CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 25, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
OBAMA WALKS THE LINE ON KEYSTONE: President Barack Obama made clear on Tuesday that the State Department should approve the Keystone XL pipeline only if it will not increase overall greenhouse gas emissions. On the sensitive prospect of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, Obama said it would only come about if its development would be in the nation's best interest. – Ashley Killough
REPUBLICANS SEES ROAD TO APPROVAL: “The standard the president set today should lead to speedy approval of the Keystone pipeline,” said Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “Based on the lengthy review by the State Department, construction of the pipeline would not have a significant environmental impact. It’s time to sign off on Keystone and put Americans to work.”
SCOTUS LIMITS VOTING RIGHTS ACT: A federal civil rights law that has stood for generations will be tougher to enforce after Tuesday's ruling by the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 vote, justices limited the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, which Congress passed during the height of America's volatile civil rights movement. – Bill Mears
JOHN LEWIS, GUTTED: “Today the Supreme Court stuck a dagger in the heart of the voting rights act of 1965,” Lewis said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “They are saying in effect that history cannot repeat itself but I say come and walk in my shoes. As Justice Ginsburg described in her dissent, the history is relevant because voting rights have been given in this country and they have been taken away.”
SNOWDEN IN MOSCOW AIRPORT: BUT RUSSIA SAYS IT WANTS HIM OUT… Speaking to reporters in Finland on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said NSA leaker Edward Snowden “is a transit passenger in the transit zone and is still there now. Mr. Snowden is a free man. The sooner he selects his final destination point, the better both for us and for himself.” Putin said Snowden's arrival in Russia was “completely unexpected.” – Jethro Mullen and Michael Pearson
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher, as new data signals strength in economy. Dow adds 101 points. NASDAQ gains 0.8%, S&P up 1%.
On this day in 1942, General Dwight D. Eisenhower took command of the U.S. forces in Europe. Where was the first major operation he oversaw during World War II?
Today is the day the environmental activists have waited 1,617 days for; the day that President Barack Obama turned his focus to combatting climate change by calling for new limits on emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.
“Today, I'm announcing a new national climate action plan and I am here to enlist your generation's help in keeping the United States of America a leader, a global leader in the fight against climate change,” Obama said in Tuesday’s speech at Georgetown University.
For climate activists, this has been a long time coming.
Who can forget the grandiose terms that Obama promised to battle climate change? “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children … this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,” the candidate said after securing the Democratic nomination in 2008.
Sure, the Obama administrations created regulations for newly built coal plants and raised fuel standards for automobiles in his first term, but that is hardly turning back the tides of the ocean.
And while most climate activists aren't willing to publicly speak out against the Obama administration's handling of climate change in his first term, their excitement over what he accomplished in his first four years has been tepid, at best.
“You take what you can get and you hope for more,” Bob Keefe, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said about Obama’s climate change policy to CNN in January.
With 3 years, 6 months, 26 days left in the Obama presidency, dealing with climate change has become a legacy issue for the second term president.
There will be no better place to watch how the legacy plays out in watching the political push for jobs and development fight against a self-imposed cap on emissions that the president detailed today for the Keystone pipeline project.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: History not likely to repeat itself in Massachusetts Senate election
For the second time in three years, Massachusetts voters head to the polls Tuesday in a special U.S. Senate election with national implications. But this time around, low turnout could be the deciding factor. – Paul Steinhauser and Kevin Liptak
Leading Drudge: Putin Harbors Comrade
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden was still in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, was free to leave and should do so as soon as possible.
Leading HuffPo: The Plot Thickens
The Internal Revenue Service targeted progressive groups applying for tax-exempt status in addition to conservative ones, according to IRS documents released by congressional Democrats on Monday. The documents and an internal IRS report being sent to congressional committees reveal that the tax agency used terms that included "progressive" and "occupy" to flag progressive organizations for extra scrutiny before the 2012 elections. – Sam Stein
Leading Politico: SCOTUS strikes down key voting rights provision
The Supreme Court Tuesday struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, ruling unconstitutional a provision of the landmark civil rights legislation used to promote the political power of minority voters across large swaths of the southern United States for nearly four decades. – Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn
Leading The New York Times: Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Part of Voting Rights Act
The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a central portion of the Voting Rights Act, originally passed in 1965 and since updated by Congress, holding that Section 4 was unconstitutional. – Adam Liptak
Leading CNN Money: Recent college grads face 36% 'mal-employment' rate
More than a third of recent college grads with jobs are working in positions that don't require a degree. Economists call that figure the "mal-employment" rate, and right now it tops 36% for college-educated workers under the age of 25, according to figures crunched by Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. – Tami Luhby
The political bites of the day
– American has changed, argues justices finding Voting Rights Act unconstitutional –
MAJORITY OPINION BY CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS IN TODAY’S SUPREME COURT DECISION ON VOTING RIGHTS ACT: “Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to the current conditions. … Regardless of how to look at the record, however, no one can fairly say that it shows anything approaching the 'pervasive,' 'flagrant,' 'widespread,' and 'rampant' discrimination that faced Congress in 1965, and that clearly distinguished the covered jurisdictions from the rest of the nation at that time.”
Gut Check Full Service: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers the minority dissent to Voting Rights Act… “In my judgment, the court errs egregiously by overriding Congress’ decision. … Although the VRA wrought dramatic changes in the realization of minority voting rights, the Act, to date, surely has not eliminated all vestiges of discrimination against the exercise of the franchise by minority citizens.”
– Two sides of the Voting Rights Act debate –
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER AT A PRESS CONFERENCE: “I am deeply disappointed, deeply disappointed with the court's decision in this matter. This decision represents a serious setback for voting rights and has the potential to negatively affect millions of Americans across the country.”
EDWARD BLUM, A SUPREME COURT ACTIVIST, IN A PRESS CONFERENCE OUTSIDE THE COURT: “This decision restores an important constitutional order to our system of government and that requires that all 50 states and every jurisdiction have the lass applied equally to them. Our nation's laws are one size fits all and each state is entitled the equal dignity and respect of our congressional statutes.”
– McCain talks tough on Putin –
REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN MCCAIN OF ARIZONA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “We’ve got to start dealing with Vladimir Putin in a realistic fashion for what he is an old KGB colonel apparatchik that dreams of the days of the Russian empire and he continues to stick his thumb in our eye in a broad variety of ways."
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
After graduating from Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Dwight D. Eisenhower began his meteoric rise in the army - a rise that saw the native Kansan go from major to five-star general in less than 20 years.
Eisenhower was appointed to command all U.S. forces in Europe on this day in 1942 after he suggested the position to Army Chief of Staff George Marshall. Eisenhower was surprised when he was appointed to the position over a cadre of more senior officers.
The first major operation that Eisenhower oversaw in the European theater was Operation Torch, the Allied operations in French North Africa and, subsequently, the Allied invasion of Italy.
Because of that success, Eisenhower was famously charged to plan the Allied invasion of France in 1943. Operation Overlord - or D-Day - was the defining moment of Eisenhower's military career and, despite that fact that he went on to become president, the successful landing in France could possibly be his life's defining moment.
When Germany surrendered to the Allied forces in May of 1945, Eisenhower was a five star general.
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