CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 25, 2014| 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
HOBBY LOBBY: COURT MAJORITY HARSHLY CRITICAL OF OBAMACARE CONTRACEPTION MANDATE … CNN’s Bill Mears reports: The Supreme Court justices hearing the two cases on the hotly contested issue testing the limits of government-mandated contraception coverage appeared divided along ideological lines in a 90-minute oral argument.
"How does a corporation exercise religion?" asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor, summarizing perhaps the key constitutional question at hand.
"This is a religious question," said Justice Samuel Alito, suggesting the businesses have such a right. "You want us to provide a definitive secular answer."
A ruling expected by late June could clarify whether businesses have a religious liberty right, or whether such constitutional protections apply only to individuals.
UNDER GOP PRESSURE, DEMS REMOVE CONTROVERSIAL IMF REFORMS FROM UKRAINE BILL … CNN’s Ted Barrett reports: Sen. Harry Reid announced Tuesday that Senate Democrats will drop a controversial International Monetary Fund reforms provision from a key Ukraine bill currently being debated on the Senate floor in order to allow the Ukraine bill to pass quickly. On Monday, Democratic aides insisted the IMF language would remain in the bill despite stiff resistance from Republicans on both sides of the Capitol.
Herb Jackson (@record_dc)
.@SenatorMenendez takes IMF reform out of Ukraine bill, blasts House leaders before saying 'you're going to get your way today'
Gut Check Full Service: GOP v. Reid below in Hot Sots
DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER PREDICTS 'HUGE TURNOUT DISADVANTAGE' IN 2014… CNN’s Peter Hamby reports: A leading Democratic pollster predicted a "sobering" turnout disadvantage for her party in this year's midterm elections and called on Democrats to articulate "a bigger economic agenda" this fall.
"There is a huge turnout disadvantage and challenge," Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said Tuesday at a breakfast with reporters. "There is always a challenge in turnout in an off year, but it's really dramatic this time."
FROM CLINTON NEMESIS TO DEFENDER … CNN’s Rachel Streitfeld and Brianna Keilar report: A former Clinton antagonist-turned-aggressive defender warned Tuesday that the infamous “vast right-wing conspiracy” is already gearing up for 2016.
“The conservatives of today have no program to offer the vast majority of Americans,” said prominent Clinton supporter David Brock, according to prepared remarks. “So we see them running scared, and once again, cultivating a culture of Clinton hatred, in Hillary’s case – as you can see – with a heavy dose of misogyny.”
SOCIAL WATCH: DON’T TREAD ON MY … OBAMACARE
CNN’s Paul Steinhauser reports: Organizing For America mailed bumper stickers to supporters Monday that spoof the Gadsden flag, which has been informally adopted by the tea party movement. The bumper sticker, which replaces the infamous rattlesnake with a coiled stethoscope with the words "Don't tread on my Obamacare" below, is being mailed to those who have connected with the group through Facebook.
So what do some leaders in the tea party think about a group that supports President Barack Obama's agenda using a key symbol of the grassroots conservative movement to advocate for the health care law?
"I laughed when I saw it," said Judson Phillips, founder of the Tea Party Nation, which commands a large following in the movement. "OFA is so desperate for a message of any kind, they want to troll off of one of the Tea Party's main symbols.”
THE BUZZ … GET RED, WILD AND BLUE AMERICA
INSIDE POLITICS: The “first lady of the outdoors,” former Gov. Sarah Palin, is back with “a full heart and a full magazine,” according to a Twitter ad for her new show “Amazing America” on the Sportsman Channel. The former vice presidential nominee’s new show debuts next Thursday, in addition to her online video series, “Rogue TV.” The new show will “highlight a freedom that we get to experience in America,” Palin says in the show’s trailer.
LATE NIGHT JOKES: SETH MEYERS ON LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS: “Mitt Romney is back in the news. On Sunday, Mitt Romney suggested that he had a power to see into the future and could have stopped Russia from invading Crimea if he had been elected in 2012. Though if he could really see the future he wouldn't have run for president in 2012.”
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher on strong consumer report. Dow gains 95 points. S&P 500 adds 0.5%. NASDAQ rises 0.2%.
Who was the first woman to serve as both senator and governor of a U.S. state?
Did you miss it?
Leading Seattle Times: Risk of slide ‘unforeseen’? Warnings go back decades
Since the 1950s, geological reports on the hill that buckled during the weekend in Snohomish County have included pessimistic analyses and the occasional dire prediction. But no language seems more prescient than what appears in a 1999 report filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, warning of “the potential for a large catastrophic failure.” – Ken Armstrong, Mike Carter and Mike Baker
Leading CNNPolitics: Obama defends handling of Ukraine crisis
President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his response to Russia's military led annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. At a news conference after a nuclear security summit in the Netherlands, Obama noted that Moscow could face further sanctions should Russian forces invade other parts of Ukraine. He issued a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin. "He just has to understand there is a choice to be made here," Obama said. – Jim Acosta
Leading The State: President George HW Bush endorses Sally Atwater
Former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush have endorsed Sally Atwater's campaign for South Carolina superintendent. Atwater is the widow of campaign strategist Lee Atwater, who engineered wins for Ronald Reagan and the elder George Bush.
Leading Lexington Herald-Leader: McConnell team 'horrified' after Duke basketball footage included in ad
Days before the Kentucky Wildcats play the Louisville Cardinals in the NCAA basketball tournament, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released an online video Tuesday that shows brief footage of the Duke Blue Devils winning the national championship in 2010. – Sam Youngman
Leading Drudge: Plane Victims 23,000 Ft. Under The Sea
For families whose loved ones were aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, the past day has been full of news they were dreading. – Catherine E. Shoichet, Michael Pearson and Mitra Mobasherat
Leading HuffPo: Adam Scott Resurrects 'Step Brothers' Character For Affordable Care Act Video
Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Adam McKay may never get around to that "Step Brothers" sequel everyone wants, but this might be the next best thing. In the most random bit of support for the Affordable Care Act yet, Adam Scott has resurrected his "Step Brothers" character, Derek Huff, for a Funny or Die video about the importance of health care coverage. – Christopher Rosen
Leading New York Times: Obama and World Leaders Turn Focus to Nuclear Security
President Obama shifted focus on Tuesday from the crisis in Ukraine and turned his attention to the issue that brought him to Europe, convening leaders from around the world to secure dangerous nuclear materials. – Michael Shear and Alison Smale
The political bites of the day
– Reid places blame on GOP for Russian annexation of Crimea –
SEN. HARRY REID ON THE SENATE FLOOR MONDAY: “Since a few Republicans blocked these important sanctions last work period, Russian lawmakers voted to annex Crimea and Russian forces have taken over Ukrainian military bases. It's impossible to know whether events would have unfolded differently if the United States had responded to Russian aggression with a strong, unified voice.”
– McConnell laughs it off: Who writes this stuff? –
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL IN A STATEMENT TUESDAY: “Now, the Majority Leader seems determined to blow up the process too. Yesterday, he actually came to the floor to effectively blame Republicans for the invasion of Crimea. I mean, who writes this stuff? It’s not just completely unhelpful, it also injects hyper-partisanship into the process at a time when we should be working together.”
– GOP Congressman defends Russian action in Crimea: ‘Not One Person Was Killed’ –
REP. DANA ROHRABACHER, R-CALIFORNIA, SPEAKING ON THE UKRAINE SUPPORT ACT: “From what I understand what happened in Crimea, not one person was killed. Maybe one, maybe there was one. What happened in Kosovo, when we were supporting self-determination which we should’ve supported and Sudan, we’re talking about thousands of people who lost their lives … Yet we have to go and condemn the Russians, of course, when no one lost their life in an attempt to make sure the people of Crimea had a right to control their destiny and their own self-determination.”
– Donald Rumsfeld slams White House foreign policy: 'It does not take a genius' –
DONALD RUMSFELD ON “ON THE RECORD WITH GRETA VAN SUSTEREN” ON FOX NEWS MONDAY TALKING ABOUT DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH AFGHANISTAN: “We have status of forces agreements probably with 100, 125 countries in the world …This administration, the White House and the State Department, have failed to get a status of forces agreement. A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It does not take a genius.”
– “Squeal” –
IOWA CONGRESSIONAL HOPEFUL JODI ERNST IN A NEW CAMPAIGN AD: “I’m Joni Ernst. I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork … I support this message because Washington is full of big spenders; Let’s make ‘em squeal.”
– Kirk: Colleagues first, politics second –
SEN. MARK KIRK, R-ILLINOIS, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE CHICAGO SUN TIMES ON WHY HE WON’T CAMPAIGN FOR GOP ILLINOIS SENATE NOMINEE JIM OBERWEIS: “I’m going to be protecting my relationship with Dick and not launching into a partisan jihad that hurts our partnership to both pull together for Illinois.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
PETER MAER (@petermaercbs)
Pres Obama takes a swipe at Putin–calling Russia a "REGIONAL power" that threatens neighbors out of weakness, not strength.
Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher)
FEEL THAT SHADE PUTIN. Obama: "We have a lot of influence on our neighbors and we generally don't feel the need to invade them."
Jim Acosta (@JimAcostaCNN)
POTUS said he is much more concerned about "a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan" than Russia.
Elizabeth Blackney (@MediaLizzy)
Translation: this job is way harder than i thought RT .@mattklewis: "The world's always been messy." – Obama
Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDCNN)
RT @cnnadam: On Obama changing NSA bulk phone record collections, @MarkUdall says "turn off the vacuum cleaner.” (@LisaDCNN)
America Rising PAC (@AmericaRising)
VIDEO: Bruce Braley Mocks Chuck Grassley As A “Farmer From Iowa Who Never Went To Law School” http://bit.ly/1gyevpf #IASen
Alan Silverleib (@AlanSilverleib)
Potentially alienating Iowa farmers may not be the best way to win an Iowa Senate seat: http://cnn.it/1fghgGv
Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson)
Good thing Iowa's population is 95% non-farming Juris Doctor holders
Ted Cruz (@tedcruz)
I stand with Hobby Lobby for religious freedom. RT if you do too! pic.twitter.com/FHRI19ofuH
Sally Kohn (@sallykohn)
"With some superglue from Hobby Lobby & some wood from Conestoga, you can build one heck of a slippery slope" – http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/
Lena Dunham (@lenadunham)
I was fine with boycotting Chick-Fil-A but this is a bummer about hobby lobby. Michael's don't fail me now.
Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul)
.@BarackObama ought to explain to @Pontifex why he's telling businesses in U.S. they can’t remain true to their faith http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/rand-paul-pope-francis-hobby-lobby-case-104983.html#ixzz2wyzTQgGv …
David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker)
#MSSEN RT @AaronBlakeWP: NRA backs Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) over primary challenger #MSSEN http://bit.ly/QbpkCS
Rachel Streitfeld (@streitfeldcnn)
McCaskill says she has "fine" relationship with HRC, supports her. "Are we besties for the rest of our lives? No." http://tinyurl.com/ml4uccn
Brian Morrissey (@bmorrissey)
time for some slim jim problems in hoboken RT @vicenews: .@GovChristie doesn't want to legalize pot in New Jersey: http://bit.ly/OWzeXO
The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN)
.@PentagonPresSec on search for Flight 370: We're no closer to finding the plane http://cnn.it/1m4rkqA #TheLead
Mark Rogowsky (@maxrogo)
Without Much Fanfare, Apple Has Sold Its 500 Millionth iPhone http://onforb.es/NNWLcx
Wolf Blitzer (@wolfblitzer)
I grew up w/ the @BuffaloBills & always admired Ralph Wilson – a great man who helped the @NFL & my hometown, We will miss him. #Bills
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, was the first woman to have served as both a U.S. senator and a governor. Shaheen has served as senator since 2009. The first-terms senator is up for re-election in November. Shaheen served as governor of the Granite State from 1997 to 2003.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
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