CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for August 7, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING … WALSH DROPS OUT OF MONTANA SENATE RACE: Sen. John Walsh dropped out of the Senate race in Montana on Thursday amid allegations of plagiarism, a senior Democratic source familiar with the senator's thinking confirmed to CNN. The move further hurts Democratic chances of maintaining control of the Senate. Republicans need a net gain of six seats in November for that to occur. The Democrat is accused of not properly attributing certain material in a paper to complete his master's degree at the Army War College. – Dana Bash
U. S. CONSIDERS 'OTHER MILITARY OPTIONS' IN IRAQ … The United States is considering "other military options" beyond air drops to aid minorities trapped by fighting in northern Iraq, U.S. officials tell CNN. The Obama administration is talking with officials in Baghdad and Erbil and is looking at options to provide humanitarian support, including but not limited to Iraqi government air drops, one official said. A senior State Department official said the United States also is weighing opening a humanitarian corridor, providing support to Kurdish and Iraqi forces. – Elise Labott and Jim Sciutto
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OBAMA SIGNS $16 BILLION VA OVERHAUL INTO LAW … The $16 billion measure provides money to build more VA medical facilities and hire more doctors and nurses. It includes more funds so some veterans can get health care in private facilities. It also makes it easier to fire or otherwise discipline senior VA officials. But it doesn’t criminalize anybody. At the bill-signing at Fort Belvoir in northern Virginia, Obama said the package begins the changes needed to keep the nation's promise of caring for its military veterans.
OBAMA: “Over the last few months, we've discovered some inexcusable conduct … It was wrong, outrageous."
2014 WATCH: EMILY'S LIST ATTACKS TILLIS OVER EQUAL PAY IN NORTH CAROLINA … Democratic candidates this cycle are working feverishly to exploit their party's edge among female voters, thrusting issues like equal pay, paid sick leave and women's health to the forefront of their campaigns. Emily's List, the political action committee that backs female Democratic candidates, is stepping into the fray in North Carolina, home to the country's most expensive Senate race. The group is launching a television ad Thursday attacking Republican Senate nominee Thom Tills over equal pay – a topic that President Obama has highlighted as a driving issue for Democrats this midterm election year. – Peter Hamby
PRIMARY DAY IN TENNESSEE … TEA PARTY'S LAST CHANCE IN 2014 … The Republican primary in Tennessee on Thursday is the tea party's last chance – albeit a distant one – to beat an establishment incumbent this election year. Longtime GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander is defending his seat against state Rep. Joe Carr. Despite picking up endorsements from conservative powerhouse Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Nation, it's an uphill battle for Carr, who trails the two-term senator in the polls. Not to mention, Alexander handily won his last election with 65% of the vote and has raised significantly more campaign cash. – Dana Davidsen
Gut Check Full Service: Why does Tennessee have Thursday primaries? No one knows.
SOCIAL WATCH: AZERBAIJAN PRESIDENT SENDS POTENTIAL WAR WARNING VIA TWITTER… Azerbaijan’s president has threatened all-out war to reclaim the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia, raising fears that the two Caucasus countries could resume long-dormant hostilities after skirmishes over the weekend. – Buzzfeed’s Max Seddon
Ilham Aliyev (@presidentaz)
We are not living in peace, we are living in a state of war. Everyone must know this.
Ilham Aliyev (@presidentaz)
The war is not over. Only the first stage of it is. But the second stage may start too.
THE BUZZ: MONKEY SELFIE LEGAL BATTLE … If a monkey snaps a selfie in the forest, does he own it? By now, the legal pseudo-doctrine of “he who takes the selfie owns the selfie” has settled into the collective consciousness. But what happens if an animal takes the photo? British photographer David Slater is locked in a dispute with Wikimedia Commons (and its parent organization the Wikimedia Foundation) over whether a photo taken by an animal with a photographer’s camera becomes part of the public domain or the property of the camera’s owner. – Washington Post Abby Phillip
THE KICKER: D.C. Councilman and former Mayor Marion Barry lambasted Fox News reporter Emily Miller for asking about unpaid parking tickets. “You don’t know a damn thing about Washington, D.C.,” he tells her.
Watch the video here.
MARKET WATCH: Stocks end lower on new concerns about Iraq and Russia. Dow drops 75 points.
NASA's unofficial scale for measuring motion sickness in space is named after which U.S. senator?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: African leaders use summit to fight negative perceptions
An unprecedented summit of African leaders in Washington. An Ebola outbreak in West Africa that sparks global fears.The two events this week juxtaposed the best and worst of Africa at a time when its leaders want to move, finally, past perceptions of a "dark continent" rife with war, poverty and disease. – Tom Cohen
Leading CNNMoney: Obama wants to plug tax 'loophole'
The Obama administration is looking at how it could act on its own to stop companies that want to slash their tax bills by moving overseas. President Obama said officials are "reviewing all of our options" to act without congressional approval to stem the wave of so-called tax inversions. The trend has accelerated in recent years, backed by Wall Street enthusiasm for overseas tax rates that are lower than the highest U.S. rate of 35%. – Gregory Wallace
Leading The Hill: Down $38M, but he's likely still the richest lawmaker in Congress
The leader of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee remains, in all likelihood, the richest member of Congress.Though he saw his minimum net worth fall more than $38 million in 2012, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), still had at least $392 million in assets, according to federal disclosure forms. – Megan R. Wilson
Leading Drudge: Russia Bombers Penetrate Us Airspace 16 Times In 10 Days
Russian strategic nuclear bombers conducted at least 16 incursions into northwestern U.S. air defense identification zones over the past 10 days, an unusually sharp increase in aerial penetrations, according to U.S. defense officials. – Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz
Leading HuffPo: Tsk-Tsk
A majority of Americans disapprove of the House Republican lawsuit against President Barack Obama, which charges that he overstepped his authority in failing to enforce the Affordable Care Act in a timely manner, according to a new CBS News poll. – Igor Bobic
Leading Politico: URGENT: Dem emails a fundraising bonanza
House Democrats have their email fundraising down to a science: Cast Speaker John Boehner as the leading villain, use President Barack Obama’s signature (but sparingly) and don’t hesitate to go ALL CAPS with a subject line like this: “BREAKING: IMPEACHMENT.” – Darren Samuelsohn
Leading New York Times: Wooing Hispanic Voters at Home, Republicans Turn to Latin America
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey will journey to Mexico next month to meet with the country’s new president, court its corporate titans and mingle with its cultural leaders. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is about to set off for Guatemala, where he will put his ophthalmology training to use by treating local patients with eye disorders. – Michael Barbaro
The political bites of the day
– Clinton praises Gillibrand in book intro –
HILLARY CLINTON IN AN INTRO FOR SEN. KRISTIN GELLIBRAND’S NEW BOOK IN EXCERPTS OBTAINED BY POLITICO: “The first time I shook Kirsten Gillbrand’s hand, she looked me square in the eyes and said, ‘How can I help?’ … I was running for Senate in New York and Kirsten wanted to do everything she could for the campaign. But there was more to it than that. Kirsten has built her whole life around the question ‘How can I help?’”
– Gutierrez: GOP spreading ‘outright lies’ on border crisis –
LUIS GUTIERREZ, D-ILLINOIS, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH LARRY KING: “The violence is rampant there and little children, toddlers, show up at our borders fleeing as refugees from those countries, and they say they're bringing disease," the outspoken congressman said of GOP members on Ora.tv’s "Politicking" with Larry King. "They say that they're infesting our country with diseases that are incurable. Those are outright lies and exaggerations. That's pretty mean, Larry, when you treat children like that."
– Pryor invokes McCain in latest ad –
NARRATOR IN AN AD ATTACKING REP. TOM COTTON: “Mark Pryor voted the same way as John McCain and many other Republican senators … Secure the border first. Pryor voted no amnesty, 20,000 new border agents, a 700-mile fence and a long-term solution. It's tough but fair. While Congressman Cotton voted to cut funding for border protection and played politics with our security."
Gut Check Flash Back: JOHN MCCAIN ON AUGUST 31, 2013: “Anybody who calls this amnesty either is not being intellectually honest or has not read the legislation … This is a tough path to citizenship. ... It’s not amnesty.”
– Obama notes Maj. Gen. Greene’s death at VA bill signing –
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT VA LEGISLATION SIGNING: “It continues to be a difficult and dangerous mission, as we were tragically reminded again this week in the attack that injured a number of our coalition troops and took the life of a dedicated American soldier, Major General Harold Greene. Our prayers are with the Greene family as they are with all the Gold Star families and those who sacrificed so much for our nation.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
jennifer bendery (@jbendery)
People taken away in ambulances outside WH were part of ISIS protest and appear to have fainted/gotten dehydrated. pic.twitter.com/Ardj3ntPJz
Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP)
Rep Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) engaged in multiple affairs and urged women to get abortions. He still might win today http://wapo.st/1lEnOlx
Blake Farmer (@flakebarmer)
Here's a timeline for the Alexander/Carr race, going all the way back to 2009. http://ow.ly/A3B7x
Heather Haddon (@heatherhaddon)
Count Branstad, LePage, Haley as governors who can thank Christie for NJ money http://on.wsj.com/1pemDhA via @WSJNY
Maria Glod (@mariaglod)
What did Jonnie Williams give the McDonells? A rolex, golf outings, plane tickets. A post graphic lays it out. http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special …
Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak)
President Obama has been more than 35 HOURS late so far in 2014 – impressive work from @pbump: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/08/07/in-2014-obama-has-been-late-by-more-than-35-hours/ …
Susan Glasser (@sbg1)
First the press was in the tank FOR Nixon–then it decided to bury him: the long sordid history of Nixon & the media http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/nixon-and-the-media-109773.html …
John Dingell (@john_dingell)
Entering my office on Jan. 5, 1956. 29 years old and ready to get to work. Still at it today. #tbt
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
NASA’s unofficial measurement for space sickness is measured in “Garns” to commemorate the voyage of Sen. Jake Garn of Utah, who admitted to being sick during most of his flight. Garn flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1985 and became the first incumbent U.S. senator to travel to space. The Garn scale is a 1-10 measurement of how sick you feel in space, with one being the best and ten being the worst.
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Congrats to Steven Shepard (@POLITICO_Steve) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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