March 7th, 2014
06:05 PM ET
9 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 7, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 7, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

CPAC PROVES THE GAME IS ON FOLKS

RAND PAUL TO THE GOP: DON’T DILUTE OUR MESSAGE … “It isn’t good enough to pick the lesser of two evils. We must elect men – we must elect men and women of principle and conviction and action who will lead us back to greatness. There is a great and tumultuous battle underway for the future – not of the Republican Party, but the future of the entire country. The question is will we be bold and proclaim our message with passion or will we be sunshine patriots retreating under adverse fire? Will we be firm in our convictions or will we cower, defeated and meekly dilute our message?”

RAND PAUL TO THE GOVERNMENT: LEAVE OUR CELL PHONES ALONE: “We will not submit and we will not trade our liberty for security. Not now and not ever! Yet, as our voices rise in protest the NSA monitors your every phone call. If you have a cellphone you are under surveillance. I believe what you do on your cellphone is none of their damn business!”


HUCKABEE HITS HILLARY – WITH “DUE RESPECT”: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee uses CPAC to talk Benghazi: “Four Americans were murdered in Benghazi and our government lied to us as to what happened and I know it had not one thing to do with some ridiculous video. And I know something else, with all due respect to Hillary Clinton, it does make a difference why they died and who did it.”

Later CNN’s Dana Bash asked Huckabee if Benghazi was Clinton’s Achilles Heel. He replied, “God help us if it isn't.”

SANTORUM SLAMS CHRISTIE: Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R): “I have been watching a little bit of what’s going on here at CPAC and we hear a lot of `we have to win.’ Now, we all know what they mean. They actually mean we have to lose. We have to lose those currently unfashionable stances on cultural and limited government issues that have been proven over time to give Americans the best chance for a healthy, happy life. So we’re told that we have to put aside what we believe is in the best interest of the country so a Republican candidate can win. Now, that may result in a win for a Republican candidate but it will be a devastating loss for America. I don’t know about you but I am not out here fighting just to elect republican candidates and let them win. I am here to see America win.”

GOV. RICK PERRY ASKS FOR REBELLION – AND A SECOND CHANCE: “It is time for Washington to focus on the few things the constitution establishes as the federal government's role… Get out of the health care business! Get out of the education business! Stop hammering industry! Let the sleeping giant of American enterprise create prosperity again!”

“Our country is in peril. Our debt's at a record amount. Our economy and this economic recovery is absolutely stagnant. Our place in the world is weakened. So I have a simple solution, it's time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas. But instead of looking to Washington to find the front-lines of the battle, I ask you to look to the states.”

… AFTER THE SPEECH PERRY TELLS CNN’S PETER HAMBY: “I have been taught to judge people on how they perform after they have fallen down and after they have failed. … So I hope people will look at me and say, ‘You know what? We will give you a second chance.’”
Read the full story here

UKRAINE UPDATE: PUTIN REJECTS OBAMA’S WARNINGS ON A REFERENDUM: Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement following his hour-long phone call with President Obama Thursday saying, “Russia cannot ignore calls for help and it acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law.” Yesterday President Obama said that a referendum in Crimea would violate international law.

THE BUZZ: OTTER’S CAREER IN FILM, AS IT WERE, IS A CAUTIONARY TALE … Did you hear the one about the guy who went to see a man about a horse and ended up in a soft-core porn movie? It is not a joke. That’s essentially what happened to Idaho Gov. Butch Otter when he went to visit a California movie crew that needed horses for what was described as “a low-budget horse opera” that was filming near Weiser. – Idaho Statesman’s Nate Sunderland and Jeff Robinson

FEBRUARY JOBS REPORT: The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs last month, an increase over January, according to the Department of Labor. The unemployment rate was 6.7%, compared to 6.6% in January. Economists had been expecting a gain of 150,000 jobs and for unemployment to remain flat. The particularly cold and icy winter has been hard on the job market. In the 12 months leading up to the winter, the economy had been adding an average of 205,000 jobs each month.

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks finish a higher week with a mixed Friday. S&P 500 ends at a record high.

STOCKS HIT RECORD HIGHS BUT JOBS STILL DWINDLING. HOW CAN THAT BE? … See Jake Tapper’s interview with an expert who explains how the stock market is 'dislocated' from job creation.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
Of these six CPAC speakers, who uses their actual first name? Reince Priebus, Rick Perry, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Clinton ties 'broader human development' with women’s reproductive rights
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a Friday speech at the United Nations to tie women’s reproductive rights with the broader goal of human development. “There is one lesson from the past, in particular, that we cannot afford to ignore: You cannot make progress on gender equality or broader human development, without safeguarding women’s reproductive health and rights,” Clinton said near the end of a speech marking International Women's Day. “That is a bedrock truth.” – Dan Merica

Leading Drudge: ‘Russia Re-Freeze’
President Vladimir Putin rebuffed a warning from U.S. President Barack Obama over Moscow's military intervention in Crimea, saying on Friday that Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine. – Lidia Kelly and Alissa de Carbonnel

Leading Politico: National GOP turns on Fla. Candidate
Their frustration had been mounting for weeks. But by late January national Republicans had had it with David Jolly, their candidate in Tuesday’s nationally watched Florida congressional special election. The candidate had just told the state’s top political reporter that he disagreed with an ad the party was airing against his Democratic opponent — a spot paid for with the nearly $500,000 the GOP had already spent on Jolly’s behalf. – Alex Isenstadt

Leading HuffPo: Health Care Repeal Shares Top Spot With Improving Economy On Conservative Wishlist
Conservatives are just as likely to say the government's top priority this year should be repealing President Obama's health care law as to say improving the economy should take the top spot, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted ahead of the Conservative Political Action Committee's annual conference, which started Thursday. Among all Americans, improving the economy was the clear-cut winner. Asked to choose from a list, 51 percent ranked that as the No. 1 issue the government faces, while 21 percent ranked repealing the health care law at the top. – Emily Swanson

Leading New York Times: Official at Helm of Federal Health Marketplace Is Resigning
Gary M. Cohen, the official in charge of the federal health insurance marketplace, who repeatedly told Congress before its troubled rollout that it would work well, said on Thursday that he was resigning. – Robert Pear

Leading Washington Post: Why Scott Walker was smart to skip CPAC
1. Before Walker can (or should) think about running for the presidency, he needs to win re-election to his seat in Wisconsin. 2. CPAC is designed to give lesser known conservatives a chance to shine. Walker had his moment. 3. There's nothing wrong with being mysterious two years out from a presidential contest. 4. Going to CPAC = being in the media spotlight – Erik Wasson

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

– Conservative activist compares President Barack Obama to George Wallace –
FOUNDER OF THE FAITH & FREEDOM COALITION RALPH REED IN A SPEECH AT CPAC: “In Louisiana right now, this administration is trying to block the right of minority children to receive state aid to attend either a religious or a charter school where they are safe and they can learn. Fifty years ago, George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door and said that African American students couldn't come in. Today the Obama Administration stands in that same schoolhouse door and refuses to let those children leave. It was wrong then, it's wrong now, and we say to President Obama, 'let those children go!'”

– Issa apologizes to Cummings –
DARRELL ISSA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH HIS HOMETOWN PAPER, U-T SAN DIEGO ON THURSDAY: “Mr. Cummings is a member of Congress who works very hard for his constituents … I could have offered to reopen the hearing and allowed him to make a second statement. As chairman, I should have been much more sensitive to the mood of what was going on, and I take responsibility.”

– Apology accepted –
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D-MARYLAND, IN A STATEMENT THURSDAY: “This evening, Chairman Issa telephoned me and apologized for his conduct, and I accepted his apology. My sincere hope is that as we move forward, we will respect the opinions of all members of the committee, we will proceed in a deliberate and considered manner to obtain the facts, we will refrain from making accusations that have no basis in fact, and we will seek resolution rather than unnecessary conflict."

But later that night …

CHAIRMAN ISSA TO FOX NEWS: "You know, I broke no rules and he broke the decorum of the House … I did things according to the rules. I followed a script, and then Mr. Cummings decides to have quite a hissy fit."

AND WHAT DO YOU KNOW … MORE FIGHTING

– Cruz takes hit at former presidential candidates –
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, AT CPAC THURSDAY: “You want to lose elections, stand for nothing? … Of course, all of us remember President Dole and President McCain and President Romney. Now look those are good men, they’re decent men. But when you don’t stand and draw a clear distinction, when you don’t stand for principle, Democrats celebrate.”

– Sen. McCain demands an apology for buddy, Dole –
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZONA, TO MSNBC THURSDAY: (Cruz) “can say what he wants about me, and he can say anything he wants to…but when he throws Bob Dole in there, I wonder if he thinks that Bob Dole stood for principle on that hilltop in Italy when he was so gravely wounded and left part of his there fighting for country.”

– Dole weighs in –
FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BOB DOLE, R-KANSAS, IN A STATEMENT TO CNN: “Senator Cruz needs to check the record before passing judgment.”

– Aretha tribute falls flat of respect –
PRESIDENT OBAMA AT A TRIBUTE TO WOMEN OF SOUL AT THE WHITE HOUSE ON THURSDAY: "When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans, and women, and then everyone who felt marginalized because of what they looked like or who they loved," Obama said to chuckles from the audience.

http://cnn.it/1kClP4R

– Reid reveals who came up with the ‘Addicted to Koch’ tagline –
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID AT A ROUNDTABLE WITH REPORTERS: “My wife came up with it … Swear on my life.”

http://www.buzzfeed.com/katenocera/harry-reid-my-wife-came-up-with-the-addicted-to-koch-line

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN)
wow. cpacers didnt need coffee this am. @GovernorPerry just blew the roof of the place. got the crowd more energized than anyone yet #CPAC

Tal Kopan (‏@TalKopan)
McCain calls for Cruz to apologize for Bob Dole #CPAC2014 dig, says he talked to Cruz about it: http://politi.co/1ihw2ip

RightWisconsin (@RightWisconsin)
.@JimDeMint on recent @politico article implying he is "hated" "If you're liked in Washington, you're probably part of the problem" #tcot

Jim Acosta ‏(@JimAcostaCNN)
In gaggle, Earnest says "a pretty strong disagreement" between POTUS Putin over events in Crimea...conversations are "robust and candid"

Hala Gorani ‏(@HalaGorani)
#Ukraine "After an hour-long telephone call, Putin said in a statement that Moscow & Washington were still far apart" http://reut.rs/1hQW7GW

Adam Kredo (‏@Kredo0)
Here is the Israeli government saying that the Obama budget does not provide nearly enough for missile defense http://bit.ly/1kCFilV

Vaughn Sterling (‏@vplus)
CNN JUST IN: USDA Alerts 36 States To Potentially Tainted Beef

John Lewis ‏(@repjohnlewis)
49 years ago today, Hosea Williams and I led nearly 600 peaceful protesters in an attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery.

Sean Spicer ‏(@seanspicer)
Finally - the clock on my desk that I never adjusted back an hour will finally be right again on Sunday #daylightsavings

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

The only CPAC speaker of the list of six to use his actual first name is entrepreneur Donald Trump. The other five CPAC speakers’ full names are Reinhold “Reince” Priebus, James Richard “Rick” Perry, Addison “Mitch” McConnell, Rafael “Ted” Cruz and Piyush “Bobby” Jindal.

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

Congrats to James Gray (@RealJamesGray) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Ooh, Ayn Rand Paul has something to say... And it isn't even Sunday morning!

    March 7, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. Rusty Krus

    He has a new toupee that's gray, but it still looks like Squidward!

    March 7, 2014 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    Do these republican trash know that Patriotic Act of surveillance is crafted by John Ashcroft, in Bush the thush era?

    March 8, 2014 07:01 am at 7:01 am |