CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 16, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
UNLIKLEY ALLY: COULD THE U.S. WORK WITH IRAN IN IRAQ? The United States could end up cooperating with Iran to stop militant gains in Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested Monday in an interview with Yahoo!News. But Kerry didn't indicate that cooperation with Iran is under active discussion inside the administration.
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"Let's see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements," Kerry said, adding that he "wouldn't rule out anything that would be constructive to providing real stability." – Holly Yan
WHAT WILL OBAMA DO? President Barack Obama has a "fundamental" set of options for a military response to the crisis in Iraq, a White House official told CNN Monday. The options could be tweaked or changed somewhat, the official stressed. Obama’s entire national security team spent much of the weekend urgently preparing options for potential military action against the militant group ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, senior administration officials said. Obama will review those options with national security officials Monday evening, incoming press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. – Jim Acosta
WHITE HOUSE BACKS IRS EXPLANATION FOR DISAPPEARING LERNER EMAILS ... A top White House official blamed a computer crash for the disappearance of emails from embattled former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner, echoing the explanation the agency gave Congress last week for the two years' worth of missing subpoenaed correspondence.
"I think it's entirely reasonable. And it's fact," incoming White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One Monday. "You've never heard of a computer crashing before?" he asked. After the IRS informed Congress of the missing emails last Friday, Republican lawmakers have accused the White House of a cover-up. – Jim Acosta
ISSA: ‘IT’S JUST NOT BELIEVABLE’: “You know, it’s just not believable,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, told CBS Monday. “We have enough evidence of her wrongdoing that we want to review every email that she has sent or received ... This is not about what you turn over. It is all about what you don’t turn over.”
CNN/ORC POLL: CLINTON TOPS OBAMA ON EVERY ISSUE ... If Hillary Clinton is elected president in 2016, most Americans say they think she will do a good job handling crucial domestic and international issues, according to a new national poll. And the CNN/ORC International survey released Monday also indicates that the former secretary of state scores much higher than President Barack Obama on every issue tested.
… AND MOST AMERICANS CONSIDER HER A LOCK FOR 2016: Just how inevitable is a Hillary Clinton victory in 2016? More than three-quarters of all Americans predict that Clinton will win the Democratic nomination if she runs for the White House, and two-thirds say she is likely to be the next president if she is the party's standard-bearer in 2016, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll.
Gut Check Full Service: Clinton gives hope to both sides of Keystone debate
THE BUZZ: WHAT CLINTON SAYS, CLINTON MEMES ... As recently as 2011, Hillary Clinton was seen by many as a respected but polarizing figure: Smart and accomplished, sure, but controlled and somewhat humorless. In the infamous faint praise of her rival-turned-boss Barack Obama, she was "likable enough."
Three years later, she seems somehow hipper, looser and more ... human. As we inch toward the 2016 election, she's presented a new online persona.
But while Clinton has embraced social media, it hasn't always loved her back, as seen most recently on her current book tour. The Internet has used every opportunity to turn her words and actions into memes, not all of them flattering. – Brandon Griggs
What do you want to ask Hillary Clinton? Send your questions here and CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour might ask it during CNN's town hall meeting with Clinton at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday at the Newseum in Washington.
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks finish little changed. Dow gains 6 points, NASDAQ adds 0.2% and S&P 500 edges up 0.1%.
Who was the first House member to be elected by a write-in vote?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Biden heading to Central America to address flood of immigrant kids
Vice President Joe Biden will visit Guatemala this week to discuss a recent rash of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. Southern border from three Central American nations. Senior administration officials said Biden would meet with Guatemala’s president along with the president of El Salvador and a senior official within Honduras’ government to broach the matter of young children being sent to the United States as a way to flee unrest in those three nations. – Kevin Liptak
Leading CNNMoney:Public Wi-Fi, based in your home
If you're a Comcast cable customer, your home's private Wi-Fi router is being turned into a public hotspot. It's potentially creepy and annoying. But the upside is Internet everywhere. – Jose Pagliery
Leading Tampa Bay Times: Rick Scott signs 'Charlotte's Web' medical pot bill
As promised, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that legalizes the use of a non-euphoric strain of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions like childhood epilepsy. He signed Senate Bill 1030, which approves the medication, and SB 1700, which protects the identifies of the patients who use it, today.
Leading Drudge: Iraq Turns To Iran For Help
Iran has sent 2,000 advance troops to Iraq in the past 48 hours to help tackle a jihadist insurgency, a senior Iraqi official has told the Guardian. The confirmation comes as the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, said Iran was ready to support Iraq from the mortal threat fast spreading through the country, while the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, called on citizens to take up arms in their country's defence. – The Guardian’s Martin Chulov
Leading HuffPo: Winning The Battle, Losing The War
GOP officials and strategists say it's hard to persuade party leaders to adjust the political recipe when they feel increasingly upbeat about adding Senate control to their solid House majority this fall. This optimism, numerous GOP strategists say, makes looking past the party's loss of the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections easy. – AP’s Nicholas Riccardi and Charles Babbington
Leading Politico: Hobby Lobby aims for Obamacare win, Christian nation
The evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby made a fortune selling crafts supplies and made headlines fighting government-mandated birth control coverage. They’re also using their billions to sell the American public on the literal truth of scripture — through a public-school Bible curriculum, a huge museum around the corner from the Smithsonian and public forums on the faith of the founding fathers. – Hobby Lobby
Leading New York Times: Population Shifts Turning All Politics National
In both states (Mississippi and Virginia), the growth fueled by a migration of newcomers from other parts of the country and even abroad is bringing nationalized politics to races further down the ballot. It was these new arrivals, more than any other voters, who most crucially rejected two influential Republican incumbents — the House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, and Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi — in primaries this month, upending long-held assumptions about the appeal of traditional levers of power. – Ashley Parker and Jonathan Martin
The political bites of the day
– Kerry: Iraq air strikes on the table –
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH YAHOO! NEWS: Air strikes “are not the whole answer, but they may very well be one of the options that are important to be able to stem the tide and stop the movement of people who are moving around in open convoys and trucks and terrorizing people.”
– Inhofe: ‘I think we need to do some air strikes’ –
SEN. JIM INHOFE, R-OKLAHOMA, TO CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “I understand we do have some Tomahawks in the Persian Gulf. They can hit anything in Iraq if it becomes necessary. I think we need to do some air strikes. The main thing is to offer them the support of having the intelligence and then the equipment that they need to have. We just walked away from it.”
– Chamber touts Cochran as ‘supportive, dependable, one of us’–
NARRATOR IN A NEW CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AD SUPPORTING THAD COCHRAN: “He’s respected. A tested leader fighting for Mississippi, bringing honor and dignity to our state. Thad Cochran, conservative, dependable, one of us ... Thad Cochran, he’ll keep Mississippi proud.”
– Perry on whether therapy can “cure” homosexuality –
TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY ON CNBC: “I don’t know ... The fact is, we’ll leave that to the psychologists and the doctors.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier)
If #IRS can't find Lois Lerner's email, let a special prosecutor find 'em http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/did-the-irs-really-lose-lois-lerner-s-emails-let-a-special-prosecutor-find-them-20140613 …
Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty)
Has anyone has thought of asking the NSA if they have copies of Lois Lerner's emails?
Sam Stein (@samsteinhp)
Have not seen one GOP statement in opposition to Obama's ENDA executive order news. Am i missing something here?
Manu Raju (@mkraju)
Merkley one of few at-risk Dems trumpeting WH's ENDA executive order, holding a call this afternoon highlighting his push for Obama to act
Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert)
Why Isn't Chris Christie Derided For Being "Testy"? (And Press Wonders Why Hillary Gets Annoyed At The Press); http://bit.ly/1owjnzM #mmfa
Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN)
.@EricBoehlert – Christie described as testy here (http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2012/02/23/christie-i-stand-with-obama-on-gay-marriage.html …) and here (http://politicalwire.com/archives/2013/02/07/christie_gets_testy_about_his_weight.html …)
John Boehner (@johnboehner)
Good luck to the #USMNT today against Ghana. #WorldCup #USA
Deirdre Walsh (@deirdrewalshcnn)
Harry Reid seems excited about the USA-Ghana game – now on Senate floor talking #WorldCup and Team USA
Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap)
Crushed to hear the news that the great Tony Gwynn has died. The kindest superstar I've been around.
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Thomas Alford, D-Arkansas, was the first House representative to win a general election by write-in votes on November 4, 1958. Alford defeated eight-term Rep. Brooks Hays for the seat and served for two terms from 1959 to 1963.
Alford started his write-in campaign eight days before Arkansas’ general election in 1958. Prior to his time in Congress, he served on the Little Rock School Board during the school desegregation crisis.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to DJ Sigworth (@djsigworth) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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