CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 21, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: President Barack Obama hits new low in CNN/ORC Poll … 41% of Americans approve of his job performance, 56% disapprove.
- Paul Steinhauser
… AS SENATE DEMOCRATS INVOKE 'NUCLEAR OPTION'
The Democratic-controlled Senate on Thursday voted to invoke the so-called nuclear option out of frustration over Republicans who have been blocking President Barack Obama's nominees. The controversial move is a rules change that could make a partisan environment even more divisive because it takes away a sacrosanct right for any party in the Senate minority–the right to filibuster. – Dana Bash and Ted Barrett
1. Under the old rules it took 60 votes to break a filibuster. The change now allows most filibusters of Obama nominees to be stopped with 51 votes – a simple Senate majority.
2. The rules change only applies to executive and judicial nominees, not Supreme Court nominees.
3. Typically 67 votes are required to change Senate rules, but under the nuclear option, Democrats - who currently control the chamber with a 55-45 majority - changed those rules today with a simple majority vote.
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL: Democrats want to change the subject from Obamacare to Nuclear Option: "Millions of Americans are hurting because of a law Washington Democrats forced upon them and what do they do about it? They cook up some fake fight over judges. A fake fight over judges that aren’t even needed."
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Fully supports Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “I support the step a majority of senators today took to change the way that Washington is doing business… Over the six decades before I took office, only 20 presidential nominees to executive positions had to overcome filibusters. In just under five years since I took office, nearly 30 nominees have been treated this way.”
CHRIS CHRISTIE TAKES OVER THE RGA (SOME SAY BELONGED TO JINDAL) … Peter Hamby reports: “There wasn't room for the two of them. In the fall of 2012, with the presidential race in full swing, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, two prominent Republican governors with well-known national ambitions, were engaged in a different kind of campaign…. With a flurry of phone calls and e-mails to his fellow governors, Christie charged ahead and launched a behind-the-scenes campaign to shake up the planned order of succession and take over the RGA in 2014, multiple Republican sources told CNN. .. Next year's midterm elections feature 36 gubernatorial contests, including three potentially competitive races in the early presidential caucus and primary states of Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. The RGA chairman will be a familiar face on television screens across the country and a constant point of contact for major donors.”
SPOTTED: Former President George W. Bush making a surprise visit at the Republican Governors’ Association meeting in Arizona
TAKE A PEEK AT THE LEAKED HOUSE GOP PLAYBOOK: 'BECAUSE OF OBAMACARE I LOST MY INSURANCE' "Because of Obamacare... I lost my insurance," offers samples of talking points, social media, videos, digital flyers, op-eds, and a fact sheet for GOP lawmakers doing battle against the president's signature legislative achievement. Obtained by CNN, and reported first by Roll Call, the playbook was released late last month. A Republican source who provided the strategy memo to CNN says it will be updated and released to GOP House members Thursday.
– Jim Acosta
Read the playbook (PDF)
FOLLOW THE @FRATES: Koch Bros.-backed group gave millions to small business lobby.
NEW CNN/ORC POLL ON IRAN: 56% of the public would favor an international agreement that would impose major restrictions on Iran's nuclear program but not end it completely, with 39% opposed to such an agreement. – Paul Steinhauser
JUST IN … 15 SENATORS PROMISE ACTION ON IRAN: U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Robert Casey (D-PA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Bob Corker (R-TN): “We will work together to reconcile Democratic and Republican proposals over the coming weeks and to pass bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation as soon as possible.”
CHECKING IN: Rep. Trey Radel, R-Florida, in a statement: “Today, I checked myself into a facility to seek treatment and counseling. It is my hope, through this process, I will come out a better man. I will work hard to gain back the trust and support of my constituents, friends and most importantly, my family.” Radel said he will donate his salary to charity while he's away.
MARKET WATCH: Dow closes above 16,000 for the first time after 109-point gain. Tech stocks rally, with NASDAQ gaining 1.2%.
Who was the only president to win the Pulitzer Prize?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: The man who coined the term 'nuclear option' regrets ever pursuing it
Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott’s message to current Leader Harry Reid could be boiled down to this: I know how you feel, but trust me, you are going to regret this. – Dan Merica
Leading Drudge: Reid, Democrats trigger ‘nuclear’ option; eliminate most filibusters on nominees
The partisan battles that have paralyzed Washington in recent years took a historic turn Thursday, as Senate Democrats eliminated filibusters for most presidential nominations, severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate and assuring an escalation of partisan warfare. – Paul Kane
Leading HuffPo: Fix The Sequester Or Budget Deal Means Nothing, Obama Allies Say
The Democratic Party's top think tank is urging lawmakers to accept nothing short of ending sequestration during upcoming budget cuts. – Sam Stein
Leading Politico: John Boehner: Immigration work not dead
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reaffirmed his commitment to enacting immigration reform, a week after the chances of an overhaul appeared dead following his comments that he would not support negotiating with the Senate on its comprehensive bill. “Is immigration reform dead?” Boehner said to reporters. “Absolutely not.” – Seung Min Kim
Leading The New York Times: Panel Backs Yellen for Fed Chief to Set Up Full Senate Vote
Janet L. Yellen on Thursday moved closer toward becoming the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve Board when the Senate Banking Committee sent her nomination to the full Senate with a 14-8 vote.
The political bites of the day
– Reid: It's time to change the Senate –
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “It is time to get the Senate working again, not for the good of the current Democratic majority or some future Republican majority, but for the good of the United States of America. It is time to change. It is time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete."
– Toobin: Democrats have the right to change the rules –
CNN LEGAL ANALYST JEFFREY TOOBIN: “The Constitution really has nothing to say about any of this. This is really up to the Senate. So that’s really the story. The Democrats have a right to do it. Whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea, that’s a separate question, but legally; clearly they have the right to do it.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid)
I’m old enough to remember when Sen. McConnell insisted on up-or-down votes for judicial confirmations. https://vine.co/v/hFX9FUmaV0Q
Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper)
The Senate is weird. Mitch McConnell asks for a vote to appeal the vote that just happened.
Jim Acosta (@JimAcostaCNN)
So what's the fallout radius?
Matt Hoye (@mattyhoyeCNN)
@JimAcostaCNN I wouldn't head for the Hill(s).
Brian Walsh (@brianjameswalsh)
In 2005 Obama said those considering the nuclear option should think about “Protecting Free And Democratic Debate" youtube.com/watch?v=zAotKs…
DJ Sigworth (@djsigworth)
WH Spox MT @Simas44 GOP's 35 pg playbook of partisan attacks on ACA is 35 pgs longer than their health care plan
Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein)
Rare for Obama to say "President Bush." Usually it is a reference to "my predecessor."
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN)
Nikki Haley all but endorses Lindsey Graham > http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/21/first-on-cnn-graham-gets-support-from-nikki-haley/ …
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN)
Haley's comments come a day after Tim Scott declined to say whether he is backing Lindsey's re-elect http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/21/first-on-cnn-graham-gets-support-from-nikki-haley/ …
Reid Wilson (@PostReid)
Don't you hate it when that happens RT @j_strong: DCCC mistakenly lists women's unmentionables store in FEC filing nationalreview.com/corner/364496/…
Erin Durkin (@erinmdurkin)
When @BilldeBlasio takes office, "You're going to ask me after what I think, and the answer is I'm not going to tell you." -@MikeBloomberg
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
President John F. Kennedy is the only President to have won the Pulitzer Prize. Kennedy won the prize in 1957 for a book he wrote two years earlier called Profiles in Courage. The book highlights eight Senators whom Kennedy felt demonstrated bravery throughout their careers.
Kennedy penned the novel while he was a senator of Massachusetts and bedridden while recovering from back surgery. The book, which became a bestseller, was eventually turned into a television series that aired on NBC from 1964-1965.
Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago tomorrow. For many, the death of the president felt like a personal loss, and still remains a profound memory. Former chief of staff to Sen. John McCain, Mark Salter, wrote a touching recollection about what it was like to live through the death of a president as a young boy. You can read Salter’s account here.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Brendan Buck (@Brendanbuck), Gut Check alum Dan Merica (@danmericacnn), Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877), Serge Eygenson (Serge_E) and Wayne Thomas for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
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