February 20th, 2014
05:45 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 20, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | February 20, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING… THE ERA OF BIG GOVERNMENT IS BACK? OBAMA BUDGET TO BOOST SPENDING, DITCH ‘GRAND BARGAIN’ – “The White House budget to be released early next month will propose $56 billion in new spending on domestic and defense priorities and drop a proposal that was included in last year's budget as a way to attract Republican support - a plan that would have included less generous payouts of Social Security benefits.”

“The budget would aim to reduce the emphasis on austerity that has been the preoccupation of American politics for the past four years and also highlights top Democratic priorities in a year when Democrats hope to save their majority in the Senate.” - Washington Post’s Zachary Goldfarb

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CNN's GUT CHECK for February 19, 2014
February 19th, 2014
05:36 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 19, 2014

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 FROMLancaster, 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%.

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February 18th, 2014
06:10 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 18, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 18, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING … Kiev burns; 14 dead …Violent showdown looms over presidential power … Long-simmering tensions exploded anew in Ukraine as clashes between police and anti-government protesters left at least 14 people dead and the capital's central square afire throughout Tuesday into predawn Wednesday. The fresh violence in Kiev comes amid monthslong turmoil in what is essentially a fight over whether the country's future is alongside Russia or Europe, the latter favored by protesters.
What you need to know
• John Kerry urges Ukraine government to resume talks with opposition
• U.S. Embassy says Ukraine security "may take extraordinary measures"
• Opposition tells President: "Do not let Ukraine become a country covered with blood"
• McCain tells CNN’s Jake Tapper that President Obama should push for sanctions

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CNN's GUT CHECK for February 17, 2014
February 17th, 2014
05:11 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 17, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 17, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

ON PRESIDENTS DAY, OBAMA’S APPROVAL RATINGS REMAIN NEAR THE LOWEST OF HIS PRESIDENCY … According to a CNN Poll of Polls compiled Monday, which averages the most recent non-partisan, live operator national surveys, the President's approval rating stands at 42%, with 53% of Americans giving a thumbs down to Obama's performance in the White House. – Paul Steinhauser

Gut Check Full Service:
Obama’s Approval Rating on Past President’s Days
2014 … 42%
2013 … 51%
2012 … 45%
2011 … 48%
2010 … 49%
2009 … 64%

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CNN's GUT CHECK for February 14, 2014
February 14th, 2014
04:50 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 14, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 14, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

ON VALENTINES DAY, OBAMA SHOWS HIS PARTY SOME LOVE … President Obama visited the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Maryland on Friday, delivering what amounted to a quick 10-minute version of his State of the Union Speech, and thanking lawmakers for sticking with him through some tough legislative battles.

"This caucus has shown time and time again, under the most difficult circumstances, the kind of courage and unity and discipline that has made me very, very proud …When you guys are unified (and) you guys stick together, this country is better off." – Adam Aigner-Treworgy
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February 13th, 2014
06:27 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 13, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 13, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING … SEN. AL FRANKEN BLASTS COMCAST – TIME WARNER CABLE DEAL, TELLS JAKE TAPPER: “There’s not enough competition. We need more competition significance, not less. This is going exactly in the wrong direction. And consumers are - I am very concerned are going to pay higher bills, they are going to get even worse service and less choice.” CNN.com/THELEAD

PROFILES IN COURAGE?
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CNN's GUT CHECK for February 12, 2014
February 12th, 2014
05:22 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 12, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 12, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING… THE U.S. SENATE APPROVES RAISING DEBT CEILING … The move allows the government to borrow more money to pay its bills through early 2015.

The politically charged issue cleared the chamber 55-43 after winning House approval Tuesday. The measure now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. Approval removes the prospect of another protracted political fight over fiscal policy as Democrats and Republicans gear up for November's midterm elections.

MCCONNELL PRIMARY CHALLENGER POUNCES:
Matt Bevin ‏(@MattBevin)
.@McConnellPress votes to give Obama another blank check. #DebtCeiling #tcot #cloture #KYSen #kydatenight pic.twitter.com/TT2HwblTN2

MEANWHILE … RAND PAUL SUES OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OVER NSA … Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday he’s suing President Barack Obama and top national security officials over the government’s sweeping electronic surveillance program made public by intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. The Kentucky Republican and the conservative group FreedomWorks are filing a class-action challenge against the government’s phone metadata collection effort, which stores the numbers and call times of phone calls. – Ashley Killough and Dana Davidsen

… AND AIMING FOR HISTORY: RAND PAUL IN A PRESS EVENT: “We think it may well be the largest class action lawsuit ever filed on behalf of the Bill of Rights.”

Gut Check DVR: Sen. Rand Paul will be appearing on CNN’s “OutFront” with Erin Burnett tonight at 7pm E.T. to discuss his lawsuit.
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CNN's GUT CHECK for February 11, 2014
February 11th, 2014
06:10 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 11, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 11, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING … HOUSE PASSES DEBT CEILING BILL: U.S. House voted 221-201 Tuesday on a debt-ceiling measure that allows continued borrowing by the government to pay its bills. Twenty-eight Republicans joined almost all of the Democrats to pass the proposal that lacked any deficit-reduction provisions sought by the GOP conservative wing. The so called "clean" debt-ceiling measure now goes to the Senate, which is expected to vote on Wednesday.

CHRISTIE ON THE MESSAGE OFFENSIVE: “HAVE FAITH”
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE TO REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES TRYING TO GET ELECTED IN ILLINOIS: “Have faith baby! I won twice in New Jersey! It can happen!”

… INVESTIGATIONS WON’T “CURTAIL” AGENDA … His administration is facing multiple investigations, but Chris Christie said he's moving forward. "Time will tell, but I believe that we are focused on the things we need to be focused on," the Republican governor said Tuesday afternoon at a question and answer session at the Economic Club of Chicago. – Dana Bash and Paul Steinhauser
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February 10th, 2014
06:41 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 10, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 10, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING …. A NINETIES FLASHBACK

DOCUMENTS REVEAL HILLARY CLINTON’S PRIVATE REACTION TO HER HUSBAND'S CHEATING SCANDAL WITH MONICA LEWINSKY ... A new report claims that Hillary Clinton told a close friend that Monica Lewinsky was a "narcissistic loony toon," and also discussed in detail why she decided to forgive her husband for having an affair with the White House intern … Clinton ally Dianne Blair writes in papers the report is based off of, “HRC insists, no matter what people say, it was gross inappropriate behavior but it was consensual (was not a power relationship) and was not sex within any real meaning… of the term.” – Dan Merica

Gut Check Full Service: SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY, TO CNN’S PETER HAMBY FRIDAY: Sen. Rand Paul predicted that Hillary Clinton will have to answer questions about her husband’s affair if she decides to run for president in 2016. “It isn’t her fault the way her husband’s behaved …But at the same time, I think that they are a fundraising team. He does a lot of fundraising for candidates. I think if they want to beat up on Republicans and say Republicans don’t like women, I think that one of the big things that we advanced in the last several decades is that women are protected in the workplace … I’m sure Don (referring to Texas GOP Senate candidate and ally Don Hoffines) would tell you he would fire anybody that took advantage of a 20 years old girl … If one of his managers had the same kind of problems that Bill Clinton had with a 20-year old girl, he wouldn’t work for him anymore. It’s not acceptable behavior, and yet they are out there saying they are the great crusaders for women’s rights. I think that’s some hypocrisy that they will have to explain.”

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February 7th, 2014
05:39 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 7, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 7, 2014 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

FIRST ON CNN: READY FOR HILLARY HEADS TO SOUTH CAROLINA … Ready for Hillary, the independent group laying groundwork for a potential Hillary Clinton presidential bid in 2016, will make its first public foray into the early primary state of South Carolina later this month with a fundraiser in the state capital of Columbia. The low dollar event – the price of admission is just $20.16 – will be hosted by state Rep. Bakari Sellers “and special guests,” according to a copy of the Feb. 20 invitation obtained by CNN. – Peter Hamby

QUOTE OF THE DAY: VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN TO KATE BOLDUAN ON CNN’S “NEW DAY” ABOUT WHETHER HE WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2016: “There may be reasons I don’t run, but there’s no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run.”
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