CNN’s GUT CHECK for March 26, 2012
March 26th, 2012
05:26 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for March 26, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 26, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: Wolf Blitzer’s hat trick on CNN’s the Situation Room:

Romney: “I am not going to worry too much about what Rick is saying these days. I know that when you fall further and further behind, you get a little more animated.”

Santorum: “You talk about desperate and pathetic, Mitt Romney can’t run on his record. He can’t run on the - here we have the whole world watching what’s going on here in Washington, these Supreme Court arguments, Mitt Romney’s 3,000 miles away.”

Gingrich: “If Romney can’t clinch it, I think it becomes pretty wide open.”

(Answer below)
Who in the news today got his start not covering politics, but covering gridlock in the air traffic control system?

MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

Rick Santorum took a detour off the campaign trail Monday and showed up at the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to draw attention to his opposition to the health care law. It was a strategic political move to try and stay in the headlines (and not for losing his cool) as his campaign seeks to push back against growing calls for the Republican presidential primary to come to a close. And let’s face it, there are no primaries this week, and the Court is addressing what Santorum thinks is Mitt Romney’s Achilles’ heel.

But what do the voters think about this issue heading into the general election? It is not necessarily great news for Republicans if you look at the trend line in the new CNN/ORC International Poll. While 50% of Americans disapprove of the health care law, it is for different reasons: 10% of them said that it is not liberal enough. Support for the health care law did tick slightly down over the past five months among Republicans and Democrats. But it increased by 9 points among independents. See below:

March 24-25

Approve of Health Care Law
Now November

Democrats 68% 71%

Independents 41% 32%

Republicans 10% 12%

Sampling error: +/-6% pts

And as we turn our attention to this week’s hearings, a majority of Americans are not inclined to see the high court “overturn all of the provisions,” the new CNN/ORC poll shows. Look specifically at the independents - the swing bloc of voters you will hear us talk incessantly about until November 6. A majority of Republicans, 58%, are dead set against the law. But 18% of independents say “keep the law as is.” Another 43% of independents say “overturn some provisions.” That shows us that 61% of independents see some value in the health care law.

March 24-25

Keep law as it stands: 23% (among Democrats, 38%; independents, 18%; Republicans, 9%)

Overturn some provisions: 43% (among Democrats, 51%; independents, 43%; Republicans, 32%)

Overturn all provisions: 30% (among Democrats, 6%; independents, 34%; Republicans, 58%)

Sampling error 3-6%

But it is important to note that health care is not an issue at the top of voters’ minds. Only 11% say it is the “most important issue facing the country today,” according to the CNN/ORC poll. The economy remains issue No. 1 with 53% citing it as the nation’s biggest challenge followed by the federal budget deficit at 20%.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: CNN poll: Majority call for arrest in Trayvon Martin shooting
One month after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, nearly three out of four Americans say the police should arrest the neighborhood watch volunteer who pulled the trigger, according to a new national survey.

At the tail end of his 90-minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on Monday, President Barack Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.”

Leading HuffPo: Health Care Law Hits Supreme Court
The Supreme Court plunged into debate Monday on the fate of the Obama administration's overhaul of the nation's health care system, and the justices gave every indication they will not allow an obscure tax law to derail the case.

Leading Politico: First glimpses of Supreme Court's thinking on health law
As protesters chanted outside, the Supreme Court opened three days of hearings Monday on a landmark health care law by signaling that they believe they can decide the core issues in the case now, rather than waiting until after 2014.

Leading New York Times: Justices Hear Argument That Health Case Is Premature
The Supreme Court on Monday began three days of epic arguments over the 2010 health care overhaul law with a sort of appetizer - a 90-minute debate over whether the court yet has the authority to hear the case.

The political bites of the day

- Hot mic catches president being political -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAID THIS TO OUTGOING RUSSIAN PRESIDENT DMITRY MEDVEDEV: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him to give me space… This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

- Rhodes on clean-up duty -
DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER BEN RHODES SAID THIS DURING A WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING TODAY: “Well I wouldn’t comment on it in any specific exchange. I am certainly not familiar with that specific exchange. I was in the meeting and what I can say broadly on missile defense – the president has a clear view.”

- The Santorum swear heard ‘round-the-world -
RICK SANTORUM TOOK ISSUE WITH A QUESTION FROM NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER JEFF ZELENY: “What speech did you listen to? Stop lying. I said he was the worst Republican to run on the issue of Obamacare. And that is what I was talking about. I have said repeatedly, for every speech I give, I have said he is uniquely unqualified to run against Barack Obama on the issue of health care. Would you guys quit distorting what I am saying … Quit distorting my words. If I see it – it is bullsh**. Come on man, what are you doing?”

- Romney campaign pounces on temperament as an issue -
ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SUROGATE JOHN H. SUNUNU SAID THIS ON A CAMPAIGN CONFERENCE CALL: “I can tell you one of the most important things you need in a president is self-control and discipline. It is one thing to lose your temper at a New York Times reporter, and it's another to have to deal with the pressures of folks on the international stage and even opposing congressional leaders. … Rick Santorum's outbursts in the last few days, in my opinion, disqualified him on that aspect. He has a tendency to speak before he thinks.”

- Move over Glenn Close, Herman Cain video shows Bunny being shot -
HERMAN CAIN LAUNCHES NEW VIRAL VIDEO ON YOU TUBE: “This is small business. [This=a bunny] This is small business under the current tax code” [Bunny thrown in the air and shot with a rifle. Seriously. Watch yourself: ] Any questions?”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Mitt Romney (@MittRomney)
Fill in the blank. @BarackObama: I’ll have more flexibility to _______ after the election. #ObamaFlexibility

Brendan Buck (@Brendan_Buck)
Hey State Department, I need some space until after the election on this Keystone thing. After my election I have more flexibility

Alex Burns ‏ (@aburnspolitico)
MEDVEDEV ISN'T WORKING RT @TonyFratto "I will transmit this information to Vladimir" is a pretty pathetic response from Medvedev

Lindsey Boerme (@Lindsey_CBSNJ)
Santorum tells David Brody he'd be open to being Romney's VP:

The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny not only broke out covering traffic in the sky – he won a Pulitzer doing so. Zeleny joined the Chicago Tribune in 2000 and was a member of the reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize in explanatory journalism for their work in “documenting gridlock in the nation’s air traffic system.” Zeleny, now best-known as a well-respected campaign reporter at The New York Times, has the dubious distinction of creating his own news cycle twice in the Past seven weeks. In today’s “trail moments,” you can read the heated exchange in which Rick Santorum tells Zeleny that his question “is bullsh**” – but we at Gut Check prefer his previous exchange with another testy candidate, Newt Gingrich. After the Nevada caucuses, Zeleny asked Gingrich about Gingrich’s staff having advised the former speaker to get rest so the candidate could get Mitt Romney’s attacks “out of his head.” Zeleny, in a televised news conference, asked Gingrich if he would be able to go forward with Romney “still in his head.” Gingrich responded, “Well, first of all, I'm not sure that Mitt Romney is in my head. I mean think that's an interesting analysis on your part. I am sure that with a psychiatric degree that will get you a tremendous opportunity to have new clients.”

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Richard Broderick, Jr.

    Hey Mitt, a lot of working people, who make less in a whole year than you make in a single day, still pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than you do. Is that fair?

    March 26, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. Richard Broderick, Jr.

    Did we just pay for Cheney's heart transplant with Medicare?
    But it would be ok to let an uninsured mother die without treatment just because she's not old enough?

    March 26, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |

    That ugly bus and that ugly picture of all 4 candidates will haunt us throuughout the rest of this campaign. No news?

    March 26, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. Jake

    this trio is ridiculous! so embarrassing for a nation in desperate times

    March 26, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Why do we allow insurance companies to drop people when they hit a certain age, forcing them into Medicare?
    Why do we allow the health insurance industry to continue to exempt from anti-trust laws?

    March 26, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    The challenge to ACA that the Supreme Court will be the over-reach of federal government into matters that the founding fathers had intended as responsibilities for the states. Most citizens do not care about this issue but the implications are significant. The distinction of powers between federal and state governments is very powerful and one of the most brilliant ideas to make our nation work well. Certainly states are able to deal with health care effectively, just as MA is showing. I hope the Supreme Court agrees.

    March 26, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    CNN poll: Majority call for arrest in Trayvon Martin shooting
    The metric for arresting someone is probable cause, not whether or not the police thinks the party is innocent or guilty.

    March 26, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. T'sah From Virginia

    MIC CHECK!! --------------MIC CHECK!!
    President Obama!!! ----------–President Obama!!!
    Don’t you know by Now?!!--------Don’t you know by Now?!!
    That Open Mics Exist!!! --------–That Open Mics Exist!!!
    All around This Town!!!----------All around This Town!!!
    So you need to Watch What You Say!!--–So you need to Watch What You Say!!
    Almost Every Single Day!!!-------–Almost Every Single Day!!!
    Now you know what the Pubs Will Do?!!-–Now You Know What the Pubs Will Do?!!!
    They’ll try to Use This against You!!!---They’ll try to Use This against You!!!

    Not to worry, there is nothing here!! LMAO

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    March 26, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Health Care Law Hits Supreme Court
    No one needs auto insurance until you need to operate your vehicle on a public thoroughfare. You can drive your pickup around your farm to your heart's content until you want to drive to the gas station. Better own your own.

    No one needs health care insurance until you need health care at a public hospital. You can use all of the home remedies that you know of to your heart's content until you need major medical care at a hospital. Better own your own.

    March 26, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |