CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 27, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING … OBAMACARE TOPS 6 MILLION SIGN-UPS … CNN’s Tami Luhby reports: More than 6 million people have signed up for Obamacare, as a crush of people raced to get health insurance before the March 31 deadline.
Administration officials announced the milestone Thursday amid an intense outreach drive. There were more than 1.5 million visits to HealthCare.gov and more than 430,000 calls to the call centers on Wednesday.- Tami Luhby
Kathleen Sebelius (@Sebelius)
6 million isn’t just a number—this is about changing lives and health care for the better. #GetCoveredNow pic.twitter.com/tV6bLTnYzC
Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44)
Important to remember that back in Oct and November, everyone thought getting to 6 mil was impossible. Amazing comeback story
Judd Legum (@JuddLegum)
People noting that 6 million Obamacare signups is still far short of original 7 million goal should remember there are still 5 days to go
Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier)
.@JuddLegum @pfeiffer44 1) Goal was 7m; 2) Don't know how many have paid, only "enrolled:" 3) don't know young %. Premature victory lap
GOOD PRESS DAY #2: OBAMA, POPE FRANCIS MEET FOR FIRST TIME … President Barack Obama and Pope Francis met for the first time at the Vatican, greeting each other with a smile and a handshake, and posed for pictures before sitting down across a table from each other.
For the White House, the meeting is called a step toward smoothing tensions with Catholics. The two world leaders discussed similar positions on immigration and poverty, but disagreed on the issue of abortion and Obamacare mandates on contraception. – Halimah Abdullah
RAND PAUL PEGS POPE VISIT TO NSA, JABS AT OBAMA OVER CONTROVERSY … Sen. Rand Paul took a shot Thursday on Twitter at President Barack Obama’s sacred moment:
Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul)
.@BarackObama to @Pontifex: Forgive me father for I have spied. #NSA
INSIDE POLITICS: RAND PAUL’S 50-STATE NETWORK … Washington Post’s Robert Costa reports: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has expanded his political network to all 50 states in an effort to broaden his base and lay the groundwork for a presidential campaign.
Costa joined CNN's "Inside Politics" to discuss his report that Paul’s nationwide team of 200 people blends traditional Republicans with the more libertarian-minded supporters of Paul’s father, Ron, who ran for president in 2008 and 2012. – Z. Byron Wolf
CHRISTIE INTERNAL REVIEW ABSOLVES GOVERNOR OF WRONGDOING … A team of lawyers from the firm Gibson Dunn led by Randy Mastro, a former deputy New York City mayor, examined more than 250,000 documents, including emails and text messages as part of the investigation, according to their review, which Mastro detailed publicly.
As previously reported, the internal investigation found no evidence linking Christie to the tie ups that occurred when certain access lanes dedicated to the bridge were closed without warning over a work week. The findings concluded that David Wildstein carried it out, an allegation suggested in emails released publicly around the legislative investigation in January.- Steve Kastenbaum
DNC RESPONDS IN A STATMENT: “Chris Christie spent a million taxpayer dollars in an effort to clear himself of wrongdoing. But what did we actually learn today? Not much.”
VIRGINIA BLUE FOR WARNER, CLINTON, BUT OBAMA IS IN THE RED… According to a Quinnipiac University poll released today, Sen. Mark Warner tops former White House aide Ed Gillespie, a possible Republican challenger, 46 – 31%, with 6% for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton squeaks by New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie 45 – 41% and tops other possible Republican contenders in the 2016 presidential race. 40% of respondents approve of the way President Obama is handling foreign policy, while 55% disapprove.
PLANET BIDEN … VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN AT THE HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SUMMIT: ”The President’s basically put me in charge of this hemisphere. So I’m in and out of Latin America a lot in the hemisphere. Meeting with every, I think I’ve met with almost every head of state and you know what, those of you engaged in international business get this but I can tell you from my own experience dealing with the heads of state in Latin America that immigration reform will have a profound impact on our foreign and economic policy in this hemisphere.” h/t to @CarrieNBCNews for coining the hashtag
THE BUZZ … BOSTON GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE PASSES KIDNEY STONE DURING DEBATE … Democratic State Treasurer Steve Grossman, was actually in physical pain, said campaign spokesman Chandra Allard, when he passed a kidney stone in the middle of a gubernatorial debate focusing on LGTBQ rights Wednesday. Grossman was in the throes of passing a kidney stone, something often compared to the pain of childbirth, during the 90-minute debate, Allard said. – Boston Globe’s Akilah Johnson
Instantly, the incident was a hit on social media, even spawning a new Twitter account:
Grossman's Stone (@GrossmansStone)
There are a lot of rumors out there, so let me just say this. Yes, I am considering a run for Lt. Gov. #mapoli
MARKET WATCH: U.S, stocks edge lower amid concern about bank health. Dow loses 11 points. NASDAQ falls 0.6%. S&P 500 drops 0.2%.
Which president once banned the burning of papal effigies?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Potential candidates hoping to hit it big in Las Vegas
Several potential Republican presidential contenders are heading to Las Vegas this week, hoping to hit the jackpot. And that's before they hit the casinos.They hope the political payoff will come in appearances before some of the party's most influential donors attending the Republican Jewish Coalition annual spring meeting. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio will speak before the group, which seeks to promote Jewish causes among Republicans. – Kevin Bohn
Leading Atlanta Journal Constitution: Sarah Palin endorses Karen Handel for US Senate seat
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed Karen Handel in her bid for governor back in 2010. Now the former VP candidate is once again backing Handel as she faces a crowded primary field for an open U.S. Senate seat.Palin calls Handel “the only choice if we want something done” and urges her supporters to throw dollars Handel’s way. “Trust me, you won’t regret it,” Palin says. – Greg Bluestein
Emily Schultheis (@emilyrs)
New #GASen GOP primary poll: Perdue 21%, Kingston 15%, Broun 15%, Gingrey 12.5%, Handel 10% http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2014/03/27/another-poll-puts-david-perdue-at-head-of-gop-pack-for-u-s-senate/ …
Leading Charlotte News Observer: Charlotte mayor faces corruption charges, resigns
Mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested Wednesday and accused of accepting more than $48,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen who wanted to do work with North Carolina's largest city. He resigned Wednesday evening, less than six months after taking office. It was a stunning fall for the 47-year-old Democrat who had risen from the city's public housing projects to become a successful businessman and politician. – Mitch Weiss and Tom Foreman Jr.
Leading San Jose Mercury News: Khanna recruited candidates to split GOP vote, lawsuit claims
Democratic congressional candidate Ro Khanna recruited two last-minute Republican candidates to split the GOP vote and restore his position as the top challenger to Silicon Valley U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, an East Bay Republican official claims in a lawsuit. – Josh Richamn
Leading Drudge: Citi Stressed Out
Citigroup Inc.’s capital plan was among five that failed Federal Reserve stress tests, while Bank of America Corp. won approval for its first dividend increase since the financial crisis. – Michael J. Moore and Elizabeth Dexheimer
Leading Politico: GOP civil war: A ceasefire in Colorado
It was a bloodless coup. Over 10 suspenseful days last month, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) managed to persuade a trio of Republican primary candidates to drop out of the Colorado Senate race — so Gardner could run unopposed instead. Among those he nudged out was a tea party favorite, Ken Buck, who lost a 2010 Senate race and had establishment Republicans fretting he would do so again. – Manu Raju
Leading New York Times: In Mississippi, It's G.O.P. vs. Tea Party
After an intraparty war that cost Republicans their chance at overtaking the Senate, first in 2010, then in 2012 — when Tea Party insurgents knocked off more than a half dozen incumbents or establishment candidates — the bloodletting has boiled down to this single race: Mr. Cochran versus Mr. McDaniel in the June 3 Republican primary. – Jonathan Weisman
The political bites of the day
–McConnell cites Democrat as his Senate leader role model –
SEN. MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL IN AN INTERVIEW WITH TIME’S JAY NEWTON-SMALL: “The one whose style, I think, is closer to one that I would likely end up with more than any one is George Mitchell. We’re talking about style here, not so much substance, because obviously I would have a very different agenda than someone like George Mitchell. I think he treated everyone with respect. We were always respectful of senators’ rights to offer amendments and to get a vote on them, even if they happened to be on the other side.”
– Priorities for Iowa hits Braley in new TV ad, “We’d rather bet the farm on Grassley, not a bunch of trial lawyers from Texas” –
NARRATOR: “Bruce Braley is putting Iowa’s senate seat up for sale.” BRALEY VIDEO FLASHBACK: “If you help me win this race …” (fades) NARRATOR: “Caught at a closed-door fundraiser with trial lawyers in Texas, Braley says, if they don’t help him, Chuck Grassley …” (cuts back to video) “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school…” NARRATOR: “Might be the next Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman. Tell Bruce Bailey, we’d rather bet the farm on Grassley, not a bunch of trial lawyers from Texas.”
– Elizabeth Warren endorses two ‘prairie populists’ in key 2014 Senate races–
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASSACHUSETTS, IN AN EMAIL TO SUPPORTERS ON BEHALF OF THE PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: “Two of my Democratic colleagues in the Senate, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Tim Johnson of South Dakota, are retiring this year. Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers are already spending huge amounts of money to pick up those seats. Luckily, we’ve got two smart, experienced, bold progressives running in Iowa and South Dakota: Bruce Braley and Rick Weiland. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and I are proud to support their campaigns. I know that bold progressives like you can stand up to the most powerful interests.”
Rob Lockwood (@RobLockwood)
Liberal lawyer from #Massachusetts, who is also not a farmer, endorses @BruceBraley in #IASEN http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2014/03/27/elizabeth-warren-endorses-iowas-bruce-braley-for-u-s-senate/article?nclick_check=1
– Obamacare through the chipper –
ALABAMA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE WILL BROOKE IN HIS FIRST CAMPAIGN AD FEATURING HIM SHOOTING BULLETS THROUGH OBAMACARE LEGISLATION: "We're down here to have a little fun today and talk about two serious subjects: the Second Amendment, and see how much damage we can do to this copy of Obamacare.”
– Reid to give back campaign contributions: My granddaughter is being harassed –
SEN. HARRY REID IN A STATEMENT: "My granddaughter has been the target of harassing phone calls, strangers tracking her down and knocking on her door and negative, unwanted attention on the internet. This has gone too far and it needs to stop now. I deeply regret any role I had in creating this situation but now, as a grandparent, I say enough is enough. As I have already said, I am reimbursing my campaign for the amount spent on thank-you gifts produced by my granddaughter, a professional and talented artist who produced gifts for my staff and supporters that had a personal connection to my family and my hometown of Searchlight, Nevada … My office is reviewing our records to ensure that we reimburse my campaign for the full amount.”
– Dem. Congresswoman: Bill O’Reilly’s language ”disgusting” –
REP. BARBARA LEE, D-CALIFORNIA, IN A STATEMENT WEDNESDAY TARGETING FOX NEWS’ BILL O’REILLY’S ON THE MEDIA’S ATTACK OF HER CRITICISM OF REP. PAUL RYAN’S RACE COMMENTS: “Unfortunately we’ve come to expect language like ‘welfare queens,’ ‘food stamp president,’ and now ‘race hustlers’ from the right wing and Mr. O’Reilly … It is disgusting and divisive and should never be accepted in our national discourse.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Office of VP Biden (@VP)
Making sure you've got affordable health insurance is a BFD. Just ask VP Biden → http://bzfd.it/1fol6xk #GetCoveredNow #4daysleft
Mark Knoller (@markknoller)
As a gift, Pope Francis presented Pres Obama w/ a copy of Evangelii Gaudium, "The Joy of the Gospel," calling for Church focus on the poor.
"Obama presented the pope with a seed chest with fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House Garden..." sun-tim.es/1gFmgK1
Eric Marrapodi (@EricCNNBelief)
Reagan gave JPII a crystal bowl. @billclinton gave JPII a framed map of the US. GWB gave JPII the Pres Medal of Freedom.
Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui)
Senate approves Menendez-Corker amendment to Ukraine bill 98-2.
Luke Russert (@LukeRussert)
Pelosi starts off presser saying Boehner is the 1 person holding up an immigration reform vote
Deirdre Walsh (@deirdrewalshcnn)
On immigration discharge petition, @NancyPelosi says getting 218 signatures not the point, "point is to bring pressure"
Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew)
Farm terms misspelled in Braley’s press release defending his farming cred. http://dmreg.co/1dxZWBL
Katie Hinman (@khinman)
Washington Governor @JayInslee tells @jimsciutto the death toll from mudslide will rise significantly http://cnn.it/1iAYSMi #thelead
Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley)
Unions are that desperate they're going after college football players? I can't help but laugh at how ridiculous it is. #GiveItUpAlready
WOW: One in 68 U.S. children has an #autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a 30% increase from 1 in 88 two years ago, CDC reports.
National Autism Assn (@NationalAutism)
1 in 68 CHILDREN! 1 in 42 Boys – 2.1% of boys in the US. #Autism is a #NationalHealthCrisis
Yoree Koh (@yoreekoh)
Nice scoop from @GregBensinger: Amazon drops Prime requirement, plans a free, ad-supported streaming media service. http://on.wsj.com/1gv3fsD
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
In 1775, commander of the army of the Continental Congress and future President George Washington banned the burning of papal effigies, issuing an order prohibiting the violent expression of anti-Catholic bigotry.
The declaration came in response to a tradition where American soldiers would torching a straw pope in remembrance of Guy Fawkes Day, which commemorates the disruption of a Catholic plot to assassinate a Protestant King of England.
Washington issued an order prohibiting the violent expression of anti-Catholic bigotry. The man who would become America’s first president thought the custom to be “ridiculous and childish,” as well as “insulting” to the Catholic faith.
According to a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, Washington’s move “spoke volumes to the Vatican. Outlawing an anti-Catholic event sent a very strong message to the papacy that the American government was not anti-Catholic.”
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Christopher S. Brown (@chrisbrowntv) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing email@example.com
WANT TO SIGN UP?
Do you have a friend who wants to sign up for GUT CHECK or our new CNNPolitics Breaking News Alerts? Click here, log on and scroll down.