CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 11, 2014 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
POST-LBJ LIBRARY VISIT, OBAMA NARROWS IN ON VOTING … A day after visiting the LBJ Library, President Obama addressed voting rights, calling the Republican-led movement to crack down on voter fraud “bogus.”
“The real voter fraud is people trying to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud,” Obama said. “Some of these officials…have not been shy about saying that they’re doing this for partisan reasons.”
Obama’s remarks were a continuation of the administration’s effort to spotlight GOP-backed measures that critics claim place undue hardships on voting for minorities, students and immigrants. – Kevin Liptak
SYLVIA MATHEWS BURWELL TAPPED TO REPLACE SEBELIUS … President Obama announced Friday that he is nominating current director of the Office of Management and Budget Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services Secretary.
Sebelius – who weathered heavy criticism over the flaw-filled launch of the Obamacare website, and then saw the program through as it topped a major milestone – told the President in March that she would be resigning following the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act. In a speech in the Rose Garden on Friday, Sebelius called the Affordable Care Act the “most meaningful work I’ve ever been a part of. In fact, it’s been the cause of my life.” – Jim Acosta and Greg Botelho
BROWN HITS GRANITE STATE AIRWAVES … Former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts will go up Monday with his first television commercial in his Republican Senate bid in neighboring New Hampshire. The launch of the ad, coming just four days after Brown formally kicked off his campaign, is another sign that if he wins his party's nomination, his challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen could turn the contest in the Granite State into one of the most high profile and expensive Senate races in the country. – Paul Steinhauser
See ad transcript below in HOT SOTS.
THE BUZZ: POPE ASKS FOR FORGIVENESS FOR EVIL OF SEX ABUSE … Pope Francis made his strongest condemnation of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy on Friday, asking for forgiveness and pledging to impose penalties on "men of the church" who harm children.
“I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children," the Pope said in remarks quoted by Vatican Radio. The Pope's new comments, made to a Catholic NGO on Friday, represent a shift from his previous statements on sexual abuse. – Daniel Burke
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks fell in a volatile session on Friday, with the NASDAQ slipping below the 4,000 mark for the first time since early February.