles Boustany, Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan have done to bring this issue to light. I also strongly support Sen. McConnell’s call for a transparent, government-wide review to ensure similar practices are not happening elsewhere in the federal bureaucracy.”

Leading Drudge: IRS Admits Targeting Conservative Groups; Apologizes
The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday. Organizations were singled out because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. – Stephen Ohlemacher

Leading HuffPo: Bleeding Blue In Dixie
This breed of Southern Democrat has almost entirely disappeared, however. "We have lost the South for a generation," Johnson reportedly lamented after signing the Civil Rights Act in 1964. And indeed, the "Solid South" - the term used to describe the Democratic Party's near-lock on Dixie in presidential elections - has become flimsier by the year. Resistance to integration, hostility to social issues like gay rights and abortion, and opposition to taxes and larger government have led to an exodus of southerners from the Democratic Party. – Eliot Nelson

Leading Politico: Rand Paul the one-man band
When Rand Paul touches down in Iowa Friday, it will be almost exactly three years to the day after his landslide 2010 Senate primary victory – an unlikely and decisive triumph over the Republican establishment that instantly transformed Paul into a national political phenomenon. Now, as Paul weighs a 2016 presidential bid, a different kind of challenge confronts him: Can the plain-spoken former Bowling Green ophthalmologist build a campaign to back up his popular appeal? – Alexander Burns

Leading The New York Times: Bombings Make a Bitter Bookend for F.B.I.’s Director
Although his privileged roots and sometimes wooden personality have not made him a beloved figure in the F.B.I.’s beer-and-brats culture, he has always had supporters in both parties in Congress. Now, instead of coasting into retirement, Mr. Mueller will spend his final months answering tough questions about how the bombing suspects slipped away. – Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael Schmidt

TRAIL MOMENTS
The political bites of the day

– State defends process of editing Benghazi talking points –
PATRICK VENTRELL, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR THE STATE DEPARTMENT, IN A PRESS BRIEFING: “Just to remind everybody that these were talking points that were developed during the interagency process led by the CIA about how to communicate the best and most current information the administration had about the Benghazi attacks and one thing to say that was consistent throughout – despite some of the sort of cherry picking or looking at one email or another – what was clear throughout is that extremists were involved in the attack and we were clear about that and the other thing that was in these talking points throughout – so the question wasn't whether there were violent extremists. Obviously there were. But rather the question was who exactly they were and whether there was also a demonstration at that time. It appears there wasn't despite the best intelligence assessments at the time.”

Biden is running, says historian
HISTORIAN DOUGLAS BRINKLEY AFTER INTERVIEWING VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN FOR ROLLING STONE: “My takeaway from my one-hour White House interview with Joe Biden is that he must be considering a presidential run. There will be too much Obama-era unfinished business – implementing the Affordable Care Act, fighting for climate-change initiatives, for example – for Biden to throw in the towel. His strengths as a candidate are his blue-collar persona, family values, lifetime support of labor unions and farmers, foreign-policy expertise and stouthearted belief that the Obama administration's record of accomplishment – from the economic recovery to the killing of Osama bin Laden – has been historic. With Air Force Two at his disposal and his two super bright sons, Hunter and Beau, probably working as his chief advisers, Biden can give Hillary Clinton a run for her money.”

Republican senators begin lining up against Hillary on Benghazi
SEN. RAND PAUL IN AN OPINION PIECE FOR THE WASHINGTON TIMES: “Too many questions remain unanswered. Now, there are too many new questions. The evidence we had in January already suggested that Mrs. Clinton ignored repeated requests for more security in Benghazi. The new evidence we have today — and that continues to mount — suggests that at the very least, Mrs. Clinton should never hold high office again.”
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM IN A POST ON HIS FACEBOOK PAGE: “Former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should return to Capitol Hill - under subpoena if necessary - to answer new questions about the attacks on a U.S. consulate in Libya that left four Americans dead.

– Hope and Change… –
JAY LENO ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “The White House has a new slogan about Benghazi: hope and change the subject.”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN

When Jim Jordan was elected to Congress in 2006, the Ohio representative had already made quite a name for himself in his home state.

In high school, Jordan was a four-time state wrestling champion with an incredible record of 150-1. His success continued in college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the future congressman was a two-time Division I wrestling champion.

To win the championship in 1985, Jordan defeated John Smith, who went on to win two Olympic gold medals in wrestling. Need proof? Jordan is the one in the red.

Before entering politics, though, Jordan served as an assistant wrestling coach at the Ohio State University.

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Tucker C. Chorjel on Facebook for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Have a good weekend.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Jean

    Hey CNN why don't you start looking into this so-called "background briefing" Carney gave to a select group of reporters before the open briefing. This president, and his entire Administration, smells to high heaven. They are the most -NON-transparent I can recall. Crooked and dirty and, its most unfortunate, that I do not believe a word any of them say.

    May 10, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "They are the most -NON-transparent I can recall."
    --------------------------------------------–
    Ever find that yellow cake or those WMD?

    May 10, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Ever find that yellow cake or those WMD?"

    I'm pretty sure the only cakes the Bush administration ever really found were urinal cakes.

    May 10, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Name willard

    Carney and obama are too big lied

    May 10, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |