CNN's GUT CHECK for February 11, 2013
February 11th, 2013
05:12 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 11, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 11, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING: HAGEL VOTE COMING TUESDAY, WITH HIS PROSPECTS IMPROVING The Senate Armed Services Committee will vote on the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel for defense secretary at 2:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the panel’s chairman, Carl Levin, said. … CNN learned last week there were at least five Republican senators who would oppose a filibuster, essentially ensuring the embattled nominee will be approved in the coming days. "There's a whole lot of hype and drama, but if he has 60 votes, he has 60 votes. And he probably does," a senior GOP Senate aide told CNN on Monday. – Ted Barrett and Gloria Borger

CASTELLANOS PREVIEWS THE STATE OF THE UNION WITH A QUESTION: WILL OBAMA’S STATE OF THE UNION HURT DEMOCRATS? CNN contributor and Republican strategist Alex Castellanos writes for CNN.com/Opinion: “If Barack Obama had previewed his inaugural speech before the November election, would he have been able to give it in January? Apparently, our president did not think so. From the first days of his re-election campaign until as recently as a month ago, President Obama described himself “a pretty practical guy” who is “not driven by some ideological agenda.” Dispensing with that fiction in his inaugural address, he's been commended for finally and honestly revealing himself. No longer is Barack Obama a national Rorschach test in which anyone can see anything. He has staked his ground: President Obama is an unabashed advocate of the old-fashioned American left. That's not good news for Democrats who have trekked with him to the end of an ideological limb.” – Alex Castellanos

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Filed under: 2012
CNN's GUT CHECK for February 6, 2013
February 7th, 2013
05:02 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 6, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 6, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DRONES, PROTESTORS AND WATER BOARDING: John Brennan, the Obama administration’s nominee to lead the CIA, faced a tough hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday. Here is a taste:
On Water Boarding: “I had expressed my personal objections and views to some agency colleagues about certain of those EITs such as water boarding, nudity and others where I professed my personal objections to it. But I did not try to stop it because it was something that was being done in a different part of the agency under the authority of others.”
On Drones: “I think there is a misimpression on the part of some American people who believe that we take strikes to punish terrorists for past transgressions. Nothing could be further from the truth. We only take such actions as a last resort to save lives when there is no other alternative to taking actions that is going to mitigate that threat.”

DEVELOPING: LEVIN TO PRESS FORWARD WITH COMMITTEE VOTE ON HAGEL, DESPITE OPPOSITION Democratic Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin is making clear he is fed up with Republicans dragging their feet on Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Defense Secretary, and now says he will schedule a vote soon, even over Republican opposition. “We can’t not vote because there is dissatisfaction on the part of people because that could be endless,” said Levin, D-Michigan. “We’re going to schedule a vote as soon as we’re ready to have a vote.” Levin, who had hoped to vote as early as Thursday, put it off after more than two dozen Republicans pressed Hagel to provide additional financial information about corporations and other organizations he’s been associated with since leaving Congress. – Ted Barrett

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Filed under: 2012
CNN's GUT CHECK for February 6, 2013
February 7th, 2013
05:02 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 6, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 6, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DRONES, PROTESTORS AND WATER BOARDING: John Brennan, the Obama administration’s nominee to lead the CIA, faced a tough hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday. Here is a taste:
On Water Boarding: “I had expressed my personal objections and views to some agency colleagues about certain of those EITs such as water boarding, nudity and others where I professed my personal objections to it. But I did not try to stop it because it was something that was being done in a different part of the agency under the authority of others.”
On Drones: “I think there is a misimpression on the part of some American people who believe that we take strikes to punish terrorists for past transgressions. Nothing could be further from the truth. We only take such actions as a last resort to save lives when there is no other alternative to taking actions that is going to mitigate that threat.”

DEVELOPING: LEVIN TO PRESS FORWARD WITH COMMITTEE VOTE ON HAGEL, DESPITE OPPOSITION Democratic Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin is making clear he is fed up with Republicans dragging their feet on Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Defense Secretary, and now says he will schedule a vote soon, even over Republican opposition. “We can’t not vote because there is dissatisfaction on the part of people because that could be endless,” said Levin, D-Michigan. “We’re going to schedule a vote as soon as we’re ready to have a vote.” Levin, who had hoped to vote as early as Thursday, put it off after more than two dozen Republicans pressed Hagel to provide additional financial information about corporations and other organizations he’s been associated with since leaving Congress. – Ted Barrett

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
CNN's GUT CHECK for February 6, 2013
February 6th, 2013
05:09 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 6, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 6, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: HAGEL VOTE DELAYED BY SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN CARL LEVIN, D-MICHIGAN. “The committee’s vote on Senator Hagel’s nomination has not been scheduled. I had hoped to hold a vote on the nomination this week, but the committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete. I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible.”

PANETTA LEGACY WATCH: FIRST ON CNN: PANETTA TO RECOMMEND PAY CUT FOR MILITARY Just days before he leaves office, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is recommending military pay be limited, effectively decreasing troop salaries next year Panetta will recommend to Congress that military salaries be limited to a 1% increase in 2014. The Pentagon has calculated that the Labor Department's 2014 Employment Cost Index is expected to be above 1% but wants to still cut back on pay because of "budget uncertainties," a department official told CNN. In 2013, a 1.7% increase was approved, based on the index, which has been the basis for military pay for the last several years. – Barbara Starr

SI SE PUEDE: RUBIO TO DELIVER STATE OF THE UNION RESPONSE IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union address next week, House Speaker John Boehner's office announced Wednesday. An aide to the senator gave CNN a preview of his remarks: “It’s worth noting that his speech will focus on the Republican Party’s agenda to grow the middle class. Immigration will likely be mentioned as one way to grow the economy, but the speech really is about the Republican Party’s commitment to limited government as the best way to help the middle class, and how it differs from the President’s plans for bigger government.”

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Filed under: 2012
CNN's GUT CHECK for February 6, 2013
February 6th, 2013
05:09 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 6, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 6, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: HAGEL VOTE DELAYED BY SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN CARL LEVIN, D-MICHIGAN. “The committee’s vote on Senator Hagel’s nomination has not been scheduled. I had hoped to hold a vote on the nomination this week, but the committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete. I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible.”

PANETTA LEGACY WATCH: FIRST ON CNN: PANETTA TO RECOMMEND PAY CUT FOR MILITARY Just days before he leaves office, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is recommending military pay be limited, effectively decreasing troop salaries next year Panetta will recommend to Congress that military salaries be limited to a 1% increase in 2014. The Pentagon has calculated that the Labor Department's 2014 Employment Cost Index is expected to be above 1% but wants to still cut back on pay because of "budget uncertainties," a department official told CNN. In 2013, a 1.7% increase was approved, based on the index, which has been the basis for military pay for the last several years. – Barbara Starr

SI SE PUEDE: RUBIO TO DELIVER STATE OF THE UNION RESPONSE IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union address next week, House Speaker John Boehner's office announced Wednesday. An aide to the senator gave CNN a preview of his remarks: “It’s worth noting that his speech will focus on the Republican Party’s agenda to grow the middle class. Immigration will likely be mentioned as one way to grow the economy, but the speech really is about the Republican Party’s commitment to limited government as the best way to help the middle class, and how it differs from the President’s plans for bigger government.”

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
CNN's GUT CHECK for February 5, 2013
February 5th, 2013
05:18 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 5, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 5, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: PENTAGON TO EXTEND SOME BENEFITS TO SAME SEX SPOUSES… CNN’s Barbara Starr reports that “Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is expected to announce this week that same sex spouses of service members will be granted some benefits that they had been blocked from up until now, according to an administration official. Sources in the gay activist community have been given indications as well, that the announcement could come this week. … Among the benefits gay rights groups say can be legally extended are housing on military bases, military ID cards to access on-base activities and programs, access to commissaries and consideration of a same-sex spouse and family in duty assignments. Panetta’s likely replacement, Chuck Hagel, said he supports extending the benefits." Stay tuned to CNN.com/SecurityClearance for more.

COMING THIS SPRING: OBAMA TO MAKE FIRST TRIP TO ISRAEL AS PRESIDENT... President Barack Obama recently discussed an upcoming spring visit to Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the White House. In the planned overseas trip, Obama will visit the West Bank and Jordan "to continue his close work with Palestinian Authority officials and Jordanian officials," Carney added. The trip to Israel would mark Obama's first visit as president. While Obama traveled to the country in 2008 during his presidential campaign, he did not visit Israel during his first term.

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Filed under: 2012
CNN's GUT CHECK for February 5, 2013
February 5th, 2013
05:18 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 5, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 5, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: PENTAGON TO EXTEND SOME BENEFITS TO SAME SEX SPOUSES… CNN’s Barbara Starr reports that “Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is expected to announce this week that same sex spouses of service members will be granted some benefits that they had been blocked from up until now, according to an administration official. Sources in the gay activist community have been given indications as well, that the announcement could come this week. … Among the benefits gay rights groups say can be legally extended are housing on military bases, military ID cards to access on-base activities and programs, access to commissaries and consideration of a same-sex spouse and family in duty assignments. Panetta’s likely replacement, Chuck Hagel, said he supports extending the benefits." Stay tuned to CNN.com/SecurityClearance for more.

COMING THIS SPRING: OBAMA TO MAKE FIRST TRIP TO ISRAEL AS PRESIDENT... President Barack Obama recently discussed an upcoming spring visit to Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the White House. In the planned overseas trip, Obama will visit the West Bank and Jordan "to continue his close work with Palestinian Authority officials and Jordanian officials," Carney added. The trip to Israel would mark Obama's first visit as president. While Obama traveled to the country in 2008 during his presidential campaign, he did not visit Israel during his first term.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
CNN's GUT CHECK for February 4, 2013
February 4th, 2013
05:57 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 4, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 4, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

JUST IN: TAGG ROMNEY WON’T RUN FOR SENATE IN MASS… Tagg Romney, Mitt Romney’s son, in a written press release: “I have been humbled by the outreach I received this weekend encouraging me to become a candidate for the US Senate. I love my home state and admit it would be an honor to represent the citizens of our great Commonwealth. However, I am currently committed to my business and to spending as much time as I can with my wife and children. The timing is not right for me, but I am hopeful that the people of Massachusetts will select someone of great integrity, vision, and compassion as our next US Senator.”

DEVELOPING: OBAMA TAKES GUN SHOW ON THE ROAD President Barack Obama heard Minneapolis officials discuss their steps against gun violence on Monday as the focus on possible legislation in the Senate appeared to narrow to expanded background checks and limited ammunition magazines, rather than a ban on semi-automatic rifles that mimic assault weapons. – Tom Cohen

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Filed under: 2012
CNN's GUT CHECK for February 4, 2013
February 4th, 2013
05:57 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 4, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 4, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

JUST IN: TAGG ROMNEY WON’T RUN FOR SENATE IN MASS… Tagg Romney, Mitt Romney’s son, in a written press release: “I have been humbled by the outreach I received this weekend encouraging me to become a candidate for the US Senate. I love my home state and admit it would be an honor to represent the citizens of our great Commonwealth. However, I am currently committed to my business and to spending as much time as I can with my wife and children. The timing is not right for me, but I am hopeful that the people of Massachusetts will select someone of great integrity, vision, and compassion as our next US Senator.”

DEVELOPING: OBAMA TAKES GUN SHOW ON THE ROAD President Barack Obama heard Minneapolis officials discuss their steps against gun violence on Monday as the focus on possible legislation in the Senate appeared to narrow to expanded background checks and limited ammunition magazines, rather than a ban on semi-automatic rifles that mimic assault weapons. – Tom Cohen

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
CNN's GUT CHECK for February 1, 2013
February 1st, 2013
05:25 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 1, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 1, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: KERRY SWORN IN AS SECRETARY OF STATE… State Dept Spokesman Victoria Nuland said that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan swore in Secretary of State John Kerry at 4 p.m. Friday. According to a source close to Kerry, Kagan spoke briefly about the privilege and Kerry thanked her, family and staff in brief remarks. At his side, wife Teresa Heinz Kerry looked on, holding a Bible. Kerry’s Senate staff purchased and presented him with his chair from the floor of the Senate that he used for 28 years. – Elise Labott

BROWN OUT: BROWN WON'T SEEK KERRY'S SENATE SEAT Former Sen. Scott Brown said Friday that he won't make a bid this year to return to Capitol Hill. “I have given serious thought about the possibility of running again. … I have received a lot of encouragement from friends and supporters to become a candidate and my competitive instincts were leading in the same direction,” Brown said. “Even so, I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time. And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me. “That is why I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in the upcoming special election.”

Alec MacGillis (@AlecMacGillis)
Scott Brown took one look at yesterday's Hagel hearing and said, "I want to run four times in four years to be part of THAT?"

BIG MONEY: THE $7,000,000,000 CAMPAIGN The 2012 campaign was expensive. Like 70 private islands expensive. In total, candidates, parties and outside groups spent $7 billion during the 2012 election cycle, a record breaking – though not surprising - figure for campaign expenditures, according to the Federal Election Commission. “That's not really unusual. They're all record breaking,” FEC chairwoman Ellen Weintraub said during the panel's meeting Thursday. – Kevin Liptak

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Filed under: 2012
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