CNN's GUT CHECK for February 26, 2014
February 26th, 2014
06:25 PM ET
5 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 26, 2014

CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for February 26, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING … COLORADO SENATE RACE JUST GOT A LOT MORE INTERESTING: John King reports: Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican elected in 2010, has decided to run for Senate, two sources tell CNN.  The 39-year-old Gardner joins a crowded field of Republicans seeking the GOP nomination, and will be considered a serious contender for the nod. Among those in the race are Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, state Sen. Owen Hill, and state Rep. Amy Stephens.

The winner of the June 24 GOP primary will face Sen. Mark Udall in November. Udall was elected in 2008.

Just last year Gardner stated he would not run for the Senate in 2014, but as the political landscape appeared to be getting better for Republicans he reconsidered, said one of the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Republicans only need a net gain of six seats to win back control of the Senate chamber in November.

MIDTERM SUB-PLOT:  HARRY REID VS. KOCH BROTHERS …

REID:  “What is going on with these two brothers who made millions of dollars last year in an attempt to buy our democracy is dishonest, deceptive, false and unfair. Just because you have huge amounts of money you should not be able to run these false, misleading ads by the hundreds of millions of dollars. They hide behind all kinds of entities, Mr. President.  It’s not just their front organization, American for Prosperity. They give money to all kinds of organizations Lots of money. See when you make billions of dollars a year, you can be as immoral and dishonest as your money will allow you to be. It’s too bad they’re trying to buy American and it’s time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers who are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine.”

AND THE RESPONSE… From Philip Ellender, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC: “We are disappointed, but not surprised, that Senate Majority Leader Reid has once again falsely attacked Charles Koch and David Koch today on the Senate floor. The Democrats in general and Senator Reid in particular have targeted Charles Koch and David Koch and tried to silence their disagreement on important public policy issues since 2010.”

CRUZ MISSILE … CRUZ ANGERS GOP COLLEAGUES –AGAIN. Ted Barrett and Dana Bash report: Several Republican senators said Wednesday they were surprised and angered after a news report revealed that their GOP colleague, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, made a recent fundraising appeal for a tea party group that is trying to defeat GOP incumbents it doesn’t believe are conservative enough.

The senators said Cruz’s efforts appeared to violate his own pledge to no longer target sitting Republican senators in favor of tea party-backed candidates in the hard-fought 2014 campaign in which Republicans believe they have a chance to win back control of the Senate. In addition, the fundraising appears at odds with Cruz’s position as Vice Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the organization that works to elect and re-elect Republicans to the Senate.

“I am stunned that Sen. Cruz is involved in this fundraising effort for a group that has targeted his colleagues in the Republican caucus,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told CNN. “I’m particularly surprised because I thought he had agreed to no longer engage in that kind of activity of supporting groups that were targeting people he serves with every day in the Republican caucus.”

Collins is running for re-election but doesn’t appear to be a target of the group for whom Cruz did the appeal.

CHRISTIE: WHAT, ME WORRY?

WATCH ME THROW THE POLLSTERS UNDER THE BUS … Gov. Chris Christie drew laughter from a room full of New Jersey residents when he cracked wise about poll numbers:   "The only two professions in America where you keep getting paid even when you are always wrong affect my life everyday - pollsters and weathermen," said the Governor, as snow came down in Long Hill, New Jersey.

“I mean, they don’t ever have to have it right and then they come back the next day and they sound just as authoritative as they used to right? It’s crazy.” – Ashley Killough

BUT PERHAPS HE SHOULD WORRY … LESS THAN A THIRD OF REPUBLICANS WANT CHRISTIE TO RUN … More Republicans say they wouldn't like Chris Christie to run for president in 2016 than those who say they want him to launch a White House bid, according to a new national poll released Wednesday … Forty-one percent of Republicans questioned in the poll say the New Jersey governor should not run for the GOP nomination in 2016, while 31% say Christie should launch a bid.

… AND A CHENEY DISSES RAND PAUL

Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney)

Must read by @JRubinBlogger re @SenRandPaul recent naive & dangerous foreign policy pronouncements. tinyurl.com/ldevllj

IN THE STATES … Texas' ban on SAME SEX marriage ruled unconstitutional A federal judge has struck down Texas' ban on same-sex marriage, ruling Wednesday it has no "rational relation to a legitimate government purpose." The decision is the latest in a series of federal and state court moves to overturn current laws forbidding gay and lesbians from legal wedlock.. – Bill Mears

PERRY: DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS

TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY AFTER THE RULING: "Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens. The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn't be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state."

THE BUZZ: PAPAL INTRIGUE  As the anniversary of his surprising resignation approaches, Pope Benedict XVI has rejected as “simply absurd” the speculation that he was forced to step down, and he said he still wears the distinctive white papal cassock for “purely practical reasons.”

“At the moment of my resignation there were no other clothes available,” Benedict wrote in a brief letter to an Italian journalist that was published on Wednesday. – Religious News Service’s David Gibson

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end lower. Dow slips 26 points. NASDAQ and S&P 500 drop 0.1%.


TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer Below)

Which Hollywood icon is a distant cousin to both former President George W. Bush and Secretary of State John Kerry, who ran against each other for president in 2004? (HINT: The answer is not Kevin Bacon.)

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Groups unite to back Hillary Clinton - if she decides to make a run
The party that was once known for duplicating efforts and an inability to accept the realities of federal election law believes it has found its groove with a cadre of organizations working in concert to elect the first woman president. "Everybody is swimming in their own lane, which is very unusual for Democrats," said Paul Begala, head of pro-Clinton Priorities USA Action and a CNN contributor – Dan Merica

Leading CNNMoney.com: Senate Report Reveals Credit Suisse Helped Rich Clients Hide Billions From IRS
Bankers at Credit Suisse used cloak and dagger tactics to help wealthy American clients stash away billions in assets out of sight of the IRS, according to a Senate investigative report released Tuesday. The Swiss banking giant, which is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly aiding tax evasion by its rich clients, opened a special Zurich airport branch so customers could fly in, meet their private bankers and quickly hit the slopes, Senate investigators said.  – Evan Perez

Leading Minneapolis Star Tribune: St. Paul visit: Obama to unveil $300B transportation plan today
During his visit to St. Paul on Wednesday, President Obama will unveil plans for a burst of spending on transportation and infrastructure projects, a proposal the White House says will save middle class jobs and provide an overdue investment in the country’s foundation. Obama will detail his four-year $302 billion proposal that calls for building, fixing or maintaining thousands of miles of roads and rail lines. The president wants to use revenue from closing tax loopholes to raise the necessary funds. – Corey Mitchell

Leading Drudge: Leader Of The Pack
Republican strategists like to say the party's next nominee needs to hail from the GOP's gubernatorial ranks. It's a response to how unpopular Washington is—particularly the party's congressional wing—and a reflection of the party's strength in holding a majority of governorships. But another reason for the gubernatorial focus is to sidestep the one formidable candidate that gives the establishment heartburn: Sen. Rand Paul. -  Josh Kraushaar

Leading HuffPo: ‘Foolish’ Attention
Bobby Jindal isn't going to go away quietly. He made that much clear Monday … His roundhouse punch at President Barack Obama's policies, while standing on the White House driveway a few feet from the Oval Office and surrounded by governors of both parties, incensed Democrats, who see him as a grandstanding, know-it-all partisan. Of course Jindal's enthusiasm for mixing it up will only endear him to many conservatives. – Jon Ward

Leading Politico: The Clinton library's secret files
A trove of Clinton White House records long processed for release remains hidden from public view at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock — even though the legal basis initially used to withhold them expired more than a year ago. The papers contain confidential advice given to or sought by President Bill Clinton, including communications with then-first lady Hillary Clinton, and records about people considered for appointments to federal office. – Josh Gerstein

Leading New York Times: 2 Hollywood Stars on Capitol Hill
In a double-header of celebrity cameos, Ben Affleck and Seth Rogen are scheduled to testify before Congress, Mr. Affleck before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (on the prospects for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Mr. Rogen before a panel of the Senate Appropriations Committee (on the economic impact of Alzheimer’s disease). – Ashley Parker

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

– Reid on Obamacare horror stories: They’re all lies –
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID, D-NEVADA, ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “There’s plenty of horror stories being told (about ObamaCare). All of them are untrue. But they’re being told all over America.”

– A Blunt comeback –
Subject line of a press release sent by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri: “So... Harry Reid thinks all of these Missourians are lying?”

– Boehner on tax reform: The conversation has just begun –
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, AT A GOP PRESSER: “Listen, there's a conversation that needs to begin. This is the beginning of the conversation.”

– Camp on tax reform: The conversation is over –
HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN REP. DAVE CAMP, R-MICHIGAN, AT A HOUSE TAX REFORM NEWS CONFERENCE: “The debate about needing to do tax reform is over. We've already lost a decade and before we lose a generation, we must enact real meaningful tax reform to get this economy back on track.“

– Senate slip-up –
DHS SEC. JEH JOHNSON TO REP. PAUL BROUN, R-GEORGIA, AT HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY HEARING: “Senator, the, ah, congressman, sorry. BROUN: I'll accept that… I'm running for Senate.”

– Sen. Roberts slams Wolf for graphic posts in new campaign ad titled “Alarming”–
NARRATOR IN A SEN. PAT ROBERTS, R-KANSAS, ATTACK AD AGAINST SENATE PRIMARY OPPONENT DR. MILTON WOLF: “Dr. Milton Wolf’s patients trusted him, but stunning news reports show that Wolf exposed private patient X-rays and other personal information on Facebook — where Wolf relentlessly poked fun at the dead or wounded. A Kansas City medical ethics expert called Wolf’s behavior ‘beyond alarming’ for a professional in the field of medicine. If Milton Wolf is so irresponsible is so irresponsible as a doctor, how can he possibly be trusted as a US Senator?”

– Oh Joe  –
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH EVENT ATTENDED BY FORMER NBA star KEVIN JOHNSON: "I told the President, next game I have him. Just remember I may be a white boy, but I can jump."

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Luke Russert (@LukeRussert)
Kerry on USA/Russia relations post #Ukraine "This is not Rocky IV"

Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck)
Thanks Secretary. MT @JohnKerry: Met w/ @US_SEGL & @RedSox fan @BenAffleck on #DRC. Both passionate about the issues.

Doug Heye (@DougHeye)
MSNBC chyron for John Kerry interview: "America's Diplomat." How many times did Condoleezza Rice get that?

Ashley Killough ‏(@KilloughCNN)
Christie gets a traffic question–but it's about too many red lights. Audience member wants better timing on lights cuz he's always stopping

Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP)
Top GOP Operatives Fundraise to Oust House Republican (Walter Jones) bit.ly/1hoWB6k

Jake Tapper (@jaketapper)
55 Sens now supporting @SenGillibrand's legislation to take mil. sexual assault prosecutions out of chain of command. She'll be on #TheLead

Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders)
Please do not inject the Iran sanctions issue into a debate on how we can improve the lives of #veterans and their families.

GallupNews (‏@GallupNews)
#Boehner's Favorability Returns to Pre-Shutdown Levels... http://on.gallup.com/NwRBSA  pic.twitter.com/yc9W5O7NYF

Scott Huffmon (‏@WinthropPoll)
Lindsey Graham far ahead of rivals in SC GOP Primary but short of run off threshold. 1/3 still undecided: http://www.thestate.com/2014/02/26/3291831/poll-graham-holds-huge-lead-but.html

Don Banks (@donbanks)
In case Arizona's SB 1062 isn't vetoed by Gov. Brewer, NFL on Wed began exploring Super Bowl 49 relocation options: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl/news/20140226/super-bowl-xlix-relocation-arizona/index.html

FOX 12 Oregon KPTV ‏(@fox12oregon)
Jason Collins' No. 98 jersey (tribute to '98 death of Matthew Shepard) is NBA's top-selling jersey http://kptv.tv/1fHTgze

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Former President George W. Bush and Secretary of State John Kerry don’t just share campaign history, they also share interesting genes. Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy, is a distant cousin to both men.

In an interview with CBS, Hefner joked that he felt closer to then-Sen. Kerry, but noted that it was unique to be related to both 2004 presidential candidates.

"You know I'm an 11th generation direct descendent of William Bradford, who came over on the Mayflower, a direct descendent of a puritan … I suppose that it is not a big surprise but it is certainly unique to be a relation to both candidates."

Research revealed in 2004 that the two candidates are actually 16th cousins, three times removed.

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE

(Why aren’t you in it?)

Congrats to RobertBialeVineyards (@Bialevineyards) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    In the 25 states and DC, over 4 million have been added to Medicaid. Is it OK to add the 3 million students who are still on their parents plan and the 4 million signed up for ACA? There will come a time when republicans will stop trying to take away health care from those who desperately need it.

    February 26, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn't be achieved at the ballot box"

    No it doesn't. It has to be read in conjunction with the 14th Amendment. Two Words: SUPREMACY CLAUSE.

    And stop crying about Marbury v. Madison, you freekin pantwetters. You're never getting a do-over on that one, so you might as well stick to your abusive, misogynist attempts to get a do-over on Roe v. Wade.

    February 26, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "“So... Harry Reid thinks all of these Missourians are lying?”"

    Yes. Every single time they throw one of these ads up, it gets fact-checked and found false. The most recent one included. It's obscene, and the only reason the MSM, CNN included, does nothing to really critically analyze and report on just how false these advertisements are and are consistently found to be, is because the advertising revenue functions as a pay-off, a bribe, a journalism deterrent/repellant. This goes for everything across the board, without relation to party: where do you think the billions spent on political advertising end up? In whose pockets? In which corporations' bottom lines? It's entirely rigged at this point. Any attempt to do something about it will be vehemently opposed by the MSM, which is the ultimate, biggest beneficiary of the entire Citizens United/money in politics paradigm. As a result, you can rest assured no movement to get something done will get positive press, abuses will be swept under the rug and treated unseriously and the MSM will do everything in its power to keep you misinformed and in the dark on the issue to protect the income stream the whole farce generates for them.

    February 26, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Wes

    Harry Reid said my cancelled health care plan wasn't really cancelled, it was a lie. Does this mean I get my old policy back and reimbursed the over $2500 I had to pay extra for uhbozo care?

    February 26, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. Chris-E...al

    0nly god can save us now ! Think he is angry ! i think i no why ?

    February 26, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Who is this man and why dose he look like United Nations representative from Peru ?

    He needs to change his last name to Buck or Savage if he want to win in Colorado .

    February 26, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The Koch traitors are nothing more than GOP TRASH living off their fathers money who couldn't make it on their own and are a PRIME EXAMPLE of why taxes on billionaires need to be RAISED. If they can throw hundreds of millions down the tiolet for THEIR disfunctional GOP failed canadates, they can PAY hundreds of millions in MORE TAXES. The kochs give billionaires a BAD NAME

    February 26, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. Texas - a new country

    TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY AFTER THE RULING: "Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens. The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn't be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state."
    -–

    Very well stated. It is time for Texas, and some other states, to go our own ways. Please consider withdrawing from this union that is not working for Texas citizens anymore. Should you do so, I will gladly move to your state to escape this leftist dictatorship from the White House, and now from their surrogates on the bench.

    February 27, 2014 04:01 am at 4:01 am |