CNN's GUT CHECK | for January 8, 2014| 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING … CHRISTIE RESPONDS TO BRIDGE CONTROVERSY:
Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie today issued the following written statement: “What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”
TEXTS, E-MAILS SUGGEST POLITICAL VENDETTA IN NJ BRIDGE CONTROVERSY: E-mails emerged on Wednesday purportedly from top aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bolstering the case that lane closures to the George Washington Bridge were borne from a political vendetta against opponents of the governor, and were not the result of an incompetent traffic study as his administration claimed. – Jake Tapper
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” – Gov. Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Bridget Anne Kelly in an email to Christie ally David Wildstein. Read the full email exchange here: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/01/politics/christie-emails/index.html
REACTION FROM THE LEFT: Jonathan Chait: “The e-mails prove that Christie’s loyalists closed the bridge deliberately as political retribution, not as a ‘traffic study’ as claimed. They display an almost comical venality bordering on outright sociopathy. And they will probably destroy Christie’s chances in 2016.”
REACTION FROM THE RIGHT: Rush Limbaugh: “The point of the story is that Christie will do payback. If you don't give him what he wants, he'll pay you back. …Whatever the truth of it, I don't care. That's not my point. The point is the media has just glommed onto that like bees in a honeycomb so that they don't have to talk about the Gates book.”
REACTION FROM THE STAR-LEDGER EDITORIAL BOARD: Christie’s “attempts to laugh this off now appear to be dishonest, though we can't yet be sure that he personally knew about the correspondence of one of his top aides. Still, Christie bears responsibility either way. If it turns out he did know, he is obviously lying and unfit for office - let alone a 2016 presidential run.” – Star-Ledger Editorial Board
Gut Check Full Service: The Star-Ledger endorsement: Christie for governor published October 20, 2013
“Our own view is that Christie is overrated. His spin is way ahead of his substance … But our endorsement goes to Christie, despite the deep reservations.”
THE MIDDLE RISES: A record 42% of Americans Identify as Independents – the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008. – Jeffrey M. Jones
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end mixed. Dow dips 71 points. NASDAQ gains 0.3%. S&P 500 little changed.
Which former U.S. congresswoman is a second cousin to Gwyneth Paltrow?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Prospects worsen in Senate for passage of unemployment benefits
The prospects for passing an extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed got significantly worse Wednesday after two Republican senators who voted with Democrats earlier this week said they will pull their much-needed support unless Democrats come up with a way to pay for the $6.4 billion bill. Without the votes of Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who voted on Tuesday to begin debate on the bill, Democrats won’t be able to get over a 60 vote threshold needed to break a GOP filibuster and end debate on the measure, which would extend the benefits for the next three months. – Ted Barrett
Leading Boston Globe: Senate Democrats hit Scott Brown in New Hampshire television ad
Senate Democrats, facing mounting worries they could lose their majority, are trying to get ahead of a possible Scott Brown bid for a New Hampshire seat, targeting the former senator from Massachusetts with a new television ad. – Jim O’Sullivan
Leading Arizona Republic: 3 years after Giffords shooting near Tucson, horrific shots still resonate
As Giffords lay in a bed at University of Arizona Medical Center struggling to recover from the bullet that pierced her brain, Arizona and the country struggled to create meaning from the mass shooting, to glean from the gore something to hope or to work for. – Megan Finnerty
Leading Drudge: AILES 2014
Roger Ailes, like his Fox News Channel, is as divisive as he is successful. The chairman and CEO of the de facto victor in cable news' ratings war, whose colorful professional past includes a tenure as a talk-show producer (The Mike Douglas Show) and decades as a political consultant (presidential campaigns for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush), built his 21st Century Fox network into Rupert Murdoch's most profitable property.- Michael O'Connell
Leading HuffPo: Democratic Representatives Mike McIntyre And Carolyn McCarthy Retiring
Representatives Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) are retiring, according to Democratic party sources. McIntyre would have been a top target of Republicans in 2014, despite his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and more conservative voting record. – Samantha Lachman
Leading Politico: Mitch McConnell: ‘Senate can be better than it is’
Calling the Senate a “permanent sort of shirts-against-skins contest,” McConnell outlined his three main Senate prescriptions if the GOP wins the majority: allowing a “more robust” committee process, permitting more amendments on the floor, and holding a longer Washington work week. – Seung Min Kim
The political bites of the day
– Carney pokes fun at Robert Gates book controversy –
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY’S OPENING COMMENT AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “Read any good books lately?”
– White House defends Biden amidst Gates accusations –
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “I would reiterate that the President and the rest of us here simply disagree with that assessment. As a senator and as a vice president, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time and he has been an excellent counselor and adviser to the president for the past five years. He has played a key role in every major national security and foreign policy debate and policy discussion in this administration in this White House.”
– Rubio: Leave poverty legislation to the states –
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLORIDA, IN AN ADDRESS ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “Washington is too bureaucratic and resistant to change. And its one-size-fits-all approach to policy is not conducive to solving a problem as diverse as this one … I am proposing that we turn Washington’s anti-poverty programs – and the trillions spent on them – over to the states.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Jim Antle (@jimantle)
Christie only found out about this when Obama read it in the newspaper.
Robert Costa (@costareports)
Buzz in R cloakroom this aft is that Boehner's remarks this AM on immig doesn't mean anything coming to floor soon
Simon Marks (@SimonMarksFSN)
White House: Obama spoke to Merkel "to wish her a speedy recovery" and – drumroll – to invite her to visit DC "at a mutually agreeable time"
Jim Puzzanghera (@JimPuzzanghera)
An odd couple pushes for more disclosure in gov't settlements w/companies - Elizabeth Warren and Tom Coburn. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-elizabeth-warren-tom-coburn-settlement-disclosure-20140108,0,5705459.story …
John Barrow (@repjohnbarrow)
No question. I'm running for re-election. MT @JessicaTaylor Can you hear Dems running to John Barrow to make sure he's running again? #GA12
Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip)
Rubio's proposal of a "wage enhancement" –giving ppl checks each month not a tax credit is actually a big deal. May not go anywhere though.
Matt Viser (@mviser)
Discovered while sifting through old files in @BostonGlobe DC bureau: Monica Lewinsky’s resume, faxed over in 1998. pic.twitter.com/pVvGBYLNgf
John Kasich (@JohnKasich)
Cool to see 3 Ohio cities in top 10 most affordable in USA. Great news for attracting people looking for opportunity. http://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/hamilton-county/cincinnati/renters-feel-the-love-cincinnati-ranked-one-of-the-most-affordable-metro-areas-by-apartment-guide …
Los Angeles Times (@latimes)
Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords is skydiving today, the third anniversary of the Tucson shooting http://lat.ms/1dglDVC
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is the second cousin of actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Today marks the 3-year anniversary of the shooting in Tucson, Arizona that left six dead, over a dozen injured, and Rep. Gabby Giffords partially paralyzed.
In response to the shooting in 2011, Paltrow’s representatives submitted a statement to Entertainment Tonight saying, "Although I have never had the pleasure of meeting congresswoman Giffords, my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family as well as the other victims of this horrible act of senseless violence."
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) James Gray (@RealJamesGray) and Hannah42Gkpm (@goopfan) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
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