CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 7, 2014| 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
TENSION MOUNTS OVER EAST UKRAINE … Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday that the U.S. has been watching “with great concern” events unfolding in eastern Ukraine over the last 48 hours. Pro-Russian protesters have seized state buildings in several east Ukrainian cities, prompting accusations from Kiev that Moscow is now trying to "dismember" the country. Kerry told Lavrov the protests don’t appear "spontaneous” and warned that further Russian action in Ukraine would incur "greater costs," according to spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
2016 SPOTLIGHT BURNING BRIGHTER ON JEB … If the former Florida governor had hoped his tepid comments this weekend about a possible White House bid would cool speculation, at least in the near term, he was wrong. With no obvious frontrunner and the GOP establishment clearly looking for a horse in this race, pressure is building on Bush to pursue a path blazed first by his father and followed by his brother.
Politics are “pretty crazy right now,” Bush said at an event honoring the 25th anniversary of his father’s presidency.
He later added, “Can a candidate run with a hopeful, optimistic message? In my case, that means can one do it joyfully without being tied to all the convention of the here and now?”
While Bush said that family considerations would play a key role in his ultimate decision, former top aides to his father and brother want him to run, including Bush 43 White House Chief of Staff Andy Card.
“If Jeb Bush doesn’t run for president, shame on us,” Card told The New York Times. “He is demonstrating the kind of leadership we desperately need both in our party and in our nation.”
And Joe Hagin, another senior Bush aide, told the Times that the former Florida governor “sounds likes a candidate to me.”
But not everyone is on board with the Bush boomlet. BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith opined that the former two-term governor would be a “terrible candidate.”
CRUZ: BELTWAY ELITES WON'T PICK GOP NOMINEE … Speaking on what he views is the path to victory for Republicans, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said, "I don't think Washington elites are going to be very effective picking the nominee."
"I think it's going to be, quite rightly, a decision for the grassroots to make," Cruz said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper." – Sherisse Pham
CHRISTIE’S MENTOR MIGHT ENDORSE ANOTHER GOVERNOR FOR 2016 … Ryan Lizza reports for The New Yorker: Gov. Chris Christie and his mentor, former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, haven’t spoken since Christie was re-elected last November. Christie “doesn’t always try to persuade you with reason,” Kean said. “He makes you feel that your life’s going to be very unhappy if you don’t do what he says. … I haven’t decided whether I’m going to support him or not (in a White House bid). There are a lot of people I don’t know that well”—he mentioned John Kasich, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush, among other potential 2016 Republican Presidential nominees—“and I’d like to get to know them better.”
LIZZA TO CNN’S JOHN KING ON INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY: "Kean also talked about the (fact that the) bigger problem for Christie is not necessarily Bridge-gate or the legal inquiry but the 'culture of intimidation'” fostered by his administration.
GRANITE STATE GRIND: WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU? … Scott Brown is about to make it official. The former senator from Massachusetts, who's been moving closer and closer to running for the Senate in neighboring New Hampshire, formally tosses his hat into the ring at a campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Thursday, CNN confirmed Monday morning. – Paul Steinhauser
THE BUZZ: BROWN FORGETS TO CHECK THE BOX… Whoever filled out Scott Brown’s formal statement of organization for his campaign exploratory committee left blank the small gray box asking for the candidate’s party affiliation … Brown’s campaign said it was an “administrative oversight that will be fixed when they drop ‘exploratory’ from the committee name on Thursday.” – Colby Itzkowitz
FEWER AMERICANS ARE UNINSURED… 15.6% of Americans don't have health insurance, according to a new survey. That’s the lowest rate of uninsured since 2008. According to Gallup, the current rate is down from 18% - the all-time high – in the third quarter of 2013. Gallup’s numbers are good news for the White House, which announced last week that over 7 million people had signed up for insurance through the Obamacare exchanges.
Which was the first state to have an all-female congressional delegation?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics.com: Are Ron Paul supporters ready for Rand Paul to carry the torch?
A long line snaked around the perimeter of a large hotel conference room as people waited eagerly to meet a former Texas congressman who they view as an icon in the modern libertarian movement. – Ashley Killough
Leading CNNMoney: Senate to extend jobless benefits
The Senate is expected to pass a bill to extend federal jobless benefits for more than 2 million unemployed workers through May 31. The bill, expected to pass Monday, would retroactively help the unemployed, who have been without benefits. – Jennifer Liberto
Leading Star Ledger: NJ likely to get first congresswoman in 12 years: The Auditor
New Jersey has not been represented by a woman in Congress since Marge Roukema, a Republican, left office in 2003, but that’s most likely to change in January. Largely overlooked in the coverage of the Democratic primary in the 12th Congressional District is this important fact: Both leading contenders in the race are women.
Leading San Francisco Gate: Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg might 'Lean In' to political office
In a sold-out appearance at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco in March, Sandberg's charismatic appeal was on full display as she appeared to drop hints about her future. "Men still run the world," she told the audience, many of whom were female Millennials clutching copies of "Lean In," her popular literary manifesto. "I'm not sure how that's going," she said with a smile. –Carla Marinucci
Leading Drudge: Republicans Expand Obamacare
At the prodding of business organizations, House Republicans quietly secured a recent change in President Barack Obama's health law to expand coverage choices, a striking, one-of-a-kind departure from dozens of high-decibel attempts to repeal or dismember it. – David Espo
Leading HuffPo: Untouchable: The Only Form Of Corruption SCOTUS Cares About Is Almost Impossible To Prosecute
Beyond making it more difficult to prosecute members of Congress, the speech or debate clause also makes it harder to demonstrate the need for campaign finance limits to a court's satisfaction.– Ryan J. Reilly and Paul Blumenthal
Leading Politico: Inside the Club for Growth's art of war
This midterm season, the Club for Growth is the pre-eminent institution promoting Republican adherence to a free-market, free-trade, anti-regulation agenda … The Club’s choices — and its screening process — are in essence a road map for the electoral agenda of economic conservatives in 2014. – Alexander Burns and Anna Palmer
Leading New York Times: More Deportations Follow Minor Crimes, Records Show
A New York Times analysis of internal government records shows that since President Obama took office, two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases involve people who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all. – Ginger Thomson and Sarah Cohen
The political bites of the day
– Warren: Brown will have ‘hands full’ against Shaheen –
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASSACHUSETTS, AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN BOSTON: “Jeanne is tough, she is independent and she is strong … This will be up to the people of the Commonwealth... whoops, this will be up to the people of New Hampshire … But I think Scott Brown is going to have his hands full.”
– Rahm Emanuel is no dot com doc –
ISAAC CHOTINER INTERVIEWS CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL FOR THE NEW REPUBLIC: “When the Obamacare website wasn’t working properly, did you want to be in Washington trying to fix it?”
EMANUEL: “You gotta be kidding. You get a freebie question for the ridiculousness of that question.”
CHOTINER: “I was asking about your competitive instinct. You say you like to fix things.”
EMANUEL: [Gets up and starts walking around the office.] “That goes down as one of the more intriguing questions I have ever had. Did I wish I was in Washington to fix a website? Let me answer that. I have a single-word answer. No. Please do not edit out the sarcasm of that answer.”
CHOTINER: “Don’t worry, it is staying.”
– Emanuel: GOP needs a Bill Clinton moment –
CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL IN AN INTERVIEW FOR THE NEW REPUBLIC: “Washington is not broken. The GOP is broken. They need a Bill Clinton moment with someone to figure things out. Let me just say, and I don’t agree with his policies so let me put a warning label on the side of the packet here: If George W. Bush had never gotten in the disastrous Iraq war, he was trying to modernize the party on a series of fronts. But on tax and foreign policy, everything cratered.”
– Schumer: Don’t feel bad for the Koch brothers –
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NEW YORK, ON MSNBC’S “MORNING JOE”: “The Koch brothers aren’t just sitting there innocently on the side … They’re spending $40, $50 million in ads that are not focused on their real agenda, which is just eliminating all regulation on corporations (and) cutting taxes to virtually nothing. And so (that) demands a response. So I don’t feel sorry for them …I don’t feel their First Amendment rights are being hurt or anything like that.”
– Carter: SCOTUS ruined Washington –
FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER IN AN INTERVIEW WITH POLITICO: “There was a spirit of harmony there, friendship. … All of these things are gone, primarily due to a stupid decision that the Supreme Court made on Citizens United and that they exacerbated this past week with another ruling … And this massive infusion of almost unrestricted money going into the political campaign, a lot of it is spent just on negative commercials to tear down the reputation of your opponent. And that polarization that occurs, that didn’t exist when I ran for office.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Joe Biden (@JoeBiden)
Dusting off the Twitter handle for a big midterm election year. Let's get to it, folks! –Joe
Paul Singer (@singernews)
With @JoeBiden returning to Twitter, I will be closely watching Politwoops http://politwoops.sunlightfoundation.com/ for his deleted tweets
Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom)
.@JebBush calls illegal immigration an "act of love" http://bit.ly/QXDsAd That's the end of his 2016 campaign.
Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias)
Obviously this will make folks mad, but can anyone seriously deny that Jeb is right about this? http://www.vox.com/2014/4/7/5590394/jeb-bush-immigration-is-an-act-of-love …
Mark Knoller (@markknoller)
More @presssec on Ukraine: "If Russia moves into eastern Ukraine, either overtly or covertly, this would be a very serious escalation.”
Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN)
Super interesting: The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene – http://wapo.st/1fWztg3
Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner)
Republicans successfully chip away another piece of #ObamaCare j.mp/1e4Wuyq
Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44)
There is perfect symbolism in the Speaker desperately trying to reassure Matt Drudge abt his repeal bona fides talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/boehn…
LGBTQ Nation (@lgbtqnation)
U.S. Supreme Court declines appeal over #NewMexico #gay bias case #SCOTUS – http://lgbtq.me/1lFHOWz
Robert Costa (@costareports)
Jindal, Rand Paul, and Santorum to appear at Iowa GOP convention in June... http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2014/04/07/three-address-iowa-gop/7407945/ …
Chris Cillizza (@TheFix)
Among those most closely following the midterms, 51% want a GOP Congress while 37% want a Dem one. http://ow.ly/vwkX9
Joe Gilgour (@DrJoeGilgour)
"I would feel the same even if I wasn't sleeping with a community college professor every night...the same one." – VP Joe Biden @AACCAnnual
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
In January 2013, New Hampshire became the first state in U.S. history to be represented in Congress by an all-female delegation. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster were both sworn into the House, while Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte continued to represent the Granite State in the Senate. Kuster, shortly after ousting Charlie Bass in 2012, joked that “pink is the new power color in New Hampshire.”
Women also hold the office of New Hampshire governor, state treasurer, State House speaker and chief justice.
Women currently comprise 20% of the U.S. Senate and nearly 19% of the U.S. House – all-time highs for both chambers.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Bill Murphy (@BillMurphy) Adam Sharp (@AdamS) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
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