CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 28, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING … Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the White House announced. Obama talked about having the two countries' top diplomats continue to engage in talks and urged Putin to "avoid further provocations, including the buildup of forces on its border with Ukraine."
CHRISTIE ANNOUNCES TOP PORT AUTHORITY OFFICIAL TO RESIGN: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced the resignation of NY/NJ Port Authority Chairman David Samson at a press conference in Trenton, following the release an internal review of the GW Bridge lane closure scandal. The review absolved the governor of any wrongdoing, but included a recommendation that Samson step down. According to Christie, Samson supported the recommendation.
“I received a call from David Samson, who informed me that after reviewing the master report, he completely supports the recommendations laid out for the Port Authority,” Christie said. “He believes that the best way to start a new year at the Port Authority is with new leadership. In line with that belief, David tendered his resignation to me this afternoon, effective immediately.”
CHRISTIE ON THURSDAY - “THEY LOVE ME” IN A KEY CAUCUS STATE: "I think they love me in Iowa, too,” the governor told ABC News. “I've been there a lot. I think they love me there too, especially because of the way I am, not in spite of."
Gut Check Full Service: IOWA POLL: 57% of Iowans disapprove of Christie's handling of the bridge scandal.
Gut Check Flashback: IOWA GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD TO THE LA TIMES ON FEBRUARY 13: It “wouldn't hurt (Christie) to be a little more humble. Iowans really like their leaders to be hard-working and humble."
OBAMA TO PUTIN: MOVE THOSE TROOPS! President Obama delivered a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday: Move your troops back from the border with Ukraine.
In an effort to pare back Moscow’s military buildup along Ukraine’s border, the President told CBS’ Scott Pelley that Russia needs "to move back those troops and to begin negotiations directly with the Ukrainian government, as well as the international community."
“You would have thought that after a couple of decades that there'd be an awareness on the part of any Russian leader that the path forward is not to revert back to the kinds of practices that, you know, were so prevalent during the Cold War but, in fact, to move forward with further integration with the world economy and to be a responsible international citizen,” Obama said.
ROUND THREE: CLINTON DOCUMENTS RELEASED … A third batch of confidential memos, notes and other papers from the Clinton White House released Friday sheds some light on how the Clinton administration handled the messaging around major events like the 1995 government shutdown and the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Collectively, the documents released by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, which had previously been sealed, open a window into the Clinton years and cover a variety of topics, including the office of former first lady Hillary Clinton, who's now considered the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.
ROGERS RADIO… House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, announced Friday he will not seek an eighth term in the House this November and that he will instead join talk radio company Cumulus upon his retirement. In a statement, Rogers said he is excited to begin a new chapter in his life that will allow him to “continue serving as a voice for American exceptionalism.”
Gut Check Full Service: Rogers brings the number of House members retiring this year to 22 - 12 Republicans and 10 Democrats.
THE BUZZ … WHO SAID IT? CHRIS CHRISTIE OR BOB KNIGHT?
You may remember Bob “the General” Knight, the Legendary Indiana University basketball coach known for his temper (ie. Chair throwing, cursing, allegedly choking a player).
Just this week, Knight caused controversy saying the NBA “raped college basketball” with the one-and-done rule that college players can enter the pros after their freshman season.
Like Knight, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has also had his share of outspoken comments and aggressive interviews. See if you can guess who said which of the 20 memorable quotes below. – Eric Weisbrod and Sara Fischer
1. "I don't think I have ever been out of control."
2. “Why don't you get to the question and cut the commentary back a little bit.”
3. “At core, I am a passionate, loving, caring, direct, truth teller. And for some people, they love it.”
4. "I fortunately have never worried about irritating people."
5. "I tell you what really fries my ass. When somebody gets on me for the way I look. Fat. Overweight. Well, I may be overweight. But I'm sure not fat.”
6. "I don't intend to retire."
7. “Anybody who really knows me would not believe that doing something inexplicably stupid would please me.”
8. “If you decide what you want to do is put on a show today, let me tell you something, I can go back and forth with you as much as you want.”
9. “He acted like an idiot. He's an idiot. I don't have any regret about it at all.”
10. "You remember when you were a kid growing up, and believed in Santa Claus? There's not much difference between Santa Claus and me today, you know. We're two overweight lovable guys that kids really enjoy."
Click here to see the answers.
MARKET WATCH: NASDAQ ends with weekly loss of nearly 3% despite Friday gain. Dow claws higher for the week, while S&P ends lower.
Name the four sets of brothers who served as governors simultaneously.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Democrats seize on equal pay as a midterm issue
The equal pay fight has consumed the Texas race for the better part of a month now, injecting the Davis campaign with fresh energy and a much-needed dose of optimism. For the first time in the race, Davis is playing offense on a policy issue. – Peter Hamby
Leading Drudge: Mistrust Overshadows Obama's Saudi Trip
U.S. President Barack Obama meets Saudi King Abdullah Friday as mistrust fuelled by differences over Iran and Syria overshadows a decades-long alliance between their countries … Saudi Arabia has strong reservations about efforts by Washington and other major world powers to negotiate a deal with Iran on its nuclear program. – AFP’s Assad ABBOUD
Leading HuffPo: Dirty Little Secret: Hearing Reveals What Targeted Groups Really Want
Rep. Darrell Issa's latest oversight hearing into the Internal Revenue Service's botched enforcement against tea party and other "social welfare" groups has revealed a dirty little secret: Many of those groups actually want to preserve the option to run as "dark money" political operations. That revelation came primarily from the prepared testimony of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who spent much of his time Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sparring with Republican lawmakers over the pace of releasing documents. – Michael McAuliff
Leading Politico: The Obamacare report card
Time’s up, Obamacare. Ready for your grades? After six months, the first enrollment season is coming to an end. So it’s time to take stock, with POLITICO’s report card that covers the highs and lows of the rollout. – David Nather
Leading New York Times: Deadline Near, Health Signups Show Disparity
Disparities reveal a stark truth about the Affordable Care Act: With the first open enrollment period set to end Monday, six months after its troubled online exchanges opened for business, the program widely known as Obamacare looks less like a sweeping federal overhaul than a collection of individual ventures playing out unevenly, state to state, in the laboratories of democracy. – Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Robert Pear
The political bites of the day
– Bevin mocks McConnell's University of Kentucky/Duke mix-up –
MATT BEVIN IN AN AD TO AIR DURING KENTUCKY-LOUISVILLE GAME FRIDAY NIGHT: “March madness in Kentucky: commitment, courage. You’ve got to love it, even if your team is already out of the tournament. We need courage in the U.S. Senate too. I will fight Obama’s liberal policies. Kentuckians have a real choice after 30 years of Mitch McConnell. He voted to fund Obamacare. I won’t. He caved on the debt ceiling. I won’t. I’m Matt Bevin and I approve this message because if you want a conservative in the U.S. Senate I need your vote on May 20th.”
Gut Check Full Service: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will have some defense to combat the shots Bevin’s team will be throwing at him during commercial breaks. The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition will air ads in support of McConnell during Friday night’s game. The ads are a part of a $1.8 million total ad buy that the coalition has poured into the race. The ad called “Deserve” will highlight McConnell’s efforts in supporting veterans in Kentucky and the military.
– Biden: Undocumented immigrants 'already American citizens' –
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AT THE HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SUMMIT THURSDAY: “You know, 11 million people that are living in the shadows. I believe they’re already Americans citizens … These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to be able to contribute fully. And by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans in my view.”
– Republican congressman stands by claim that uninsured are ‘less educated’ and ‘less sophisticated’ –
REP. BILL CASSIDY, R-LOUISIANA, IN A STATEMENT TO THE NEW ORLEANS TIMES PICAYUNE AFTER BUZZFEED RELEASED COMMENTS HE MADE ABOUT THE UNINSURED BEING ‘LESS EDUCATED’ AND ‘LESS SOPHISTICATED’: "It is self-evident to anyone who has worked with the uninsured, as I have for decades, that the uninsured come from all segments of society. This includes the more and the less educated. That's exactly the point I made and make: if we seek to be truly compassionate, our policies must meet people where they are. Obamacare's one-size-fits-all model lacks this basic measure of compassion."
– Scott Walker’s silver lining –
WISCONSIN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE DEMOCRAT MARY BURKE TO WISCONSIN PUBLIC RADIO: “I will put into this race what I can, but I can't self-fund it … I'm not a Ron Johnson or a Herb Kohl. I don't have that type of wealth.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram)
DCCC notes that Mike Rogers' MI "district is competitive – supporting President Obama in 2008 and nearly in 2012"
Keith Maley (@Maley44)
Pres. Obama heads to Ann Arbor, #Michigan next Wed to continue talking with Americans about his plan to #RaiseTheWage pic.twitter.com/jDyaGHAepU
Matt Katz (@mattkatz00)
Unclear why #BridgegateReport mentions sexual relationship between Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien. Lawyer, Mastro, won't say why relevant..
Hunter Walker (@hunterw)
.@mattkatz00 Report says it may have "affected how Kelly and Stepien conducted themselves and whether they communicated" FWIW
Why #blameBridget as the "erratic" and "emotional" one as if #Christie yelling at constituents isn't erratic and emotional? @DMGRECO
Nikki Schwab (@NikkiSchwab)
From today's Clinton doc drop – a forgotten cigar joke (while the Lewinsky scandal was going on!) – http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2014/03/28/bill-clinton-documents-include-forgotten-pre-lewinsky-scandal-cigar-joke … #WHCD
Erin McPike (@ErinMcPike)
When the only word of Bill Clinton's handwriting you can read is "to," it makes old documents close to useless.
James Hohmann (@jameshohmann)
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) – Jeremiah Denton, Vietnam POW who blinked 'torture' in Morse code during TV interview, dies. #RIP
Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof)
A call by @Amnesty for Pres Obama to bring a female Secret Service driver to Saudi Arabia, make a point: http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/amnesty-international-calls-on-president-obama-to-bring-a-female-secret-service-driver-to-saudi-arab …
CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics)
Obama ending the week on a high note. Seeds of an Obama political recovery? @JohnKingCNN explores: http://cnn.it/1rLG8yr #InsidePolitics
Gut Check DVR: Catch John King’s ‘Inside Politics’ on Sunday at 8:30am E.T. with guests Maggie Haberman, Margaret Talev, Manu Raju, and Molly Ball.
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Four sets of brothers have served simultaneously as governors. Jeb and George W. Bush both served as governors from 1997 to 2000, representing Texas and Florida respectively.
Before them, Nelson Rockefeller and Winthrop Rockefeller served at the same time in 1967, representing New York and Arkansas, respectively.
John and William Bigler served at the same time for five days in 1856 - John as the Governor of California and William as the Governor of Pennsylvania.
The first two brothers to serve as governors at the same time were the Lincolns, and were distantly related to the sixteenth president. Levi Lincoln was Governor of Massachusetts while his brother Enoch Lincoln was the Governor of Maine, serving together from 1827 to 1829.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Peter Ubertaccio (@ProfessorU) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
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