CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 2, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
ON ALERT: A State Department travel alert Friday said al Qaeda may launch attacks in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond, as the United States is closing 21 embassies and consulates Sunday as a precaution. – Chris Lawrence. Barbara Starr and Tom Cohen
KENTUCKY SENATE MOVES TO A TOSS UP:
Cook Political Report moves Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s race to a toss up. “#KYSEN GIVEN THAT TWO POLLS SHOW THE RACE WITHIN THE MOE AND WITH GRIMES AHEAD OF MCCONNELL IN BOTH, IT MOVES TO THE TOSS UP COLUMN,” Jennifer Duffy said Friday on Twitter.
MARKET WATCH: Dow and S&P end the week at record closing highs despite disappointing jobs report.
What Confederate ship didn't believe the Civil War was over until months after the war had ended?
The State Department issued two alerts in the last 24 hours: one regarding possible terrorist attacks in the Middle East and North Africa by al Qaeda and affiliated organizations and another announcing that 21 embassies would be closed on Sunday as a precaution.
The travel alert is the ultimate gut check: “Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August. This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013.”
And it continues: “Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.”
CNN National Security Analyst Fran Townsend said she has never seen such a large group of closings and she can’t recall them shutting down anything this massive within a huge region.
A U.S. official tells CNN that the government’s heightened response reflects Washington’s stance in light of Benghazi terrorist attack. Pre-Benghazi, this type of information may or may not have resulted in such an alert, the source said. But in light of what happened in that attack, the decision to issue the alert was taken out of "abundance of caution,” the official said.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Kerry: Same-sex spouses' visas will get equal treatment
Legally married same-sex spouses seeking U.S. visas will now be treated the same as opposite-sex spouses, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday. He told a meeting with consular staff in London that the change means that his department was “tearing down an unjust and an unfair barrier that for too long stood in the way of same-sex families being able to travel as a family to the United States.” – Jill Dougherty and Tom Cohen
Leading Drudge: NJ Tent City For Poor
Tent cities have popped up across New Jersey including the state's poorest city. Meg Baker chased the story of Camden's tent city. Residing off Route 38 at Wilson Boulevard under an overpass, through woods and down a path of trash lays a community of people living in tents. This particular community was relocated from Federal Street and it's inhabited by an array of people: addicts, people who have fallen on hard times and some with mental illness.
Leading HuffPo: 'Lethal Threat'
To the far-right in the Republican Party, there is no mistake about it. In a party that generally brooks no compromise with Obama, McCain is the compromiser-in-chief. He's negotiating with the White House. – Thomas Ferraro for Reuters
Leading The New York Times: G.O.P. Rifts Lead Congress to Spending Impasse
The collapse of spending measures increased the prospects of a government shutdown in the fall and added new urgency to fiscal negotiations between the White House and a bloc of Senate Republicans. – Jonathan Weisman and Jackie Calmes
Leading WMUR.com: Biden to raise money for Gov. Hassan
In a move that will raise eyebrows among those already watching the next presidential contest, Vice President Joe Biden will appear at a fundraiser for Gov. Maggie Hassan that is being hosted by President Barack Obama's biggest supporter in the state. – James Pindell
Leading The State: First Citadel female grad, Sen. Bright will take on Graham
Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, and state Sen. Lee Bright, one of the Legislature’s more outspoken libertarians, say they will announce soon that they will run against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in next year’s Republican primary. On her website, Mace said Thursday that she plans to make her announcement at 9 a.m. Saturday at a GOP breakfast in her hometown of Goose Creek. – Andrew Shain
The political bites of the day
– Before leaving, House votes to remove IRS from Obamacare –
REPUBLICAN REP. TOM PRICE OF GEORGIA IN A SPEECH ON THE HOUSE FLOOR: “The overwhelming percent of the American people understand and appreciate that the IRS should not be involved – not be involved – in the health care of this nation. We believe patients and families and doctors should be making medical decisions, not Washington DC and certainly not the internal Revenue Service.”
Gut Check Full Service: House Democrats blast vote in an email to reporters… “As the House GOP continue their futile quest to defund the Affordable Care Act, the American people are wondering how many times they’ll hit the ground before they’ll act on their priorities: creating jobs and appointing conferees to enact a budget that reflects the values and priorities of the middle class.”
– Capitol Hill leaders briefed by Biden on terrorism threats –
REPUBLICAN REP. MAC THORNBERRY OF TEXAS IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “The actions that are being taken seem to me to be appropriate. It's always a balance in how much information you give versus revealing sources versus scaring people. It's always a balance and I don’t think any of us can second guess the judgment at this point, based on what I know, what the Administration has done.”
– Sarcastic Pelosi jokes about Congress’ poor attendance record –
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI AT HER WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “We’ve got to go home by noon on Friday because we have nothing to do.”
– No more airport food! –
JIMMY FALLON ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “Edward Snowden - you know that guy. He leaked all the NSA information. Well, he finally got to leave the Moscow airport after being held there for five weeks. When asked what he wanted to eat, he was, like, ‘anything but Cinnabon.’ Anything. I don't want to eat Auntie Annie's pretzels.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker)
Unemployment rate drops to 7.4% but only 161K jobs created in July. So, economy continues to stay afloat w/ a life preserver.
David Leonhardt (@DLeonhardt)
No, weak job growth isn't mostly about the aging of society; it's mostly a sign of the economy's weakness. http://nyti.ms/17Y7XbK
Kate Colarulli (@KateColarulli)
If Wall Street's right, Obama may nix Keystone http://cnnmon.ie/19BAdVq via @CNNMoney #noKXL #tarsands
Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato)
One Dem official says of Cruz/Lee Obamacare strategy: Leadership "can't keep the wacko birds in the looney bin" http://read.bi/137B3C3
Jeremy J Funk (@JeremyJFunk)
Awful Milestone Reached: Post-Newtown Gun Deaths in U.S. Now Surpass All U.S Service Member Deaths During Iraq & Afghan Wars Combined #6,746
Kevin Bohn (@KevinBohnCNN)
Weiner sends msg to voters w/video of him in angry exchange with voter and says: "I have never ducked the tough questions."
Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak)
Hey @EricBolling @DanaPerino @GregGutfeld – a "news network," "other news organization"? You can't say "CNN"? http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/cnn-interviews-benghazi-suspect-makes-news-on-other-channels_b190365
Office of VP Biden (@VP)
VP Biden swears in Samantha Power as U.S. Ambassador to the @UN today at the @whitehouse. @USUN pic.twitter.com/muVmlO1PI3
Erin Ruberry (@erinruberry)
Ellen DeGeneres will host next year's Oscars, reports @Variety http://variety.com/2013/film/news/ellen-degeneres-to-host-oscars-1200566939/ … Great choice!
Clarissa Ward (@clarissaward)
Can someone explain to me please what a "cronut" is?! #BewilderedInCairo
Gut Check DVR: Watch a preview of Candy Crowley’s interview with Sarah Thomas, who is poised to become the first full-time female ref in the NFL. You can watch the full interview Sunday at 9a ET on State of the Union with Candy Crowley.
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
When the CSS Shenandoah was commissioned in 1864 for the Confederate State of America, it was done in secret, under the guise of a commercial vessel.
But that couldn't have been further from the truth.
By the end of 1864, the Shenandoah, commanded by James Iredell Waddell, captured nine U.S. flag merchant vessels, according to the U.S. Navy. After being repaired in Australia, the Shenandoah was back in the water and attacking whaling vessels in the Pacific Ocean.
These attacks continued through 1865, even past April 9 of that year, when the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee was surrendered to the Union and the Civil War was ended.
It took a long 116 days, however, for news of the wars end to get to the crew of the now stateless Shenandoah.
"Though Shenandoah's late June assault on the whaling fleet was accompanied by many rumors of the Civil War's end, she did not receive a firm report until 2 August 1865, when she encountered an English sailing ship that had left San Francisco less than two weeks before," the U.S. Navy historian writes. "Waddell then disarmed his ship and set sail for England."
The Shenandoah was the only Confederate ship to circumnavigate the globe.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to NGC721 (@NGC_721) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. Happy Friday, all.
Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing email@example.com
WANT TO SIGN UP?
Do you have a friend who wants to sign up for GUT CHECK or our new CNNPolitics Breaking News Alerts? Click here, log on and scroll down.