CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 1, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
VODKA, BORSCHT AND FREEDOM: RUSSIA GRANTS SNOWDEN ASYLUM, HE HAS LEFT MOSCOW AIRPORT, LAWYER SAYS… “We would like to thank the Russian people and all those others who have helped to protect Mr. Snowden. We have won the battle - now the war,” WikiLeaks tweeted after NSA leaker Edward Snowden was granted asylum in Russia. Snowden has legal status in Russia for one year, his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said earlier Thursday.
WILL OBAMA MEET WITH PUTIN IN SEPTEMBER? When Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama met in June, they agreed to a Moscow bilateral meeting in September when the world’s leaders will be in St. Petersburg, Russia for the G20 summit. Will that meeting still happen? “I do not have a scheduling announcement for you today,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday at the White House press briefing. “We are evaluating the utility of the summit.” – Tom Cohen
DAMAGE DONE: LAWMAKERS SAY SNOWDEN ASYLUM A BLOW TO U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS…
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer at a press conference on Capitol Hill: “I do not think the G-20 should be meeting in Russia and I think we should not be participating if they do.”
Republican Sen. John McCain in a written statement: “Russia’s action today is a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States. It is a slap in the face of all Americans. Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin’s Russia.”
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in a written statement: “Putin is thumbing his nose at the U.S. and there is a price to pay for that.”
NIXON UNCENSORED: Watch never before seen footage of what President Richard Nixon truly felt about his predecessor – President Lyndon Johnson. “He was a man,” Nixon proclaims in an off mic moment on CNN’s Crossfire. Gut Check DVR: Watch OUR NIXON, a CNN FILMS documentary, airing Thursday 9 p.m. ET and PT on CNN.
MARKET WATCH: S&P 500 adds 1.3% to close above 1,700 for the first time. Dow gains 126 points to finish at all-time closing high.
What was the first country to be invaded by Germany during World War I?
What caught our eye today in politics
There will be plenty of captivating gubernatorial races on the ballot in 2014 - and not just because governors, unlike their wearisome peers in Washington, actually perform the basic functions of governing, magical and wondrous tasks like signing laws and managing budgets.
Republicans, who picked up 10 seats in the GOP wave of 2010 and currently hold 30 governorships, will be fending off Democratic challengers in several big battleground states, including Ohio and Florida.
But barring some shocking upset in Wisconsin or New Jersey, where potential presidential contenders Scott Walker or Chris Christie hold office, no race for governor next year will be freighted with more 2016 intrigue than the one in South Carolina.
It’s not because the current governor, Republican Nikki Haley, or her challenger, Democrat Vincent Sheheen, are planning to run for president in 2016 – neither of them will. It’s because the contest is, for now, the only competitive race in any of the four early caucus and primary states that shape the presidential nominating process.
We might see a competitive Senate race in Iowa next year, but Republicans have to sort out a messy primary fight first. As for the other two “carve out” states, New Hampshire and Nevada don’t have much excitement on the calendar.
But in South Carolina, the battle lines for governor are clearly drawn – and a bevy of White House candidates have already made pilgrimages to the early primary state to pitch in.
CNN reported Thursday that three prominent Republicans with possible designs on the White House – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Texas Gov. Rick Perry – will trek to Greenville later this month to raise money for Haley’s not-yet-announced re-election campaign.
On the Democratic side, Vice President Joe Biden and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, have each traveled to the Palmetto State to shore up support for Sheheen, a state senator and attorney from Camden who narrowly lost to Haley in 2010.
Public polling of the race is mostly spotty and unreliable at this early stage, but both campaigns seem to agree that while Haley might be vulnerable, she has a modest advantage in a Republican-leaning state.
Still, each side is bracing for a serious campaign and national Democrats are jumping to put money into the race and knock off one of the GOP’s most visible leaders.
A heated statewide race in a key primary battleground means that Walker, Jindal, Perry, Biden and O’Malley won’t be the only ambitious politicians traveling to South Carolina in the next year.
Count on other bold-faced-names to lend their support to Haley or Sheheen, in an effort to generate goodwill among early state partisans and donors as they do some unofficial spadework ahead of 2016.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: CNN analysis: Congress in D.C. far less than it used to be
A CNN analysis shows Congress has spent less time on Capitol Hill so far this year than in any of the previous five years. House members have been in Washington for 56% of all non-holiday weekdays - essentially, fewer than three days a week. Senators have walked into the Capitol for 61% of weekdays. – Lisa Desjardins
Leading Drudge: Zdravstvuj!
Fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden slipped quietly out of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday after being granted a year's asylum in Russia, ending more than five weeks in limbo in the transit area. – Timothy Heritage and Alissa de Carbonnel
Leading HuffPo: O Silent On Scandals
When President Barack Obama ran for re-election last year, he and his advisers were quick to condemn comments from Republicans that were deemed offensive or demeaning to women. But now, with two prominent members of Obama's Democratic Party admitting to lewd online behavior and facing allegations of sexual harassment, the White House is conspicuously silent. – Julie Pace
Leading Politico: Clinton's '08 slaps still sting Obama
“Friendship” was the main course during Hillary Clinton’s lunch with President Barack Obama this week, according to an Obama spokesman, but no one could have blamed Clinton for ordering a small side of I-told-you-so. – Glenn Thrush
Leading The New York Times: Senate Panel Presses N.S.A. on Phone Logs
Senators of both parties sharply challenged the collection of records of all domestic phone calls, as the latest leaked N.S.A. document provided new details on the way the agency monitors Web browsing around the world. – Charlie Savage and David Sanger
The political bites of the day
– State orders undisclosed number of embassies closed on Sunday –
STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN MARIE HARF SAID THURSDAY AT A BRIEFING WITH REPORTERS: “The Department of State has instructed certain U.S. embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4. The department has been apprised of information that out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installation that indicates we should institute these precautionary steps. The department, when conditions warrant, takes steps like this to balance our continued operations with security and safety.”
– Boehner: House will continue to press on Benghazi, IRS –
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER IN HIS WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “We need to get to the bottom of what happened that terrible night, why it happened, and how we can prevent similar tragedies in the future. We're also continuing to investigate the IRS for its abuse of power. There's nothing phony about these scandals, Mr. President. Not when four Americans are dead, and not when the agency enforcing your health care law has been harassing Americans because of their political beliefs.”
– Celebrate the NSA, says their former head –
GEN. MICHAEL V. HAYDEN, A FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY DIRECTOR, IN A CNN OPINION PIECE: “NSA can more readily connect dots (dots comprised of lawfully collected foreign intelligence) and coordinate tasking (of legitimately targeted foreign communications) than at any other time in the agency's history. And if that is true, it is something we should celebrate rather than condemn. But it remains to be seen if the coming national discussion will be based on facts like these or on something else altogether.”
– The Weiner jokes keep on coming –
JAY LENO ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “More and more people are calling for Anthony Weiner to step aside. But in a new ad campaign, Weiner says, ‘Quit isn't the way we roll in New York City.’ Well, it's better than his old slogan – ‘When in doubt, whip it out.’”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
John Branch (@JBranchCNN)
JUST IN: Ex-Goldman Sachs #trader Fabrice #Tourre found liable for defrauding #investors on #mortgage securities.
Deirdre Walsh (@deirdrewalshcnn)
Boehner's juggling act – killing Obamacare and avoiding government shutdown – http://CNN.com story http://on.cnn.com/1eciAcs
Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports)
Chris Christie in Vegas today for an event hosted by the Adelsons at The Palazzo. Rand Paul was here last month. No Adelson visit. #wematter
Kevin Bohn (@KevinBohnCNN)
Sheldon Adelson is out of town and will not attend the fund-raiser he is "hosting" for Christie in Vegas. His name was on the invitation
Hunter Walker (@hunterw)
.@CoryBooker says he's "unequivocally" ruled out possibility of being a presidential candidate or running mate in '16 http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/cory-booker-2016-presidential-race-95065.html
Gretchen Livingston (@DrGMLivingston)
The recession's over, but share of young people living with parents is still rising @pewresearch http://pewrsr.ch/16mdYzQ
Dave Weigel (@daveweigel)
YOLO RT @BetsyNBC: Fmr LA Gov. Edwin Edwards' 34 year old wife gives birth to a son, http://flip.it/3KcRn oh and he's 85 now.
Elise Foley (@elisefoley)
Great Univision host question for Weiner: "Why did you pick a Hispanic name and how dangerous were you really?" http://huff.to/1edXj2a
Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews)
Man on the street to @Spitzer2013 at brooklyn subway campaign stop "hey spitzer! This is nyc. You can do whatever you want, baby."
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was shot and killed in Sarajevo, Bosnia. The act, carried out by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip is considered the catalyst for the start of World War I.
In the next four days, Germany and Russia would declare war against one another, Austria-Hungary would declare war on Serbia and France would put its troops on high alert and begin to mobilize.
On this day in 1914, Germany initiated a plan to invade France and, in doing so, invaded the tiny country of Luxembourg in the process. Because trains from Germany's Rhineland to France passed through the small country, Germany's first infringement of Luxembourg's sovereignty was use of the rail line to get to France.
The following day, on August 2, 2914, Germany fully invaded Luxembourg and its invasion of the country officially began.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Simon (@SimonKnowz) for correctly answering today’s trivia question – twice.
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Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.
CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency's Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.
OH LOOK!!! It is that "phoney scandal" popping up again!!! The Obama adminstratioin is giving the CIA people that were there lie detector test every month to make sure they aren't talking about it! Yeah, this always happens in "phoney scandals"!
The Pandora's Box of Benghazi is about to break open. Obama and Hillary Clinton cannot run from their lies must longer.
Boehner: "There's nothing phony about these scandals, Mr. President. Not when four Americans are dead.........."
Sorry, Boehner, but you are the phony, Strutting around pretending to be important, and doing absolutely
nothing about American jobs, economy, infrastructure, etc etc. You leave it up to everybody else to save
your backside, just like GWB did.
Where were you when we were fed the phony balogne about why we went to war in Iraq, and now
over 4000 of our troops are dead? Now that's a true scandal.
I will never forget our eight years of hell brought on by that Administration, so shut-up, put down the beer
and the golf clubs and start doing your job.
I do not like this Nicolidian Haley from India...