CNN's GUT CHECK | February 27, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
PRESIDENT OBAMA GETS PERSONAL …
RAW LANGUAGE FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL PODIUM ANNOUNCING INITIATIVE TO HELP YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR: Announcing “My Brother’s Keeper,” an administration initiative where leading foundations and businesses will donate at least $200 million over five years towards mentoring programs aimed at minority youth of color, President Obama talked about the mistakes he made when he was younger: “When I was their age, I was a lot like them. I didn’t have a dad in the house. And I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices. I got high, not always thinking about the harm that it would do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.”
MORE OBAMA: “… In the aftermath of the Trayvon martin verdict, with all of the emotions and controversy that it sparked, I spoke about the need to bolster and reinforce our young men and give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them and I’m grateful that Trayvon’s parents, Sabrina and Tracy are here.”
DEVELOPING … CLINTON DOCUMENT DUMP STARTS TOMORROW
The National Archives announced 33,000 pages of Clinton White House records will be released starting Friday and will be rolled out over the next two weeks.
CRUZ ON HILLARY: DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE… SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH POLITICO’S MIKE ALLEN: “I recognize that the media all think, `Oh, she is unstoppable’ – which is fine. But they also thought she was unstoppable in the 2008 democrat primary.”
SELF AWARENESS WATCH: MORE TED CRUZ TO MIKE ALLEN: “You don’t have to search hard to find colleagues of mine saying some very nasty things about me.”
NOT KOSHER … CHRISTIE AIDES MOCKED RABBI IN TEXTS … Two figures at the center of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s bridge-gate scandal joked about creating traffic jams outside the home of a local rabbi, according to newly released documents.
David Wildstein, at the time a top executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, sent Bridget Anne Kelley, then a top aide to Christie, a photo last August that included the rabbi, Mendy Carlebach, and said “he has officially pissed me of."
She responded: "clearly," and added "we cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house can we?" Wildstein replied: "Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed." Kelly replied back to Wildstein, “Perfect.” – CNN’s Chris Frates (Follow the @frates)
ALSO REVEALED IN THE NEW DOCUMENTS …
• We now know that it is Bridget Kelly who said, “I feel badly about the kids” on school buses. Wildstein’s the one who replied that “they are the children of Buono voters.”
• Baroni said in a text “are we being fired”?
• There’s also a text message exchange between Chip Michaels, a Port Authority police officer, and Wildstein. The message shows that Wildstein was on site during the lane closures, that they discussed traffic on the George Washington Bridge approaches, and that they knew traffic in Ft. Lee was bad. “Local ft lee traffic disaster,” Wildstein texted.
SOCIAL WATCH: INSTA ENLIGHTENMENT
The Dalai Lama has joined Instagram, marking the Tibetan spiritual leader's latest foray into social media. The announcement was made today on the Dalai Lama's official Twitter account, though his first Instagram post was published on February 1st. So far, he's posted 16 photos, including images of him alongside Larry King and Barack Obama. – The Verge’s Amar Toor
THE BUZZ: BIDEN ‘BESIDE HIMSELF’ … Politico’s Glenn Thrush reports: “For now, Biden is coping with the ambiguity of his predicament, but he increasingly can’t abide petty humiliations, especially from those hopping aboard the growing Clinton bandwagon. He was beside himself, several administration officials told me, when Messina, now at the helm of the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA, told the New York Times that his organization would almost certainly be backing Clinton in 2016 if she decided to run. In the summer of 2013, Messina had assured Biden—during a meeting in the vice president’s West Wing office—that the PAC was likely to remain neutral, partly out of deference to Biden.” – Glenn Thrush
MARKET WATCH: S&P ends the day at record closing high. Dow rises 0.5%. NASDAQ up 26 points.
Charles Koch and his three brothers have all survived which life-threatening disease?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics.com: Clinton endorses looking at Obamacare fixes, but defends law
Hillary Clinton backed efforts to alter Obamacare on Wednesday, but also used her remarks to a health care group in Florida to offer a full defense of the sweeping and controversial law. “I think we are on the right track in many respects but I would be the first to say if things aren’t working then we need people of good faith to come together and make evidence-based changes,” the former secretary of state and possible 2016 presidential candidate said. – Dan Merica
Leading Drudge: Russian Warship Docked In Havana
A Russian warship was docked in Havana Wednesday, without explanation from communist Cuba or its state media. The Viktor Leonov CCB-175 boat, measuring 91.5 meters (300 feet) long and 14.5 meters wide, was docked at the port of Havana's cruise ship area, near the Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
Leading Houston Chronicle: Texas files notice of appeal in same-sex marriage case
The state of Texas has officially given notice that it is appealing a San Antonio judge's ruling that completely struck down its ban on same sex marriage. “Defendants ... Rick Perry, Greg Abbott, and David Lakey ... hereby appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from the Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction, signed and entered in this action on February 26, 2014 ,” said the state's notice, filed in federal court in San Antonio on Thursday. – Guillermo Contreras
Leading HuffPo: House Democrat Unleashes On Obama Judicial Nominees, White House Pushes Back Hard
An intra-party scuffle over Georgia judicial nominees escalated Wednesday as Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) tore into President Barack Obama for showing "disrespect" to America by nominating two social conservatives, while White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler defended the president's picks as the best option. "Do we work with Republican senators to find a compromise, or should we leave the seats vacant?" Ruemmler asked in an interview with The Huffington Post. "We believe it would be grossly irresponsible for the president to leave these seats vacant." – Jennifer Bendery
Leading New York Times: Shrugging Off Past Setbacks, Obama Plans Personal Role in Middle East Peace Bid
President Obama will press Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to agree to a framework for a conclusive round of peace talks, officials said. – Mark Landler
The political bites of the day
– Rush: Brewer had no choice –
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “Now, let me just reiterate: There was no way Governor Brewer was not going to veto this bill. So I'm not spending time on this trying to beat her up after the fact. There was only one possible outcome here. There was only one. This state has been beaten up by Obama. It's been beat up by every civil rights activist you can think of. They've been totally cowed. I think it's amazing they got this far, frankly, in getting the legislation they had passed.”
– Why Congress really took the year off –
CNN’S GLORIA BORGER IN AN OPINION PIECE FOR CNN.COM: “It's about winning in 2014. And an important part of winning, it seems, is to paper over all dissent within your own party in order to present a united front to the voters. So the election will be this: Us or them? Obamacare or no Obamacare? Do you like me better? Do you like government? Do you like poor people or rich people? That's our debate - the sum total of our big ideas right now. Not wanting to start any fights within your own party. Unity above all heading into the midterm elections.”
– Biden on Koch endorsements: Hard to sell damaged goods –
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN SPEAKING TO THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: “Why are we worried about the Koch brothers and their friends bringing in millions and millions and millions of dollars? But guys, I am still one of these guys that believes that money can’t buy an election when you are selling a bad set of goods.”
– Grimes: McConnell is like a stale biscuit –
K.Y. SENATE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES TO THE WASHINGTON POST: "I think what people - not just Kentucky, but the nation - are seeing is that [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell, kind of like heating a biscuit twice, never tastes good the second time, no matter how much jam or jelly you put on it. That’s my grandmother’s saying, by the way."
– Rogen slams lawmakers for falling asleep during his Alzheimers testimony –
ACTOR SETH ROGEN ON MSNBC’S “HARDBALL” WEDNESDAY: “Two of them were falling asleep during the first part of the testimony, literally. I saw it happening … I think it is indicative of the mentality that we find so frustrating is that it seems to be low priority … It seems like these people don’t care. That’s the direct message they are giving by leaving during the testimony, is that they don’t care.”
–Cruz’s ‘surprising compliment’ about the press corps —
SEN. TED CRUZ TO POLITICO’S MIKE ALLEN: “I will give a surprising compliment. So last week I was interviewed by Dana Bash on CNN and I told her that I appreciated that she has been willing to ask hard questions of Democrats also and not a lot of reporters do that.’”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Pres. Obama Launches My Brother’s Keeper Initiative For Boys & Young Men of Color: http://wh.gov/lEEwd @whitehouse http://wh.gov/lEEwd
Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto)
Taking page from American Pie...UK's spy agency took photos of millions of webcam Yahoo users http://j.mp/1mJ3GEf via @guardian
Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN)
Hillary Clinton has five events next week in California and Canada. Four are closed to the press. One is not: Her lecture at UCLA.
Molly Ball (@mollyesque)
Why is the Dems’ min wage proposal $10.10 and not $10 even? Who made that call?
Frank Thorp V (@frankthorpNBC)
Reporter mistakenly calls Speaker Boehner 'Mr Camp', Boehner responds saying his name is 'Boner' https://vine.co/v/MKiMUezBMtE
Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram)
Senate fails to advance veterans legislation on procedural vote. Needed 60 yeas. Request by R's for Iran sanctions amdt muddled bill.
Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders)
I had thought maybe just maybe that this #Senate could come together and do the right thing for our #veterans. pic.twitter.com/ts7lUBjlJu
Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov)
Taking out papers to run for re-election. http://www.jerrybrown.org/announcement pic.twitter.com/v1ClCjDWX
Justin Miller (@justinjm1)
Someone snuck a camera into the Supreme Court and here's the video http://youtu.be/2K-8FJ114kU
Vaughn Sterling (@vplus)
INBOX: FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA TO MAKE SPECIAL APPEARANCE ON NBC’S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED COMEDY ‘PARKS AND RECREATION’
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Charles, David, Fred and Bill Koch have all survived prostate cancer. Charles and David Koch are the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Koch Industries.
In 2011, David Koch donated $100 million to help build the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his alma mater.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Matthew Gilbertson (@MattRGilbertson) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
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I thought Jan Brewer vetoed a bill for the wrong reasons would save the Republican Party from extinction for a few years. Today, senate republicans proved they care nothing about our veterans that they were so eager to send to war. Bye, bye, republicans. You will not be missed.
I personally would not vote for Biden because he is and was one of the biggest legislators pushing bad drug laws.
He's a pusher of bad laws that were designed for only one result: destroy poor people's lives, esp. minorities.
Anyone who never figured out that drugs are a medical issue and not a criminal one shows a lack of common sense and insight, not to mention compassion and empathy for who the laws touch directly, like minority kids.
No wonder Obama chose him for a VP. Putting minority kids in jail and prison for life is what they are all about I guess.
Such is the modern-day Democrat party. People losing their grip on reality. Must be all that alcohol, huh.
I hope the middle and upper middle class white boys that are mass killers get some help. You know the ones I'm talking about.
Thank you for the outstanding job you are doing, against all odds!
Jesus taught us that justice is not just about equality, it is about lifting people out of oppression. This is what My Brother's Keeper is all about. Obama is being a good Christian.
I said the less 0bama did the better for our territory !And IF you HAVE ANY DOUBTS AN ANY wonders left as of why we are n0t further along after 5years of this so called President ! After t0days actions and words of divide and division ! This somebody is a accuser an a liar an he can go back to where its hot ? And the sooner the better Yesterday was to late for our land ! we are was healed ? but seem t0 have a bad infection in the W.H. n0w . thx mr somebody !