CNN's GUT CHECK for May 7, 2014
May 7th, 2014
04:55 PM ET
6 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 7, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 7, 2014| 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

PUTIN SAYS BORDER TROOPS GONE …  Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russian troops have withdrawn from the Ukrainian border, speaking at a press conference with the head of the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE), after the two met in Moscow Wednesday. "We were told repeatedly that our forces by the Ukrainian border were a source of concern,” Putin said. “We have withdrawn our forces and they are now not on the Ukrainian border but are carrying out their regular exercises at the test grounds. This can be easily verified using modern intelligence techniques, including from space, where everything can be seen."


WHITE HOUSE: WE’LL BELIEVE IT WHEN WE SEE IT … The White House says there is no evidence that Russia has withdrawn its forces from the Ukrainian border. “There is not evidence to date that there has been a meaningful and transparent withdrawal of Russian forces from the Ukrainian border,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to Arkansas. Later that day, the White House announced it intends to withdraw Russia’s eligibility for preferential trade benefits typically given to developing countries.

TRAVEL NOTE: The President met with Gov. Mike Beebe, Sen. Mark Pryor and Rep. Tim Griffin Wednesday to survey the damage of the recent tornado in Arkansas.

GOWDY: NO BIG BUCKS OFF BENGHAZI … Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, said Wednesday his fellow GOP lawmakers shouldn't be fundraising off the Benghazi terror attack while a select committee, which he is leading, is investigating the 2012 assault. The Republican from South Carolina told CNN's Jake Tapper that he would not be asking supporters for money related to the latest investigation and his colleagues shouldn't either. "I cannot and will not raise money on Benghazi." Gowdy said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises money for House Republican candidates, published a blog on its website explaining the establishment of a select committee panel to investigate the Benghazi terror attack. In the same post, the NRCC also asks for contributions. Asked specifically whether the NRCC should continue to raise money on Benghazi, Gowdy said, "I also advise my colleagues to follow suit."– Sherisse Pham and Jake Tapper

ABOUT LAST NIGHT ... GOP AVOIDS MAJOR HEADACHE IN N.C.: Republicans avoided a major headache on Tuesday night when Thom Tillis, the North Carolina house speaker and establishment favorite, won the Republican Senate nomination outright, dodging a protracted summer runoff fight against a grassroots-backed opponent. With an assist from big-spending outside groups, Tillis dispatched his two main primary rivals, tea party-backed Greg Brannon and the Baptist pastor Mark Harris, with relative ease, clearing the 40% mark needed to skirt a July runoff election. Tillis moves on to face Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, one of the Senate's most endangered incumbents, in what's certain to be among the most negative - and expensive - races of 2014. – Peter Hamby

AS FOR CLAY AIKEN, IT’S TOO CLOSE TOO CALL … The American-Idol star-turned congressional hopeful, holds a razor-thin margin over opponent Keith Crisco in North Carolina's Democratic primary for a U.S. House seat, but CNN and other news organizations have not yet projected a winner. With all precincts reporting, Aiken has 40.83% of the vote, with Crisco following slightly behind at 39.4%. If the margin holds up, Aiken would exceed the 40% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

MOVING FORWARD, THE ESTABLISHMENT GOP VS. TEA PARTY BATTLE IS FAR FROM OVER ...  Candidates backed by the tea party and other grass-roots conservatives effectively cost the GOP five winnable Senate elections in 2010 and 2012 in Nevada, Delaware, Colorado, Indiana and Missouri. This time, mainstream Republicans don't want another sequel. – Paul Steinhauser

OOPS! MAN TAKES WRONG TURN, SHUTS DOWN WHITE HOUSE … It seems at this point to be an honest mistake. That's what a source tells CNN's Michelle Kosinski about Tuesday's security breach that resulted in a White House lockdown. A Secret Service source explains that Matthew Goldstein, 55, got caught up in traffic-circle confusion during the heavy afternoon rush in downtown D.C.  Unfamiliar with the traffic pattern, he apparently panicked and made a sharp right turn that put him immediately behind a group of cars, which turned out to be a White House motorcade.

But how did the Secret Service let him through? The guards apparently didn't have time to raise the bollards fast enough to shut Goldstein's car out. But he was stopped immediately and then was arrested.

THE BUZZ: That time Rand Paul wore a baseball uniform to a speech … Sen. Rand Paul's unconventional style in politics apparently extends to his wardrobe, as well. The Kentucky Republican delivered a speech Wednesday morning while wearing a baseball uniform–white pants and all. Paul spoke at the Leadership Institute just outside of Washington, D.C. at a 7:30 a.m. ET breakfast. Wearing a red and white jersey with "Republicans" emblazoned across his chest, Paul had been practicing earlier in the morning for the upcoming Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. – Ashley Killough

MARKET WATCH: Blue-chip stocks rally with Dow rising 118 points. But NASDAQ falls 0.3% on selloff in tech and Whole Foods.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
The names of Rep. Trey Gowdy’s three dogs characterize his experience working in which field prior to Congress?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: First on CNN: O'Malley to mingle with 2016 players at D.C. fundraiser
Martin O’Malley will mingle with a handful of early primary state power brokers next week at a closed-door Washington fundraiser for a top South Carolina Democrat. The Maryland governor, who has been candid about his inclination to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, has signed on to co-host the May 14 Capitol Hill fundraiser for South Carolina lieutenant governor candidate Bakari Sellers, a Democratic source in the state told CNN. – Peter Hamby

Leading CNNMoney: NBC nails Olympics rights through 2032
NBC has agreed to pay $7.7 billion to broadcast the Olympics through the 2032 Summer Games.The deal extends the current rights deal that runs through the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The agreement covers various platforms including free television broadcasts, pay television, Internet and mobile distribution. – Chris Isadore

Leading Tampa Bay Times: Charlie Crist may visit Cuba
In a move that would have been unthinkable for any statewide Florida candidate just a few years ago, Charlie Crist is looking into visiting Cuba this summer. Nothing is final, but Crist is eager to learn more about the country as he calls for normalizing relations with Florida's neighbor. – Adam Smith

Leading Drudge: Feds Warn Drudge Faces Regulation
Government officials, reacting to the growing voice of conservative news outlets, especially on the Internet, are angling to curtail the media's exemption from federal election laws governing political organizations, a potentially chilling intervention that the chairman of the Federal Election Commission is vowing to fight. – Paul Bedard

Leading HuffPo: Low Blow
Kentucky's Senate race reached a new level of nasty as a tea-party-backed candidate characterized the presumptive Democratic nominee as just a young woman short on life experience. Republican businessman Matt Bevin explained Monday that he's better qualified than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to take on Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) because, in his words, she's just a collection of demographics rather than a serious candidate. – Samantha Lachman

Leading Politico: Harry Reid embraces earmarks
Harry Reid is comparing Republicans to “greased pigs” — but he’s not afraid of a little pork. The majority leader gave a strong defense of congressional earmarks on Tuesday afternoon and said President Barack Obama is “wrong” to support a ban on congressional earmarks installed by the tea party wave of Republicans. Reid, perhaps the president’s closest ally in the Senate, made sure that reporters did not second-guess his remarks boosting the controversial spending practice, advising that journalists “underline, underscore” and use “exclamation marks” when writing about the Nevada Democrat’s position. – Burgess Everett

Leading New York Times: Sotomayor Finds Her Voice Among Justices
Justice Sotomayor, 59, is approaching her fifth anniversary on the Supreme Court, where she has emerged as an increasingly confident figure. In the last term, she asked more questions than any other justice. In the current one, she has staked out positions that have led to testy exchanges with colleagues across the ideological spectrum. – Adam Liptak

Leading Washington Post: The undercover senator: Tim Scott goes anecdote shopping in South Carolina
This year, he (Tim Scott) is poised to be the first black politician to win statewide election in South Carolina since Reconstruction. He’s young (for the Senate), affable and able to blend in where his colleagues would stand out — just try to imagine Sen. Mitch McConnell talking about understanding the misguided allure of drug dealing, or being asked if he had been assigned mandatory community service.– Ben Terris

HOT SOTS
The political bites of the day

– Palin on Clinton: Being grandmother will 'open her eyes' on abortion –
FORMER ALASKA GOV. SARAH PALIN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH EXTRA WEDNESDAY: “Just knowing that her daughter Chelsea is pregnant, with a baby–It's a real baby!–It's not some disposable something, and I know that's going to be controversial … And of all places, it should be in the womb that these babies are protected, So maybe even on a social issue like that, she'll open her eyes.”

– GOP Reps. return from trip to Asia, say our allies there are watching American response in Syria and Ukraine –
REPS. Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Pat Meehan, Mac Thornberry, Kay Granger, Kristi Noem, Aaron Schock, Paul Cook in a cnn op-ed:Our allies and adversaries alike have seen how America failed to enforce its ‘red line’ in Syria, and they are questioning whether we have the resolve to respond decisively to challenges in Asia. Our partners are watching America's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. They fear allowing an assault on Ukraine's territorial integrity to stand will invite challenges to the established international order and fuel already tense maritime territorial disputes that threaten stability in Asia.”

– Dem. leader on Select Committee on Benghazi: Stop the circus -
Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Joseph Crowley, D-New York, at a News Conference: “Instead of focusing on a hearing on immigration reform and getting a bill on the floor … House Republicans are now focused on the creation of a new select committee. To me, it's just outrageous and I hope they start to hear from their constituents and from the American people to stop the games and the circus and start to get things done.”

– Boehner on Benghazi committee: ‘This is not going to be a circus’ –
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, ON THE HOUSE FLOOR: “It was time for us to bring this together in one place and to focus our efforts. This is all about getting to the truth. It is not going to be a sideshow. It is not going to be a circus. This is a serious investigation.”

– McConnell: Senate Dems. trying to ‘muzzle’ us with climate change –
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “They’re completely out of ideas — and apparently they don’t want anybody to know that Republicans aren’t. So they’re attempting to muzzle us, at a time when Middle class Americans are in need of some relief … For the President and his political pals, it must feel like Mission Accomplished.”

– Could Simpson be gunning for a column in Cosmo? –
FORMER SEN. ALAN SIMPSON IN A JOINT INTERVIEW WITH HIS WIFE FOR NPR: “Then when you talk about (sex), you think, well there’s a couple of horny people. No, that’s not the point. It’s called intimacy. Scratch my back. Give me a hug. Just a hug. I’d say, ‘Ok.’ Just a touch, you know, a whack on the fanny in the kitchen.”

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

rolandsmartin ‏(@rolandsmartin)
Pres. @BarackObama: US Will Do Everything It Can To Help Nigeria Find Kidnapped Girls http://ow.ly/wAtL5 via... http://fb.me/6BxHYgQSF

Crystal Wright (‏@GOPBlackChick)
"If I had a daughter. . . Oh wait, I have two," hasn't said Obama on the 300 Nigerian school girls kidnapped. But if he had a son. Well.

West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport)
Politics taking backseat to President's visit to Arkansas; top GOP officials in Razorback state say they welcome/appreciate his visit

Shawna Thomas ‏(@ShawnaNBCNews)
POTUS has finished his aerial tour of some of the Arkansas tornado damage. Gov. Beebe, Sen. Pryor & Rep. Griffin were with him on M1.

lesley clark ‏(@lesleyclark)
In Israel, Susan Rice tells @netanyahu that US "remains convinced that lasting peace can only be secured through direct negotiations"

David M. Drucker ‏(@DavidMDrucker)
Resolution creating select #Benghazi cmte calls for a panel of 7 Rs & 5 Ds. Vote likely Thurs: http://washex.am/1fUfQYg h/t @susanferrechio

daveweigel ‏(@daveweigel)
Clyburn says Dems should reject Benghazi select committee unless they get equal # seats. "I'm not bringing a noose to my own hanging."http://slate.me/1fNVKP8

Megan Eckstein (‏@maeday22)
“this will be hopefully a very productive day and hopefully not a long day" says @BuckMcKeon. And so begins his last #HASC markup. #fy15ndaa

John Dingell (@john_dingell)
I suggest that the @HouseCommerce report on ACA #s be reviewed with the utmost of care & then immediately placed in the nearest wastebasket.

Jeff Flake (‏@JeffFlake)
Pig selfies are in. Especially at the @GovWaste Pig Book Press Conference pic.twitter.com/C7Lksq5NUf

Cindy Boren (‏@CindyBoren)
Kevin Durant's MVP speech pays tribute to his mom. Warning: this will make you weepy. http://wapo.st/1jA0eYY pic.twitter.com/SzhE652fc4

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

Given Rep. Trey Gowdy’s extensive background in law, it is only fitting that the names of his three family dogs are “Judge,” “Jury” and “Bailiff.”

Prior to his service in Congress, Gowdy was a 7th Circuit Solicitor, leading an office of 25 attorneys and 65 total employees, receiving statewide recognition in victim’s rights law, drug enforcement law and death penalty prosecutions. Before that, Gowdy worked as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney of South Carolina for six years.

He earned his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989 and was a member of their scholastic honor society “Order of the Wig and Robe.”

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Devon Horowitz (@devonhorowitz) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    LOL. The witch hunt is in full gear. So far, 206 GOPers/Teatrolls in the House have demanded one of the 7 seats on the Show-Trial Committee. Anyone arguing that their "conclusions" aren't already predetermined is a liar. You can't even say that with a straight face and believe your own words at this point. They've spent 6+ years literally persecuting everything Obama has said and done and are now expected by their base to lynch him. They can't NOT do so and expect to survive their next primary battle.

    May 7, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "The National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises money for House Republican candidates, published a blog on its website explaining the establishment of a select committee panel to investigate the Benghazi terror attack. In the same post, the NRCC also asks for contributions."

    Sooooo basically, TOO LATE...you can't put the turds back in the gerbil by removing the blog post and ceasing the attempt to fundraise off the Select Committee. You already squeezed the gerbil and he made a big poopoo on your Show-Trial Committee's credibility...wipe all you want...it's only going to smear.

    May 7, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "John Dingell (@john_dingell)
    I suggest that the @HouseCommerce report on ACA #s be reviewed with the utmost of care & then immediately placed in the nearest wastebasket."

    Indeed. It really ahs been their most blatant attempt to date to manufacture and fabricate "data" to try to attack the ACA and Obama....and all while they were hiding behind a smoke screen of loudly yelling that it was Obama who was "cooking the books." What better way to hide what you're doing than to accuse the other guy of doing it?

    There are insurance industry executives literally calling the GOP/Teatrolls' survey "rigged" and who will be testifying before Congress soon that the survey was biased, asked for the wrong data and asked for data in a manner that would quite obviously create a skewed and incorrect result. They only asked for who had paid their first premium up through April 15, 2014...when the deadline for 4 million people was really April 30, 2014. The CEOs of major insurance companies are reporting an excellent 85%-90% payment rate so far, but the GOP/Teatrolls are so desperate to undermine the 8M signups number that they just couldn't help but fabricate falsehoods and misinformation to poison the nation's understanding of what's actually going on. And of course, CNN and the rest of the MSM are helping them avoid any bad publicity for these flagrantly dishonest shenanigans.

    May 7, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    " It is not going to be a sideshow. It is not going to be a circus. This is a serious investigation.”"

    Filed under "if you have to say it out loud...."

    May 7, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Republicans avoided a major headache on Tuesday night when Thom Tillis, the North Carolina house speaker and establishment favorite, won the Republican Senate nomination outright, dodging a protracted summer runoff fight against a grassroots-backed opponent."

    What's interesting is that you couldn't slide a piece of paper between Tillis and his Teatroll opponent's agenda. The only reason they "avoided a headache' is because the MSM is pretending that the "establishment" GOP is somehow vastly different than the Teatrolls, when in reality the "establishment" GOP helped fund, encourage, organize, train and create Astroturf Frankenstein as their political cover for moving way way way further to the right than they've ever been. There's no "establishment" about it. This isn't your father's GOP. This isn't your father's father's GOP. This is the most radicalized right-wing extremist GOP we've seen in well over 5-6 decades. They are manufacturing the "GOP establishment v. Teatroll" narrative as their way of pivoting back to SEEMING or creating the APPEARANCE of having moderated their 6+ years of radicalized ideological temper tantrums, but the reality is that the people the MSM is calling "establishment" are just as radicalized and are just as willing to pander to the radicals as the radicals themselves. They are simply polished turds instead of messy ones. Make no mistake: the radicalization and massive rightward exodus is a "new normal" for the entirety of the conservative movement. There is no "establishment" left in terms of what was their traditional ideology and behavior throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries. There is simply radicals who are part of the party's power structure and radicals who aren't.

    May 7, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I cannot and will not raise money on Benghazi." Gowdy said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

    Translated: "However ... if you should feel it in your heart to contribute to my "others" campaign, please feel free to donate now.

    May 7, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    AND OF COURSE: CNN has completely ignored the testimony of major insurance industry CEOs, which took place this morning before the House, that has completely debunked the GOP/Teatrolls' nonsense about the 8M signups and disproven their demagoguery and claims that Obama was "cooking the books".

    May 7, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Tom l

    This is beyond fun. Ok Sniffit, tell me why this committee is bogus and predetermined whereas the committee with regards to Christie is legitimate. To fill all of the folks in, the Benghazi committee has 7 repubs and only 5 dems and has been vilified by Sniffit and Company for already having a verdict even before the investigation HOWEVA the committee for investigating Christie has 5 dems and only 3 repubs yet I haven't heard a word from the gang about that imbalance. This should be really fun to read this. I'm actually truly looking forward to this one. I can't wait to read the great Pontificator, Rudy.

    May 7, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |