CNN's GUT CHECK for January 24, 2014
January 24th, 2014
06:11 PM ET
7 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for January 24, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for January 24, 2014 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING …THE NUNS BEAT OBAMACARE … Some religious affiliated non-profits will remain temporarily exempt from requirements in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to cover birth control and other reproductive health coverage they oppose for religious reasons.
That is the result of a Supreme Court decision on Friday that extended an injunction for a Catholic charity run by nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor.
The exemption stands while the case is being considered by the lower courts. It is a clear victory for the religious group and its insurer. – CNN’s Bill Mears

SCOOP FROM “THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER: Feds hesitated to probe Christie administration: For a time, federal authorities were reluctant to get involved in the Christie controversy. Some officials didn't readily see a federal crime and were wary of opening what one official called potentially "a can of worms." – CNN’s Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz

OBAMA APPROVAL SAME AS BUSH’S WAS FOR 2nd TERM SOTU
Approval rating at State of the Union address in 6th year of presidency, according to CNN’s Poll of Polls:

Obama 2014 43% Approve 50% Disapprove
Bush 2006 43% Approve 54% Disapprove
Clinton 1998 59% Approve 37% Disapprove
Reagan 1986 64% Approve 27% Disapprove

OBAMA: I HAVE FAILED TO GET MY MESSAGE THROUGH TO GOP BASE: PRESIDENT OBAMA SPEAKING TO DAVID REMINICK of THE NEW YORKER: “The issue has been the inability of my message to penetrate the Republican base so that they feel persuaded that I’m not the caricature that you see on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, but I’m somebody who is interested in solving problems and is pretty practical, and that, actually, a lot of the things that we’ve put in place worked better than people might think. ... And as long as there’s that gap between perceptions of me within the average Republican primary voter and the reality, it’s hard for folks like John Boehner to move too far in my direction.”

SAVE THE DATE: GOP CONVENTION EARLY SUMMER 2016 CNN’s Peter Hamby reports – The Republican National Committee gave near-unanimous approval Friday to a package of rules changes that would condense the 2016 presidential nominating calendar and move the party's national convention to June. The changes ensure that the June 2016 Republican convention will be the earliest convention in either party since 1948. The moves, crafted in private in recent months by a small group of party officials representing both the party's establishment and grassroots wings, are designed to help the party avoid the kind of protracted Republican infighting that dented GOP nominee Mitt Romney's general election appeal in 2012.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus applauds the new rules package: “This is an historic day for our party … We were no longer going to sit around and allow ourselves to slice and dice for six months … Today I believe was historical and obviously very important to the future of our party and our country.”

REINCE TO GOP: NO MORE UNCLE SUGAR: Priebus, in his remarks to the RNC meeting: “As we look to grow the ranks of our party we must all be very conscious of tone and choice of words when we communicate those policies effectively.”

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-South Carolina): COME ON IN Sen. Tim Scott’s message to disaffected independent voters: "The welcome mat is out. The doors are open. Come on in and take another look at the Republican Party."

THE BUZZ: POPE CALLS THE INTERNET ‘A GIFT FROM GOD’
In a statement released on Thursday, the Pope said the Internet and social media are making people across the world "increasingly interdependent." "The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity," Francis said. "This is something truly good, a gift from God." – Daniel Burke

MARKET WATCH: The Dow lost more than 310 points on Friday to cap the worst week in more than a year, as earnings and overseas concerns jarred investors.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
Which female icon sent Bill Clinton a check for his presidential campaign in 1992 that Hillary made him photocopy before cashing?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: A year of success and setbacks for soul-searching RNC
For far too long, according to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, his committee was nothing more than "a U-Haul trailer of money for a presidential nominee" who lacked a permanent, sustainable presence in crucial states … So after the drubbing the party took at the ballot box in 2012 - failing to win the White House and losing seats in the House - Priebus ordered a much-talked about top-down review of the party in an effort to stop Republicans for taking big losses during presidential elections. – Dan Merica and Dana Bash

Leading The Hill: Senate staffer arrested on child pornography charges found dead
The former chief of staff to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) who was arrested on child pornography charges last month has been found dead in a suicide. Jesse Ryan Loskarn, 35, hanged himself in his parents' house in Sykesville, Md., according to a spokesperson for Maryland's office of the chief medical examiner. – Rebecca Shabad

Leading Hollywood Reporter: Hollywood Moguls Raise $600,000 for NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Reelection Campaign
A high-wattage gathering of Hollywood moguls feted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Brentwood on Thursday night, raising nearly $600,000 for his reelection campaign and quietly discussing their hope that Cuomo will seek presidency, if Hillary Clinton decides not to run. – Tina Daunt

Leading Drudge: Pentagon To Launch Blimps In USA
The Pentagon has discovered a gap in the defenses of Washington, D.C., and it's about to test a solution. Starting this fall, two blimps will float at 10,000 feet over the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in an attempt to develop a defense for the nation's capital against cruise missiles fired from ships offshore. – David Martin

Leading HuffPo: Sick of losing
The Republican Party is sick of losing presidential elections, so they are changing the structure of their primary to better position their 2016 nominee to compete. "It really is about taking back the White House. We're tired of being out of the White House," Henry Barbour, Republican National Committee member from Mississippi, said of rule changes approved on Friday at the RNC winter meeting.

Leading Politico: Ryan doesn’t want to be House Speaker
During a wide-ranging luncheon in a hotel ballroom here Thursday, Texas Tribune editor-in-chief Evan Smith asked: “Does Paul Ryan want to be speaker?” “No, he doesn’t,” Ryan replied. “When Janna and I joined [Mitt Romney’s presidential] ticket, we looked at what would this do to our family and we realized that actually we would see each other more in the vice presidency than as a member of the House,” Ryan said, explaining his decision. “We would see each other less in the speakership than as a member of the House.” – Jake Sherman

Leading New York Times: Planet Hillary
The gravitational pull of a possible 2016 campaign is bringing all the old Clinton characters into her orbit. Can she make the stars align, or will chaos prevail? – Amy Chozick

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

– Kerry: Assad must go –
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY IN DAVOS: “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot remain in power or be part of a transitional government … Because of the havoc he has wreaked on his people, Assad will never have the legitimacy to govern Syria.”

– McCain: Syria a ‘shameful chapter’ in US history –
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZONA, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “It’s a shameful chapter in American history that we’ve let this happen and the latest news of the 11,000 murdered, tortured to death with documentation now, isn’t that horrible?”

– Boehner: I like to cut my own grass –
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER ON THE “TONIGHT SHOW” THURSDAY: "Listen, I like to play golf. I like to cut my own grass. You know, I do drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes. And I'm not giving that up to be the President of the United States."

– Carney: Don’t say “As goes Messina…” –
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT A PRESS BRIEFING: When asked if Jim Messina, former top Obama aide, alerted the president that he was joining the group urging Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2016, and if Messina’s move suggests the president himself supports Hillary Clinton: “I think Jim Messina is an independent American citizen. He's not affiliated with the president, the White House. The campaign is over.”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Shawna Thomas (@ShawnaNBCNews)
Carney provides no info on what POTUS will do on Wed-Friday of next wk. For last 4 years POTUS has taken msg on the road the day after SOTU.

Peter Hamby ‏(@PeterHambyCNN)
top 3 factors in GOP convention site selection: 1) ability to raise the money 2) ability to raise the money 3) ability to raise the money

CathyMcMorrisRodgers ‏(@cathymcmorris)
I've got my #GOP #SOTU remarks in one hand and 2-month old baby Brynn in another! Doesn't get much better than this: http://bit.ly/1bmPRR4

Alex Wagner ‏(@alexwagner)
Remember that time in 2005 when Gov Huckabee signed a law mandating contraception coverage? Whoops! http://lat.ms/1aPq4nW

Wall Street Journal (‏@WSJ)
J.P. Morgan's Jamie Dimon pay raised to $20 million in 2013, a 74% jump from $11.5 million he pulled in for 2012. http://on.wsj.com/M4quy5

E! Online ‏(@eonline)
Justin Bieber is comparing himself to Michael Jackson: http://eonli.ne/1g9s8f2 . Discuss: pic.twitter.com/1jgXvj3rI1

Sally Kohn ‏(@sallykohn )
So this happened. RT @TheWrap: CNN Contributor Sally Kohn Schools Critic Who Compared Her To Justin Bieber http://bit.ly/1l6KOOE

Maria Popova ‏(@brainpicker)
The Mac turns 30 today—here's an unreleased version of Apple’s iconic “Think Different” ad, narrated by Jobs himself http://j.mp/1cbEU9i

Chloe Sommers ‏(@ChloePalma)
RIP @PressSec Carney's beard 1/6/14 – 1/24/14

State of the Union (‏@CNNsotu)
WH Sr Adviser @pfeiffer44 & @SenRandPaul on competing visions for 2014, plus @WhipHoyer & @tomcoleok04. Sunday at 9aET on #cnnsotu. @cnn

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sent Bill Clinton a check for his 1992 presidential campaign, Clinton was hesitant to deposit the money, saying “we can’t cash this.”

But according to “For Love of Politics: Inside the Clinton White House” by Sally Bedell Smith, his pragmatic other-half, Hillary, suggested that they make a copy so they could relish the memory and still cash the check.

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

Congrats to Erin Cunningham (@erinecunningham) and Kevin Meehan (@MeehanDC) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.

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