CNN's GUT CHECK for June 4, 2013
June 4th, 2013
04:53 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for June 4, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 4, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

SPECIAL ELECTION: CHRISTIE CALLS FOR OCT. SPECIAL ELECTION New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie has set a special election for October 16 to replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat who died Monday. A primary will be held on August 13. At a news conference, Christie said he will name an interim senator by next week to serve until the special election. He told reporters he did not think it was right for someone to serve on an interim basis until November 2014.

‘DEBILITATING STUPIDITY’: In an interview last hour with CNN’s Jake Tapper, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey said Christie exhibited “debilitating stupidity,” by not appointing a Republican until the next scheduled election in 2014. “Gov. Christie has just diminished his chances of being reelected as governor,” Armey said.

DEM SUPPORTS CHRISTIE DECISION: “I think that's the right thing to do,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in response to Christie’s decision. “I'm happy with what he's done.”

KEY QUESTION UNANSWERED: JUSTICE SAYS IT FOLLOWED RULES IN LEAK PROBE The Justice Department defended its scrutiny of reporters around a high-profile national security leak investigation, saying on Tuesday that it followed its own regulations in acquiring subpoenas for Associated Press phone records. But a letter from Peter Kadzik, principal deputy acting assistant attorney general, to members of Congress failed to answer a key question asked by lawmakers: When did Attorney General Eric Holder formally recuse himself from the leak investigation? – Carol Cratty

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end lower on continued worries about global economy. Dow falls 77 points. NASDAQ and S&P drop 0.6%.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
Congress passed the 19th Amendment on this day in 1919. Three states ratified the women's suffrage law six days later. Name two of the three.

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

The lavish spending at an IRS conference in 2010, which CNN’s Dana Bash and Ashley Killough wrote about today, caught our eye for two reasons.

Firstly, because of the lavish spending.

According to a report by the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, the August 2010 conference for 2,600 employees in Anaheim, California, cost $4.1 million.

Not a small chunk of change.

And what do you get for that money?

- $135,000 on outside speakers – including a $17,000 fee for a speaker who created paintings on stage to make his point that one must free "the thought process to find creative solutions to challenges."

- $35,800 on three planning trips before the conference.

- $64,000 on gifts and promotional items, like imprinted bags, imprinted hard-covered journals, lanyards, travel mugs, picture frames, and various promotion items, according to the audit.

- $50,000 on videos for the conference. One of the videos, CNN has reported, had a Star-Trek theme, while the other was a parody on IRS employees learning how to do the Cupid Shuffle dance.

A bulk of the spending, however, came from the cost of hotel rooms for all the conference attendees.

In that regard, the inspector general found that although the IRS has contractors to set up a conference, the IRS used outside event planners instead. Because the event planners were paid a 5% commission on the price of each hotel room they sold, this gave the group no incentive go get a lower rate and left the government to pay $135 per night for all the rooms. Instead of working for favorable room rates, both event planners got $66,500 in commission from the hotels, according to the audit.

In response to the report, the IRS admitted spending on the conference was not in keeping with current IRS standards, which the group’s chief financial officer Pamela LaRue said has since changed.

But aside from the lavish spending, the second thing to catch our eye in the report was the irony in one workshop offered to conference attendees.

“Political Savvy: How Not to Shoot Yourself in the Foot,” was the title of one conference workshop.

Pot meet kettle.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Partisan views of IRS targeting: political conspiracy or overzealous scrutiny
Like a partisan version of the proverbial blind men touching the elephant, members of Congress have starkly differing views of the scope and magnitude of the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status that dominates headlines and committee hearings. Depending on their party, legislators offer particular takes on the controversy based on which part of the IRS elephant they are describing. – Tom Cohen

Leading Drudge: No Help For Dying Girl
The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services says she can’t intervene in transplant decisions and move a dying Pennsylvania girl to the front of the line. Kathleen Sebelius says those decisions should be made by medical experts. But she has called for a review of transplant policies so more organs become available to children.

Leading HuffPo: Get Even
Most Americans would prefer that the U.S. Congress be evenly divided between male and female members, as opposed to the current male majority, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. According to the new poll, 58 percent of Americans say that, if they could choose, they would prefer a Congress made up of about the same number of men and women. Sixteen percent said they prefer a mostly male Congress, while 9 percent said they would prefer one composed of mostly women. – Emily Swanson

Leading Politico: Dems' 2014 strategy: Own Obamacare
Scarred by years of Republican attacks over Obamacare, with more in store next year, Democrats have settled on an unlikely strategy for the 2014 midterms: Bring it on. – Alex Isenstadt

Leading The New York Times: Obama Names 3 to Top Appeals Court in Challenge to Republicans
President Obama set a confrontation with Senate Republicans in motion on Tuesday morning by naming a slate of judges to a top appeals court and daring his rivals to block their confirmations. – Michael Shear

TRAIL MOMENTS
The political bites of the day

Obama nominates three to appeals court
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A ROSE GARDEN EVENT: “These three individuals are highly qualified to serve on the D.C. Circuit. They have broad bipartisan support from across the legal community. The nonpartisan American Bar Association has given them, each of them, its highest rating. These are no slouches. These are no hacks. These are incredibly accomplished lawyers by all accounts.”

– Senator sees need for culture change in military –
DEMOCRATIC SEN. CARL LEVIN, CHAIRMAN OF THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE, AT A HEARING ON MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT: "We cannot successfully address this problem without a culture change throughout the military. Discipline is the heart of the military culture and trust is its soul. The plague of sexual assault erodes both the heart and the soul. We expect our men and women in uniform to be brothers and sisters in arms, to be prepared to take care of each other in the toughest of situations, in the face of the enemy. That requires a level of trust that is rarely matched in civilian life."

– Cantor on Issa-Carney tiff –
REPUBLICAN HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S JAKE TAPPER: “I think that sticking to the facts, and trying to uncover what really went on, who knew, who gave the directive for this kind of activity, did the White House know, all of these things is what we're trying to uncover.”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution outlaws citizens of the United States from being denied the right to vote based on their sex. In short: it gave women the right to vote.

Two women – Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Staton – wrote the bill in the late 1800s but it wasn't ratified until four decades later. The amendment was challenged in the Supreme Court just three years after its passage, however the court rejected claims it was not constitutionally passed.

Three states ratified the amendment just six days after Congress ratified the law on June 4. Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan all ratified the law on June 10, 1919 – the three first states to do so. Mississippi was the last state to ratify it. After being rejected in 1920, the southern state ratified just under 70 years later in 1984.

A number of states offered women full suffrage before the passage of the 19th Amendment. States like Montana, Nevada, California, New York, Oklahoma, Idaho and a number of other states allowed women to vote before it became constitutionally mandated.

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

Congrats to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Nice work.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "ACLU study: Black people 3.7x more likely to be arrested for #marijuana possession than white people despite comparable usage rates.— "

    Duh. The "war on drugs" was always partly designed to fill prisons with minorities and take away their voting rights via ridiculous felony convictions and over-long sentencing.

    June 4, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "Gallup explains what went wrong with their polling in 2012"

    Gallup explains AWAY what went wrong with their polling in 2012

    FIFY...there's a difference.

    June 4, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Let's see . . . . Benghazi, nothing. AP, nothing because outing people who have infiltrated terrorists groups means they are terrorists also, IRS, nothing to see either.
    It's not as if companies don't spend money to keep their employees happy.
    Keep trying car thief/illegal gun ownwer. Maybe you and mcnasty can go on a trip and have your picture taken with another criminal/kidnaper. Right up your alley. You probably have a lot to discuss,

    June 5, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |