CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 19, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
WARNING…. NEW TERROR THREAT …The U.S. government has warned airlines that terrorists may try to detonate a new type of shoe bomb on flights into the U.S., intelligence and law enforcement officials tell CNN's Evan Perez. The officials cautioned that there is no indication of a specific plot, but rather the warning is the result of intelligence gathered in recent weeks. Homeland Security officials issued the warning out of caution, according to the officials.
SARAH PALIN IS BACK IN THE GAME: “IF HE IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR TED NUGENT, HE IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME”… Sarah Palin makes her first 2014 endorsements, starting with Greg Abbott for Governor of Texas, “If he is good enough for Ted Nugent, he is good enough for me!” She also endorses House candidate Katrina Pierson, Pete Sessions' primary challenger in Texas. Here’s a great read from Peter Hamby to read why Palin matters: http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/25/politics/return-of-sarah-palin/
HILLARY CLINTON SURFACES AS ISSUE IN REPUBLICAN SENATE RACE … CNN’s Peter Hamby reports: Each one of Lindsey Graham's five underfunded Republican primary opponents have been struggling to gain traction in the race and emerge as the South Carolina senator's leading conservative opponent … For the first time, one of Graham's opponents has tried to make hay out of his gracious attitude toward Clinton - and it's another signal that Clinton's standing among Republicans has diminished since she left the State Department a year ago and inched her way back into the political spotlight.
POTUS WARNS UKRAINE: THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES… President Obama Wednesday condemned Ukraine’s government for violent action against protestors and criticized it for being partially responsible for the chaos. “I want to be very clear as we work through these next several days in Ukraine that we’re going to be watching closely and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protestors. We’ve also said we expect peaceful protestors to remain peaceful and we’ll be monitoring very closely the situation, recognizing that with our European partners and the international community there will be consequences if people step over the line.”
JUST IN … UKRAINE 'BEGIN TALKS FOR PEACE'– Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych has issued a statement declaring "the beginning of negotiations aimed at cessation of bloodshed and stabilization of the situation in the country for the sake of civil peace."
BUSH ON THE MILITARY: THEY ARE THE ONE PERCENT OF AMERICA WHO KEPT THE 99% SAFE … Speaking at a Library Military Service Initiative event Wednesday, former President George W. Bush addressed American’s lack of awareness about military veterans and the challenges they face:
“Seventy one percent of Americans said they do not understand the problems facing our veterans. You might call this a civilian-military divide. One lesson of our research is that the divide is exacerbated by public perceptions that the veteran is either a hero or to be pitied. Most veterans don’t consider themselves heroes or victims. They see themselves as Americans who took on a tough job and did it well.”
MORE AMERICANS NOW VIEW AFGHANISTAN WAR AS A MISTAKE … For the first time since the U.S. initially became involved in Afghanistan in 2001, Americans are as likely to say U.S. military involvement there was a mistake as to say it was not. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they viewed the war as a mistake, compared to 6% in 2002. – Gallup’s Frank Newport
THE BUZZ: NOW WE KNOW: PRETZEL THAT CHOKED PRESIDENT BUSH IN '02 CAME FROM … Lancaster, Pennsylvania. According to city native and former White House Chef John Moeller, it was a handmade pretzel from Hammond Pretzel Bakery Inc. that got into the president’s windpipe as he was watching a football game on television on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2002.
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end lower after disappointing housing data and Fed minutes. Dow dips 88 points. NASDAQ loses 0.8%.
Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) - Florida has been dubbed "ground zero" of the Republican presidential contest, so it should come as no surprise that candidates would throw tough punches in the last debate before the state's voters go to the polls.
Here are some of the most buzz-worthy moments from the Jacksonville showdown.FULL STORY
Miami (CNN) - Will he or won't he? And would it matter?
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, considered a powerful Hispanic political player and rising star in his party, has consistently said no to having vice presidential aspirations. But still, the question keeps coming up.FULL STORY
Editor's note: Part of the CNN political fact-checking series
(CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accused former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney of taking out of context comments he made about bilingual education. The speaker's comments are referenced in a Spanish-language political ad.
During Thursday night's CNN Republican candidates debate, moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Romney about it, "You've had an ad running saying that Speaker Gingrich called Spanish - quote - 'The language of the ghetto.' What do you mean by that?"FULL STORY
Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) - After a stunning loss in South Carolina and an uneven performance in a debate on Monday, Mitt Romney appeared to get his swagger back and turned in a strong performance in Thursday's CNN/Republican Party of Florida debate.
Here are five things we learned Thursday night.FULL STORY
Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) - Republican presidential hopefuls headed into the homestretch of the critical Florida primary campaign Friday after a riveting debate that analysts believe gave Mitt Romney a boost over fellow front-runner Newt Gingrich.
Florida voters will decide Tuesday who gets the biggest delegate haul so far of the GOP presidential race, and the CNN/Republican Party of Florida debate provided the four candidates with their final chance to face one another on the same stage in the increasingly vitriolic contest.FULL STORY