CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for July 2, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
JUST IN ... U.S. TIGHTENING AVIATION SECURITY: The Obama administration is stepping up security for some flights headed to the United States, reflecting heightened concern that terrorists are developing more sophisticated explosives designed to avoid airport screening.
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WHITE HOUSE TO ISRAEL, PALESTINIANS: BE RESPONSIBLE ... White House spokesman Josh Earnest called on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take "all necessary steps to prevent an atmosphere of revenge and retribution.” At the top of his White House briefing Wednesday, Earnest read a statement condemning the killing of a Palestinian teen on Tuesday, which has triggered clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. It has further inflamed tensions that spiked this week with the discovery of the bodies of three Israeli teens.
"We do not want to see loss of innocent life or an escalation/destabilization at such a sensitive moment,” a senior administration official said when asked why the White House made the statement. The White House emphasized it is “encouraging” both sides to act responsibly and was careful to say the “investigation is ongoing.” – Michelle Kosinski and Jake Tapper
ROMNEY BACK IN N.H., OFFICIALLY ENDORSES PAL SCOTT BROWN ... When former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts began to seriously think about launching a campaign for the Senate in neighboring New Hampshire, "one of the first calls he made to talk about running was to Gov. Mitt Romney," a close adviser to Brown tells CNN. Wednesday, the two men talked again, as the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee officially endorsed Brown, the frontrunner among the Republican candidates hoping to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire this November. – Paul Steinhauser
MONEY TALK: WHITE HOUSE WOMEN LAG IN PAY BY 13% ...Male staffers at the White House on average earn a salary of $88,600 a year, compared to female staffers at $78,400. BUT: The White House said that's because more women work in junior positions and that men and women in similar roles earn equivalent salaries. Still, it pays well to work at the White House - better than the average American worker. The average salary there is $83,000 a year, according to data released by the White House. Compared to that, the median U.S. household annual income is $51,000. Most, or 70% of the White House's 456 staffers, earn more than that.
Gut Check Full Service: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed fifty years ago today, calls for all employers to provide male and female staffers equal pay for equal work.
RECORD TALK: WHO IS WORST PRESIDENT SINCE WWII? According to a new national poll, President Barack Obama tops the list of the worst presidents since World War II ... The survey, released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University, also indicates that a plurality of voters nationwide say in hindsight that the country would be better off if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 election. – Paul Steinhauser
WORST: 33% Obama, 28% George W. Bush, 13% Nixon. 8% Carter
BEST: 35% Ronald Reagan, 18% Bill Clinton, 15% John F. Kennedy at 15%, 8% Obama
THE BUZZ: TIM HOWARD TAKES OVER THE INTERNET ... U.S. soccer goalie Tim Howard became a national hero after the New Jersey native made a record 16 saves for the U.S. in its losing World Cup match against Belgium. Fervor for the soccer star poured into Web. Tributes included comparisons to Jesus, and a Wikipedia entry for defense secretary briefly flashed his picture. There was even a petition filed with the White House to change the name of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to “Tim Howard National Airport.”
MARKET WATCH: Dow and S&P 500 end at record highs. But with limited gain, Dow doesn't breach the 17,000 mark. NASDAQ ends lower.
To whom did President Johnson hand the first two pens used sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Benghazi suspect Abu Khatallah ordered held until trial
The suspected ringleader of the deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, will remain jailed until trial, a federal magistrate ruled on Wednesday. Ahmed Abu Khatallah appeared at a brief detention hearing in federal court in Washington where he's accused of providing material support to terrorists. – Evan Perez
Leading CNNMoney: Target to customers: No guns please
If you're heading to Target, leave your guns at home. That's the message the retailer "respectfully" sent to shoppers Wednesday. In a note posted online, interim CEO John Mulligan said that guns in stores create "an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create." – Ben Brody
Leading Los Angeles Times: Without even running, Hillary Clinton achieves an Iowa victory
Hillary Rodham Clinton has yet to announce her intentions regarding 2016, much less whether she would compete in Iowa, which traditionally votes first in the presidential campaign. But she can already claim a victory of sorts, as Iowa Democrats weigh changes in their balloting to address concerns Clinton raised in losing the state in 2008. Spurred in part by pressure from the party’s national leadership — which includes a number of Clinton allies — the Iowa party is considering ways to expand participation in its caucuses, which have been structured in ways that prevent many voters from taking part. – Mark Z. Barabak
Leading Daily Beast: ‘Guns in Bars’ Bill Kicks Off in Georgia
Fear and confusion reigned in Georgia as the state’s controversial gun law came into effect and bar owners admitted they didn’t know what to do. “Doing shots” in Georgia bars may have a whole new meaning when HB60 goes into effect Tuesday. The Safe Carry Protection Act, also known as the “guns everywhere bill,” broadly expands the places where Georgians can carry firearms to include municipal buildings, public libraries, schools, churches, unsecured areas of airports, and bars. – Patricia Murphy
Leading HuffPo: Here's Proof The Hobby Lobby Ruling Is A Slippery Slope
The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed that its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling.
Leading Politico: 'House of Cards' UN request denied
Russia just made a decision that most pay a heavy price for: The Kremlin said “no” to Frank Underwood. Russia denied a request by Netflix’s “House of Cards” producers to film two episodes of the hit show at the United Nations’ Security Council in New York, Foreign Policy reported Tuesday. According to emails obtained by the news organization, Russia wanted to keep the room available for any international crises that may arise during the filming. – Sarah Smith
Leading New York Times: Deadlock in Congress Appears to Worsen as Midterms Loom
With immigration legislation dead for the year, Congress has a very short must-do list as relations between the two parties, already miserable, seem to be getting worse in the buildup to the midterm elections. – Carl Hulse
The political bites of the day
- Father of slain Palestinian boy denounces killings on both sides –
HUSSEIN ABU KHDEIR IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE NEW YORK TIMES: “I am against kidnapping and killing ... Whether Jew or Arab, who would accept that his son or daughter would be kidnapped and killed? I call on both sides to stop the bloodshed.”
- Pryor hits back at Cotton for comments attacking his faith –
REP. TOM COTTON, R-ARKANSAS, TO LOCAL NEWS STATION KNWA TUESDAY: “Barack Obama and Mark Pryor think that faith is something that only happens at 11 o'clock on Sunday mornings ... That's when we worship, but faith is what we live every single day.”
SEN. MARK PRYOR IN A STATEMENT ON WEDNESDAY: “I'm disappointed in Congressman Cotton's deeply personal attack on me. ... He and I may disagree on issues, but for him to question my faith is out of bounds. From a young age, I have never shied away from talking about the importance of God in my life, and it's my Christian faith that gives me comfort and guidance to be a steady voice for Arkansas in the Senate."
- Yellen: No economy is safe -
FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR JANET YELLEN AT IMF HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON: “The global financial crisis and more recently, the Euro crisis, have reminded us that no economy is immune from financial instability, and the adverse effects on employment, economic activity, and price stability that financial crises cause.”
- Perry to Obama: Come to the border -
TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY ON FOX NEWS: “If he doesn’t come to the border, I think it’s a real reflection of his lack of concern of what’s really going on there ... If the President of the United States is really serious about securing that border, we can show him how to do that ... But I haven’t even had a phone call from this President.”
- Texas official: Rick Perry can now pass for “West Coast metrosexual” -
TEXAS LAND COMMISSIONER JERRY PATTERSON TO THE AUSTIN STATESMAN: “Tell Rick that boots can be purchased with normal heels ... I lament the fact that our governor could now pass for a West Coast metrosexual and has embarrassed us all with his sartorial change of direction.”
- N.C. Gov. on storm prep: Don’t put your ‘stupid-hat’ on -
GOV. PAT MCCRORY R- NORTH CAROLINA, AT A HURRICANE ARTHUR STORM PREP NEWS CONFERENCE: “I want to again reiterate: Don’t put your ‘stupid-hat’ on. Usually most injuries occur right before a storm or right after a storm. So especially in the coastal area we want to make sure people don’t try out the great waves right before the storm comes.”
- Earnest: U.S. probably won’t win World Cup for another 16 years –
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST TO REPORTERS: “It is not too hard to imagine that maybe in 2030, for example, there might be a U.S. Men’s National Soccer team that comes to the White House to celebrate an achievement of some kind.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Sarah Tuttle-Singer (@expatbarbie)
In #Israel and worried about being kidnapped? There is an app for that :( http://toi.sr/1qjcVup
Justin Barasky (@JustinBarasky)
This is a lie, niether have announced RT @BDayspring: So Scott Brown raised more than Gary Peters & Bruce Braley combined? Wow.
Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring)
.@JustinBarasky relax justin, take a breath. I added their last quarter together. I understand why Brown's haul has you upset though.
Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN)
Who says electoral politics has become nothing more than petty back-and-forths? Oh wait... https://twitter.com/JustinBarasky/status/484347692596731905 …
Herman Cain (@THEHermanCain)
A lot has changed at Burger King since I was part of the management team there: BK introduces 'Gay Pride Whopper'http://bit.ly/1o1MfJW
Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore)
Striking stat: There are 56 million single women of voting age and rising–compared to 25 million Hispanics, the bloc everyone talks about.
Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton)
Stopped by @HudsonBooks at JFK before my flight to London. We're taking the #HardChoices book tour across the pond!
Gordon Block (@itsgblock)
Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel tells #USA keeper Tim Howard that "with some training," he too could be Def. Sec. #WorldCup
John Dingell (@john_dingell)
50 yrs ago, I stood with LBJ as he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, THE most important vote of my career. Watch:youtu.be/sQsVVYpY6pI?t=…
John Lewis (@repjohnlewis)
If the Civil Rights Act was before the Congress today, it would not pass, it would probably never make it to the floor for a vote.
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. Despite much Senate opposition to the bill, a bipartisan pair of lawmakers worked to make sure the legislation made it to his desk.
Republican Minority Leader Everett M. Dirksen of Illinois and Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey were awarded the first and second pens used to sign the bill for their efforts in getting the law passed through Congress.
Watch the TV broadcast of the bill signing fifty years ago here.
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