CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 7, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
STAY VIGILANT: President Barack Obama said Wednesday that although “we have decimated the al Qaeda leadership that attacked us on 9/11,” the threat of terrorism still exists from “al Qaeda affiliate and like-minded extremists.” Obama referenced recent embassy closures around Africa and the Middle East by saying “We've been reminded of this again in recent days.” For more on Obama’s speech, scroll down to Hot Sots.
NO GO: OBAMA CANCELS TALKS WITH PUTIN AHEAD OF G-20 SUMMIT… The president will still attend a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in early September, but now will go to Sweden beforehand instead of stopping in Moscow to meet with Putin, the White House announced.
– Jessica Yellin. Jake Tapper and Tom Cohen
WHY? “Russia’s disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship,” a White House statement said.
RUSSIA – NOT IMPRESSED: “We’re disappointed with the U.S. administration’s decision,” presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists in Russia. “This situation illustrates that the U.S. is not ready to build equal relations with Russia. Throughout many years Americans declined to sign extradition agreements. They refuted our proposal to extradite people referring to the lack of such agreement.”
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end lower as investors continue to worry the Fed will end its bond-buying program. Dow falls 48 points.
Why was Lynne Cox important on this day in history?
As we have noted in this space before, the battle to sell Obamacare continues more than three years after the law was signed by President Barack Obama.
And the thrust of this CNNMoney.com story by Tami Luhby isn’t likely going to be welcomed by the Obama administration and those advocating for the benefits of the president’s sweeping healthcare law.
“Get ready to shell out more money for individual health insurance under Obamacare ... in some states, that is,” Luhby writes. “That's because these people live in states where insurers were allowed to sell bare-bones plans and exclude the sick, which has kept costs down. Under Obamacare, insurers must offer a package of essential benefits - including maternity, mental health and medications - and must cover all who apply. But more comprehensive coverage may lead to more expensive insurance plans.”
Luhby notes that in Indiana, Ohio and Florida – all states that used to allow cut down insurance plans – insurance premiums will go way, way up. Floridians can expect a 35% rise in premiums, while Ohio is looking at a 41% increased – not counting possible federal subsidies.
“So why aren't there such big premium increases in other states,” Luhby posits. “New York, for example, already required that insurers provide comprehensive coverage to all who apply. Rates there could fall by half since the pool will expand to include many younger, healthier residents under Obamacare. But New York is more the exception than the rule, experts said.”
The argument Obamacare supporters will make: people will receive more comprehensive coverage. “A lot of people will get more for their money," Sarah Lueck, senior policy analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told Luhby. “Even people paying a higher rate will benefit.”
Sure, states like California and New York won’t experience the jump in premiums – but that argument may get drowned out by the fact millions of Americans will be paying more.
Proof: on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner’s office referenced the TV show “Mad Men” when it blasted out an e-mail with the headline: “Even Don Draper Couldn’t Save the ObamaCare Train Wreck.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: First on CNN: Issa expands IRS investigation
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa demanded Wednesday that the Federal Election Commission turn over records of more than five years of communications with the Internal Revenue Service - a move that significantly expands the California Republican's probe of alleged federal targeting of conservative groups. – Dana Bash and Alan Silverleib
Leading Drudge: Yemen Foils 'Al-Qaida Plot'
Authorities foiled plots by al-Qaida to take over key cities in southern Yemen and attack strategic ports and gas facilities, a government spokesman said Wednesday amid a heightened alert that has seen Western embassies evacuated and a new suspected U.S. drone strike that killed seven alleged militants from the terrorist group. – Ahmed Al-Haj for the Associated Press
Leading HuffPo: Don't Go There: Romney Sends Stern Warning To Republicans
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney jumped into the debate over the GOP's future Tuesday night, warning congressional Republicans against forcing a government shutdown in their quest to stop President Barack Obama's signature health care law. – Steve Peoples for the Associated Press
Leading Politico: Obama's Russia reset unravels
National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden extended his 15 minutes of fame Wednesday, as headlines tied his saga to President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel a planned summit meeting in Moscow next month with Russian President Vladimir Putin. – Josh Gerstein
Leading The New York Times: Washington Steps Warily on Housing
Efforts to change the current system for financing the American dream of owning a home will be difficult, because Americans like inexpensive mortgage loans. – Binyamin Appelbaum
The political bites of the day
- Obama: Threats still exist -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN A SPEECH AT CAMP PENDLETON, CALIFORNIA: “The end of the war in Afghanistan doesn't mean the end of threats to our nation. As I've said before, even as we have decimated the al Qaeda leadership that attacked us on 9/11, al Qaeda affiliate and like-minded extremists still threaten our homeland, still threaten our diplomatic facilities, still threaten our businesses abroad. And we've got to take these threats seriously. And do all we can to confront them. We've been reminded of this again in recent days.”
OBAMA: “As for those extremists, here is what those who would cowardly attack our civilians don't get: The United States is never going to retreat from the world, we don't get terrorized.”
- Weiner’s testy exchange -
REPUBLICAN NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE GEORGE MCDONALD AFTER DEMOCRATIC MAYORAL CANDIDATE ANTHONY WEINER PATTED HIS CHEST ON TUESDAY: “Don't put your hands on me ever again.”
WEINER: “What's going to happen if I do? Tough guy now?”
MCDONALD: "Yeah. Yeah I am.”
WEINER: “But your anger issues.”
MCDONALD: “I don't have any anger issues.”
WEINER: “But you do, grandpa.”
Gut Check Full Service: Weiner reacts in an interview with WWRL, a radio station in New York… “I don't know him very well. He's a bit of a fringe candidate on the campaign trail. But he talks about his granddaughter in every answer to questions on the campaign trail, so I was making a reference to that.”
- Schumer will take immigration reform ‘any way’ he can get it -
DEMOCRATIC SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER OF NEW YORK IN AN INTERVIEW ON CNN: “We would prefer a big comprehensive bill but any way the House can get there is ok by us. I’m optimistic we'll get it done. I have had a lot of discussions with various members of both parties in the house. Things are moving in the right direction.”
- We shouldn’t be ignoring religion in foreign policy, says Kerry -
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY AT A PRESS CONFERENCE: “We need to recognize that in a world where people of all faiths are migrating and mingling like never before, where we are this global community which we always talk about, we ignore the global impact of religion - in my judgment - at our peril.”
- Inhofe to seek re-election -
REPUBLICAN SEN. JAMES INHOFE OF OKLAHOMA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH KRMG: “I went home and I talked to my wife and I said, ‘You know we've got a serious problem here, we're going to have this guy around for four more years. I just can't bail out now.’”
Gut Check Full Service: The three-term senator won the general election in 2008 with 57% of the vote.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
brad plumer (@bradplumer)
In 1983, about 87% of 19-year-olds had drivers' licenses. Today, only about 69% do: http://wapo.st/1bcwZFP
Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip)
Obama will speak on the steps of the Lincoln memorial at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, the WH says.
Brian Schraum (@bschraum)
Rep. John Lewis, last living MLK lieutenant, praises Snowden's #NSA leaks as "civil disobedience," http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/07/john-lewis-civil-rights-edward-snowden?CMP=twt_fd …
"As a heterosexual person who’s been married, you can take quite a cynical view of marriage." – Bob Filner http://voiceofsandiego.org/2012/03/29/filner-marriage-stinks/ …
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN)
"Kerry Bentivolio, a former teacher and Santa Claus impersonator, is an unlikely congressman." http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/the-top-10-lawmakers-who-could-lose-a-primary-next-year-20130807
Alex Zuckerman (@alex_zuckerman)
Grazing Goats to Clean Capitol Hill Cemetery in DC, kickin' it old school #yardwork #goats http://abcn.ws/1759L1u
Patrick Madden (@Patrick_Madden)
Will goats clean my apartment?
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
There are a lot of "first" honors that go along with Lynne Cox's name: the first person to swim the Straits of Magellan in Chile, the first to swim around South Africa's Cape of Good Hope and – at one point – the fastest person to swim across the English Channel.
But on this day 1987, Cox eased Cold War tensions when she became the first person to swim from the United States to Russia. The 2.3 mile swim between Alaska's Little Diomede and Russia’s Big Diomede in the Bering Strait was heralded by leaders of both countries.
When she made the swim, Soviet power was slowly waning, but relations with the United States were still troubled. Although the Eskimo inhabitants of the islands shared a common heritage, laws between the United States and Russia mandated that travel between the two islands was illegal.
The real test of the swim was not the distance, but the average temperature of around 40 degrees.
"It was one of those rare occasions in life when things turn out better than you ever imagined," she said after the swim. "And I could see from the eyes of the Russians that it was special for them too."
So who can swim across the Bering Strait to cool current tensions between Russia and the United States?
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Alex Coelho (@apcoelho) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Nice work.
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