CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 18, 2013| 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
TERROR PLOTS THWARTED: FEDS SAY SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMS HELPED STOP 50+ ATTACKS INCLUDING PLOTS AGAINST NYSE, NYC SUBWAY… Officials said the controversial surveillance aimed at communications overseas helped to disrupt more than 50 plots globally that were in various stages of planning … and told Congress they were working on declassifying more information and could deliver a report to the legislative branch as early as this week. – Dana Bash and Tom Cohen
IMMIGRATION REFORM ON LIFE SUPPORT? Under pressure from House conservatives opposed to comprehensive immigration reform, Speaker John Boehner said today, “I don't see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn't have majority support of Republicans.” – Deidre Walsh LINK
OXFORD BANKING ON THE TWEET: “Oxford English Dictionary acknowledges humans can tweet, too:” The dictionary's entry for tweet now includes the verb - "to make a posting on the social networking service Twitter" - and the noun - "a posting made on the social networking service Twitter." They sit alongside the well established bird-related definitions of the word, whose traces go as far back as the 16th century, according to the dictionary … The dictionary's chief editor says he's actually broken one of its rules by including it so soon. "A new word needs to be current for ten years before consideration for inclusion," John Simpson wrote on the dictionary's website. "But it seems to be catching on." – Jethro Mullen
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher on positive economic reports. Dow adds 139 points. NASDAQ rises 0.9%, S&P climbs 0.8%.
What is the name of President Barack Obama's ancestral hometown in Ireland?
“Trust” and “politicians” don’t often get associated with each other. But the current news cycle magnifies why that can be a problem for policy makers and presidents.
First in President Obama’s interview with PBS, and then in the NSA hearings today on Capitol Hill, the Obama administration is asking each American to trust that the information it has gathered has been necessary and respectful of privacy.
The president’s interview last night was striking in its bluntness on this point, “the question becomes,” Obama told Charlie Rose, “can we trust all the systems of government enough, as long as they're checking each other, that our privacy is not being abused.” That is the question.
The problem for this administration is that the president went into the sales pitch with half the country doubting his honesty.
The administration played its trump card today in its decision to declassify terror plots that they say were foiled by its controversial data collection program. In one quick pivot, they changed the question from honesty to balance: Does your fear of terrorism outweigh your lack of trust in government?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: After summit talks, U.S. and Russia still don't see eye to eye on Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he still doesn't see eye to eye with the United States on Syria. But "all of us have the intention to stop the violence in Syria ... and to solve this situation peacefully," Putin said Monday after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the Group of Eight Summit in Northern Ireland. – Kevin Liptak and Catherine E. Shoichet
Leading Drudge: Peace Talks
Senior US officials said on Tuesday that representatives will begin formal talks with the Taliban "within a few" days at a new office in Doha, Qatar. The Afghan Taliban opened the office to help restart talks on ending the 12-year-old war, saying it wanted a political solution that would bring about a just government and end foreign occupation. – France 24
Leading HuffPo: Trust Issues: Poll Reveals Skepticism Over Tea Party Scandal
More Americans now think that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target tea party groups, despite no evidence so far that they did. A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday found that 47 percent believe that the White House directed the targeting, and 49 percent believe the agency acted on its own. That is up ten points from May, when 37 percent believed that the targeting of tea party groups' tax-exempt status came from the White House and 55 percent disagreed. – Luke Johnson
Leading Politico: Launching the Obamacare campaign
President Barack Obama brought a campaigner’s mindset to the White House — but the roll-out of Obamacare marks the first time he’s adapted his campaign’s groundbreaking grassroots tactics to the task of turning policy into reality. A trio of Obama’s most experienced campaign operatives — one in the West Wing, two others in outside groups closely allied with Obama — are overseeing an effort to ensure that the Affordable Care Act, the president’s biggest legacy project, doesn’t turn into the failure the GOP predicts it will be. – Glenn Thrush and Dave Nather
Leading The New York Times: Senator Tries to Run Out the Clock on Immigration
Senator Jeff Sessions, an elfin Alabamian with a mischievous smile and a relentless approach to legislative battle, has a theory about the sweeping immigration bill pending in the Senate: It’s as good as dead. – Jonathan Weisman
GUT CHECK FOLLOW UP: Remember the "Loopty Lew"? It got cleaned up… It's official: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has undergone a transformation, at least when it comes to penmanship. The Treasury Department on Tuesday unveiled Lew's official new signature, which will soon grace the bottom right corner of all new bills issued by the Treasury Department. – Emily Jane Fox
The political bites of the day
– NSA chief defends phone monitoring program –
REPUBLICAN REP. MIKE ROGERS, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: General Alexander, are – is the NSA on private companies servers as defined under these two programs?
GENERAL KEITH ALEXANDER, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: We are not.
Rogers: Is the NSA – have the ability to listen to Americans’ phone calls or read their emails under these two programs?
Alexander: No, we do not have that authority.
Rogers: Does the technology exist at the NSA to flip a switch by some analyst to listen to Americans’ phone calls or read their emails?
Rogers: So the technology does not exist for any individual or group of individuals at the NSA to flip a switch to listen to Americans’ phone calls or read their emails.
Alexander: That is correct.
– Powerful Close –
REPUBLICAN REP. TOM ROONEY OF FLORIDA AT A TUESDAY COMMITTEE HEARING: Final question Mr. Joyce – what’s next for Mr. Snowden.
SEAN JOYCE, FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Justice.
– Boehner signals concern over immigration –
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “I'm increasingly concerned that the White House and Senate Democrats would rather have this as an issue in the 2014 election rather than a result.”
– Gang of 8 member responds to possible House stoppage on immigration –
DEMOCRATIC SEN. DICK DURBIN OF ILLINOIS IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “I hope that Speaker Boehner realizes the only way to success in the House on the same issue is on a bipartisan basis. If he insists on this being a Republicans authored and inspired program it has limited chance of success.”
– What if Tiger Woods never wins another major? –
RICK REILLY IN AN ESPN COLUMN: “Well, if Tiger Woods is really done, I think he would go down as the most gifted golfer in history and the golfer who wasted the most gifts. To win 14 majors in only 13 years, then to never win another? That would be like swimming the English Channel and then drowning in the hotel pool.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
When officials claim that "Bulk Surveillance Program X" stopped Terror plots, must ask: could you have stopped it with narrower program?—
Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 18, 2013
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
In May 2011, President Barack Obama visited the small town of Moneygall as part of a larger visit to Ireland. In 1850, Obama's great-great-great grandfather on his mother's side emigrated from the small town to New York City.
Although the town only had 310 residents in 2011, Obama was greeted by 5,000 people when he visited. The president also met his eighth cousin, Henry Healy, and spent time walking about the village and enjoying a pint at a local pub.
According to the Guardian, the first couple spent 50 euros in the town and bought "loads" of stuff, including posters, mugs, place mats and key rings. The visit was only about 90 minutes, but in that time, some remarkable photos were taken.
The Obama's are again in Europe this week – with daughters Sasha and Malia in tow this time. During an appearance in Dublin, first lady Michelle Obama mentioned her previous visit to Moneygall.
“I first experienced that warm feeling about two years ago, when my husband - you know the guy - President Obama and I visited this city as well as the lovely village of Moneygall, where my husband’s ancestors come from,” she said. “Everywhere we went we were welcomed with huge smiles and open arms - and lots of rain, which we handled. And when we left, we knew that our girls had to experience all of the warmth and beauty of this place for themselves. And that’s why - one of the reasons why we’re here today.”
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