CNN's GUT CHECK | for DAY, DATE, YEAR | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
SCHWEITZER TAKES AIM AT HILLARY CLINTON'S IRAQ VOTE … Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a potential Democratic presidential contender for 2016, drew a bright line between himself and presumed frontrunner Hillary Clinton on Wednesday … In a speech to Iowa Democrats in the Des Moines suburb of Altoona, and in remarks to CNN’s Peter Hamby, Schweitzer repeatedly chided Senate Democrats who voted in 2002 to green light military action in Iraq.
SCHWEITZER IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “Anybody who runs in this cycle, whether they are Democrats or Republicans, if they were in the United States Senate and they voted with George Bush to go to Iraq when I would say about 98 percent of America knows that it was a folly, that it was a waste of treasure and blood…there will be questions for them on the left and from the right.”
Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN)
(The) only cameras at Schweitzer event in Iowa last night: CNN and @America_Rising
NEW MEXICO BECOMES 17TH STATE TO LEGALIZE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE … The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled the state may not deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry, concluding current laws are unconstitutional. The unanimous ruling ordered county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples.
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) Tweets: Just announced: New Mexico Supreme Court upholds #marriageequality. Great news in my home state!
OBAMA COMMUTES EIGHT DRUG SENTENCES
President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of eight people convicted of drug crimes who have each served long prison terms. The eight offenders have each served more than 15 years in prison, which the White House said amounted to "unduly harsh sentences issued under an outdated sentencing regime."
OVERLOOKED: MICHELLE OBAMA’S HEALTH CARE OP-ED . . . ON WEDNESDAY, BABBLE.COM PUBLISHED AN OP-ED BY THE FIRST LADY ENDORSING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: “Fortunately, because of the Affordable Care Act, we now have the security of knowing that no matter what life throws their way, we’ll be able to get our kids the care they need. As a mother, I can’t think of a better gift this holiday season.”
THE BUZZ: THE WELFARE QUEEN REVEALED AS DANGEROUS
Slate’s Josh Levin writes a piece about his investigation into the original “Welfare Queen,” a Chicago woman made famous by Ronald Reagan when he criticized her for cheating the government. Levin says Linda Taylor’s alleged sins were far worse than abuse of the food stamp program. They also included kidnapping and possible murder. Levin writes, “If Linda Taylor had been seen as a suspect rather than a scapegoat, lives may have been saved.”
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end little changed a day after a huge Fed-inspired rally. Dow adds 11 points.
Which toy was banned from the National Security Agency’s Maryland headquarters in 1999? Why?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics.com: What the next debt ceiling fight will look like
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that Republicans will demand something in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling early next year. – Jeanne Sahadi
Leading Drudge: Duck Storm
A&E has placed Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson on indefinite hiatus following anti-gay remarks he made in a recent profile in GQ. – Phil Robertson
Leading HuffPo: White House Greets Budget Deal With Caution, Hope
The president's advisers say they're still searching for the larger meaning in the bipartisan budget deal, if there is one at all. At best, it could provide an opening for making progress next year on Obama's stalled legislative agenda. – Julie Pace
Leading Politico: Ron Wyden comes into focus as potential Finance chairman
News that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus will be nominated as ambassador to China spells the end to his long-shot efforts to overhaul the tax code anytime soon and puts the focus on Ron Wyden, a lawmaker with plenty of his own ideas about tax and health care policy. – Brian Faler and Rachael Bade
Leading New York Times: Obama Is Urged to Sharply Curb N.S.A. Data Mining
A panel of outside advisers urged President Obama on Wednesday to impose major oversight and some restrictions on the National Security Agency, arguing that in the past dozen years its powers had been enhanced at the expense of personal privacy. – David E. Sanger and Charlie Savage
The political bites of the day
– I.A. Gov.: “Biden’s dead meat” in Iowa –
IOWA GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN WEDNESDAY AT THE STATE CAPITOL: “Biden is dead meat out here … He is not going anywhere … Washington, D.C. is extremely unpopular. Biden is so associated with this administration and all of its failures. He was unpopular before and he is even less popular now.”
– Gov. Jindal defends free speech in what he calls a “messed up” situation–
LOUISIANA GOP GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, IN A STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO A&E’S DUCK DYNASTY STAR BEING SUSPENDED FROM THE NETWORK FOR COMMENTS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY: “Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV … In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended."
– Putin: I envy Obama –
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN IN AN ANNUAL MARATHON NEWS CONFERENCE ON THURSDAY RE: HOW HE FEELS ABOUT OBAMA IN LIGHT OF SNOWDEN’S DISCLOSURES: “I envy him. I envy him because he can do something like this and get away with it."
– Hillary: I’ll decide about 2016 next year –
HILLARY CLINTON IN AN INTERVIEW WITH BARBARA WALTERS AFTER BEING NAMED WALTERS’ MOST FASCINATING PERSON OF 2013: "Obviously, I will look carefully at what I think I can do and make that decision sometime next year. It's such a difficult decision, and it's one that I'm not going to rush into."
– Michelle Obama’s New Year’s resolution recommendation –
MICHELLE OBAMA ON SIRIUS XM RADIO’S THE JOE MADISON SHOW: The Affordable Care Act “provides a safety net for millions and millions of Americans but we have to take the next step to go check it out, sign up and make sure that we’re covered,” Obama said. “That should be our New Year’s resolution to ourselves. That’s it.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Breaking: 26 Congressmen in Senate have broken ranks with Pres Obama for new Iran punishments. WH says Obama will VETO it.
jennifer bendery (@jbendery)
Carney says not sure if Obama veto of Menendez-Kirk Iran sanctions bill would be first bill he'd veto bill with a Dem cosponsor.
Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid)
You shouldn’t denigrate a race of people, and I believe that’s what DC's NFL team name is doing. http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/193585-harry-reid-redskins-should-change-their-name …
The Hill (@thehill)
Redskins 'strongly disagree' with Reid on name change http://j.mp/1kmwG0E by @BobCusack
Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny)
Reid says Senate will stay in session until Saturday night to do four nomination votes. The others will wait for next year.
Jeff Wasserstrom (@jwassers)
.@joshchin on online reactions 2 Baucus nod: eg suggested Chinese name 4 him/Bao Kesi ('Guaranteed 2 Cough 2 Death'). http://on.wsj.com/18T6Jy6
Mike Memoli (@mikememoli)
Sen. Durbin, asked what will be the greatest challenge for Max Baucus as China amb.: "The air."
Rep. Steve Stockman (@StockmanSenate)
Why are Cornyn's cronies attacking me using the SAME PAC they used to attack Cruz, and funding it with $2 million in pro-amnesty cash? #tcot
Capitol Quickies (@CapitolQuickies)
Emotional Sen. Teresa Ruiz hugs Senate Prez Sweeney after announcement of DREAM act compromise w/@GovChristie #nj pic.twitter.com/LTPXrl0zhL
Northeast Denver (@NEDenver)
Juniors & Seniors Return To Arapahoe High School United: Students are being allowed back in to Arapahoe High...
An armed deputy sheriff at Arapahoe HS likely prevented a school shooting there from being worse http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2013/1214/Colorado-school-shooting-Armed-guards-the-answer …
Josh Barro (@jbarro)
Boitano is now out RT @chrisgeidner: Full Brian Boitano statement, sent via his p.r. firm through the White House: pic.twitter.com/IX07VNnwC5
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
In 1999, the National Security Agency banned the popular Furby toy from being brought inside the NSA’s headquarters in Ft. Meade, Maryland, due to the toy’s ability to record and repeat up to 200 words.
The furry, stuffed animal-like Furby toy was one of the best-selling holiday items of 1998. Along with other personal recording devices, such as cameras and tape recorders, Furbys were banned because of their ability to potentially divulge classified information.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Robert Biale Vineyards (@BialeVineyards), Ryan Sloane (@RyanSloaneCNN), Melanie Parker (@parkerml) Dana Russ (@danasauruss2) and Michael Short (@ridgewilliam) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits: email@example.com
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
WANT TO SIGN UP?
Do you have a friend who wants to sign up for GUT CHECK or our new CNNPolitics Breaking News Alerts? Click here, log on and scroll down.