CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 9, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
'I'M GOING TO TAKE SOME QUESTIONS': OBAMA ANNOUNCES SURVEILLANCE CHANGES… President Barack Obama said at a news conference that he's taking steps to improve public confidence in national security surveillance. These include working with Congress to pursue appropriate improvements of the telephone surveillance program; reforming the secret court that approves that initiative; improving transparency to provide as much information as possible to the public; and appointing a high-level, independent group of outside experts to review surveillance technologies.
DEMOCRATIC SEN. MARK UDALL OF COLORADO IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “This is an important first step — but I will keep fighting to ensure it's not the Administration's last in this direction. The administration must do a better job balancing our national security with our constitutional privacy rights.”
REPUBLICAN REP. PETER KING OF NEW YORK IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “The President’s announcement today that he will pursue ‘reforms’ to National Security Agency counterterrorism programs is a monumental failure in presidential wartime leadership and responsibility.”
NO ONE: THAT IS WHO RON PAUL WANTS FOR FED CHAIR… “Dr. Paul would prefer we get rid of central economic planning via a central bank,” Ron Paul told Fortune Magazine. “All mentioned candidates believe that one person or a committee has the knowledge to dictate the correct interest rate and rate of growth of the money supply, which they do not.”
MARKET WATCH: Major U.S. indexes end lower for the week, losing around 1%.
Gerald Ford became president on this day in 1974. How long did it take for him to hold his first presidential press conference?
MARK (@PrestonCNN) & DAN (@DanMericaCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics
Government surveillance programs – particularly those that were leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden – dominated President Barack Obama’s White House news conference.
“I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot,” Obama said. “As I said in my opening remarks, I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks. The fact is is that Mr. Snowden's been charged with three felonies. If in fact he believes that what he did was right, then, like every American citizen, he can come here, appear before the court with a lawyer, and make his case.”
But in addition to “Mr. Snowden,” as Obama referred to him as, the president spoke about the United States’ relationship with Russia, the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, his pick for Federal Reserve chairman and bringing people to justice for Benghazi.
Here are some of the best quotes from the 53-minute long question and answer session.
On his relationship with Putin: “I don't have a bad personal relation with Putin. When we have conversations, they're candid. They're blunt. Oftentimes, they're constructive. I know the press likes to focus on body language, and he's got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom. But the truth is that when we're in conversations together, oftentimes it's very productive.”
On the 2014 Olympics: “I want to just make very clear right now, I do not think it's appropriate to boycott the Olympics. We've got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard. Who are doing everything they can to succeed. Nobody's more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you've been seeing in Russia. But, as I said just this week, I've spoken out against that not just with respect to Russia, but a number of other countries where we continue to do work with them, but we have a strong disagreement on this issue.”
On his upcoming pick for Federal Reserve chairman: “It is definitely one of the most important economic decisions that I'll make in the remainder of my presidency. The Federal Reserve chairman is not just one of the most important economic policymakers in America. It's - he or she is one of the most important policymakers in the world. And that person presumably will stay on after I'm president. So this, along with Supreme Court appointments, is probably as important a decision as I make as president. I have a range of outstanding candidates. You've mentioned two of them, Mr. Summers and Mr. Yellen - Ms. Yellen.”
On why, 11-months after Benghazi, those to blame haven’t been brought to justice: “I also said that we'd get bin Laden. And I didn't get him in 11 months.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Tech chiefs meet with Obama on privacy
Bosses of major technology firms met with President Barack Obama Thursday alongside civil liberties advocates to discuss privacy, part of an ongoing series of talks the White House is holding after the disclosure of government surveillance programs that monitor Americans' phone and internet activity.
Leading Drudge: Dem: We've Got Votes In House To Pass Immigration!
Forty to 50 House Republicans will support immigration reform, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) predicted Thursday. Gutiérrez said many of the Republicans supportive of immigration reform don’t want to be identified, but he insisted they would support comprehensive immigration reform. – Ian Swanson for The Hill
Leading HuffPo: Southern Discomfort: Dixie Dems Could Determine Senate Control
Republicans are counting on some Southern comfort to win Senate control next year. The fate of Democratic incumbents in GOP-trending Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina, the ability of the 71-year-old GOP leader to hold his Kentucky seat and the eventual outcome of a Georgia primary will help decide whether Republicans gain the six seats necessary to grab power in the Senate for the final two years of Barack Obama's presidency. – Donna Cassata for The Associated Press
Leading Politico: Libertarians' new adversary: Al Qaeda
Al Qaeda’s back, and its timing couldn’t be worse for the Republicans who are taking on the national security wing of their party. Edward Snowden reignited a debate over privacy and civil liberties that had fizzled in recent years. Just last week, civil libertarians were even picking up momentum on proposals to restrict the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records thanks to renewed attention in the media. – David Nather
Leading The New York Times: Peace Talks to Resume in Jerusalem Next Week, State Dept. Says
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will resume peace talks in Jerusalem next Wednesday, the State Department said Thursday. Martin S. Indyk, the senior American envoy to the talks, and Frank Lowenstein, his deputy, will travel to Israel to facilitate the negotiations. After meeting in Jerusalem, the negotiators will hold another session in Jericho on the West Bank. No date was announced for that meeting. – Michael Gordon
The political bites of the day
– Weiner mocks British reporter –
NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE ANTHONY WEINER IN AN EXCHANGE WITH ITV’s LUCY WATSON: “It's hard to take you seriously. … I just have a feeling I've like stepped into a Monty Python bit. … Anything else I can do for ITV? You want me to do the weather or something? It's going to be raining, cloudy and gray. So do what you can guys. Try to keep your head up. Keep a stiff–what is it? A stiff upper lip.”
– Kerry and Hagel meet with Russian counterparts –
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY IN REMARKS TO REPORTERS: “The relationship between the United States and Russia is, needless to say, a very important relationship and it is marked by both shared interests and at times colliding and conflicting interests. I think we are all very clear-eyed about that. Sergei Lavrov and I are old hockey players and we both know that diplomacy like hockey can sometimes result in the occasional collision.”
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEY LAVROV IN REMARKS TO REPORTERS: “We have laid a very solid foundation for future work and once we start building on the foundation, once these instruments are appropriate, we will be able to enhance cooperation in different sectors and significantly.”
– McCarthy heralds TV lawmaker, jokingly threatens GOP caucus –
HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP KEVIN MCCARTHY OF CALIFORNIA TALKS ABOUT A CHARACTER IN NETFLIX’S HOUSE OF CARDS AT AN EVENT IN CALIFORNIA THIS WEEK: “He portrays this person with all the wrong things you hear about Washington. He literally murders one member. If I could murder one member, I'd never have to worry about another vote.”
– Or should have said it isn’t being purchased? –
JIMMY FALLON ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “Hey, listen to this. After The Washington Post and The Boston Globe were both sold this week, the owner of The New York Times came out and said that his paper is not for sale. Oh, yeah? Then how come I just bought one at the news stand?”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Scott Conroy (@RealClearScott)
Berating staffers, exploring the concept of "pre-knocking" & offending the British. All in a night w/ Anthony Weiner. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/08/09/a_revealing_hour_in_harlem_with_anthony_weiner_119563.html …
Carl Pierre (@carlpierre)
Former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty is Apparently Dating Steve Jobs' Widow http://inthecapital.streetwise.co/2013/08/09/former-dc-mayor-adrian-fenty-is-apparently-dating-steve-jobs-widow/ … via @InTheCapital
Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis)
Scoopity scoop from @ReliableSource: Adrian Fenty is dating Steve Jobs' widow. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/wp/2013/08/08/adrian-fenty-and-his-budding-romance-with-laurene-powell-jobs-billionaire-widow-of-apple-co-founder-steve-jobs/
Alan Suderman (@AlanSuderman)
Adrian Fenty is now dating a billionaire. Kids, sometimes losing is the best thing that can happen to you.
Gillibrand raising money for Pryor, while Bloomberg gun control grp spends against him., via @EvanMcSan http://www.buzzfeed.com/evanmcsan/democratic-gun-politics-in-arkansas-senate-race-are-already?s=mobile …
Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP)
When freshmen run for Senate: Tom Cotton joins select group http://wapo.st/16v2xUH
Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul)
Perhaps I am not against ALL drones! http://www.france24.com/en/20130808-drone-delivers-beer-not-bombs-safrica-music-festival
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
Vice President Gerald Ford assumed the presidency on this day in 1974 following the resignation of Richard Nixon over Watergate.
The next few days were filled with firsts for the Ford administration.
Three days after ascending to the White House – without ever getting elected to either vice president or president – Ford addressed his first joint session of Congress. That same day, Ford issued his first veto and about a week after that, he signed his first piece of legislation – The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Act.
It wasn't until August 28, however, that Ford took to the press briefing room of the White House and addressed the media.
As was true so many times, the late Helen Thomas got the first question and used it to ask about pardoning Nixon.
"In the last 10 days or two weeks I have asked for prayers for guidance on this very important point," Ford said. "In this situation, I am the final authority. There have been no charges made, there has been no action by the courts, there has been no action by any jury. And until any legal process has been undertaken, I think it is unwise and untimely for me to make any commitment."
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
No correct answers on trivia today, although NGC721 (@NGC_721) did have the most creative – yet incorrect – answer. Happy Friday, all.
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Once again, Paul shows that he is totally unfit to be the president of the US. The Federal Reserve was founded in the first decade of the 20th century in response to the failures of several large banks at the end of the 19th century, and until the financial crisis of 2008, did just that. Recently it has been active in supporting the return to health of America's economy to grow jobs