CNN's GUT CHECK | for October 25, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
TWO MONTHS LATE: FEDERAL OFFICIALS VOW HEALTHCARE WEB SITE WILL BE FULLY FUNCTIONING BY END OF NOVEMBER… The federal healthcare site is expected to be almost fully functioning by the end of November, predicted Jeffrey Zients, who has been appointed by President Obama to help lead the fixes of healthcare.gov. Zients spoke to reporters Friday for the first time since being brought on board and said the “vast majority” of people should be able to use all elements of the site by that point. Zients said they are appointing contractor QSSI to lead the effort to fix the site. “Healthcare.gov is fixable,” Zients said on the conference call. – Adam Aigner-Treworgy
AND THEN THERE WERE TEN: TEN DEMOCRATS SAY DELAY OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT DEADLINE… “As long as these substantial technology glitches persist, we are losing valuable time to educate and enroll people in insurance plans. Our constituents are frustrated, and we fear that the longer the website is not functional, opportunities for people to log on, learn about their insurance choices, and enroll will be lost,” reads a letter signed by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Dianne Feinstein of California, Mark Udall of Colorado, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Michael Bennet of Colorado and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.
NOW WHO IS DIVIDED? On Friday, Republicans seized on the idea that it is the Democrats, not their party, that is divided. A number of Republican operatives, including Brad Dayspring, a strategist as the National Republican Senatorial Committee, tweeted stories about disunity among Democrats on Obamacare. “See how they run...... from #ObamaCare,” Dayspring said about Democrats breaking with their party.
THE RETURN OF SARAH PALIN: “The Republican establishment can't stand her. The media mocks her. But Sarah Palin isn't going anywhere. Far from it. After laying low for much of this year, Palin is gingerly stepping back into the public arena with a national book tour, a trip to the always-important political state of Iowa, and an eye on making yet another series of splashy endorsements in a variety of competitive Republican primaries. “She is the most important endorsement in Republican politics today, by far,” said Sal Russo, a Republican consultant who co-founded the Tea Party Express, a group that has booked Palin to speak at numerous public events dating back to the 2010 midterm cycle. “She can move the needle in a primary more than anyone else can.” – Peter Hamby
MARKET WATCH: S&P 500 ends the week at a record closing high, as tech stocks pace advance. Dow gains 1% for the week.
What is Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s dream job?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNN Politics: HHS to Issa: We’re working on it
The Health and Human Services Department responded Friday to the House Oversight Committee’s threat of a subpoena, saying the department is working to provide the information requested by Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, on the technical problems with the Obamacare website. “We have told the Committee repeatedly that we intend to accommodate their interest in better understanding our efforts to implement the ACA,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement. “The Committee sent us an extremely broad request for documents on October 10 – while the government was still shut down – and asked that we produce these materials within two weeks.”
Leading Drudge: Nations Turn To UN
Brazil and Germany today joined forces to press for the adoption of a U.N. General Resolution that promotes the right of privacy on the internet, marking the first major international effort to restrain the National Security Agency's intrusions into the online communications of foreigners, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the push. – Colum Lynch, Shane Harris and John Hudson
Leading HuffPo: On Notice: Shutdown Puts GOP Majority At Risk
The 16-day federal government shutdown that furloughed 800,000 workers and cost the U.S. economy $24 billion dollars has largely been pinned on House Republicans, making many of them vulnerable in the 2014 midterm elections. Numerous polls have shown that a majority of Americans assign a larger share of blame for the shutdown to congressional Republicans, who tried to tie government funding provisions to defunding the Affordable Care Act. Even prominent Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have criticized their colleagues in the House for damaging the GOP's image. – Shadee Ashtari
Leading Politico: How Washington is killing the economy
The latest round of fiscal drama has sputtered to a temporary close, but the routine crises have one clear victim: the U.S. economy, which is once again losing altitude. And for the third year in a row, Washington gets much of the blame. There’s not much hope for a quick turnaround. – Ben White
Leading The New York Times: In White House Pitches, Rosy View of Health Care Site
Before the health insurance exchange Web site went live, President Obama and other top officials confidently promoted it as being simple to use and ready for customers. – Michael Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg
The political bites of the day
– Sebelius: We have time –
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS AT A SPEECH IN AUSTIN, TEXAS: “They have 26 weeks, no one is losing healthcare coverage today. No one gets new benefits until January 1st. And if an individual signs up by the 15th of December, they will have coverage on day one. So I think it's important to know there is time, there won't be a sellout of products and the price will not change.”
Gut Check Full Service: "With Secretary Sebelius in Texas today, she should keep in mind three things: Texans believe our federal government should be accountable, transparent and limited,” Republican Sen. John Cornyn said in a statement. “If she’s still confused about who exactly she works for and if she hasn’t come ready to answer questions about why hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on a botched product, she might as well not visit.”
– How Both Parties Ignore What Their Voters Want –
RONALD BROWNSTEIN, A SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST FOR CNN, IN AN ANALYSIS PIECE FOR THE NATIONAL JOURNAL: “One reason a serious budget negotiation seems unlikely this fall is that any meaningful assault on the federal deficit would require each party to confront the contradictions between its fiscal agenda and its electoral coalition. … Heading into budget negotiations, the top priority for many Republicans remains limiting Medicare, Medicaid, and maybe Social Security, the Big Three senior entitlements. The contradiction they face is that the people benefiting from those programs now comprise the core of their electoral coalition.”
– The racial remarks that got a North Carolina GOP precinct chair fired –
DON YELTON, THE PRECINCT CHAIR OF BUNCOMBE COUNTY IN NORTH CAROLINA, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH COMEDY CENTRAL: “The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt. If it hurts a bunch of college kids too lazy to get up off their bohonkas and go get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it.
– McCain’s daughter: My father is depressed –
MEGHAN MCCAIN, THE DAUGHTER OF REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH TOP LINE: “I’ve never heard him this depressed other than maybe after the ‘08 election. He’s so depressed, so down-trodden. The way he’s talking about it, he’s never seen it this bad in his 30-plus years in office. … We’re both frustrated with the idea that only the hyper-conservative wing of the party is going to represent the masses.”
– How did Holder and Obama meet? –
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER AT AN EQUAL JUSTICE WORKS EVENT IN VIRGINIA: “I met him at a dinner that was held for him after he had been elected as a senator but before he had been sworn in. I sat next to him at this dinner and we just started talking about a variety of things, sports among them and criminal justice issues. And we saw that we had a lot of similar views and so we just started a relationship that was casual. I used to come by his office and we used to talk about bills he was thinking about or positions he would take on criminal justice matters. And when he said he was going to run for president I signed up with the thought it would be a worthwhile experience. I didn’t think necessarily that we were going to win. But I remember going to Iowa for the first time and speaking to people there, well before the primary – about a year or so before the caucuses – and coming back and telling him `I think you could, you might win. There are people out there, there is a buzz. There is a sense of great interest in your campaign.’ So through that, through the whole period, we got to know each other and after he was elected he called me up and asked me to be attorney general.”
– Biden 2016 already making punch lines –
CONAN O’BRIEN ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “From the world of politics, there's been a lot of speculation but now it's clear that Joe Biden will run for president in 2016. That’s true. They’re saying he's going to run, yeah. In an effort to appear presidential, today Biden launched a website that doesn't work. That’s what president's do.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Elise Labott (@eliselabottcnn)
Are autonomous weapons inherently unethical? @HooverInst Matt Waxman says not really. http://bit.ly/1aqui4r
Aaradhya Ranjan (@aaradhya17)
Alec Baldwin Will Not Donate To Political Candidates While At MSNBC http://wp.me/p3WrvA-1Oi
Bipartisan Policy (@BPC_Bipartisan)
Political insurgencies can be a catalyst for change, says BPC President @JasonGrumet: http://bit.ly/1c3EaQQ (via @usnews)
Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter)
Actually…you do. RT @trscoop: Sebelius: I don't work for the people calling on me to resign... http://wp.me/pqwpd-lSH
Gautham Nagesh (@gnagesh)
WaPo's Bob Woodward and Greg Miller report the Pakistani government secretly endorsed the CIA's drone strikes: http://wapo.st/19wNLiT
David Plotz (@davidplotz)
NYT mag's South China Sea package is as good as digital journalism gets. Huzzah @hugolindgren http://nyti.ms/1699FYY
April Andrews (@aprilCNNpr)
Sneak peek at @Rachel__Nichols' exclusive trip to China w/@KingJames: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPoO8pWFfc …. Watch #Unguarded TONIGHT 10:30p ET on CNN.
Kasie Hunt (@kasie)
The Des Moines convention center hosting Ted Cruz this evening is also hosting cage fighting tonight.
TAPPER TIME: Our colleague and good friend Jake Tapper will be discussing his critically acclaimed book “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor” Saturday, at 3:30 p.m. ET at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C. Tapper tells the story of Combat Outpost Keating – which was established in 2006 and nearly destroyed in 2009 when the 53 U.S. troops came under attack by some 400 Taliban fighters. Since the book’s release in November 2012, two of those soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor – the first time since 1968 that the highest honor was bestowed upon two living service members who fought in the same battle. Tapper’s talk on Saturday coincides with the release of his book in paperback.
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
If you haven’t read the Des Moines Register’s question and answer with tea party hero and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, you should.
What did we learn in the interview?
Cruz drives at 2011 Range Rover, his favorite movie is Princess Bride and he despises avocados – “passionately.”
His favorite food is also “anything with cheese on it.”
But by far Gut Check’s favorite answer is what Cruz’s dream job would be.
“I’d love to be the starting point guard for the Houston Rockets, and I’m confident that there is no universe in which that will ever come to pass,” Cruz said.
One can dream, but it seems like Jeremy Lin is a better pick for Cruz’s hometown basketball team.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
It is fitting that Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) wins on Dan’s last day with Gut Check. Have a good weekend, all.
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