December 20th, 2013
06:59 PM ET
12 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for December 20, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for December 20, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

OBAMA HOLDS YEAR-END NEWS CONFERENCE… Citing economic progress and other achievements, President Barack Obama rejected the contention that 2013 was the worst year of his presidency at a year-end news conference.

When asked about the botched rollout of healthcare.gov, the President called health care reforms a "good" product and said, "You still have 2 million who signed up." He did, however, cite early health care website problems as his biggest mistake in 2013.

Another frustration cited by the President was the inability to get any of his main legislative priorities of 2013 passed by Congress, and he called for 2014 to be a "year of action" on immigration reform, job creation, expanded background checks on gun purchasers and extending long-term unemployment benefits. When asked about the next big fiscal decision to be made by Congress early next year Obama said his administration would not negotiate “for Congress to pay bills that it has accrued."

Obama also said he would make "a pretty definitive" decision in January on recommendations from an independent panel this week calling for changes in National Security Agency surveillance to protect civil liberties. – Tom Cohen

Polls show Obama's approval rating at record lows for the five years of his presidency. Dismissing comments about polling numbers he told reporters, "I just took this job to deliver for the American people."

READ: 6 reasons why 2013 was a bad year for Obama – Tom Cohen http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/12/20/6-reasons-why-2013-was-a-bad-year-for-obama/

TIMELINE: 2013’S BIGGEST MOMENTS
Jan. 2: President Obama signs a bill that averts the “Fiscal cliff.”
Mar. 1: Sequester begins in response to Congress failing to reach a budget agreement.
Mar. 13: Pope Francis is elected the 266th pope.
Apr. 15: Twin bombs at the finish line of the Boston marathon kill three people and injure more than 250.
May 6: Three young women are rescued from a house in Cleveland, Ohio after being held captive for 11 years by Ariel Casto.
June 9: The Guardian and Washington Post reveal that a former Booz Allen contractor, Edward Snowden, had leaked documents to them revealing an NSA government surveillance program called “PRISM.”
June 26: The Supreme Court rejects parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a 5-4 decision, ruling that same-sex spouses legally married in a state may receive federal benefits. The ruling also clears the way for same-sex marriages in California to resume.
July 13: George Zimmerman is found not guilty in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Aug. 31: President Barack Obama announces he will seek congressional approval for a U.S. strike on Syria. The vote never occurs.
Sept. 16: Twelve people are killed in a shooting inside the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, DC.
Oct. 1: A federal government shutdown goes into effect at midnight, as the new fiscal year officially begins without an agreement on legislation to keep the government funded.
Oct. 17: The U.S. government reopens after President Obama signs a bill ending the government shutdown.
Nov. 1: TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez is killed at Los Angeles International Airport, allegedly by 23-year-old Paul Ciancia.
Nov. 5: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admits to crack cocaine use
Nov. 6: New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie wins a landslide re-election, fueling speculation about his 2016 presidential prospects.
Nov. 8: Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines, killing thousands and leaving countless more injured and homeless.
Dec. 5: Former South African president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela dies.

TOP 5 ARTICLES FROM CNN’S POLITICAL TICKER IN 2013:
1. Cheney to GOP leaders: ‘We’re in deep doo doo’ on North Korea
2. Wild car chase ends with suspect shot to death near U.S. Capitol
3. Latest updates: House approves fiscal cliff bill
4. First lady clashes with protester; threatens to leave event
5. Reid gets fiery over question about shutdown’s effect on clinical trials for kids

THE BIGGEST CAMPAIGN MOMENTS OF 2013: – Peter Hamby
March 18: Republican National Committee releases 'autopsy'
May 7: The return of Mark Sanford
May 18: Virginia Republicans lurch to the right
July 23: The Weiner news conference
Aug. 8: The Dante ad
Nov. 6: Christie wins a majority of Hispanic voters

TOP TWITTER HASHTAGS OF 2013
• #StandwithRand
• #filliblizzard
• #StandwithWendy
• #DOMA and #ENDA
• #ShutdownPickupLines
• #tcot (Top conservatives on twitter)
• #stopthesequester
• #Obamaquester
• #Eastwooding

THE BUZZ: THE POLITICAL ADS THAT STUCK WITH US:
“DANTE” NEW YORKERS FOR DEBLASIO TV AD FEATURING DEBLASIO’S SON
“OPT OUT” UNCLE SAM FOR OBAMACARE
“MIKE COLLINS EPIC SPLIT” G.A. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE SPOOFS VAN DAMME AD
“THE CHOICE IS RIGHT” BOB BARKER FOR DAVID JOLLY
“WAKE UP MINNEAPOLIS” JEFF WAGNER FOR MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR

MARKET WATCH: Dow and S&P close at record highs after a strong reading on U.S. economy. For the week, both gained about 3%.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
Which was the first company to sell artificial Christmas trees? How much did it cost to purchase a tree with 55 limbs?

the LEDE
Did you miss it? 2013 Election results with links to local headlines

Leading Star Ledger: Chris Christie cruises: Governor coasts to second term with big win over Barbara Buono
RESULTS: Chris Christie (R) 60.3% – Barbara Buono (D) 38.1%

Leading Virginian-Pilot: Election | McAuliffe wins close Virginia governor race
RESULTS: Terry McAuliffe (D) 48% – Ken Cuccinelli (R) 45.5%

Leading New York Times: De Blasio Is Elected New York City Mayor in Landslide
RESULTS: Bill de Blasio (D) 73.3% – Joe Lhota (R) 24.3%

Leading Boston Globe: Edward Markey keeps party’s hold on Senate seat
RESULTS: Special election to fill Sec. John Kerry’s vacant seat: Ed Markey (D) 55%, Gabriel Gomez (R) 45%

Leading Chicago Tribune: Kelly wins 2nd District seat, calls for new faith in leadership
RESULTS: Special election to fill Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s vacant seat in IL-2: Robin Kelly (D) 71%, (R) Paul McKinley 19%

Leading The State: Mark Sanford: The new comeback kid
RESULTS: Special House election to fill Sen. Tim Scott’s vacant seat in SC-1: Mark Sanford (R) 54%, Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D) 45%

Leading Boston Globe: Katherine Clark to succeed Edward Markey in House
RESULTS: Special election to fill Sen. Ed Markey’s vacant seat in MA-5: Katherine Clark (D) 66%, Frank Addivinola (R) 32%

Leading Kansas City Star: Republican Jason Smith wins Missouri congressional race
RESULTS: Special election to fill Jo Ann Emerson’s vacant seat in MS-8: Jason Smith (R) 68%, John Hodges (D) 27.4%

Leading Mobile Press-Register: Bradley Byrne cruises to landslide victory over Burton LeFlore in congressional race
RESULTS: Special election to fill Rep. Jo Bonner’s vacant seat in AL-1: Bradley Byrne 62%, Burton LeFlore 34%
Gut Check Flash Back: PRIMARY RESULTS: GOP establishment favorite Bradley Byrne (R) 52%, Tea Party favorite David Young (R) 48%

Leading New Orleans Times Picayune: Political newcomer Vance McAllister wins 5th District special election
RESULTS: Special election to fill Rep. Rodney Alexander’s vacant seat LA-5: Vance McAllister (R) 60%, Neil Riser (R) 40%

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

– An anticipated apology –
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NBC NEWS RE: HIS HEALTHCARE PLAN PROMISE ON NOVEMBER 7: "I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,"

– Clinton preempts Obama –
FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON TO OZY TV ON OBAMACARE ON NOVEMBER 12: "I personally believe, even if it takes changing the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got."

– Boehner loses his cool –
JOHN BOEHNER REACTS IN FRUSTRATION TO CONSERVATIVE GROUPS SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE RYAN/MURRAY BUDGET PLAN ON DECEMBER 12: “Are you kidding me?”

– Harry Reid makes a funny –
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID RESPONDING TO A REPORTER’S QUESTION AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON JUNE 18: “That’s a clown question, bro”

– Weiner ending his shot at Mayor –
FORMER N.Y. REP. ANTHONY WEINER AT A PRESS CONFERENCE RESPONDING TO EXPLICIT TEXTS THAT SURFACED BETWEEN HIM AND MULTIPLE WOMEN ON JULY 23: “I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out and today they have.”

– Ted Cruz hamming it up on the Senate floor –
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, ON THE SENATE FLOOR DURING HIS 21-HOUR FILIBUSTER ON SEPTEMBER 25: “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I am.”

– Christie on 2016 hype –
CHRIS CHRISTIE ON HIS ABILITY TO PREPARE FOR HIS POLITICAL FUTURE WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY SERVING AS GOVERNOR ON OCTOBER 8. "I can walk and chew gum at the same time."

– Rob Ford admits to using crack –
TORONTO MAYOR ROB FORD ADMITS TO CRACK COCAINE USE TO REPORTERS OUTSIDE TORONTO’S CITY HALL ON NOVEMBER 5: “Yes I have smoked crack cocaine, but, no, do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Um, probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago."

– Rush calls the Pope a Marxist –
RUSH LIMBAUGH IN HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO TALK SHOW ON NOVEMBER 27: "This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope."

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Sarah Boxer (‏@Sarah_Boxer)
AP: Has this been the worst year of your presidency? Obama: "I gotta tell you, that's not how I think about it."

LOLGOP (‏@LOLGOP)
Mr. President, don't you think you owe to America to burst into tears?

David M. Drucker (‏@DavidMDrucker)
"There have obviously been some frustrations where I wish Congress had moved more aggressively." @BarackObama

Luke Russert (‏@LukeRussert)
Obama says there's a commitment on behalf of "The Speaker" to get immigration reform next year. Q is how piecemeal will it be?

The Caucus (‏@thecaucus)
Mr. Obama Says Olympics Delegation 'Speaks for Itself' http://nyti.ms/1bVAn99

Howard Fineman (‏@howardfineman)
#Obama goes after (tho not by name) Dems Schumer and Menendez on Iran. "We gotta create an atmosphere in which Iran is willing to move."

Mike Memoli (‏@mikememoli)
POTUS' final Q is on his staff changes. "I love that guy," he says of departing sr adviser Rouse.

Brian Stelter ‏(@brianstelter)
The Obama line that made me turn up the volume: "I firmly believe that 2014 can be a breakthrough year for America."

David Daniel (‏@CNNLADavid)
Fed judge rules Utah same-sex marraige ban unconstitutional: says it demeans the dignity of same-sex couples "for no rational reason." #CNN

James Robert Carroll ‏(@JRCarrollCJ)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hospitalized after he reported not feeling well, tests show "everything normal," his office says.

Abby Huntsman ‏(@HuntsmanAbby)
From Representative to Statesman. Expect incoming China Ambassador Max Baucus to carry the torch of Mike Mansfield, his mentor.

Donald J. Trump (‏@realDonaldTrump)
Lightweight @AGSchneiderman is pushing for the Moreland Commission to be disbanded immediately–because he is being looked at!

Elizabeth Cherneff ‏(@echerneff)
Cool gallery from the @CNNVideo team – 'What happened in 2013 (in 3 minutes)' http://ow.ly/rVc3Z

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Sears, Roebuck & Company began offering the first artificial Christmas trees. They sold 33 limbs for $.50 and 55 limbs for $1.00 around 1883.

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Matthew Gilbertson (@MattRGilbertson) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.

GOT NEWS?
Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits: gutcheck@cnn.com
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing gutcheck@cnn.com

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.


Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Nothing wrong with obamacare. ACA is a Law.

    December 20, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. just saying

    When asked about the botched rollout of healthcare.gov, the President called health care reforms a "good" product and said, "You still have 2 million who signed up."
    --–

    this clown is still hawking his snake oil. and most of those enrolling are medicaid enrollees, aka free pretend healthcare. just more lies and deceit from the liar of the year.

    December 21, 2013 02:17 am at 2:17 am |