CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 25, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING… FEDS CLOSE TO GRIMM CHARGES: Federal prosecutors are preparing criminal charges against two-term New York GOP Rep. Michael Grimm, capping a two-year FBI investigation that ranges from his business dealings to his first campaign for Congress in 2010, U.S. officials briefed on the matter said. Grimm made headlines in January when he was shown on camera threatening to throw a reporter over the Capitol Hill balcony after an interview following the State of the Union address. – Evan Perez
NRA ISSUES HILLARY WARNING… Gun-rights advocates praised the punishment of Colorado legislators for new firearms restrictions and blasted a new gun-control effort launched by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It was all part of a predictable helping of rhetorical red meat at Friday’s opening of the annual National Rifle Association meeting in Indianapolis. The opening session also included warnings about a potential Hillary Clinton presidential run. “They're out there laying the groundwork to put a Clinton back in the White House," NRA President Wayne LaPierre said to a round of boos. – Ashley Killough and Dana Davidsen
AS POSSIBLE 2016 GOP HOPEFULS WORK THE GUN CROWD: Republican lawmakers and potential White House 2016 hopefuls also took to the NRA’s podium Friday to tout their support for gun rights.
CRUZ: “The Second Amendment is under constant siege by the Democrats in Washington who will use any tragedy to further their radical gun control agenda.”
SANTORUM: “I'm very proud to say (my wife) Karen and I got our concealed carry permit. … Karen owns more guns than I do. … The default gift for most men is to buy flowers for most occasions, but for me the safe bet is ammo.”
RUBIO: “Take comfort because in just 32 months we will have a new president. … And our current President should take comfort (too), because in 32 months he can return home to live in the anti-gun utopia that is Chicago.”
CONSERVATIVES BLAST BOEHNER’S IMMIGRATION REMARKS… Heritage Action chief executive officer Michael Needham slammed the Speaker Friday for comments Boehner made Thursday mocking colleagues on immigration reform. “John Boehner is more interested in advancing the agenda of high-powered DC special interests than inspiring Americans with a policy vision that allows freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society to flourish,” Needham said.
BUT PETER KING SAYS IT’S PAR FOR THE COURSE: A senior House Republican told CNN the Speaker's ribbing of his own members wasn't new and is something House GOP members are used to hearing. "If I had a nickel for every time John called me a name I'd be a millionaire,” New York Rep. Peter King told CNN Friday in a phone interview. King said Boehner has used a mocking tone in closed door meetings to give members a hard time, but not just on immigration. “That's just John,” King said. “He’ll kid you about everything - your haircut, a tie, guys changing their vote from one month to the next.”
Asked about possible blowback from conservatives who are offended the Speaker is making fun of his own members, King said, “These guys should just lighten up and toughen up." – Dana Bash, Deirdre Walsh, and Paul Steinhauser
RAND PAUL TO GOP: EVOLVE OR DIE: One day after Rand Paul distanced himself from Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, the Kentucky senator said the GOP needs to wake up to the reality of a more diverse twenty-first century America.
“The Republican Party needs to look like the rest of America to have a chance,” Paul told a crowd at Harvard University on Friday. “That means with tattoos and without tattoos. With earrings and without earrings. Black, white, brown. You go to a Republican event and it’s all white people.”
OBAMA STEPS UP RUSSIAN SANCTIONS THREAT… President Barack Obama threatened Russia on Friday with new sanctions over its actions in Ukraine as the Ukrainian Prime Minister also came out with tough words against Moscow. Russian attempts to start conflict in Ukraine will lead to military conflict in Europe, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned. He also charged Russia with aiming to occupy his country "militarily and politically," and said Moscow wants to start a third world war. – Laura Smith-Spark, Gul Tuysuz and Victoria Butenko
BUT POTUS WOULD STILL SAVE A DROWNING PUTIN: Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin said that if he were drowning, “I think Obama is a courageous and good person and he would for sure save me.” Putin seems to be correct. Asked at a press conference Friday if he would save the Russian leader, President Obama said, “I absolutely would save Mr. Putin from drowning. … I’d like to think that if anybody is drowning I’m going to save them. I used to be a pretty good swimmer. I grew up in Hawaii.”
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end lower for the week, dragged down by Ukraine tensions and falling tech shares.
What issue prodded Speaker Boehner into switching his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican in 1978?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics.com: Inside Politics: The age question
Conservative columnist George Will labels the incumbent, President Barack Obama, an adolescent. Others from the right - RedState's Erick Erickson among them - are leading the charge in labeling Hillary Clinton too old. And the debate is hardly limited to what Republicans think of the current and perhaps future Democratic Party standard bearers. – John King
Leading Drudge: 1000 Days
Time left until Obama leaves office
Leading HuffPo: Targeted: State GOP Goes After Reid For Koch Blows
The Louisiana Republican Party filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee on Wednesday, accusing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of improperly using his official Senate website and Twitter account for partisan attacks on billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. – Shadee Ashtari
Leading Politico: Tea party eats its own in Oklahoma
Down here in the buckle of the Bible Belt, conservatives might eat one of their own. Tea party celebrities Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee descended here on Thursday night to anoint their candidate to replace retiring Republican Sen. Tom Coburn: Republican former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon. – Burgess Everett
Leading New York Times: Rand Paul and Wealthy Libertarians Connect as He Weighs Running
As he has risen in prominence as a Republican presidential contender, Mr. Paul is avidly courting a small but influential cluster of wealthy libertarians. His pursuit offers an intriguing window into an eclectic network of potential donors who have made fortunes in Silicon Valley start-ups and Wall Street hedge funds, a group that could form a vital donor base if he makes a bid for the Republican nomination. – Nicholas Confessore
The political bites of the day
– Bundy to CNN: ‘Maybe I don’t know what I actually said’ –
CLIVEN BUNDY IN AN INTERVIEW TO CHRIS CUOMO ON CNN’S NEW DAY: “Maybe I sinned and maybe I need to ask forgiveness, and maybe I don't know what I actually said, but when you talk about prejudice, we're talking about not being able to exercise what we think. ... If I say ‘negro’ or ‘black boy’ or ‘slave,’ if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be (offended), then Martin Luther King hasn't got his job done yet … We need to get over this prejudice stuff.”
– Gore: ‘I’m a recovering politician’ –
AL GORE IN AN INTERVIEW WITH POLITICO: “I am a recovering politician. And the longer I avoid a relapse the more confidence (I have) that I will not succumb to the temptation to run yet again. But I’m a recovering politician. I’ll just leave it at that.”
– Neil Bush: Dad wants Jeb to run –
NEIL BUSH IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S GLORIA BORGER: "If you asked Dad the same question – 'Should Jeb run?' – he'd say yes."
Gut Check Flash Back: FORMER FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH ON JANUARY 16 ON A POSSIBLE JEB RUN: "I hope he won't."
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
James Hohmann (@jameshohmann)
Mike Pence: “If I only had 12 yrs left to live I’d want to live it as a mbr of Congress bc that was the longest 12 years of my life.” #NRA
McConnell: “If you believe in the Constitution, you defend all of it — not just the parts that happen to be popular."
Rubio sips water in middle of NRA speech: "That was for MSNBC."
Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan)
310 million Americans are NOT members of the @NRA – why aren't you making your voices heard? Don't let them bully you into silence.
Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim)
How many press releases has House Dem leadership sent out about immigration today? I count about 4,293 so far.
Elise Foley (@elisefoley)
Raul Labrador, who opposes reform, thinks Boehner’s immigration comments will hurt reform. Shouldn’t he be glad then? http://politi.co/1ilxApD
Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi)
Sounds like @SpeakerBoehner needs to heed his own words, and bring #immigration reform up for a vote: http://goo.gl/uAe4el #TimeIsNow
Mark Knoller (@markknoller)
At briefing, @statedeptspox said US and allies "on same page" on new sanctions against Russia. "We're in lockstep with them," said Psaki.
Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox)
The world stands #UnitedforUkraine. Let’s hope that the #Kremlin & @mfa_russia will live by the promise of (this) hashtag
MFA Russia (@mfa_russia)
#Lavrov: Few analysts doubt that Ukraine has been exploited as a pawn in a geopolitical game #UnitedForUkraine
Russell Berman (@russellberman)
Cantor tells GOP in new memo that House in May will vote on charter school bill, R&D tax extender, 3 apropos bills, Defense authorization
Josh Schwerin (@JoshSchwerin)
Missing from Cantor leg memo: immigration reform, min wage, UI. Oh and that mythical ACA replacement.
Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram)
Cantor memo to R's doesn't say it will repeal/replace Obamacare but says Hse will "work towards replacing Obamacare with common sense..rfms"
Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew)
Texas Republican Spent Over $30,000 In Campaign Cash On Chocolates And Ham http://www.buzzfeed.com/evanmcsan/texas-republican-spent-over-30000-in-campaign-cash-on-chocol …
Mike Memoli (@mikememoli)
While Jeb thinks about running for president, Barbara Bush is suiting up to join the Texans' defense http://instagram.com/p/nOWUSKSG-g/#
Ashley Codianni (@AshleyCodianni)
(mini scoop) @RepSeanDuffy recreates #Selfie music video featuring @PRyan @SpeakerBoehner @WhipHoyer & it's amazing: http://mashable.com/2014/04/25/sean-duffy-selfie-video/ …
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
John Boehner considered himself a “Kennedy Democrat” until an income tax bill changed his mind. By the age of 29, Boehner had worked his way up from a janitor to a sales executive making $78,000 per year, enough to put him in a relatively high income tax bracket.
His 1978 tax bill led to the future House speaker’s conversion from a “Kennedy Democrat” to a “free enterprise” Republican.
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Congrats to Erin Robinson (@SomeWherErin) and Ivan the K™ (@IvanTheK) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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