CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 3, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING “LATE SHOW” NEWS … LETTERMAN TO RETIRE IN 2015 … CNN’s Brian Stelter reports television legend David Letterman will retire in 2015.
DEVELOPING … CIA SECRETS ARE OUT … The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday voted to publicly release key portions of its report on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program, Chairman Dianne Feinstein told reporters following a closed-door meeting of the committee. The report draws a harsh portrait of the agency and the legality of its tactics, U.S. officials tell CNN’s Evan Perez.
FEINSTEIN TO HILL REPORTERS: “The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never be allowed to happen again. This is not what Americans do.”
IN WAKE OF FORT HOOD TRAGEDY, BUSH URGES PEOPLE TO DROP THE “D” FROM PTS: FORMER PRESIDENT BUSH 43 AT A MILITARY SERVICE INITIATIVE EVENT: “As most doctors today will tell you post-traumatic stress is not a disorder. Post-traumatic stress or PTS is an injury that can result from the experience of war. And like other injuries PTS is treatable. … Partly because it is mislabeled as a disorder and partly because many people aren’t aware of treatment options some veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress are reluctant to seek help. As a result of public misunderstanding employers sometimes cite it as a reason for not hiring vets.”
CHRISTIE FAVORABILITY COOLING … The latest edition of Quinnipiac University's National Thermometer Poll, released Thursday, indicates that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is losing some ground in terms of his favorability ratings. The poll asks voters nationwide to rate their feelings towards political leaders by choosing any number between 0 and 100, with higher numbers indicating more positive feelings. Christie came in ninth on a list of 13 Republicans mulling a 2016 bid for the White House, at 45.2 degrees. That's down from 55.5 degrees in Quinnipiac's early January poll, which Christie topped.
YET … HE IS THE $33 MILLION MAN …The Republican Governors Association announced Thursday that the group has raised a record $23.5 million over the first three months of this year, and $33 million since Chris Christie took over as RGA chairman in late November. That's a new fundraising record for the first four and a half months of a new RGA chairman's tenure. The $23.5 million raised in this year's first quarter shatters the previous RGA record of $9.1 million brought in during the first three months of 2010 under the chairmanship of then-Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi. – Paul Steinhauser
HEADS UP: ISSA PREPARING TO HOLD LERNER IN CONTEMPT… The House Oversight Committee will vote next week on whether to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the about agency’s targeting of conservative groups seeking tax- exempt status, Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, announced Thursday.
THE BUZZ: BILL CLINTON 'WOULDN’T BE SURPRISED' BY AN ALIEN VISIT … It has been a question plaguing man for ages: Are we alone in the universe? If you ask former President Bill Clinton, he would tell you that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if we were visited by extraterrestrials someday. At least that’s what he said on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show Wednesday.
“In the last two years, more than 20 planets have been identified outside our solar system that seem to be far enough away from their suns and dense enough that they might be able to support some form of life,” he said. The 42nd President would rather see E.T. make a visit than the aliens from the sci-fi movie “Independence Day,” but he says there may be an upside from the latter. – Jonathan Helman
MARKET WATCH: Markets winning streak continues. S&P 500 hits record high and Dow closes just short of its all-time record.
For which two full years was the U.S. run by a president and a vice president who were not elected by the people?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics.com: Why is this man running for governor of California?
In late 2012, when Neel Kashkari first pondered the idea of running for governor of California, one of the first people he sought out for advice was another Republican who once faced long odds in a big state gubernatorial bid: George W. Bush … Today, Kashkari is 40, still youthful and brimming with restless energy. As a candidate, his profile is appealing: A Midwest native and the son of Indian immigrants, he has a degree from Wharton and worked for Goldman Sachs before joining Paulson at Treasury. In 2008, People magazine named him one of the sexiest men alive. – Peter Hamby
Leading CNNMoney.com: U.S. created a Cuban Twitter to overthrow government – report
The U.S. government secretly created a Twitter-like social media service to subvert Cuba's communist government, according to an investigative report by the Associated Press. The AP says U.S. government officials developed an app called ZunZuneo - named after the chirping sound of a hummingbird - to cause social unrest. – Jose Pagliery
Leading Drudge: Shooter Saw No Combat
The soldier who shot three people to death at Fort Hood apparently did not see combat during a tour in Iraq three years ago but was clearly troubled, under treatment for depression and anxiety and being evaluated for post-traumatic stress. – Jim Miklaszewski
Leading HuffPo: People in Glass Houses... Major Issa Hypocrisy Unveiled
One of the main purposes of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is to root out waste and duplication in government spending … (Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell) Issa has cost the government millions of dollars through redundant inquiries into two matters: the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the IRS' targeting of political groups seeking tax-exempt status. Yet his probes have revealed little more than a political agenda behind them. –
Leading Politico: Harry Reid set to lead Democrats, in majority or not
A wide cross section of the Senate Democratic Caucus said in interviews that they are willing to back Reid as either majority or minority leader in the next Congress — no matter how controversial the Nevada Democrat has become as part of the furious battle for control of the chamber this fall. – Manu Raju and John Bresnahan
Leading New York Times: Power Surge for Donors as Terrain Is Reshaped on Campaign Money
A Supreme Court decision eradicating a key campaign finance limit is expected to widen the world of high-dollar fund-raising now dominated by “super PACs” and big-spending political nonprofit groups. – Nicholas Confessore
The political bites of the day
– Charles Koch knocks critics: ‘Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination’ –
BILLIONAIRE CHARLES KOCH IN A WALL STREET JOURNAL OP-ED: “America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people's lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.”
– Senator: SCOTUS campaign finance majority is akin to someone saying, ‘I know how to eat, so I can open a restaurant’ –
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, D-RHODE ISLAND, TO THE HUFFINGTON POST: "This is a court that knows essentially nothing about elections. It's the first court in a long time on which no one has ever run for office. … The discussion of corruption and how it works in elections is amateurish and naive to an extreme that boggles the mind, and it really makes me wonder whether they thought this through or whether they just needed to check that box in order to get where they wanted to go.”
– Bush: Veterans who seek treatment for post-traumatic stress not ‘damaged goods’ –
BUSH 43 AT A MILITARY SERVICE INITIATIVE EVENT: “Veterans who seek treatment for PTS are not damaged goods. They are not mentally shattered. They are people who got hurt defending our country and are now overcoming wounds. Employers would not hesitate to hire an employee getting treated for a medical condition like diabetes or high blood pressure and they should not hesitate to hire veterans getting treated for post-traumatic stress.”
– Tutu to Obama: It’s ‘never too late to apologize’ for Iraq War –
DESMOND TUTU IN AN OP-ED FOR THE HUFFINGTON POST: “We strongly believe that it is time - and not too late - for the United States to apologize for the war in Iraq … It does not matter that it is a different man who now leads America - each successive leader inherits the mantle and can be the moral voice for the people. In 1988, President Ronald Regan apologized for the internment of Japanese Americans in 1941. In 1993, President Bill Clinton apologized to the people of Hawaii for the overthrow of the Hawaiian Queen a hundred years earlier. In 2008, the U.S. Congress issued its first official apology for slavery, 143 years after the 13th Amendment was adopted ending slavery … We invite the President of the United States to lead the way in recognizing our shared humanity, and uniting us as a global family.”
– Big Papi on whether Samsung paid him to take presidential selfie: ‘No way, man’ –
DAVID ORTIZ TO THE BOSTON GLOBE: “That was one of those things that just happened. I gave him the jersey, and the photographers were going to take their pictures and I thought, really at the last second, maybe I should snap a shot with my phone while I have the chance … It had nothing to do with no deals.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael)
Kerry calls on Israeli, Palestinian leaders to ‘lead’ in talks http://dlvr.it/5JQ5dx
Ali Weinberg (@AliABCNews)
On peace talks, Kerry said just a few hours ago that you can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink. Looks like nobody's thirsty enuf
Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg)
God bless John Kerry for trying (via @BloombergView): http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-04-02/john-kerry-thwarted-by-the-middle-east …
John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood)
Obama approval rolling average – thru Feb 1: 41%; thru March 2: 42%; thru April 2: 45%
Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman)
SCOOP: Boehner is running his first TV ad in 4 years. http://politi.co/1otWpc9 Meant to build momentum for Rs in Ohio. w @aburnspolitico
@WPAResearch has a new #Iowa #2016 poll with @GovHuckabee in the lead – @JenniferJJacobs has the scoop – http://dmreg.co/PpGGed
Cherylyn HarleyLeBon (@HarleyLeBon)
Harry Reid's anti-Koch brothers webpage violates Senate Internet service policy http://www.examiner.com/article/harry-reid-s-anti-koch-brothers-webpage-violates-senate-internet-service-policy … @billmurphy @bettinavla
Caitlin Huey-Burns (@CHueyBurnsRCP)
Palin stumping for GOP Senate hopeful Karen Handel in Georgia today, her campaign announces. #gasen
Walt Mossberg (@waltmossberg)
Tech giants team up with pharma to protect software patents http://on.recode.net/1mLT5Y7 via @amy_schatz
Poynette Press (@PoynettePress)
Wisconsin, Kentucky senators offer friendly wager on NCAA Final Four game: brats and pie http://ow.ly/voLKO
Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul)
Game on @SenRonJohnson @tammybaldwin #BBN cc: @McConnellPress READ: http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1134 …
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
After Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned on October 10, 1973, President Richard Nixon tapped Gerald Ford to serve as Vice President. Nixon subsequently resigned on August 9, 1974, leaving Ford the keys to the Oval Office. Without a second-in-command, Ford picked New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to serve as his Vice President. Rockefeller took office on December 19.
Ford and Rockefeller served together until January 20, 1977, making 1975 and 1976 the only two full years when the U.S. was run by a president and a vice president not elected by the people.
Ford was the first person to be appointed Vice President under the 25th Amendment; Rockefeller was the second.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Adam Sharp (@AdamS) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
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