CNN's GUT CHECK | for CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 12, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING… THE U.S. SENATE APPROVES RAISING DEBT CEILING … The move allows the government to borrow more money to pay its bills through early 2015.
The politically charged issue cleared the chamber 55-43 after winning House approval Tuesday. The measure now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. Approval removes the prospect of another protracted political fight over fiscal policy as Democrats and Republicans gear up for November's midterm elections.
MCCONNELL PRIMARY CHALLENGER POUNCES:
Matt Bevin (@MattBevin)
.@McConnellPress votes to give Obama another blank check. #DebtCeiling #tcot #cloture #KYSen #kydatenight pic.twitter.com/TT2HwblTN2
MEANWHILE … RAND PAUL SUES OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OVER NSA … Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday he’s suing President Barack Obama and top national security officials over the government’s sweeping electronic surveillance program made public by intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. The Kentucky Republican and the conservative group FreedomWorks are filing a class-action challenge against the government’s phone metadata collection effort, which stores the numbers and call times of phone calls. – Ashley Killough and Dana Davidsen
… AND AIMING FOR HISTORY: RAND PAUL IN A PRESS EVENT: “We think it may well be the largest class action lawsuit ever filed on behalf of the Bill of Rights.”
Gut Check DVR: Sen. Rand Paul will be appearing on CNN’s “OutFront” with Erin Burnett tonight at 7pm E.T. to discuss his lawsuit.
INSIDE POLITICS: On the same day he was suing President Barack Obama over National Security Agency spying programs, Sen. Rand Paul met for lunch with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss criminal justice system reforms that both support.
A Justice Department official says: “The Attorney General and Senator Paul met for lunch at the Justice Department to discuss sentencing reform and felony disenfranchisement. The Attorney General appreciates the senator’s leadership on both issues and is pleased to have the opportunity to work with him on these shared priorities.” – Evan Perez
FIRST ON CNN-CONFIDANTE’S DIARY: CLINTON WANTED TO KEEP RECORDS FOR ‘REVENGE' … Shortly before Hillary Clinton’s effort to pass health care reform died in the summer of 1994, the first lady asked a close friend and confidante Diane Blair for advice on “how best to preserve her general memories of the administration and of health care in particular.” When asked why, according to the friend’s June 20, 1994, diary entry, Clinton said, “Revenge.” … According to the documents, this desire was especially strong because Clinton seemed to harbor a deep distrust of the media – Dan Merica and Robert Yoon
DOCUMENTS ALSO REVEAL CLINTON ALMOST BECAME A KINDERGARTEN TEACHER… In a diary entry dated June 23, 1994, Clinton ally Diane Blair expresses concern that going negative on Congress would backfire on the Clinton administration and, particularly, on Hillary Clinton. "End of BC's [Bill Clinton's] success with Congress and all be blamed on her," writes Blair … According to Blair, Clinton told her that when the Clintons are done with "this," the first lady said she would "go be a kindergarten teacher and never have to hold hands on the Hill again." – Dan Merica and Robert Yoon
THE BUZZ: LIVER TRANSPLANT SAVES OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDER Sanjay Gupta reports: Chris Klug, a three-time Olympic snowboarder and Sochi competitor, is the only known Olympic athlete to have ever had an organ transplant. Two years after his 1998 Olympic debut in Japan, Klug was diagnosed with a life-threatening liver disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. After six years on a transplant list, Klug finally got a liver transplant, telling Gupta it was “like a new engine got dropped in me.” In 2002, he became the first person to compete in the Olympics after having an organ transplant, and won bronze in the Parallel Giant Slalom event.
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end mixed. Dow falls 32 points. NASDAQ rises 0.2%. S&P 500 eases slightly.
What do the five Olympic rings represent?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: First on CNN: In Kansas, new ad questions Senator's residency
La-Z-Boy is about to get some free advertising in Kansas. Milton Wolf, a conservative Republican primary challenger to three-term Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, began airing a biting statewide radio ad Wednesday seizing on new questions about the longtime Senator's ties to his home state. – Peter Hamby
Leading New Orleans Times-Picayune: Ray Nagin convicted, guilty of 20 charges
After nine days of tense testimony and argument in the trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, his fate is now in the hands of the jury. The jury has reached a verdict. Ray Nagin has been found guilty on 20 of 21 corruption charges. – Robert McClendon
Leading New Hampshire Union Leader: John DiStaso's Granite Status: Sen Ted Cruz, Rep. Steve King added to 'Freedom Summit' lineup
Americans for Prosperity Foundation is confirming tonight that it has added Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King to its lineup of high-profile conservative speakers at the "Freedom Summit" it is sponsoring with Citizens United … As we first reported last week, the event will be held April 12 at the Executive Court in Manchester and is sure to attract national media attention. – John Distaso
Leading Drudge: Brutal Winter Intensifies
Winter Storm Pax continued its second wave of wintry weather Wednesday morning, dumping freezing rain and sleet across a wide area that could experience catastrophic conditions for a prolonged period of time … The National Weather Service also warned to "expect significant – crippling – ice totals from Atlanta eastward along the I-20 corridor.” In the Carolinas, snow fell Wednesday in areas expecting to see as much as 18 inches of accumulation from Pax. – Sean Breslin
Leading HuffPo: GOP Sen. Tim Scott Says Fighting For Corporate America Is A 'Trap'
Rep. Scott tells the Huffington Post: "We often think about opportunity and prosperity on our side in [terms of] tax breaks to the big corporations. Sometimes ... trickle-down economics improves, without question. But sometimes we ought to think about what the pressure of new taxes and new regulations are on the take-home pay of somebody making $15 to $20 an hour. It's not for corporate America. Everybody passes it on to the end user. So what I have to challenge myself on is not to fall into the same trap that is an accurate depiction of what happens, but that's not the most important part. The most important part is what happens to the person who is struggling to take home more money. That's my cause. I think government stands in the way too often of that." – Jon Ward
Leading Politico: Koch brothers bombard vulnerable Senate Democrat Kay Hagan
Americans for Prosperity, a group co-founded by the conservative billionaires, has already dropped $8.2 million on TV, radio and digital ads in an effort to defeat the North Carolina Democrat. According to sources tracking media buys, the group has so far spent more in North Carolina than all Democratic outside groups in every Senate race in the country — combined. – Manu Raju and Anna Palmer
Leading New York Times: An Act of Surrender May Strengthen Boehner’s Control
By quickly and unilaterally ending a back-and-forth over a debt ceiling increase, Speaker John A. Boehner avoided another protracted public battle among Republicans. – Jonathan Weisman
The political bites of the day
– Boehner walking on sunshine –
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER TO REPORTERS AFTER THE HOUSE PASSED THE DEBT CEILING BILL TUESDAY: “Happy. Happy. Happy … Plenty of sunshine coming my way.”
– Crist: GOP opposes Obama because he is black –
FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE AND FORMER GOV. CHARLIE CRIST TO STEVE COLBERT TUESDAY: “Sadly I think another part of it was that he was a Democrat, but not just a Democrat, an African-American … I'm just trying to tell the truth. I have seen a level of vitriol directed at this president that I have never seen directed at President Kennedy or maybe President Johnson or even President Carter."
– Justice Clarence Thomas Part One: We are more race conscious –
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS AT PALM BEACH ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY IN FLORIDA TUESDAY: "My sadness is that we are probably today more race and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school. To my knowledge, I was the first black kid in Savannah, Ga., to go to a white school. Rarely did the issue of race come up … Now, name a day it doesn't come."
– Justice Thomas Part Two: We are too sensitive about race –
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS AT PALM BEACH ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY IN FLORIDA TUESDAY: “Differences in race, differences in sex, somebody doesn’t look at you right, somebody says something. Everybody is sensitive. If I had been as sensitive as that in the 1960s, I’d still be in Savannah. Every person in this room has endured a slight. Every person. Somebody has said something that has hurt their feelings or did something to them — left them out. That’s a part of the deal.”
– Romney: Too much is spent on the Olympics –
MITT ROMNEY IN AN OP-ED FOR USA TODAY: “The International Olympic Committee should set budget limits for an Olympics and award Games only to countries that demonstrate that they will live within them. The IOC will need an independent analysis because candidate countries will fudge their budgets.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Brendan Buck (@BrendanBuck)
“The overwhelming majority of people who work in the White House are amateur legislative and communications strategists." – @pfeiffer44
The Star-Ledger (@starledger)
Should #Christie resign as @The_RGA chief, given all the work to be done in NJ? Our editorial board says yes. How about you?...
Alex Wagner (@alexwagner)
Was not aware that the debt limit was appended to the “Patricia Clark Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center” bill. bit.ly/1g7ut7B
Kasie Hunt (@kasie)
FLURRY OF SENATE ACTIVITY: Debt limit, military COLA votes set for this afternoon before chamber recesses as snowstorm bears down
Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDCNN)
Amazing moment: serious problems on Senate floor w debt ceiling vote. Not to say it will fail but votes clearly not there yet.
Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur)
Senate Republicans could've gotten off scot-free on this debt limit hike if they didn't filibuster. Now they have to supply 5 votes.
Anthony DiMoro (@AnthonyDiMoro)
#Yankees Derek Jeter says 2014 will be his final season, closing out his #MLB career. The statement was posted on his Facebook page...
NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA)
"I remain the luckiest guy I know," Tom Brokaw says in personal note revealing he has cancer http://4.nbcla.com/1m5b8Jm pic.twitter.com/bdkVZpEnfO
Snow/ice have forced the cancellation of 3,500+ flights so far today in the U.S., via FlightStats. ow.ly/tyE5j
Brian Higgins (@RepBrianHiggins)
Honored to be part of effort to bring personal piece of Russert’s life & work to Bflo (@BuffaloHistory @LukeRussert) http://flic.kr/p/k1UzqW
Deirdre Walsh (@deirdrewalshcnn)
CA GOP Rep Gary Miller to retire: "family circumstances dictate that I must leave this great institution"
Abby Livingston (@RollCallAbby)
With his retirement, Gary Miller is 18th House member, 11th Republican & 2nd Miller to RETIRE from Congress this term http://www.rollcall.com/politics/casualtylist.html/?pos=opol …
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
According to the International Olympic Committee, the Olympic rings represent the five major regions of the world, which are Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
The six colors of the Olympic flag are the flag’s background color, white, and the five colors of the interlocked rings, which are black, green, yellow, blue and red. At least one of each of the six Olympic colors appears in every flag around the world, symbolizing unity. It is a misconception that each color represents a certain continent.
The rings are interwoven to demonstrate unity among all nations and the universality of Olympism. The Olympic flag displaying the interlocked Olympic rings first flew in 1920 during the Antwerp Games.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Matt Gilbertson (@MattRGilbertson) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
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