April 3rd, 2014
05:49 PM ET
2 weeks ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for April 3, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 3, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING “LATE SHOW” NEWS … LETTERMAN TO RETIRE IN 2015 … CNN’s Brian Stelter reports television legend David Letterman will retire in 2015.

DEVELOPING … CIA SECRETS ARE OUT … The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday voted to publicly release key portions of its report on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program, Chairman Dianne Feinstein told reporters following a closed-door meeting of the committee. The report draws a harsh portrait of the agency and the legality of its tactics, U.S. officials tell CNN’s Evan Perez.

FEINSTEIN TO HILL REPORTERS: “The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never be allowed to happen again. This is not what Americans do.”

IN WAKE OF FORT HOOD TRAGEDY, BUSH URGES PEOPLE TO DROP THE “D” FROM PTS: FORMER PRESIDENT BUSH 43 AT A MILITARY SERVICE INITIATIVE EVENT: “As most doctors today will tell you post-traumatic stress is not a disorder. Post-traumatic stress or PTS is an injury that can result from the experience of war. And like other injuries PTS is treatable. … Partly because it is mislabeled as a disorder and partly because many people aren’t aware of treatment options some veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress are reluctant to seek help. As a result of public misunderstanding employers sometimes cite it as a reason for not hiring vets.”

CHRISTIE FAVORABILITY COOLING … The latest edition of Quinnipiac University's National Thermometer Poll, released Thursday, indicates that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is losing some ground in terms of his favorability ratings. The poll asks voters nationwide to rate their feelings towards political leaders by choosing any number between 0 and 100, with higher numbers indicating more positive feelings. Christie came in ninth on a list of 13 Republicans mulling a 2016 bid for the White House, at 45.2 degrees. That's down from 55.5 degrees in Quinnipiac's early January poll, which Christie topped.

YET … HE IS THE $33 MILLION MAN …The Republican Governors Association announced Thursday that the group has raised a record $23.5 million over the first three months of this year, and $33 million since Chris Christie took over as RGA chairman in late November. That's a new fundraising record for the first four and a half months of a new RGA chairman's tenure. The $23.5 million raised in this year's first quarter shatters the previous RGA record of $9.1 million brought in during the first three months of 2010 under the chairmanship of then-Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi. – Paul Steinhauser

HEADS UP: ISSA PREPARING TO HOLD LERNER IN CONTEMPT… The House Oversight Committee will vote next week on whether to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the about agency’s targeting of conservative groups seeking tax- exempt status, Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, announced Thursday.

THE BUZZ: BILL CLINTON 'WOULDN’T BE SURPRISED' BY AN ALIEN VISIT … It has been a question plaguing man for ages: Are we alone in the universe? If you ask former President Bill Clinton, he would tell you that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if we were visited by extraterrestrials someday. At least that’s what he said on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show Wednesday.

“In the last two years, more than 20 planets have been identified outside our solar system that seem to be far enough away from their suns and dense enough that they might be able to support some form of life,” he said. The 42nd President would rather see E.T. make a visit than the aliens from the sci-fi movie “Independence Day,” but he says there may be an upside from the latter. – Jonathan Helman

MARKET WATCH: Markets winning streak continues. S&P 500 hits record high and Dow closes just short of its all-time record.

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April 2nd, 2014
05:03 PM ET
2 weeks ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for April 2, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 2, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

JUSTICES STRIKE DOWN POLITICAL DONOR LIMITS … If you're rich and want to give money to a lot of political campaigns, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that you can to do so. The 5-4 ruling eliminated limits on much money people can donate in total in one election season.

However, the decision left intact the current $5,200 limit on how much an individual can give to any single candidate during a two-year election cycle. Until now, an individual donor could give up to $123,200 per cycle.

The ruling means a wealthy liberal or conservative donor can give as much money as desired to federal election candidates across the country, as long as no candidate receives more than the $5,200 cap. – Bill Mears and Tom Cohen

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CNN's GUT CHECK for April 1, 2014
April 1st, 2014
05:46 PM ET
2 weeks ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for April 1, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 1, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

THE WHITE HOUSE TAKES A VICTORY LAP ON OBAMACARE…
President Obama hailed the success of the first open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, announcing that 7.1 million people have signed up for Obamacare.

“Despite several lost weeks out of the gate because of problems with the website, 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these market places,” Obama said at the White House. “Seven point one!”

To opponents of the healthcare law, the president sent a clear message: “The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.” He added, “History is not kind to those who would deny Americans their economic security.”

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CNN's GUT CHECK for March 31, 2014
March 31st, 2014
03:37 PM ET
2 weeks ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 31, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 31, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING … GERMANY: PUTIN SAYS HE'S PULLING SOME TROOPS BACK FROM UKRAINIAN BORDER: Potentially easing a diplomatic standoff with the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Germany's chancellor Monday that he ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from his country's border area with Ukraine, Angela Merkel's office said. - Jason Hanna, Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Alla Eshchenko

WORTH NOTING … HAGEL: RUSSIA STILL HAS “TENS OF THOUSANDS” OF TROOPS ON THE BORDER: Even as Putin announced a withdrawal of some troops, there is still a “tremendous build up” of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday. Hagel noted that the Russian troops number in the “tens of thousands,” but stressed he does not know Putin’s intentions.

INSIDE POLITICS: DEADLINE DAY FOR OBAMACARE … It’s Monday, March 31. Deadline Day for Obamacare. If you’ve procrastinated over the past six months and haven’t tried to log on to get insurance before today, you might encounter some hiccups. The healthcare.gov website had been functioning smoothly lately, but some users Monday morning encountered a message that read, “The system isn’t available at the moment. We're currently performing maintenance. Please try again later.” Problems with the website continued through the early afternoon. – Z. Byron Wolf

Senator Ted Cruz (‏@SenTedCruz)
Looks like the Obamacare enrollment period ends like it started… http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/healthcaregov-website-down-obamacare-deadline-105197.html?hp=l1 … #FullRepeal

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March 28th, 2014
06:31 PM ET
1 week ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 28, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 28, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING … Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the White House announced. Obama talked about having the two countries' top diplomats continue to engage in talks and urged Putin to "avoid further provocations, including the buildup of forces on its border with Ukraine."

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March 27th, 2014
07:01 PM ET
3 weeks ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 27, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 27, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING … OBAMACARE TOPS 6 MILLION SIGN-UPS … CNN’s Tami Luhby reports: More than 6 million people have signed up for Obamacare, as a crush of people raced to get health insurance before the March 31 deadline.

Administration officials announced the milestone Thursday amid an intense outreach drive. There were more than 1.5 million visits to HealthCare.gov and more than 430,000 calls to the call centers on Wednesday.- Tami Luhby

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CNN's GUT CHECK for March 26, 2014
March 26th, 2014
05:11 PM ET
3 weeks ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 26, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 26, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING …. PRESIDENT OBAMA PREPARES FOR MEETING WITH POPE FRANCIS: Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev reports: “Obama will meet Thursday with Pope Francis at the Vatican as the American leader struggles with declining influence at home and abroad. He’s also trying to gain favor with two of the pope’s main constituencies in the U.S.: the working poor and Hispanics.”


QUOTE OF THE DAY:
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER REACTS TO LATEST OBAMACARE EXTENSION AT A GOP PRESSER: 'What the hell is this, a joke?'

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CNN's GUT CHECK for March 25, 2014
March 25th, 2014
06:17 PM ET
3 weeks ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 25, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 25, 2014| 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

HOBBY LOBBY: COURT MAJORITY HARSHLY CRITICAL OF OBAMACARE CONTRACEPTION MANDATE … CNN’s Bill Mears reports: The Supreme Court justices hearing the two cases on the hotly contested issue testing the limits of government-mandated contraception coverage appeared divided along ideological lines in a 90-minute oral argument.

"How does a corporation exercise religion?" asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor, summarizing perhaps the key constitutional question at hand.

"This is a religious question," said Justice Samuel Alito, suggesting the businesses have such a right. "You want us to provide a definitive secular answer."

A ruling expected by late June could clarify whether businesses have a religious liberty right, or whether such constitutional protections apply only to individuals.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
March 24th, 2014
05:47 PM ET
3 weeks ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 24, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 24, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING … NO G8 IN SOCHI: The leaders of the G7 countries met in The Hague Monday and condemned the actions of Russia in Crimea. The White House released a statement from the G7 countries: “We will suspend our participation in the G8 until Russia changes course and the environment comes back to where the G8 is able to have a meaningful discussion and will meet again in G7 format at the same time as planned, in June 2014, in Brussels, to discuss the broad agenda we have together.”

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CNN's GUT CHECK for March 21, 2014
March 21st, 2014
04:48 PM ET
4 weeks ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 21, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 21, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING … CNN’s Jake Tapper reports: Intelligence from the field has WH 'very concerned' about Russia invading more of #Ukraine – possibly soon.

DEVELOPING ON THE LEFT …. BIDEN HEADS TO NEW HAMPSHIRE
As Vice President Joe Biden leaves open the door to another presidential run, his trip next week to New Hampshire will likely fuel more speculation about his interest in the job. The White House announced Friday that Biden will travel to the Granite State next Tuesday for an event highlighting workforce development and job training. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez will join him. – Ashley Killough

Scott P. Brown (@SenScottBrown)
Vice President Biden is coming to Nashua on Tuesday. Good opportunity for Senator Shaheen to join him & discuss ObamaCare. #NHpolitics

Rebecca Berg (@rebeccagberg)
Sen. Shaheen will not join VP Biden in NH next week #NHsen

Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN)
During Biden's trip to NH, Sen. Shaheen's camp says she'll be in DC next week chairing subcom. hearing. They also point to Ukraine votes.

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