CNN's POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for August 27, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
U.S. MILITARY “READY TO GO” … Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel tells the BBC that American forces are “ready” should President Obama order a strike on Syria. “We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take," Hagel told the BBC. … “We are ready to go." LINK
“ESSENTIAL INTERNATIONAL NORM HAS BEEN VIOLATED” ... Vice President Joe Biden at the American Legion National Convention in Houston, “There is no doubt that an essential international norm has been violated. Chemical weapons have been used. Everyone acknowledges their use. No one doubts that innocent men women and children have been the victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria and there is no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: the Syrian regime. … At President Obama’s direction, all of us and his national security team have been in close touch with our foreign counterparts. The president believes and I believe that those who use chemical weapons against defenseless men women and children should and must be held accountable.” LINK
GINGRICH: “STAY OUT OF SYRIA’S CIVIL WAR” … In an opinion piece on CNN.com, Newt Gingrich writes: “A brief bombing campaign in Syria might make the United States and its allies feel like they are doing something, but it will prove nothing. … Both sides in Syria are bad. One side is a brutal dictator, and the other includes Islamists and terrorists who are dangerous already and who would be brutal in power if given the chance. We will not spend the time, money and blood to create a desirable side in Syria. There is no victory to be had there.” LINK
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end sharply lower on concerns over military action in Syria. Oil jumps 3%. Dow falls 171 points.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Would the government have spied on MLK Jr. today?
As the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and the anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech - arguably one of the most important speeches of the 20th century - few are also remembering that the historic civil rights leader was once under heavy surveillance by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. – Joe Johns LINK
Leading Drudge: War Drums: Iran Threatens Israel – 'First Victim' Of Strike On Syria
A senior Iranian lawmaker said Israel would be the first casualty of any U.S.-led strike on Syria, according to regional media reports. Adam Kredo, The Washington Free Beacon LINK
Leading HuffPo: 'No Justification:' 'Burdensome' Voter Id Measure Hit With Lawsuit
The Tennessee Green Party filed a federal lawsuit Monday to get rid of Tennessee's voter ID law, calling the legislation unconstitutional and unfair to minority voters. - Ashley Balcerzak LINK
Leading Politico: W.H. on Syria: No 'regime change'
President Barack Obama is considering options on Syria but is not aiming for “regime change,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday, as the White House continues to reach out U.S. allies and members of Congress ahead of a possible military strike. - Jennifer Epstein and Jake Sherman LINK
What major energy event happened on this day in 1859?
What caught our eye today in politics
President Obama’s relationship with Congress is about to get another test – and we are not talking about the October debt debate.
Today, John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, issued a warning shot at the Obama administration on Syria: “Before any action is taken regarding Syria, it is imperative that President Obama make the case to the American people and consult with Congress. He needs to explain what vital national interests are at stake and should put forth a detailed plan with clear objectives and an estimated cost for achieving those objectives.”
We will keep our eye on those three points – national interest, clear objective, estimated cost - as the administration continues to ratchet up the pressure on Syria.
The political bites of the day
– McCain: Cruise Missile Strikes Alone would be counterproductive –
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN TO WOLF BLITZER, CNN’S “THE SITUATION ROOM”: “Most importantly, we need to reverse the momentum to bring Bashar al-Assad down as the president two years ago said had to happen. And a year ago, (Obama) said that it would be unacceptable crossing the red line if (Assad) used chemical weapons. We can reverse the situation on the battlefield by taking out his air assets, cratering his runways, and getting the weapons to the right people so that they can reverse the momentum. If it's simply just going and doing some cruise missile strikes, then I think again, it may be counterproductive, in fact it may give Bashar al-Assad a propaganda advantage by saying he was able to resist the United States attacks.”
– White House discussing Syria with the Hill –
SEN. CARL LEVIN, DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN OF THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE, ISSUES A STATEMENT: “This morning, the administration briefed me on the situation in Syria. The administration is proceeding cautiously, consulting with our allies and other countries in the region to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. The president is considering a broad range of options that have been presented by our military leaders.”
– Ford describes what he saw in assassination attempt –
NEWLY RELEASED VIDEO OF PRESIDENT FORD TESTIFYING: “I noticed a person in the second or third row, in a brightly colored dress, who appeared to want to either shake hands or speak, or at least wanted to get closer to me. I stopped because I was gradually moving toward the state capitol, and that was my first impression of a person had a dress on. I, of course, didn’t know who it was. … I hesitated, instead of keeping moving as I normally do. And as I stopped, I saw her hand come through the crowd in the first row. And that was the only active gesture that I saw. But in the hand was a weapon.” LINK
– Classic Crossfire: One too many holidays? –
IN 1983, JERRY FALWELL SAID A HOLIDAY TO COMMEMORATE MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. WAS NOT NECESSARY:
FALWELL: “I don’t think we need any more holidays.”
PAT BUCHANAN: “Why not a Martin Luther King Day?”
FALWELL: “I just feel that there are other Black Americans and the corporate body of Black Americans who are due honor more than one recent individual about whom there is a great question mark even to this moment.”
BUCHANAN: What is the question mark?”
FALWELL: The question mark is that, uh, so far all the records aren’t even unsealed and neither you, Tom, nor I really know what they say.”
BUCHANAN:” Are you talking about his personal character, his personal morality, his personal life as well as any connection with…”
FALWELL: He may be as clean as Billy Graham but we don’t know that because the records are sealed."
GUT CHECK DVR: Crossfire returns to CNN on September 16, airing weekdays at 6:30 p.m. ET.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Carol Costello (@CarolCNN)
Bill requiring large retailers like Walmart to pay a "living wage" on DC mayor's desk
Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT)
A mischievous Ickes on why he got back on DNC: "The goal is to design rules to nominate the strongest candidate for the general election"
Roger Simon (@politicoroger)
What do you want to bet that someone has already invited Miley Cyrus to the next White House Correspondents' Association dinner?
J. Freedom du Lac (@jfdulac)
Gold medal tweet –> RT @petridishes Watergate Polo #dcolympicevents
TRIVIA ANSWER from @GREGORYWALLACE
A new energy source was introduced on this day in 1859 when Edwin Drake made the first successful oil well in the United States.
The former railroad conductor struck black gold after months of failed attempts and pouring several thousand dollars - no insignificant sum at the time - into the effort.
His Titusville, Pennsylvania well sparked an oil rush in the state, sending real estate prices sky-high and eventually attracting businessman John D. Rockefeller and others who became rich on the new field.
Drake, on the other hand, lost his job and did not patent the technology. He would go on to live off of funds from rich oil barons and a stipend from the state of Pennsylvania, which voted seven years before his death in 1880 to send him $1,500 a year. LINK
GUT CHECK WINNER'S CIRCLE
(why aren't you in it?)
Great minds think alike – but not like ours. Both Sean Evins and Steve Liguori correctly responded that there was a solar storm in 1859. We’ll drill for a fresh trivia question tomorrow.
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