CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for July 23, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
ON CNN… BLOOMBERG SAYS FLIGHT BAN REWARDS HAMAS … Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a combative interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in Israel, said he was there “to show support for Israel's right to defend itself" and to underscore, in his opinion, that U.S. flight restrictions there are a mistake that only helps Hamas.
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U.S. EXTENDS FLIGHT BAN … The United States extended its ban on flights to and from Tel Aviv for another 24 hours. The prohibition, first imposed Tuesday after a rocket attack there, now runs through 12:15 p.m. ET Thursday. Separately, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders while several Mideast nations worked to try to win agreement for an Egyptian-led cease-fire.- By Ben Brumfield Ian Lee and Josh Levs.
POTUS POLL NUMBER … NOT GREAT, BUT STEADY: A new CNN/ORC International survey indicates public opinion of President Barack Obama has barely budged following challenges he has faced this year. According to the survey released Wednesday, his approval rating stands at 42%. That's not great, but it's basically unchanged since March. – Paul Steinhauser
A SILVER LINING FOR THE WHITE HOUSE? MAJORITY SAYS OBAMACARE IS WORKING … More than half the public says Obamacare has helped either their families or others across the country. Although less than one in five Americans say they have personally benefited from the health care law, according to the CNN/ORC International survey
U.N. SAYS HAMAS AND ISRAEL MAY BE GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES … "There seems to be a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday.
STARTLING STATISTIC: The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said a child was killed in Gaza every hour on Monday and Tuesday.
DUTCH HONOR FLIGHT 17 VICTIMS … In a ceremony rich with martial symbolism - from saluting soldiers to the haunting tune used to send war dead to their rest - 40 bodies in simple wooden caskets were solemnly unloaded from two military planes. Soldiers then walked them to waiting hearses and lowered them inside before rendering a final salute. – Michael Pearson and Holly Yan
WORRIES THAT RUSSIAN TROOPS MOVE CLOSER TO BORDER: Some of the 12,000 to 15,000 Russian troop near the eastern Ukraine border have broken up into smaller groups and moved within five miles or less of the border, some are even positioned right at the border, according to two U.S. officials.– Barbara Starr
QUOTE OF THE DAY … GRAHAM: I WANT THEM TO FEEL PAIN… “I want the Russian people to feel pain, in response to the pain they’ve caused,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN’s Carol Costello. “I want to put sanctions on their economy so they understand that what Putin’s doing is not good for them long term, and the way to get to Putin is to basically make the Russian people pay a price for supporting this guy. They’re part of the problem as far as I’m concerned.”
Gut Check Full Service: Acknowledging global unrest, Obama forges ahead with fundraising swing … As President Barack Obama helped Democrats bank millions in campaign cash, he acknowledged his administration is confronting "some big overseas challenges" in the Middle East, Ukraine and elsewhere.– Kevin Liptak
WHITE HOUSE PRESS TEAM RELOADED … Eric Schultz is the new top deputy to White House spokesman Josh Earnest … Jen Friedman, Frank Benenati, and Brandi Hoffine also are moving into new press secretary roles.– Becky Brittain
OUTSIDER GETS THE GRITS … Businessman David Perdue won Tuesday's Republican Senate primary runoff in Georgia, narrowly edging Rep. Jack Kingston to face off in the general election against Democrat Michelle Nunn in the battle to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Perdue, a former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, ran as a political outsider against Kingston, an 11-term congressman. – Paul Steinhauser
Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN)
Nunn=Obama and Perdue=Romney: The attacks are underway in the pivotal battle for an open U.S. Senate seat in Georgia http://cnn.it/1pHey2A
THE BUZZ: JOHN WALSH PLAGIARIZED ARMY WAR COLLEGE THESIS … Jonathan Martin reports for the New York Times: An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution. In an interview outside his Capitol Hill office on Tuesday, after he was presented with multiple examples of identical passages from his paper and the Carnegie and Harvard essays, Mr. Walsh said he did not believe he had done anything wrong. “I didn’t do anything intentional here,” he said, adding that he did not recall using the Carnegie and Harvard sources. – Jonathan Martin
MARKET WATCH: S&P 500 ends at a record high on a mixed day for stocks. Dow dips 25 points, but NASDAQ rises 0.4%.
Which president had the lowest monthly Gallup job approval rating since World War II?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Oregonians to vote to legalize recreational marijuana
A citizen-led petition to place legalization of recreational marijuana on the November ballot in Oregon obtained enough signatures, making the Beaver State the next place pot could be legally sold, bought and consumed. More than 88,500 people signed the petition, enough to place the initiative before voters on November 4. – Leigh Ann Caldwell
Leading CNNMoney: Dark Mail: E-mail that hides from the NSA
You can run from NSA surveillance - but you can't hide. One way or another, the U.S. government will be able to snoop on your personal conversations. But there's one tool that could make it much more difficult for the NSA to spy on you. Meet Dark Mail, your personal black box for email. Like Google's (GOOGL, Tech30) Gmail and other email services with robust security tools, Dark Mail encrypts email content, shielding it from government spies. – Jose Pagliery
Leading HuffPo: Friendly Fire
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) spent Tuesday fending off a legal attack from his allies. Two years ago, Jindal visited a charter school operated by the Choice Foundation, a nonprofit organization that manages a chain of charter schools in Louisiana. Jindal was there to announce his support for the Common Core State Standards. As Jim Swanson, chair of the Choice Foundation schools, remembers it, Jindal praised the package of learning benchmarks as state-of-the-art. – Joy Resmovits
Leading Drudge: Hollywood’s Most Horrible Summer
Domestic box office is down 20 percent in the U.S. as "Sex Tape" goes limp and, for the first time since 2001, no film crosses $300 million. Laments one studio executive, “I wish I worked at Netflix.” – Hollywood Reporter’s Pamela McClintock
Leading Politico: What if Mitch McConnell loses?
It’s a taboo subject among Senate Republicans but one that’s on many senators’ minds: What if Mitch McConnell loses his reelection bid? There appears to be no clear answer to that question, at least not right now.- Manu Raju and John Brsnahan
The political bites of the day
- White House revises contraception opt out, says it’s legally sound -
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TO CNN: "In light of the Supreme Court order regarding Wheaton College, the departments intend to augment their regulations to provide an alternative way for objecting nonprofit religious organizations to provide notification, while ensuring that enrollees in plans of such organizations receive separate coverage of contraceptive services without cost sharing … the administration believes the accommodation is legally sound."
- Oversight Committee still divided in new IRS hearing -
HOUSE OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN JIM JORDAN TO IRS COMMISSIONER JOHN KOSKINEN AT A HEARING: “My theory is this, Mr. Koskinen, you guys weren't ever going to tell us until we caught you.”
HOUSE OVERSIGHT RANKING MEMBER ELIJAH CUMMINGS TO KOSKINEN: “You know, I've been sitting here listening to some questions that the chairman asked you, and I got convinced that you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.”
- Manchin: What my daughter did should be illegal -
JOE MANCHIN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NATIONAL JOURNAL DEFENDING HIS DAUGHTER’S DECISION TO MOVE HER COMPANY’S RESIDENCE OVERSEAS TO AVOID PAYING FEDERAL TAXES: “I'm listening that hopefully Ron Wyden, the Oregon senator who replaced (Max) Baucus as Finance Committee chair, and his group can come to a reasonable solution. And if they come to a solution, and they say that inversions are wrong for our country, they're illegal and we're going to go back and repeal every one, every inversion for the last five years, Hallelujah!”
- Boehner on Obama’s $3.7B border crisis aid request: How ‘bout half? –
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER AT A GOP WEEKLY BRIEFING: “Hal Rogers, chair of the Appropriations Committee, looked at what it would take to fund the President's request through the balance of this calendar year. And he's got a plan that pares down what the President's request is to about $1.5 billion.”
- Rubio decries ‘intolerance’ against same-sex marriage opponents -
MARCO RUBIO IN A SPEECH AT CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: “Supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay. It's pro-traditional marriage … And if support for traditional marriage is bigotry, then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before the 2012 election.”
- Cruz slams HBO, says he’s ok with losing the ‘vampire vote’ -
TED CRUZ ON HIS FACEBOOK PAGE: “Of all the places I never thought to be mentioned, HBO's True Blood vampire show would have to be near the top of the list. Sunday night, they aired a misogynist and profanity-ridden episode where Texas Republicans are murdered attending a ‘Ted Cruz fundraiser.’ Well, I'm sorry to have lost the vampire vote, but am astonished (and amused) that HBO is suggesting that hard-core leftists are blood-sucking fiends....”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael)
30,000 attend Jerusalem funeral of lone, US-born soldier http://dlvr.it/6Pf46H
Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit)
Flight bans are for the little people. MT @markknoller State Dept says FAA ban on flights to Tel Aviv didn't apply to @johnkerry.
Brian Walsh (@brianjameswalsh)
The fact that both the DSCC & Harry Reid's Majority PAC are now spending heavily in Iowa shows how worried the Dems are about @joniernst.
Justin Barasky (@JustinBarasky)
Folks, dem groups spending $$$ in Iowa when GOP groups are spending $$$ in Iowa is not a sign of concern. it's called responding in kind.
Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs)
Texas Gov Rick Perry, booked to be in Iowa already for Aug 9 Christian summit, will speak at Story Co GOP dinner Aug 11, per @Dane_Nealson.
Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP)
To recap, pretty much everyone whose 2012 prez campaign imploded is talking about running again - Perry, Cain, Bachmann, Huntsman
Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN)
Clinton, Sotomayor and Castro to attend Friday event together – http://cnn.it/1nraC7g
Victoria McGrane (@vgmac)
Barney Frank (as @CheyHopkins points out) will be testifying today while looking at his own portrait https://twitter.com/vgmac/status/491944513662107651
Nathan Hager (@nhagerwnew)
The missing hyphen is key here. @AP: Dutch military plane carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash lands in Eindhoven.
The Associated Press (@AP)
CLARIFIES: Dutch military plane carrying Malaysia Airlines bodies lands in Eindhoven.
Bill Clinton (@billclinton)
Happy retirement to my friend and tireless advocate for peace Shimon Peres. Thank you for your leadership and service.
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
President Harry Truman doesn’t just hold the record for overall lowest average presidential approval rating since WWII, he also holds the record for the lowest monthly rating ever. In February 1952, at the height of the Korean War, Truman received a dismal 22% approval rating. Richard Nixon received the second lowest all-time monthly record during July and August 1974 at 24% just prior to his resignation over Watergate.
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Congrats to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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