CNN's GUT CHECK | for September 2, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Monday after meeting with President Barack Obama that congressional rejection of a resolution authorizing U.S. military force in Syria would be “catastrophic,” adding it would “undermine the credibility of the United States and the president of the United States.”
‘FLOOD THE ZONE’: President Barack Obama will meet Tuesday morning with Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, congressional aides tell Dana Bash. In addition, Obama will meet with the leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and their House counterparts, reports Brianna Keilar.
HEAVYWEIGHTS ON THE HILL: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday afternoon. CNN’s special coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY: CONGRESSIONAL HAWKS TIE SYRIA TO MILITARY BUDGET CUTS… With Congress facing a crucial debate on attacking Syria over chemical weapons use, conservatives are signaling their price for support may be increased funding for a shrinking military budget. – Tom Cohen
CONGRESS LARGELY UNDECIDED: Obama said on August 31 that he will ask Congress to vote to authorize a military strike against Syria for using chemical weapons against its own people. CNN is counting votes on which way the House and Senate might go. These numbers will be updated regularly.
THE BUZZ: Diana Nyad, 64, has completed her swim from Cuba to Florida on her fifth try. Nyad took more than 52 hours to swim the 103-mile trip. It's the farthest she or anyone else has gone without a shark cage.
Where did the first ATM open on this day in 1969?
It’s not often an academic paper goes viral. But today, Peter Hamby’s provocative and fascinating Harvard essay, “Did Twitter Kill the Boys on the Bus?” did just that. We reached out to our respected friend and colleague about his work, we urge you to read the entire paper: http://shorensteincenter.org/2013/08/d80-hamby/.
Gut Check: What made you decide to perform a deep dive on this subject?
Hamby: I have no desire to live my life in election cycles, but I’ve always been kind of envious of how campaign operatives get the chance to breathe a little after a win or a loss every two years. They’re forced to do so, and it can be tough, but it offers them a chance to pause and reflect on the previous campaign. I don’t think reporters, with the accelerated nature of the news cycle these days, get to do the same. We just move right on to the next story. So when I was up at Harvard, I just figured I’d talk to everyone I got to know during the campaign about what happened and what we might be able to do better next time.
Why does Twitter and social media matter in the 21st Century campaign media strategy?
Dan Balz said it best in the paper: “Most people aren’t on Twitter.” During the cycle, Pew found that only 13% of Americans were looking at Twitter. And only 3% were actually tweeting! And yet, the entire political class is on Twitter. Every reporter, every editor, every operative. It’s where the new C.W. is born, every morning, every hour. So campaigns need to engage with reporters on that playing field, before their stories hit the web or the papers. Both campaigns understood this, but I think it’s been pretty well documented at this point that President Obama’s aides were more willing to jump into the Twitter mudpit on a minute-by-minute basis.
According to your reporting, Mitt Romney’s political advisers thought it was malpractice that media organizations sent out relatively young reporters to cover the 2012 campaign. Do you agree with them?
I don’t think age and talent are mutually exclusive. I do think experience matters deeply. As Adam Nagourney explained to me, you know what matters and what doesn’t, you know what issues matter in what states, you know key players, you know what fights to pick. But the bottom line for reporters is if you have a passion for politics and you love it, if you’re genuinely curious and hungry, I think that works. Zeke Miller over at TIME is a kick-ass reporter. And the guy is 23.
As we look ahead to the 2016 presidential campaign, do any candidates have an advantage in understanding the nature of the evolving news environment?
Hillary Clinton is one of the most scrutinized people in the world. She’s not a stranger to the demands of the media, in any way. But I am interested to see, if she runs, and if Jeb Bush runs, how they adapt to the speed of the news cycle and the more youthful bent of the political press corps. A lot of up-and-coming reporters right now were just kids when the Clintons were in the White House, and Jeb hasn’t run for office since 2002. And when Hillary last launched a campaign, the iPhone hadn’t even been invented. I wonder if someone like Marco Rubio, who has really come of age politically with TMZ and Twitter, who is more fluent in the norms and values of political coverage these days, might have a leg up. Chuck Todd has it right in the paper: Some candidate is going to crack the code in 2016 and flood reporters with access and a million tweets, and get rewarded for it. The candidate that walls him or herself off from reporters, like Romney did, is not going to be rewarded with favorable coverage.
You conducted almost 70 interviews for this paper – who was your favorite person? And are you the first Harvard fellow to work in a Ryan Gosling metaphor into his work?
To the second question, I don’t know. I wonder if Michael Ignatieff is a big fan of The Notebook. To the first question: Mike Murphy is a gold mine for quotes. One of his biggest gripes, and I didn’t put this in the paper, is what he calls the “death of credentials” in politics. Today, anyone can booked on TV or publish an op-ed, regardless of experience. This is what he told me: “It’s like a porn, everybody’s a star. Most of these people are knuckleheads. Presidential campaigns are easy to be competent in because it tends to be a big swarm of people and the experience level is pretty low. Santorum has to have somebody, so he can hire the waiter at the Burger King and all of a sudden that’s a savvy press person.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Obama Looks to Congress to Bolster Legal Case for Syria Strike
The president's decision to launch military strikes that would be "limited in duration and scope" is illegal under international law, legal experts say. – Evan Perez
Leading Drudge: Kerry's Dinner With Assad
This astonishing photograph shows U.S Secretary of State John Kerry having a cosy and intimate dinner with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Kerry – who compared Assad to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein yesterday – is pictured around a small table with his wife and the Assads in 2009. – Anthony Bond
Leading HuffPo: Why Isn't Every Monday Like Labor Day?
Yet the movement for shorter hours has fizzled. Since the passage of the landmark Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, which established the minimum wage and the 40-hour workweek, the idea that shorter hours could reduce unemployment and lessen misery has been largely forgotten. – Arthor Delaney
Leading Politico: Obama's first Syria test in Foreign Relations panel
President Barack Obama’s political test over Syria begins Tuesday afternoon in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the deep divides within that panel reflect the broader struggle on Capitol Hill over whether the U.S. should intervene militarily in Syria. – John Bresnahan
Leading The New York Times: President Seeks to Rally Support for Syria Strike
The Obama administration began a full-press campaign for Congressional approval of its plan to carry out a punitive strike against the Syrian government. – Michael R. Gordon and Jackie Calmes
The political bites of the day
– Assad threatens ‘repercussions’ if attacked –
SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE FRENCH DAILY LE FIGARO: “Those who make accusations must show evidence. We have challenged the United States and France to come up with a single piece of proof. Obama and Hollande have been incapable of doing so. … If the policies of the French state are hostile to the Syrian people, the state will be their enemy. There will be repercussions, negative ones obviously, on French interests.”
– Russia doubts veracity of U.S. chemical weapon findings –
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN RUSSIA: “It is said that the United States declared that the state used chemical weapons but what does that mean? We have clear data about this. It is clear interference of foreign policy. There is nothing concrete, no names, no proof that it was carried out by professionals. Many experts express doubt.”
– NATO leader calls for ‘firm international response’ in Syria –
ANDERS RASUMSSEN, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL, IN A PRESS CONFERENCE ON SYRIA: “I think there is agreement that we need a firm international response in order to avoid that chemical attacks take place in the future. It would send a dangerous signal to dictators all over world if we stand idle and don’t react. The question is how and when to react.”
– Wide splits in Congress over Syria –
REPUBLICAN REP. MIKE POMPEO OF KANSAS, MEMBER OF HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “NEW DAY”: “I’m going to make the case that the president’s response needs to be much more vigorous, much more robust, and actually consider America’s strategic and national interests in the Middle East more broadly in Syria than some simple few missiles being lobbed into Syria.”
DEMOCRATIC REP. ELIOT ENGEL OF NEW YORK, RANKING DEMOCRAT ON THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “NEW DAY”: “I think that when all of the facts are known and when legislators in both parties see what is best for the United States, I think the vote will be overwhelmingly yes.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Pope Francis (@Pontifex)
War never again! Never again war!
Fenia Yfandi (@Feni_55_Crystal)
Syrian Electronic Army Hacks Marine Website, Saying US Is Supporting Al Qaeda: http://www.ibtimes.com/syrian-electronic-army-hacks-marine-website-saying-us-supporting-al-qaeda-1402242#.UiTJsylzyo4.twitter
Sen. Chuck Grassley (@ChuckGrassley)
Obama decides to not enforce marijuana laws in 2 states It is nullification by prioritization. Obama will learn like Calhoun: unconstitutional
Ed Gillespie (@EdWGillespie)
clear now when 3 am call came, @BarackObama couldn't find his glasses, knocked phone off nightstand, still reaching around for receiver
Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew)
Hillary's top Syria hand, Fred Hof, former Admin. point man on Syria rages at Obama Admin. http://www.buzzfeed.com/miriamelder/foreign-policy-hands-wonder-whats-the-point-of-obamas-syria …
Jack Bohrer (@JRBoh)
JFK tells Walter Cronkite the Diem Regime is making it difficult to win in Vietnam, 9/2/1963. https://vine.co/v/h5FjJWzUEhe
Late Night (@LateNightJimmy)
Thank you, Labor Day, for being the one day of the year when I’m not the only one getting drunk on a Monday afternoon. #ThankYouNotes
Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877)
last Labor Day was my first @Gutcheckcnn question ever
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
The first ever ATM – or automatic teller machine – opened at the Chemical Bank in Rockville Center, New York.
Rockville Center is a small town in Nassau County, New York.
Although a number of inventors tried to invent an automatic cash dispensing machine, Don Wetzel is credited with coming up with the idea of an ATM. Some reports say that Wetzel came up with the idea for the ATM while standing in line at a bank.
Today, according to the National ATM Council (yes, it exists), there are roughly 425,000 ATMs in the United States.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congratulations to FAU FAN (@owlsfan954) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Nice job.
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