CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for May 14, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BILL CLINTON DEFENDS WIFE OVER ROVE’S COMMENTS … Although Bill and Hillary Clinton were reportedly furious over Karl Rove’s suggestion that Hillary Clinton has ‘brain damage’ from a 2012 blood clot, Bill Clinton dismissed the comments Wednesday at an event in D.C. “First they say she faked her concussion and now they say she’s auditioning for a part on the Walking Dead,” theformer President said at Peter G. Peterson Foundation Fiscal Summit. Clinton assured the audience that his wife is “strong” and even went on to defend her for never “low-balling” the American people by pretending the injury didn’t happen. He brushed off Republican attacks in general saying, “They’ll get better and better at it. I am still waiting for them to admit there was nothing to Whitewater. It is just part of the deal.”
ON BENGHAZI … Bill Clinton went even further to defend his wife saying she, “did what should have been done” at the time by empaneling a high-level review committee, and asserted that secretaries of State, for better or worse, “never were involved” in security decisions. Clinton also noted that “most Americans don’t even know how many American diplomatic personnel were killed when President Bush was president.”
OVERLOOKED: HOW DOES BILL CLINTON HANDLE COMPETITION? HE KILLS ‘EM WITH KINDNESS …Washington Post’s John Wagner reports: Speaking at an event Tuesday night the former president went out of his way to praise Maryland Governor and potential 2016 Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley’s leadership during his two terms in the Annapolis statehouse. Clinton said he has “enormous affection” for Brown, the state’s lieutenant governor, but was supporting Brown’s campaign because of his admiration for O’Malley, as well. “I think it’s important, when people have got a deal that’s working, to build on it and not reverse it,” Clinton told the 700 people in attendance. “I think Martin O’Malley has done a great job.”
ON THE REPUBLICAN TICKET, BRIDGEGATE WON’T STOP CHRISTIE: Asked by CBS’ Bob Schieffer at Tuesday’s fiscal summit event if he was still thinking about running for president and when he would make a decision, Chris Christie said, “yes and later.” The New Jersey governor also said that he doesn’t believe the Bridgegate controversy will have any effect on his political future because he “didn’t do” anything. “I think this will be a footnote,” Christie said.
DEVELOPING MEDIA NEWS … TOP EDITOR AT THE NEW YORK TIMES IS LEAVING … In a move that stunned the media world, the New York Times announced Wednesday that it was replacing executive editor Jill Abramson with her No. 2 in the newsroom, Dean Baquet. Baquet, who has been Abramson's deputy since 2011, will become executive editor immediately. Abramson was named executive editor only about three years ago. According to prepared remarks provided by a spokeswoman for the company, New York Times (NYT) publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. told employees at a staff meeting that he chose a new editor "because I believe that new leadership will improve some aspects of the management of the newsroom." – Brian Stelter
THE BUZZ: SNEAK PEEK INTO 9/11 MEMORIAL MUSEUM … The National September 11 Memorial Museum officially opens on May 21, but the President and first lady will take a tour on Thursday. CNN's Jake Tapper got a preview of the building that is built almost entirely underground, in the footprint of the World Trade Center. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Chairman of the memorial, gave Tapper a personal tour. “We can't bring the people back but to the extent you can be respectful of those we lost,” Bloomberg told Tapper. “I think that's our obligation.” Bloomberg, who was running for NYC mayor at the time, says he wants families to say that the memorial will be a place to grieve.
MARKETWATCH: U.S. stocks retreat from record highs to end lower. Dow falls 101 points. S&P 500 drops 0.5%. NASDAQ slips 0.7%.
Which of the following states has elected a woman to serve in Congress? Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Vermont
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Hillary Clinton walks tightrope on Iran, defends State record
Hillary Clinton's speech on Wednesday to the American Jewish Committee was a tightrope act where the former first lady offered a vocal defense of her dealings with Iran as secretary of state while also expressing skepticism about current negotiations on the country's nuclear program. One the one hand, Clinton used her remarks to defend her overall record as secretary of state. She called the process of "making policies at the highest levels" a "balancing act with an endless set of tough calls" where "there are always choices we later regret, consequences we do not see, alternative paths we wish we had taken." – Dan Merica
Leading Drudge: France Warns: 500 Days Left To Save Climate
Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed French foreign minister Laurent Fabius to the State Department in Washington on Tuesday to discuss a range of issues, from Iran to Syria to climate change. Or, in the words of the foreign minister, "climate chaos." Kerry and Fabius made a joint appearance before their meeting, and the foreign minister warned that only 500 days remained to avoid "climate chaos"[emphasis added]: – Jeryl Bier
Leading HuffPo: Another Federal Judge Trolls Scalia While Striking Down Gay Marriage Ban
A federal judge in Idaho on Tuesday joined the growing list of jurists who have embraced the words of Supreme Court marriage equality opponent Justice Antonin Scalia while striking down a state ban on same-sex marriage. In declaring Idaho's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale name-checked Scalia's dissent in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down an anti-sodomy law. – Ryan Reilly
Leading Politico: As Clinton waits, O'Malley moves
Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley is so serious about laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential bid, he’s even talked to the elephant in the room: Hillary Clinton. O’Malley told political allies at a closed-door meeting in mid-April that he called Clinton, who told him he should do what he needs to do. For him, that includes visiting early primary states, campaigning and fundraising for fellow Democrats, and growing his political network. – Anna Palmer
Leading New York Times: Girding for a Fight, McConnell Enlists His Wife
The former labor secretary Elaine Chao will be more crucial than ever as Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, turns to face a well-funded female candidate in Kentucky. – Jason Horowitz
The political bites of the day
– Schumer: Steve King calls the shots on immigration –
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NEW YORK, ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “If immigration reform is not passed during this window republicans will have to admit that Steve King controls the Republican Party platform on immigration. If nothing happens during this window it is clear that this has occurred because Steve King calls the shots and he has won the immigration debate in the House among the House Republicans. Whatever your supposed excuse for inaction, inaction is consent to Steve King’s point of view. Where are the leaders in the House, in the Republican Party, to stand up to Steve King and the far right and say `enough is enough?’”
Hey Senator, what about this guy?
– Tea party leader argues FOR immigration reform –
TEA PARTY EXPRESS CO-FOUNDER SAL RUSSO IN A ROLL CALL OP-ED: “Congress must pass legislation that will fix our broken system. We have the strongest economy in the world, the most innovative businesses and a history replete with examples of how legal immigration has made us stronger. Conservatives need to seize on immigration reform as an opportunity for growth, to reaffirm who we are and what makes our country great.”
– Jindal: Clintons ‘on to something’ with health care … 20 years ago –
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, R-LOUISIANA, IN A POLITICO MAGAZINE OP-ED: “The left continues to argue that the next new program, the next new bureaucracy or the next new tweak to Medicare’s more than 7,000 reimbursement codes will finally provide the magic elixir needed to fix all that’s wrong with the U.S. health care system. But none has worked. In health care, as in many things, the Clintons were the future—once. But after 20 years of false hope and undelivered promises, their vision, as eventually implemented in Obamacare, looks more dystopian than utopian. With apologies to Lincoln Steffens, we have seen the past, and it didn’t work—then or now.”
– Kirk: ‘Squeeze Russia as we did Iran’ –
Sen. Mark Kirk IN A CHICAGO SUN-TIMES OP-ED: ”Vladimir Putin’s goal is to re-create the Soviet empire and to prevent a Europe whole, free and at peace. While Republicans and Democrats disagree about how weak Obama is on Ukraine, both parties agree that the Iran sanctions were effective in bringing both sides to the table.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Mark Knoller (@markknoller)
Urging Congress to act on $302-billion highway bill, Pres Obama says "infrastructure shouldn't be a partisan issue."
Dave Boyer (@DaveBoyer)
RNC's Priebus hits Obama's record on "shovel-ready" road projects, urges him to "get moving" instead on Keystone pipeline.
Jon Ward (@jonward11)
Clinton advises Dems in midterms to talk about benefits of ACA, acknowledge problems, & says "a long term repair process" is needed for law
Jon-Christopher Bua (@JCBua)
@PressSec On @billclinton ACA comments-We share many of his perspectives on moving this important opportunity forward pic.twitter.com/Vel9OvLAQV
Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker)
Bill Clinton stars in ad for the in-law, Margolies, running for House in PA. Hillary to Philly Thurs to raise $$. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFV7fJoYrRU&feature=youtu.be …
Ben White (@morningmoneyben)
I am increasingly convinced that @billclinton's ability to riff at great length on any conceivable topic means he is from another planet
Paul Kane (@pkcapitol)
West Virginia will elect a female senator in November, no matter what. That's kinda a big deal. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/05/13/how-two-women-are-chasing-history-in-the-west-virginia-senate-race/ … Via @costareports
Tarini Parti (@tparti)
Sasse's win gives conservative groups a victory in a year that's not looking too promising for tea party. My story http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/2014-primary-results-ben-sasse-nebraska-gop-106660.html…
Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT)
Chocola re: Sasse: “The story line will be ‘Tea Party is resurgent’ until we lose the next one, and then we’re irrelevant" #hoosierwry
Jessica Hsiang Ng (@JessicaNg49)
Another big endorsement comes in for @neelkashkari today from Condoleezza Rice. READ: http://www.neelkashkari.com/former-secretary-state-condoleezza-rice-endorses-neel-kashkari-governor/…
Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid)
The bipartisan energy efficiency bill is being filibustered by some of its very own Republican co-sponsors! Mind-boggling obstruction.
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Idaho has sent two women to Congress, Rep. Gracie Pfost from 1953 to 1963 and Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage, from 1995 to 2001. Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, and Vermont have never sent a woman to either the U.S. Senate or U.S. House.
While the 113th Congress has the highest percentage of women elected-to-date, 24 states have still never sent a female to represent them in the Senate.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Robert DuPree (@RFDuPree) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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