CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 11, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
POST-LBJ LIBRARY VISIT, OBAMA NARROWS IN ON VOTING … A day after visiting the LBJ Library, President Obama addressed voting rights, calling the Republican-led movement to crack down on voter fraud “bogus.”
“The real voter fraud is people trying to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud,” Obama said. “Some of these officials…have not been shy about saying that they’re doing this for partisan reasons.”
Obama’s remarks were a continuation of the administration’s effort to spotlight GOP-backed measures that critics claim place undue hardships on voting for minorities, students and immigrants. – Kevin Liptak
SYLVIA MATHEWS BURWELL TAPPED TO REPLACE SEBELIUS … President Obama announced Friday that he is nominating current director of the Office of Management and Budget Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services Secretary.
Sebelius – who weathered heavy criticism over the flaw-filled launch of the Obamacare website, and then saw the program through as it topped a major milestone – told the President in March that she would be resigning following the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act. In a speech in the Rose Garden on Friday, Sebelius called the Affordable Care Act the “most meaningful work I’ve ever been a part of. In fact, it’s been the cause of my life.” – Jim Acosta and Greg Botelho
BROWN HITS GRANITE STATE AIRWAVES … Former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts will go up Monday with his first television commercial in his Republican Senate bid in neighboring New Hampshire. The launch of the ad, coming just four days after Brown formally kicked off his campaign, is another sign that if he wins his party's nomination, his challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen could turn the contest in the Granite State into one of the most high profile and expensive Senate races in the country. – Paul Steinhauser
See ad transcript below in HOT SOTS.
THE BUZZ: POPE ASKS FOR FORGIVENESS FOR EVIL OF SEX ABUSE … Pope Francis made his strongest condemnation of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy on Friday, asking for forgiveness and pledging to impose penalties on "men of the church" who harm children.
“I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children," the Pope said in remarks quoted by Vatican Radio. The Pope's new comments, made to a Catholic NGO on Friday, represent a shift from his previous statements on sexual abuse. – Daniel Burke
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks fell in a volatile session on Friday, with the NASDAQ slipping below the 4,000 mark for the first time since early February.
Who was President Obama’s first choice for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in 2009?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics.com: Inside Politics: For Democrats, intensity is paramount
Democrats did not have enough votes to advance Senate legislation designed to guarantee women equal pay … The challenge for the Democrats, veteran Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and his colleagues argued this week, is to generate new Democratic interest - and intensity - around economic issues that he says can be used to increase turnout if framed appropriately. – John King
Gut Check DVR: Catch John King’s ‘Inside Politics’ on Sunday at 8:30am E.T. with Maggie Haberman, Amy Walter, Jonathan Martin, and Manu Raju.
Leading CNNMoney: How Washington spends your taxes
Broadly speaking, for every dollar you pay in federal income taxes, about half goes to military spending (27%) and spending on federal health programs (22.7%). The latter covers everything from Medicare and Medicaid to the Children's Health Insurance Program. The next biggest chunk of your income taxes (13.8%) goes to paying interest on U.S. debt. – Jeanne Sahadi
Leading USA Today: Obama tax returns show big hit in 2013
President and Michele Obama saw their income drop significantly in 2013, according to tax returns released by the White House Friday. For 2013, the Obamas reported adjusted gross income of $481,098 – no pauper's salary, but a 21% drop from the $608,611 they reported in 2012. With the smaller take home pay, their charitable contributions similarly shrank – from $150,034 in 2012 to $59,251 in 2013. – Paul Singer
Leading Anchorage Daily News: Another Koch brothers-backed group attacks Begich with ads
A new wave of campaign ads in the U.S. Senate race hit Alaska this week. The ads, like an earlier round, target incumbent Democrat Mark Begich and the Affordable Care Act, but this time with a new, anti-insurance company twist. – Lisa Demer
Leading Drudge: Hill Gets A Heel
A woman was taken into custody after throwing what she described as a shoe at Hillary Clinton during a Las Vegas speech. The incident happened moments after Clinton took the stage Thursday at an Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries meeting at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino. Clinton ducked but did not appear to be hit by the object, and then joked about the incident.- James Nye
Leading HuffPo: New CIA Torture Bomb Drops
A classified U.S. Senate report found that the CIA's legal justification for the use of harsh interrogation techniques that critics say amount to torture was based on faulty legal reasoning, McClatchy news service reported on Thursday.
Leading Politico: Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s hurdles
The White House on Friday will throw Sylvia Mathews Burwell into one of the most contentious jobs in Washington: running Obamacare. The Obama administration’s new nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services will face immediate pressure from Republicans who still want to repeal the law that she’ll be implementing, Democrats who want her to make improvements to it and an industry that wants a better relationship with HHS. – Jennifer Haberkorn
Leading New York Times: Conservative Firepower Has Senate Democrats Playing Defense
Democrats in races that will help determine control of the Senate are rapidly burning through their campaign cash and seeing their advantage over Republican opponents whittled away as they fend off attacks from conservative groups, according to figures released through this week. – Nicholas Confessore
The political bites of the day
- Scott Brown debuts first ad for N.H. Senate campaign –
NARRATOR: “Scott Brown has almost 300,000 miles on his truck. Over the last few weeks it’s taken him all across New Hampshire, listening and learning. And what he’s learned is pretty simple - people want an America that leads the world again, a healthcare system that works for New Hampshire, and more good jobs. Isn’t it time someone took their side? … BROWN: “I’m Scott Brown. I approve this message and I’m running for the United States Senate.”
- Rockefeller: Burwell has a tough assignment ahead of her -
SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER, D-WEST VIRGINIA, IN A STATEMENT: “Serving as HHS Secretary will be a tough assignment. Despite the tremendous benefits that millions of Americans are starting to enjoy from health care reform, there are still many out there who want to see it fail. They have invested heavily in the destruction of the Affordable Care Act, and as such, they will look to stand in the way of the next HHS Secretary.”
- Rand Paul bids Sebelius farewell -
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY, IN A STATEMENT: “The legacy of Kathleen Sebelius will be one of the most unpopular and undemocratic government overreaches in our lifetime—Obamacare—and its disastrous inception and implementation.”
- Rodney Alexander not ruling out reclaiming his old seat, now held by Vince McAllister -
FORMER REP. RODNEY ALEXANDER, R-LOUISIANA, TO THE MONROE NEWS-STAR: “I would never say anything is off of the table … If I felt like the people of Louisiana and the 5th District wanted me for a particular purpose or office, I am willing to serve them.”
- Anthony Weiner gives scandal advice to Chris Christie –
FORMER REP. ANTHONY WEINER ON FUSION: “If you’re turning to me for advice on how to handle your scandals, you know you’re in bad shape.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Ben Howe (@BenHowe)
I have to say, this was a botched rollout of @Sebelius’ resignation.
John Patrick (@johntwarog)
If I had a nickel for the number of times the Obamacare website has said "PAGE NOT FOUND" #SebeliusMissingPage
John Hayward (@Doc_0)
#SebeliusMissingPage was tucked into the shoe thrown at Hillary Clinton
Ed Henry (@edhenryTV)
Sylvia Burwell highly respected on both sides of aisle - McCain has already endorsed her for HHS sec nomination
Jim Acosta (@JimAcostaCNN)
Carney says WH has decided US will not allow entry of Iran pick for UN Ambassador into the country
Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN)
Trey Grayson (@KYTrey) says @SenJohnMcCain is set to speak at Harvard two days before @SenRandPaul's appearance later this month.
Robert Costa (@costareports)
.@CesarConda, Rubio's chief of staff, is moving to Rubio's PAC pre-2016. Alberto Martinez, longtime FL GOP operative, takes over for Conda
Robert Costa (@costareports)
Rubio staff moves a signal to Jeb World that they're not going to sit around as he mulls; Marco machine being built regardless
Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip)
The Internet is picking a fight again. This time Condi Rice and @Dropbox are the targets: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/04/10/the-internet-is-at-it-again-will-dropbox-cave-to-pressure-to-drop-condi-rice/ …
Paul R. La Monica (@LaMonicaBuzz)
Given the week we've had for stocks, Augusta should give out red jacket instead of green one to winner of Masters Sunday. Bubba leading FYI!
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
President Obama’s first choice for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in 2009 was former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Obama nominated Kathleen Sebelius after Daschle withdrew his nomination amid controversies over unpaid taxes and whether he had worked as a lobbyist.
Daschle was one of Obama's earliest supporters. He played a large role in advocating for him in the Senate and during his presidential campaign.
In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Obama admitted that he “screwed up” in his nomination of Daschle. “I’ve got to own up to my mistake. Ultimately, it's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes.”
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