CNN's GUT CHECK for August 8, 2013
August 8th, 2013
04:58 PM ET
12 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for August 8, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 8, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

‘HOLDING MY NOSE’: SECRET TELEPHONE RECORDING ROILS MCCONNELL CAMPAIGN Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, stressed his loyalty to the Kentucky Republican Thursday just hours after a recording surfaced of Benton expressing half-hearted support for McConnell. “Between you and me I'm sort of holding my nose for two years, because what we're doing here is going to be a big benefit for Rand [Paul] in '16,” Benton said in the recording. “That's my long vision.” – Mark Preston and Peter Hamby

BAILOUT PROFIT? TAXPAYERS MAY SOON PROFIT ON FANNIE, FREDDIE BAILOUTS The U.S. government rescued the two mortgage finance firms in September 2008. A recovery in housing has made Fannie and Freddie hugely profitable. And those profits flow to the U.S. Treasury. – Chris Isidore

OBAMA AT THE PODIUM: President Barack Obama told reporters at the White House that he will hold a news conference on Friday. Obama responded to a shouted question at an appearance on Thursday with the Greek prime minister that he would hold a news conference the next day.

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher on a light but choppy trading day. Dow adds 27 points. NASDAQ and S&P gain 0.4%.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Wolf Blitzer tweets: Happy Anniversary @CNNSitRoom We first went inside on August 8, 2005 - eight years ago today!

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
There are two reasons August 8 is significant for President Richard Nixon. He resigned the presidency on that day in 1974 – what is the other reason?

MARK (@PrestonCNN) & DAN (@DanMericaCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's biggest problem and most powerful attribute in a possible run for Republican presidential nomination in 2016 were brought to bear in a series of two polls released Thursday.

A Quinnipiac University poll found Christie is up 28 points over state Sen. Barbara Buono, his Democratic challenger in this year’s re-election bid. The fact, however, that Christie is winning overall is not the most interesting aspect of the poll. Instead, it is Christie's enormous lead with women and independents that is striking.

With women, he leads Buono by 22 points – 56% to 34%. With independents, Christie is up 44 points – 66% to 22%. And even 30% of Democrats in New Jersey say they support Christie.

Here lies Christie's biggest strength: A Republican candidate who can court groups the GOP has struggled with over the years – especially women and Independents. He even attracts some Democrats.

Now to his problem.

In a WMUR Granite State poll this week, 11 percent of Republican primary voters in New Hampshire said they would not vote for Christie. On favorability, Christie lags six other potential 2016 GOP presidential nominees, with a net favorability of 25%.

Since February, that favorability in New Hampshire has dropped 14 points.

According to Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center, this decline suggests Christie has "alienated significant segments of the Republican base."

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: After heart procedure, Bush gets call from Obama
President Barack Obama called his predecessor George W. Bush Wednesday to extend good wishes after the former president underwent a procedure to put a stent in a coronary artery. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that Obama was "glad to hear the procedure went well and former President Bush is recovering."

Leading Drudge: Foxnews Schedule Shakeup: Megyn In At 9 pm
FOXNEWS is set to make its first primetime schedule change in 10 years, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. Superstar newswoman Megyn Kelly has landed the 9 PM slot, top sources reveal. The shock announcement is set for later this month.

Leading HuffPo: Gupta Goes Green
CNN's chief medical expert Sanjay Gupta announced Wednesday that he has reversed his blanket opposition to marijuana use. Speaking to Piers Morgan, Gupta, who has a documentary on weed airing on Sunday, said he had previously helped to "mislead" the American public about the effects of the drug. – Jack Mirkinson

Leading Politico: Obama MIA on military sexual assault?
President Barack Obama has no problem forcing changes at the Pentagon. In five years, he’s drawn down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” and given a green light to allow women to fight alongside men in combat. But when it comes to the next big battle at the Defense Department — over sexual assault in the ranks — don’t expect Obama to lead the charge. – Darren Samuelsohn and Anna Palmer

Leading The New York Times: Just Across Town, a Test of Obama’s Emissions Goals
The Capitol Power Plant, the largest single source of carbon emissions in Washington, offers a concrete example of the government’s inability to green its own turf. – Erin Banco

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

Romney = Dukakis, says Republican consultant
ED ROLLINS, A REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN CONSULTANT, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WASHINGTON POST: “He is our Dukakis. [Romney's] legacy is a decent man who ran a lackluster campaign while spending enormous monies and lost to a president most Republicans and pundits thought was vulnerable.”

– A bilateral fish fry? –
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “We have a lot of fish to fry with the Russians. We have a lot of issues to engage with the Russians over and there is two plus two ministerial meeting here tomorrow; here in Washington, and there will be a host of topics. So this (Snowden issue) is not the focus of our engagement with Russia but it is not something that we are dropping by any means.”

– Filner is a public safety issue, says female veteran –
TARA JONES, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL WOMEN'S VETERANS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “We, as women of military sexual assault, we are outraged. We are really bothered by the fact that he is continuing to serve as the mayor of San Diego and there has been no special session or no special hearing to have him administratively removed or put on administrative leave until this investigation is complete. … He's tainted our city as a whole and we need him out of the mayor's office. It is a public safety issue.”

– The Biden jokes really never get old –
CONAN O’BRIEN ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “President turned 52 this week. This week President Obama's speech was interrupted when the crowd began singing happy birthday isn't that nice. Yeah, in a related story, Joe Biden's speech was interrupted when the crowd realized that the speaker was Joe Biden.”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Carrie Dann (@CarrieNBCNews)
2013 Medal of Freedom recipient list includes Bill Clinton, Ben Bradlee, Oprah Winfrey, Dick Lugar, Loretta Lynn.

Matt Friedman (@MattFriedmanSL)
Christie signed 10 gun-related bills today, but the ones most opposed by gun rights advocates remain on his desk.

Kemberlee Kaye (@red_red_head)
And this is when I started growing skeptical of Christie http://savejersey.com/2013/08/christie-signs-10-gun-bills/

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
Dear Int'l @Olympics Comm: Putin's anti-gay law flouts Olympic charter's promotion of "human dignity." @HRW letter: http://trib.al/Qtt4BxN

Chris Owens (@ChrisOwens4U)
#CoryBooker – Cory Booker: Supermayor Or Self-Promoter? Good question! http://fb.me/2ePYn9U2B

Zach Wolf (@zbyronwolf)
Gotta be a "render unto ceasar" thing u cld say about these pastors' backing Spitzer to be NYC's top accountant. http://on.cnn.com/1cg5Zcx

Alan Murray (@alansmurray)
A bit of good news for news organizations: The public strongly supports their "watchdog" role. @pewresearch http://pewrsr.ch/15RtFjU

TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN

Richard Nixon became the first president to resign on this day in 1974, stepping down over the Watergate scandal.

"By taking this action," Nixon said, "I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America."

But Nixon's resignation is not the only reason August 8 is significant in his political life or that of the nation.

On August 8, 1968, Nixon and his vice presidential selection, Spiro T. Agnew, were nominated for the presidency at the Republican National Convention in Miami.

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Doug Heye (@DougHeye), who is quickly climbing the Gut Check trivia overall winner’s circle.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    MSNBC Entertainment miniseries and CNN documentary about Hillary 3 years before an election she hasn't even said she's running in (and, in fact, has repeatedly denied she would run in): RNC temper tantrum.

    RWNJ organization resurrects website encouraging RWNJs to act out misogynistic fantasies through virtual violence against a woman, Hillary Clinton: RNC silence.

    Any questions?

    August 8, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Larry in Houston

    """A Republican candidate who can court groups the GOP has struggled with over the years – especially women and Independents. He even attracts some Democrats"""

    That may be his biggest strength. . . . . . But his biggest problem is this : It's the T party people who is going to end up making his lose. . . .
    Answer ? Christy needs to do like Bloomberg did . . . . He needs to change his politics to "Independent"

    August 8, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. Larry in Houston

    him lose

    August 8, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. ja

    A lotta guts

    August 8, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. Tony in Maine

    When Chris Christie is the moderate in the crowd, the Greedy Olde Phools have a problem. Ignoring the wannabe Mafia don act, he is well to the right of moderate Republicans of even a generation ago. Consider his actions on public education – lots of verbal support, but that's where it ends. Since education is usually the biggest budget item, it is the place most conservatives look to cut up in their inane urge to do Norquist's bidding.

    August 9, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |