CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 31, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING … GERMANY: PUTIN SAYS HE'S PULLING SOME TROOPS BACK FROM UKRAINIAN BORDER: Potentially easing a diplomatic standoff with the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Germany's chancellor Monday that he ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from his country's border area with Ukraine, Angela Merkel's office said. - Jason Hanna, Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Alla Eshchenko
WORTH NOTING … HAGEL: RUSSIA STILL HAS “TENS OF THOUSANDS” OF TROOPS ON THE BORDER: Even as Putin announced a withdrawal of some troops, there is still a “tremendous build up” of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday. Hagel noted that the Russian troops number in the “tens of thousands,” but stressed he does not know Putin’s intentions.
INSIDE POLITICS: DEADLINE DAY FOR OBAMACARE … It’s Monday, March 31. Deadline Day for Obamacare. If you’ve procrastinated over the past six months and haven’t tried to log on to get insurance before today, you might encounter some hiccups. The healthcare.gov website had been functioning smoothly lately, but some users Monday morning encountered a message that read, “The system isn’t available at the moment. We're currently performing maintenance. Please try again later.” Problems with the website continued through the early afternoon. – Z. Byron Wolf
Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz)
Looks like the Obamacare enrollment period ends like it started… http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/healthcaregov-website-down-obamacare-deadline-105197.html?hp=l1 … #FullRepeal
OVERLOOKED: BILL CLINTON’S ADVICE TO DEMOCRATS: AVOIDING OBAMACARE IS A ‘TERRIBLE MISTAKE’ … CLINTON IN AN INTERVIEW WITH REAL CLEAR POLITICS ON SATURDAY: “Democrats had a tendency to shy away from things they had done that were unpopular, talk about positions they had that were popular. And that, my own experience had convinced me … that was always a terrible mistake.”
CHRISTIE SAYS HE MISSPOKE WHEN USING THE TERM 'OCCUPIED TERRITORIES' … New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Saturday he "misspoke" when he used the controversial term "occupied territories" in an address at a Republican Jewish Coalition event.
In a private meeting later with GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, a major backer of the group, Christie said "I misspoke," according to Andy Abboud, senior vice president of Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp. Abboud, who also attended the session, told CNN that Christie said, "I don't believe that," referring to the view that the West Bank is occupied by Israel. – Kevin Bohn
QUOTE OF THE EVENT: WISCONSIN GOP GOV. SCOTT WALKER AT THE RJC EVENT: “Any Republican who's talking about anything other than 2014 is doing a disservice both to the party and to the country.”
THE BUZZ: SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE SATIRIZES OBAMA’S EFFORTS TO REACH YOUNG PEOPLE IN HEALTH CARE PUSH: “Okay Mr. President, hold this healthcare.gov sign, put on Pharell’s hat, and vape on this e-cig. Now pose with Kim Kardashian, Batboy, and this cat dressed like Princess Elsa from Frozen. Know what’s hot right now? The Pope. Dance with him for a Vine post. Now kiss Justin Bieber on the lips…”
MARKET WATCH: For Monday’s market closing, click here.
Sheldon Adelson’s first business investment, at age 12, was buying the rights to sell what product in his hometown?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Harry Reid push called 'un-American' in new ad
American Encore, a new conservative group created by outside money specialist Sean Noble, is airing a television ad in Nevada attacking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for proposing IRS regulations that would reign in outside political groups.The minute-long spot features a clip of Reid on the Senate floor blasting the billionaire business titans Charles and David Koch, who have steered hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative causes in recent election cycles without disclosing their donors, "as un-American as anyone that I can imagine." – Peter Hamby
Leading CNNMoney.com: Rand Paul's hopes for a flat tax
When it comes to taxes, Rand Paul wants them simple and flat.
The blunt-spoken, Libertarian-leaning senator from Kentucky, who won the 2016 presidential straw poll among leading conservatives, favors a flat tax: a one-rate income tax system with a minimum of tax breaks for individuals and businesses. - Jeanne Sahadi
Leading Los Angeles Times: Obamacare has led to health coverage for millions more people
As the law's initial enrollment period closes, at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gained coverage. Some have done so through marketplaces created by the law, some through other private insurance and others through Medicaid, which has expanded under the law in about half the states. – Noam M. Levy
Leading Drudge: U.N.: No One Will Be Spared
If the world doesn't cut pollution of heat-trapping gases, the already noticeable harms of global warming could spiral "out of control," the head of a United Nations scientific panel warned Monday. And he's not alone. The Obama White House says it is taking this new report as a call for action, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying "the costs of inaction are catastrophic." – AP’s Seth Borenstein
Leading HuffPo: Advantage: GOP
Even if Democrats recruit great candidates, raise gobs of money and run smart campaigns, they face an uphill fight to retake control of the House in this year's congressional elections, regardless of the political climate in November. The reason? Republican strategists spent years developing a plan to take advantage of the 2010 census, first by winning state legislatures and then redrawing House districts to tilt the playing field in their favor. Their success was unprecedented. – AP’s Stephen Olemacher
Leading Politico: The Obamacare enthusiasm gap
Irony alert: The Democrats’ biggest challenge this fall is to get their voters excited about a law that they asked for. Obamacare will be a huge voting issue for Republicans — that’s already clear. They’ll turn out in droves because they hate the law. What’s less clear is how Democrats will get their supporters to the polls to say, “hey, thanks for health reform.” – David Nather
Leading New York Times: Hopes Frustrated, Many Latinos Reject the Ballot Box Altogether
As the weather warms, Lizeth Chacon is anticipating a new season of registering Latino voters — yet dreading experiences like one late last year, when she came upon a skate park full of older teenagers. – Jackie Calmes
The political bites of the day
– Biden pushes healthcare enrollment: Do it for your parents! –
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN TO RACHEL RAY ON THE RACHEL RAY SHOW: "Let me say something to any young person listening. If you don't need this for your piece of mind, do it for mom. Do it for your dad."
– Barrasso: Administration ‘cooking the books’ on healthcare numbers –
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO, A PHYSICIAN, TO CHRIS WALLACE ON FOX NEWS SUNDAY: “I think they're cooking the books on this. People want to know the answers to that. They also want to know once all of this is said and done, what kind of insurance will those people actually have?”
– Senate Intel chair: Crimea’s gone –
SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR DIANNE FEINSTEIN TO CANDY CROWLEY ON CNN’S STATE OF THE UNION ON SUNDAY: "The Crimea is dominantly Russian, a referendum was passed. That, I think, has been done.”
– FreedomWorks reverses endorsement in Nebraska Senate races –
FREEDOMWORKS PRESIDENT MATT KIBBE IN A STATEMENT ANNOUNCING SUPPORT FOR BEN SASSE: “Both Osborn and Sasse are great people, and this was not a decision taken lightly. The question at the heart of this decision is, who would caucus with the Freedom Caucus, and who would fall in line with the establishment? At this point, it is clear that Shane Osborn formed allegiances with Mitch McConnell and the K Street lobbying class … For us, that progression away from the grassroots has tipped the balance.”’
Gut Check Full Service: FreedomWorks VP quits over endorsement switch
– Colorado Gov. makes interesting joke about attack ads –
GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER AT THE DENVER DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY ON SATURDAY: “Human beings are the most scrumptious delicacy in the seven seas, but they’re even better if you get all the poop out of them … That’s what attack ads are trying to do. They’re trying to scare the poop out of us.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Mark Knoller (@markknoller)
SecState Kerry has arrived in Israel. Pool told he spoke en route with Russian FM Lavrov, w/ whom he had 4 hrs of talks in Paris yesterday.
Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog)
President Obama and Secretary Kerry, beware of the Bear. Don't throw over Ukraine and democracy in the name of diplomacy.
Mike Hogan (@mike_hogan)
The numbers Vladimir Putin doesn’t want you to see http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/03/numbers-vladimir-putin-doesnt-want-you-to-see …
Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark)
France’s prime minister resigns after her Socialist Party suffers heavy losses to right-wing National Front Party. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/french-prime-minister-jean-marc-ayrault-resigns-2014-03-31-12912534?siteid=bullytweet …
Kevin Bohn (@KevinBohnCNN)
.@Sebelius says she will be around for round 2 when next open enrollment period begins in November. "I'm in," she tells Huff Post live chat.
Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis)
POTUS headed to Chicago Wednesday to raise moolah for the DNC
Patrick Kessler (@PatKessler)
Exact Sarah Palin quote endorsing GOP Ortman for MN US Senate: "Let's give voters a contrast this fall: a clown vs. a Mama Grizzly".
Next week, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg launches expanded version of Lean In, targeting new graduates http://cnnmon.ie/1i8k7TY
UConn Huskies (@UConnHuskies)
Sorry about busting your bracket @BarackObama... We have room on our bandwagon if you're interested
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Sheldon Adelson has had an entrepreneurial drive since he was a boy. At the age of 12, he took out a $200 loan from his uncle in order to purchase local rights for newspaper sales. Adelson had been working at a news stand, but decided that he would much rather be a business owner than an employee.
Adelson later took out another loan to purchase multiple newspaper stands. According to The Week, by the time he was 16, he had borrowed $10,000 to buy a chain of candy vending machines, sparking the beginning of his more serious business ventures.
In 2007, Adelson created a free newspaper in Israel called Israel Hayom – a conservative voice to represent his values.
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