CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 14, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
GUARDIAN, WASHINGTON POST WIN PULITZER FOR NSA COVERAGE … The Washington Post and the Guardian were awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their reporting on Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs.
According to the Pulitzer website, their reporting was “marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.”
The Boston Globe also won for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, which occurred one year ago on Tuesday. The Globe newsroom held a moment of silence.
OBAMA, PUTIN TALK; NO SIGN OF CRACKDOWN IN UKRAINE ... President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone on Monday about the situation in Ukraine. Separately, acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov’s deadline for pro-Russian protesters to disarm or face a "full-scale anti-terrorist operation" came and went with no sign it was heeded. – Jason Hanna, Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Tim Lister
MEANWHILE … AID AGREEMENT SIGNED: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew signed a $1 billion bipartisan loan guarantee to Ukraine.
… AND AT THE WHITE HOUSE, JAY CARNEY CONFIRMS RUSSIAN REPORTS ABOUT BRENNAN’S WHEREABOUTS … White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed CIA Director John Brennan was in Kiev over the weekend after Russian reports placed him there. The CIA wouldn’t confirm it but Ukraine's ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, said Brennan went to Kiev and sanctioned the use of force against pro-Russian militants.
KANSAS SHOOTING COULD BE A ‘HATE CRIME’ … Local and FBI investigators have determined that a shooting on Sunday in Overland Park, Kansas, that killed three people outside a Jewish community center could be a hate crime, police said at a news conference.
PRESIDENT OBAMA REFLECTED ON THE SHOOTING at a Holy Week prayer breakfast saying, “That this occurred now, as Jews were preparing to celebrate Passover, as Christians were observing Palm Sunday, makes this tragedy all the more painful.”
IN CAMPAIGN NEWS …
ON THE LEFT …2016 WATCH: O'MALLEY HEADING TO NEVADA … Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will give the keynote address at the 2014 Clark County Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on May 2 in Nevada, a state that draws potential White House candidates as it's the first western state to vote in the primary/caucus calendar. O'Malley is preparing the "ground work" for a potential campaign. – Ashley Killough and Paul Steinhauser
ON THE RIGHT … 2014 WATCH: BROWN RAISES NEARLY $275K IN 17 DAYS … Former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts raised $274,728 in the two-and-a-half weeks following his March 14 announcement that he was setting up a Senate exploratory committee for a run in neighboring New Hampshire. Brown spent just about that entire time on a listening tour throughout the Granite State and his campaign says he didn’t hold any fundraisers during that period. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign announced last week that the Democratic incumbent’s campaign brought in $1.538 million in the first quarter with $4.35 million cash on hand. – Paul Steinhauser
THE BUZZ: DJ RAND PAUL TAKES REQUESTS … Sen. Rand Paul played along Sunday after "Saturday Night Live" poked fun at the Kentucky Republican as well as a few other potential GOP presidential candidates this weekend. While the point of the sketch was to paint Republican candidates as out of touch with young people – despite their efforts to broaden the party – the real Rand Paul appeared to have a sense of humor about the whole thing, at least on Twitter.
Taking song requests with the hash tag "DJRandPaul," the senator's Twitter account became a steady stream of music videos Sunday featuring an eclectic group of artists, including Chumbawamba, Bruce Springsteen, Coolio, Macklemore, Daft Punk, the Beatles and Fatboy Slim. The jam session went on for nearly nine hours. – Ashley Killough
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher on Citigroup earnings. Dow adds 146 points. NASDAQ climbs 0.6%. S&P 500 rises 0.8%.
Which first lady planted the first cherry trees in Washington?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics.com: First on CNN: Christie’s interview with investigators
The first news report linking his top aides to an alleged political payback scheme to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge made Chris Christie “sick to his stomach,” the New Jersey governor told investigators, according to a new memo. After the report in a local paper, Christie called his senior staff to the governor’s mansion. As the meeting began, he was nervous, unsure who else on his staff might be involved. – Chris Frates
Gut Check Full Service: More than 400 pages of new documents were released Monday by Gibson Dunn, the law firm hired by Chris Christie’s office that conducted an internal review of the scandal that cleared the governor of any wrongdoing.
Leading CNNMoney: Deficit now expected to be even lower
For the fifth consecutive year, the U.S. annual deficit is projected to fall as a share of the economy, and to do so more than previously forecast. The Congressional Budget Office projects the 2014 shortfall will decline to 2.8% of GDP - or $492 billion. That's about $23 billion below what the CBO forecast just a few months ago. And it's well below the 4.1% - or $680 billion - recorded last year. – Jeanne Sahadi
Leading Columbus Dispatch: Revised language to overturn's Ohio's same-sex marriage ban approved
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine this morning certified that the Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment can move forward with revised language to overturn Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban. DeWine said the wording is a “fair and truthful” statement of the proposed law. He does not evaluate the content otherwise. – Alan Johnson
Leading Drudge: Week of the Blood Moon
Four complete lunar eclipses will appear in the sky starting on April 15. Pastor John Hagee of Texas’ Cornerstone Church believes God is trying to communicate with humans through these celestial signs. – Carol Kuruvilla
Leading HuffPo: Rick Perry Ethics Case To Get Texas Grand Jury
A Texas judge is expected to seat a grand jury in an investigation into whether Republican Gov. Rick Perry abused his power by vetoing funding for public corruption prosecutors. Special State District Judge Bert Richardson is expected to impanel the grand jury Monday in Austin. The investigation began after Perry vetoed $7.5 million in funding last summer for a public integrity unit under Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.
Leading Politico: Struggling Dems waiting for Hillary in 2014
More than a year removed from the State Department, (Hillary) Clinton is continuing to keep a remarkably low political — if not public — profile. She has remained in the news with a series of paid speeches, including one last week when she dodged a shoe hurled at her by an audience member. But when she campaigned for two friends last year — Terry McAuliffe in Virginia and Bill de Blasio in New York City — her aides made clear at the time those were exceptions. – Maggie Haberman
Leading New York Times: New Role for Tax Preparers: Health-Coverage Advisers
Major provisions of the health care law — the requirement for people to carry insurance and for larger employers to offer it, as well as the subsidies to help pay for it — were written as amendments to the Internal Revenue Code. H&R Block highlights the connection on its website: “The name you trust for all your tax needs now also offers friendly, unbiased help when it comes to choosing health insurance.” – Robert Pear
The political bites of the day
– Holder: I wasn't playing race card when criticizing GOP opposition –
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE HUFFINGTON POST: “I didn't say there was a racial component. I was very careful not to say that … (A breakdown in civility in Washington) is essentially what I was decrying, the fact that we can't somehow separate whatever our personal feelings are and focus on our functions as members of the executive branch or as legislators. I think that I've done a pretty good job in doing that, but it's frustrating at times."
–Democratic congressman: U.S. sanctions on Russia “too mild” –
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIFORNIA, TO DON LEMON ON CNN’S NEWSROOM: “I think the problem has been the sanctions have been too mild, too target-specific, going after a few of the oligarchs that really haven't hurt the Russian government or the Russian people … It would make Putin pay a real price, and it will take a little of the luster off of his bellicose foreign policy.”
– Palin stars in Handel-for-Senate ad –
FORMER ALASKA GOV. SARAH PALIN IN AN AD CALLED “INTEGRITY” SUPPORTING GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE KAREN HANDEL FOR U.S. SENATE: “You know her background. You know her record. (She is) the conservative who has walked the walk, cutting budgets - not raising taxes. How often do you see that in government?”
– Former Obama adviser makes his pitch to the Bay Area for Congress –
RO KHANNA IN A NEW AD: “If I’m elected to Congress, I’ll advocate for computer coding to be taught in public schools.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Rebecca Berg (@rebeccagberg)
Bill Clinton will headline an Ohio Democratic Party dinner June 13. http://politi.co/P0pQSL (h/t @sethbringman)
Matt Viser (@mviser)
Boston Globe newsroom holds moment of silence for Boston Marathon victims, after winning Pulitzer on “story none of us wanted to cover.”
Mike Barnicle (@mikebarnicle)
If you want to know why a great newspaper is vital to a city and a region simply go back and look at why @BostonGlobe just got a Pulitzer.
Lisa Tozzi (@lisatozzi)
Snowden calls Pulitzers: "a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government" http://bit.ly/1eG5AwL
Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing)
Awarding the Pulitzer to Snowden enablers is a disgrace
Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP)
Rand Paul suggests Republicans build a fence between N.H. and Massachusetts http://wapo.st/1ij0Ame
Russell Berman (@russellberman)
Speaker John Boehner is in Afghanistan with U.S. delegation to assess political progress, security situation during elections, story coming
John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico)
Speaker John Boehner leads a GOP codel to Afghanistan. Reps. Latham, Kline, Camp, Hastings, Nunes, Walden & Womack joined him on trip
Chris Cillizza (@TheFix)
John Boehner’s primary opponent just hit him for ‘electile dysfunction.’ Yes, seriously. http://ow.ly/vMqa1 pic.twitter.com/AD9zA7ZrC4
Lawmakers who write the tax code have tax problems of their own. Only on @CNN http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/14/politics/tax-writers-tax-problems/?hpt=hp_t2 …
Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti)
WSJ editorial board on Hillary Clinton's lucrative speaking tour: "We don't begrudge anyone making a buck..." http://on.wsj.com/1iN8vES
Jim Roberts (@nycjim)
Google Buys Drone Firm That Facebook Pursued, Too http://on.mash.to/1t1q78b via @mashable
US Airways (@USAirways)
We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses. We’ve removed the tweet and are investigating.
bubba watson (@bubbawatson)
I want to thank everyone for the support, encouraging words & congrats that have poured in this week! I feel incredibly blessed #awesomefans
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
On March 27 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft and wife of the Japanese ambassador, Viscountess Chinda, planted the first two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin in Washington. According to the National Park Service, the trees still stand and a plaque commemorates the moment 112 years ago.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Rose-Marie Holt (@Rose_MarIe_Holt) and Sfpelosi (@sfpelosi) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.
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– Holder: I wasn't playing race card when criticizing GOP opposition –
Yes, you were.
Four complete lunar eclipses will appear in the sky starting on April 15. Pastor John Hagee of Texas’ Cornerstone Church believes God is trying to communicate with humans through these celestial signs. That Republican Gov. Rick Perry abused his power by vetoing funding for public corruption prosecutors.