CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for July 29, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
OBAMA: NOT A NEW COLD WAR … Stepped-up sanctions against Russia are not part of a new Cold War, President Barack Obama said. "What it is, is a very specific issue related to Russia's unwillingness to recognize that Ukraine can chart its own path," Obama said. New U.S. sanctions announced by Obama will target three Moscow-based banks. – Laura Smith-Spark and Nick Paton Walsh
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EUROPE SLAPS NEW SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA …The European Union agreed to up economic pressure on Russia over Ukraine with tougher sanctions. They block new arms contracts, prohibit the export of European goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes, and limit the export of energy-related equipment.
ROBERT MCDONALD CONFIRMED AS VA SECRETARY … The Senate unanimously confirmed Robert McDonald, a former corporate CEO and an ex-Army officer, as the next Veterans Affairs secretary. He replaces Eric Shinseki, who resigned in May amid an unfolding scandal at VA medical facilities. The vote was 97 to 0.
MIDEAST CEASE-FIRE ELUSIVE … Hamas made it clear a cease-fire with Israel may be more remote than ever. On Hamas-run TV, the group's military wing said "there is no middle ground" regarding a truce until Israel ends its "aggression" and "siege" of Gaza. Hours earlier, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a cease-fire is up to Hamas. – Josh Levs, Ashley Fantz, Jethro Mullen and Karl Penhaul
BOEHNER FLATLY DENIES GOP PLANS TO IMPEACH OBAMA … House Speaker John Boehner flatly denied Tuesday that congressional Republicans are moving to impeach President Barack Obama, blasting talk about it as "a scam started by Democrats at the White House." – Deirdre Walsh.
Deirdre Walsh (@deirdrewalshcnn)
NRCC chair Walden echoes Boehner "very clear impeachment not on table" says its WH/DCCC scam, says talking abt only helps Ds raise money
2016 WATCH: PERRY TAKES BORDER PUSH TO NEW HAMPSHIRE … In a move with midterm and 2016 implications, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will weigh in Tuesday on the Senate campaign in New Hampshire. He’ll team up with N.H. GOP Chair Jennifer Horn to criticize Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and President Barack Obama over the southern border crisis. – Paul Steinhauser
… PAUL TAKES WHITE HOUSE PUSH TO THE PRINTING PRESS: In another sign that Sen. Rand Paul is taking steps toward a presidential campaign, the Kentucky Republican will come out with a new book early next year, the Courier-Journal in Louisville reported. That's about the same time frame Paul has said he'll make a decision about a White House bid. – Ashley Killough
COURTROOM DRAMA: MCDONNELL’S CRUSH DEFENSE … A bombshell at the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife: Their marriage is and has been “broken” for some time, and Maureen McDonnell had a “crush” on Jonnie Williams, the businessman at the center of the gift-giving scandal, according to Mrs. McDonnell’s defense team. – Virginian Pilot’s Joanne Kimberlin
Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig)
McDonnell defense has House of Cards intrigue but is crafty too: If wife had crush on bizman, can't prove Gov and wife conspired to get bribes
THE BUZZ: 9 MONTHS LATER, POST-SHUTDOWN BABY BOOM IN DC? … According to some local hospitals, one apparent aftereffect of the 16-day October furlough has made its way into maternity wards. At Sibley, for example, an average of 9.2 births occur daily. During the past month, that number has increased by three births, or 32.6 percent, per day. – Washington Post’s Jessica Contrera
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end mostly lower. Dow edges down 67 points. S&P 500 sags 0.4%. NASDAQ drops slightly.
Which is the oldest capital city in the United States?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Is foreign policy a liability for Hillary Clinton?
Presidential candidates often lack experience in one critical area: foreign policy. But should she run for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton would have more experience on that front than other hopefuls. – Leigh Ann Caldwell
Leading CNNMoney: 1 in 3 U.S. adults have 'debt in collections'
An estimated 1 in 3 adults with a credit history - or 77 million people - are so far behind on some of their debt payments that their account has been put "in collections." That's a key finding from a new Urban Institute study. – Jeanne Sahadi
Leading HuffPo: Deadlocked: Grimes, McConnell Race Is Up For Grabs
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is nearly deadlocked with Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, according to a new Bluegrass Poll sponsored by several Kentucky media outlets. The poll gives McConnell 47 percent to Grimes' 45 percent among likely voters - a difference that falls within the survey's margin of error. One quarter of voters said they might change their minds before Election Day. – Ariel Edwards-Levy
Leading Drudge: Tunneling Terror Into Israel
Tunnels have lurked in the dark spaces of Israeli imagination at least since 2006, when Hamas, the militant Islamic movement that dominates Gaza, used one to abduct an Israeli soldier.- New York Times’ Jodi Rudoren
Leading Politico: Obama immigration moves could be unstoppable
Even if President Barack Obama tests the bounds of his presidential power with the big, unilateral moves he’s promising on immigration, there may be no way to stop him. Lawyers are debating the legality of a series of immigration-related executive actions the White House is reportedly considering, but there’s broad agreement suing the president isn’t likely to work. – Josh Gerstein
Leading New York Times: Spending Big to Fight Big Donors in Campaigns
An unlikely alliance of liberal intellectuals, big donors and Republican strategists has hit on a solution to the influence of big money in politics: even more money. – Nick Confessore
The political bites of the day
- Kerry: I’ve taken hits in politics, it’s not about me... -
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY ON AN ELUSIVE MIDEAST CEASE-FIRE: “Now look, I’ve taken hits before in politics. I’m not worried about that. This is not about me. This isn’t about Israel and Israel’s right to defend itself, and our strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself, but about whether or not there is a way forward that could avoid the loss of soldiers for Israel and the loss of civilians everywhere.”
- Israeli PM defends Kerry’s efforts to broker a cease-fire -
ISRAEL’S AMBASSADOR RON DERMER TO JEWISH AND U.S. LEADERS: “I speak directly for my prime minister here … The criticism of Secretary Kerry for his good faith efforts to advance a sustainable cease-fire is unwarranted.”
- Ukraine Foreign Minister: The guilty must be ‘promptly’ punished -
UKRAINE FOREIGN MINISTER PAVLO KLIMKIN IN A CNN OP-ED: “For the first time since 1983, when a Soviet jet fighter deliberately shot down a South Korean Boeing 747, Russia stands entangled in such a horrendous tragedy. We remember that an objective investigation of that catastrophe was made possible only 10 years later, after the USSR collapsed. We would not like to have to wait that long to learn the truth about the tragedy of MH17. Indeed, the guilty must be promptly punished.”
- Hillary Clinton on her 'dead broke' misstep: 'I regret it' -
CLINTON IN AN INTERVIEW WITH FUSION’S JORGE RAMOS: “Well, I regret it. It was in-artful … It was accurate but we are so successful and we're so blessed by the success we've had and my husband has worked incredibly hard."
- Democratic PAC ties Ernst to Kochs -
SENATE MAJORITY PAC IN A NEW AD IN IOWA: “Follow the money - it’s the oldest rule in politics,” so says a new Democratic ad in the Iowa Senate race. It says the Koch brothers “are spending millions supporting Joni Ernst. Why? Because she shares their priorities” to privatize Social Security and cut Medicare’s guaranteed benefit. “All to pay for more tax breaks for oil billionaires. Oil billionaires like the Koch brothers. So if Joni Ernst got there back we can’t trust her to protect ours.”
- Leahy bill would ban NSA’s bulk collection of phone records -
DEMOCRATIC SEN. PATRICK LEAHY IN A STATEMENT: “If enacted, this bill would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act 13 years ago. This is an historic opportunity, and I am grateful that the bill has the support of the administration, a wide range of privacy and civil liberties groups, and the technology industry.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Abby Livingston (@RollCallAbby)
Rep Greg Walden tells reporters at news conf that he will seek another term at the NRCC after the elections
Sean Spicer (@seanspicer)
RNC and members of Congress To Hold Rally On Capitol Steps For #FireReid Campaign 1pm
Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson)
.@seanspicer Heard you got two, maybe three whole reporters to show up... at an event outside a building full of them. Solid work, bro.
Sean Spicer (@seanspicer)
. @AJentleson "bro" will send a couple pic w about 20 reporters - this counting problem explains a lot about Dem side
Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul)
Congrats to my friend @CoryBooker for being #44 out of 50 on The Hill's Most Beautiful List: http://thehill.com/50-most-beautiful …
Cory Booker (@CoryBooker)
I hate to tell u this Rand but I think we were late pity adds 2 this list of the young & gorgeous MT @SenRandPaul Hill's Most Beautiful List
Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin)
Attention @CoryBooker and @SenRandPaul – The PDA is nauseating. Please #GetARoom twitter.com/SenRandPaul/st…
Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN)
What a possible Obama executive order on immigration would mean for turnout in the midterms: http://cnn.it/XbhwEn
Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty)
GOP has been playing footsies with impeachment fantasy; now Dems raising $$ off it. No matter how cynical you get, you can't keep up.
Paul Kane (@pkcapitol)
If Dems weren't so brazenly bragging about how much $$ they're raising off impeachment, media might take their claims slightly serious.
Rachel Smolkin (@RachelSmolkin)
1/2 Very excited to join @CNN as executive editor of politics for digital. Looking forward to working with the fabulous team there!
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the oldest capital city in the United States. Similarly, the city’s ‘Palace of the Governors,’ a converted state history museum, is the oldest public building in the country.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Blake Hirst (@BlakeHirst) and Erin (@SomeWherErin) for being the first to correctly answer today’s Gut Check trivia question. Hats off to all of our correct responses today.
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