CNN's GUT CHECK | for July 29, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
WEINER DROPS TO FOURTH: According to the new poll, Weiner has dropped from first to fourth place in the race for the Democratic nomination. Weiner now has the support of 16% of likely Democratic primary voters, down 10 points from a Quinnipiac poll conducted almost entirely before last Tuesday's news. In that survey Weiner was at 26%, on top of the field of candidates. – Paul Steinhauser
PAUL VS. CHRISTIE HEATS UP: Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky responded to recent criticism of his stance on national security issues on Sunday by calling out New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and GOP Rep. Peter King of New York for asking for federal aid following Superstorm Sandy. “The people who want to criticize me and call me names, they are precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut the spending,” Paul said after a fundraiser. “They are 'Gimme, gimme, gimme all my Sandy money now.' Those are the people who are bankrupting the government and not allowing enough money be left over for national defense.”
GOOD QUESTION: WILL YOUR CONGRESSMAN RETIRE RICHER THAN YOU? Want to retire with plenty of savings? Consider running for office. Members of Congress receive retirement benefits that are far more generous than those earned by the average worker, according to a recent Bankrate analysis. – Melanie Hicken
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks fall as investors pause before Fed meeting and jobs report. Dow drops 35 points. NASDAQ, S&P lose 0.4%.
What did President Woodrow Wilson do so that he could golf during the winter?
Every president to win reelection since 1967 – Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush - has pursued peace between Israel and Palestine in their second term.
And it appears the President Barack Obama is going to continue the tradition.
“I am pleased that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have accepted Secretary Kerry's invitation to formally resume direct final status negotiations and have sent senior negotiating teams to Washington for the first round of meetings,” Obama said in a Monday statement. “This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead.”
He continued: “The most difficult work of these negotiations is ahead, and I am hopeful that both the Israelis and Palestinians will approach these talks in good faith and with sustained focus and determination.”
Peace between the groups has become an Oval Office holy grail. Many presidents have attempted to tackle the issues - some have even made noticeable progress.
The Reagan administration launched the Shultz Initiative in 1988. Clinton famously held a Camp David Summit between Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000. And Bush made a similar second term push in 2007, when the administration launched the Annapolis Conference.
But as last year's conflict between Israelis and Palestinians showed, the peace was not lasting and most efforts saw only small successes – if not outright failure.
The common refrain around many of these efforts has been that presidents pursue foreign affairs in their second term as way to boost their presidential legacies and deal with something where presidents - not Congress - have the most power.
Secretary of State John Kerry stated today, “it is no secret that this is a difficult process. If it were easy it would happened a long time ago. It is no secret therefore that many difficult choices lie ahead for the negotiators and for the leaders as we seek reasonable compromises on tough, complicated, emotional and symbolic issues. I think reasonable compromises have to be a keystone of all of this effort.”
The question remains whether not only reasonable compromises are attainable, but how they will affect the legacy of a president who has many other foreign and domestic challenges demanding his time and attention.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Obama, Hillary Clinton sit down to lunch
“Much has been written about over the last four years how Secretary Clinton and the president have developed not just a strong working relationship, but also a genuine friendship," Earnest said, adding the lunch was an "opportunity for the two, who saw each other on a pretty frequent basis over the course of the last four years, to have the chance to catch up.” – Paul Steinhauser
Gut Check Extra: We asked our readers to provide captions for the released lunch photo of Obama and Clinton. Read and add your own.
Leading Drudge: Vineyard Vacation At $7.6 Million House
The Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard, the exclusive playground for presidents and their families, is about to get its annual summer infusion of cash and attention as President Obama and his family prepare to arrive August 10 for an eight-day vacation. Local reports indicate that the first family will likely be staying at a $7.6 million resort home on southern edge of the island in the town of Chilmark where homes feature water access to Chilmark Pond, tennis courts and swimming pools. – Paul Bedard for The Washington Examiner
Leading HuffPo: Oh Really? Romney Denies Bombshell Quote
His infamous 47 percent remarks were taken out of context, Mitt Romney told The Washington Post's Dan Balz in an interview published Sunday. Asked about the oft-cited quote that 47 percent of Americans can't be persuaded to take personal responsibility, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee said, “Actually, I didn't say that ...That's how it began to be perceived, and so I had to ultimately respond to the perception, because perception is reality.” – Luke Johnson
Leading Politico: Cuccinelli seeks to flip 2012 script
Barack Obama dismantled Mitt Romney last year by defining the race as a choice between a Democratic fighter for the middle class and a rich Republican with a sketchy business past. Now, Ken Cuccinelli is flipping that script in the Virginia governor’s race: The Republican attorney general is pitching himself as the candidate looking out for the “little guy” — and painting Terry McAuliffe as a Democratic version of Romney. – James Hohmann
Leading The New York Times: At the 11th Hour, a Languid Congress
At what is usually crunch time in Congress, lawmakers are facing a sleepy final week before their long summer recess. – Jonathan Weisman
Leading The Washington Post: McAuliffe sends mixed messages in tour of Virginia
“How many welding bays here?” McAuliffe asked a professor at John Tyler Community College. “Where do you hope to be in 10 years?” he asked an executive in Blacksburg. “If you were governor for a day, what would you change?” he asked (in various ways) everywhere. If the events presented McAuliffe as a diligent student of issues confronting Virginia, they also could make him seem like a head-swiveling tourist in the state he hopes to lead, with a “Visitor’s Pass” sometimes clipped to his suit jacket. – Paul Schwartzman
The political bites of the day
– WH offers opening salvo in upcoming debt ceiling fight –
PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “The prospect of a government shutdown or more drama around the debt ceiling would be bad for the economy, there's no doubt about that and I think that is a view that is shared by leaders in Congress of both parties. … It's just a matter of sitting down, rolling up the sleeves and figuring out what we can do to preserve these investments that are critical to the middle class and we can do that without threatening a government shutdown, we can do that without any drama or delay.”
Gut Check Full Service: A handy clip n’ save calendar on the debt ceiling and congressional funding
– Assange: Bradly Manning is a hero –
JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “In the alleged statements that he made, yeah, he was willing to take that risk because he believes, apparently, that the result is so important. And we call those types of people that are willing to risk - not be a martyr but to risk being a martyr for all the rest of us, we call those people heroes. Bradley Manning is a hero.”
– Pope on homosexuality: Who am I to judge? –
POPE FRANCIS IN A NEWS CONFERENCE ABOARD A PLANE BACK TO ROME: “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem... they're our brothers.” LINK
Gut Check Full Service: Rev. James Martin, editor of America Magazine, in an interview with CNN: “I think it is going to raise some questions among bishops and archbishops who were following that 2005 document that said no gay priests, no gay men accepted into the seminary when you have a Pope saying, who am I to judge these people. It is not an official teaching but I think it really sets the tone for things.”
– McCain honors an old friend: Colonel George E. ‘Bud’ Day –
REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN MCCAIN OF ARIZONA IN A SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “We met in 1967 when the Vietnamese left me to die in the prison cell Bud shared with Major Norris Overly. But Bud & Norris wouldn’t let me die. They bathed me, fed me, nursed me, encouraged me and ordered me back to life. Norris did much of the work but Bud did all he could considering that he too had recently been near death. Shot, bombed, beaten savagely by his captors and his arm broken in three places. He was a hard man to kill and he expected the same of his subordinates. They saved my life. A big debt to repay obviously. Btu more than that Bud showed me how to save my self-respect and my honor and that is a debt I can never repay.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Erin McPike (@ErinMcPike)
DC police confirms to CNN that a female has been arrested in connection with the vandalism at the National Cathedral today.
erica orden (@eorden)
.@NYGovCuomo on Weiner today: "We laugh, because if we didn't laugh, we would cry."
David Beard (@dabeard)
Postscript: Fact checker gives 4 Pinocchios to Steve King's immigrant smuggler claim: http://wapo.st/17OXaR6 #latism
McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins)
Big property tax increases coming to Ohio. http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2013/07/29/Ohio-cancels-property-tax-rollback.html
Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe)
Clintons are reportedly "pissed off" at comparisons w/Weiner and Abedin: http://bit.ly/13rEYsp
Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui)
Maureen Dowd's idiot opinion that Huma Abedin growing up in Saudi Arabia helps explain why she stays with Weiner: http://nyti.ms/13emC2w
Kasie Hunt (@kasie)
"Weiner would rather hold 100 humiliating press conferences than live the life of an anonymous New Yorker." http://cookpolitical.com/story/6015
Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato)
Whoa, Obama vet @Lis_Smith to Spitzer's campaign: http://nydn.us/1bCkkzP
Ryan Williams (@RyanGOP)
Admire @Lis_Smith for taking on a challenge w/ Spitzer Campaign. Also looking forward to digging up her old quotes on Romneys "war on women"
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
Woodrow Wilson was obsessed with golf. An avid cycler, Wilson was unable to ride his bike around Washington, D.C., when he became president.
In an effort to be outside, the former Princeton president played golf - even during the winter. When snow was on the ground, hitting the white golf balls around the White House lawn created a problem: no one could find them once they left Wilson's club.
To make it easier, the Secret Service was tasked with painting Wilson's golf balls black so that they could easily be found around the White House lawn.
Wilson, with more than 1,000 rounds of golf, still holds the record for the most rounds while in office. According to Martin Davis, editor and publisher of The American Golfer, Wilson played a few holes each day.
Second to Wilson would most likely be Dwight D. Eisenhower, who during his presidency played around 210 rounds of golf at Augusta National alone.
A few more presidential golf facts: John F. Kennedy is considered the best presidential golfer (he generally shot an 80), Bill Clinton was known for taking do-over shots (the press called them “Billigans”) and Calvin Coolidge had so much trouble getting the hang of the game that he left his clubs in the White House when he left.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Scot Shumski (@3kidsiseasy) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Nice work!
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