CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 5, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
FIRST ON CNN: FEC REPUBLICAN TELLS CNN OF NEW IRS LINKS… The vice chairman of the Federal Elections Commission told CNN on Monday he has seen numerous undisclosed e-mails between FEC staffers and the Internal Revenue Service that raise new questions about potential collusion between the two federal agencies in the alleged targeting of conservative political groups. – Dana Bash and Alan Silverleib
SOLD! AMAZON'S BEZOS BUYS WASHINGTON POST FOR $250 MILLION… The Washington Post Company announced Monday it was selling its newspaper business, including the flagship Washington Post, to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million. Bezos is gaining control of the Post from the Graham family, which has led it for decades. – James O’Toole
EMBASSY CLOSURES EXPAND: An intercepted message among senior al Qaeda operatives in the last several days further intensified concerns already heightened by increased terrorist chatter detected by intelligence agencies, as well as the prison breaks. – Barbara Starr and Tom Cohen
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end mostly lower as investors take a breather from last week's record highs. Dow falls 46 points.
What was the first Congress approved income tax rate in the United States?
In the past two elections, vulnerable Democrats have gone on to win, due, in part, to candidates who made costly verbal errors or were simply not viewed as the strongest candidate in the general election. It is safe to assume that those tasked with winning control of the Senate next year are not interested in repeating history.
Possible proof of that? Just consider this story recounted by Erick Erickson in today’s RedState Morning Briefing.
According to Erickson, editor-in-chief of the conservative blog, he was confronted at the RedState conference in Louisiana over the weekend by a National Republican Senatorial Committee staffer. Erickson said the NRSC aide "very derisively asked if I was going to support anyone other than challengers to incumbents." Erickson and RedState have been vocal of their support for a number of Republican challengers, much to the chagrin of the GOP establishment.
Erickson continued: "He went so far as to claim I must be making money to support challengers against incumbents and let me know RedState would be blamed if the GOP did not take back the majority. … So let’s recap — the NRSC is pushing hit jobs against conservative organizations who don’t support their incumbents in primaries. They are claiming conservatives who don’t support their candidates are getting paid to do so. They demand to know who conservatives support in open races then bashing those candidates. And they call this outreach."
An official with the NRSC would not provide any details about the exchange, but told CNN “for the first time, the NRSC sent a digital staff member to the Red State gathering to ensure that their views are incorporated in our efforts.”
Brook Hougesen, the NRSC's press secretary, said the group is “always interested in hearing from grassroots activists across the country” and that “productive exchanges of ideas and tactics within the conservative family will accomplish our shared goal: a conservative majority.”
“The fact is that elections are about ideas and voters will support candidates who will articulate a positive agenda, fight on their behalf, and represent their views,” Hougesen said. “There's a lot of hard work to be done, but Republicans feel very comfortable about the progression of the map in our favor and the fact that a conservative Senate majority is closer in 2014 than ever before.”
Yes, the 2014 Senate map, with Democrats defending 20 of 33 seats, favors the Republicans. But the same was said in 2010 and 2012.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Chelsea Clinton still open to running for office
“I'm grateful to live in a city and a state and a country where I really believe in my elected officials, and their ethos and their competencies,” Clinton said. “Someday, if either of those weren't true, and I thought I could make more of a difference in the public sector, or if I didn't like how my city or state or country were being run, I'd have to ask and answer that question.”
Leading Drudge: 'Terrorists' Ready To Attack
U.S. intelligence officials are dealing with the most credible terrorist threat in years as 19 diplomatic posts in the Middle East and Africa remain closed through this upcoming Saturday. CBS News reports that a large-scale attack may be imminent as al-Qaeda terrorists in the Arabian Peninsula already have their orders and could be in place for execution of the alleged plot.
Leading HuffPo: 'Betrayed': Tea Party Abandoning GOP Stars After Shift
As many tea party stars seek re-election next year and Rubio considers a 2016 presidential run, conservative activists are finding themselves at a crossroads. Many of their standard-bearers have embraced more moderate positions on bedrock issues such as immigration and health care, broadening their appeal in swing states but dampening grass-roots passion. – Michael Mishak
Leading Politico: Pentagon cribs Hill ideas on sex assault
The Pentagon, desperate to show Congress it’s serious about cracking down on sexual assault in the ranks, is preparing to unveil another round of new policies as soon as this week. But there’s a catch: the Defense Department keeps pitching ideas they’re about to be forced to follow anyway. – Darren Samuelsohn and Juana Summers
Leading The New York Times: G.O.P. Governors Warn Party Members in Congress Not to Shut Government
Worried about the potential impact on the fragile economies in their states, Republican governors this weekend warned their counterparts in Congress not to shut down the federal government as part of an effort to block financing for President Obama’s health care law. – Jonathan Martin
The political bites of the day
- WH: DOJ looking into DEA cover ups -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “It is my understanding, our understanding, that the Department of Justice is looking at some of the issues raised in this story, but for more I would refer you to the Department of Justice.”
Gut Check Full Service: Reuters Exclusive: Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans… A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans. Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges. – John Shiffman and Kristina Cook
- International prison breaks concern State Department -
SPOKESPERSON MARIE HARF AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING: “These prison breaks are obviously a concern for the international community writ large. I think that was what you saw in the Interpol notice that went out over the weekend. But that is separate and apart, I think, from our concern about this specific, specific threat. But again prison breaks are a concern, very concerning to us and we will continue to monitor that as well.”
- Female economists: Pick Yellen, but leave gender out of it -
A FEMALE ECONOMIST IN A CNN MONEY SURVEY ADVOCATES FOR JANET YELLEN FOR CHAIR FOR THE FEDERAL RESERVE: “Yellen is the most qualified candidate. If she doesn't become Fed chair it will be, in part, because she is a woman. I don't think it would be because of overt discrimination. Rather, there is more subtle bias - she is not a friend of the decision makers; a woman who is not aggressive is perceived as weak, whereas a man who is not aggressive is perceived as a thoughtful consensus builder.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
CNN Political Ticker (@PoliticalTicker)
CNN, NBC move forward on Hillary Clinton projects http://wp.me/p4HKM-1ccR
jennifer bendery (@jbendery)
Carney says WH will say in the "coming days" whether Obama will still attend Sept summit with Putin.
Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN)
At NPC, Wendy Davis says with "absolute certainty" she'll either run for her state senate seat or for governor–not a diff statewide seat.
Wayne Slater (@WayneSlater)
Asked if she would consider being VP runningmate for Hillary Clinton, TX Sen Wendy Davis says "we'll have to see whether Hillary is running
#CNN #BREAKING: In addition to A-Rod, 12 other players receive 50-game suspensions for violating drug policy. #MLB
Diana Banister (@dlbanister)
@chucktodd however if A-Rod has been taking performance enhancing drugs, he ought to ask for a refund.
Kevin Bohn (@KevinBohnCNN)
Mark Zuckerberg prepares to take public role tonite pushing immigration reform as activists begin a month of pressure http://alturl.com/vrmqi
Lynn Sweet (@lynnsweet)
When “DREAMers” could not come to the White House: My column on an untold immigration story. http://bit.ly/11HEGB0
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
In an effort to pay for the growing cost of the Civil War, the House Ways and Means Committee drew up and passed the United States' first income tax during the summer of 1861.
The first plan – which passed the House and Senate – set the rate at 3% for incomes over $800.
That plans never full came into effect, however.
It wasn't until one year later – 1862 – that President Abraham Lincoln signed the first income tax bill – this time at 3% for incomes between $600 and $10,000 and a 5% tax on higher incomes.
That law only lasted 10 years, though. It was deemed unconstitutional in 1872.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Scot Shumski (@3kidsiseasy) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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.