CNN’s GUT CHECK for March 29, 2012
March 29th, 2012
05:22 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for March 29, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 29, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle


RYAN GETS THE WIN: The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed the GOP leadership's 2013 budget plan by a vote of 228-191. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's $3.53 trillion blueprint includes an overhaul of the nation's tax code and major changes to popular entitlements such as Medicare - expensive programs that in the past have been considered politically untouchable. Ten Republicans voted no.

RYAN WILL GET A LOSS: The measure has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate but creates a clear contrast between the two parties on a number of tax and spending issues ahead of the general election.

RYAN GETS A NO DECISION: The budget chairman stepped into a proverbial landmine today when asked why his committee chose not to cut the Pentagon budget, going against the advice of generals there.

Ryan’s response: “We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice. We don’t think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget. I believe that the president’s budget, by virtue of the fact that when he released his budget number, about 500 billion dollars, the number was announced at the same time they announced the beginning of their strategy review of the Pentagon’s budget. What we get from the Pentagon is a budget-driven strategy, not a strategy-driven budget.”

Accusing the military of not telling the truth to Congress is a big charge as they are required to tell the truth by the U.S. Military Code of Justice. The Pentagon disputed the chairman's claims:

Read the full story on CNN’s Security Clearance.

(Answer below)
Which 25-year-old Floridian working on the Bob Dole's presidential campaign was described by NPR as “fueled with pizza and adrenaline” in a 1996 report?

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

This is the day of the Establishment squeeze. Or at least it’s supposed to be.

Mitt Romney’s campaign bookends the 24-hour news cycle with an endorsement from the man he told Jay Leno was defined by two words: American Dream (Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida) and from an elder statesman who he said is an American Hero (former President George H.W. Bush).

This is the equivalent of the Republican Establishment putting the ball in Rick Santorum’s hands. As of now, much to the chagrin of the GOP Establishment, Santorum is running with it instead of walking off the court.

It is still mathematically possible, but improbable, for Santorum to amass the 1,144 delegates needed to win the GOP nomination before the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. His campaign has been fueled by a string of big primary night wins that have yielded a marginal number of delegates to help chip away at Romney’s lead. Yet Santorum still sees a path to victory, even if most people do not.

Santorum is getting the squeeze, but much like Newt Gingrich, he owes nothing to the Republican Establishment who never rallied around his candidacy.

As we like to say, numbers don’t lie. Take a look at the CNN/ORC International Poll released this week. Perhaps this data can help give you a better understanding of how and why Santorum is wrestling with his own gut check.

The good for Santorum

1. Six in 10 Republicans think Santorum should stay in the race, according to the poll
2. On these five issues, Santorum beats Romney with Republican voters, according to the poll
a. Which candidate is more likely to “Say what he believes” – Romney 36%, Santorum 53%
b. Which candidate is more likely to “Be more honest” – Romney 37%, Santorum 49%
c. Which candidate is more likely to “Share your values” – Romney 40%, Santorum 48%
d. Which candidate is more likely to “Care about people” – Romney 34%, Santorum 47%
e. Which candidate is more likely to “Agree with you on issues” – Romney 39%, Santorum 46%
3. When it comes to the general election match-up against Obama, Romney trails by 11% while Santorum trails by 13% among registered voters, according to the poll

The bad for Santorum

1. Mitt Romney holds a 10-point lead over Rick Santorum among Republicans in a head-to-head match-up (36% to 26%), according to the poll
2. If Newt Gingrich decided to drop out of the race, Romney’s lead over Santorum would grow by 15 points (45% to 30%), according to the poll
3. On these four issues, Romney beats Santorum with Republican voters, according to the poll
a. Which candidate is more likely to “Beat Obama” – Romney 69%, Santorum20 %
b. Which candidate is more likely to “Get economy moving” – Romney 64%, Santorum 24%
c. Which candidate is more likely to “Be a strong leader” – Romney 60%, Santorum 29%
d. Which candidate is more likely to “Inspire confidence” – Romney 52%, Santorum 36%

We head into next week with Wisconsin considered a “must win” for Santorum as Romney is expected to win the Maryland and District of Columbia primaries. After the April 3 primaries, next in line are Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania on April 24. And yes, Santorum’s home state becomes the next one to herald the “must-win” banner.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Budget experts give up on balanced budget, look to 'contain' deficit
The House has passed the Republican budget plan submitted by Rep. Paul Ryan, but some budget experts believe that he federal government is so far in the red that it may not balance the budget again in our lifetime.

Leading HuffPo: Haley Barbour's Lobby Shop Had Ties To Iranian Nuclear Efforts
GOP power broker Haley Barbour's lobby shop, BGR Group, represents a Russian bank that has financed a company that helped build Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, according to corporate documents and lobbying disclosure records. The bank is owned by a secretive oligarch, Mikhail Fridman, who has met at least twice with White House officials in the last few years, according to visitor logs.

Leading Politico: Mitt Romney or not, GOP is coming for ‘Obamacare’
With the general election now in sight, Republican strategists and party officials have begun crafting a strategy that puts health care front-and-center in the campaign against President Barack Obama, even if Mitt Romney is at the top of their ticket.

Leading New York Times: Taking Heed of Criticism, Santorum Tones Down Attacks
Rick Santorum has eased up on using phrases like “worst Republican in the country” when tearing into Mitt Romney. And he is no longer saying that a vote for Mr. Romney would be basically the same thing as a vote for President Obama.

The political bites of the day

- After roughly $16.5 million, Gingrich sugar daddy expresses doubts -
CASINO MAGNATE SHELDON ADELSON EXPRESSED DOUBTS IN A GINGRICH PRESIDENCY: “It appears as though he’s at the end of his line. Cause, I mean, mathematically, he can’t get anywhere near the numbers.”

- Hey Mitt, the “American Dream” may have just stepped on yours -
MARCO RUBIO SAID THIS IN AN INTERVIEW WITH TOWNHALL.COM: "There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president - but they didn't. I think Mitt Romney would be a fine president, and he'd be way better than the guy who's there right now."

­- Carney: I am pretty sure the Cold War ended -
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY RESPONDS TO MITT ROMNEY’S COMMENTS ON RUSSIA AT BRIEFING: “I am pretty sure the Cold War ended when some of the folks in this room were still in elementary school and any suggestion that Russia is America’s geopolitical foe represents a profound or unique understanding of recent history.”

- Newt as an Abercrombie model -
JIMMY FALLON TALKS 2012 POLITICS ON HIS TALK SHOW, “LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON”: “There's some - some 2012 election news. This week, it's very interesting, Ron Paul said it's too early to count him out as the Republican nominee. Seriously? That's like Newt Gingrich saying it's too early to count him out as an Abercrombie model. It's not gonna happen.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg)
Republican candidates who say we can cut taxes and balance the budget are either delusional or dissembling

Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNBC)
Rick Perry got more than twice the number of votes after he dropped out than before: 39,435 vs. 14,321:

Reid Wilson (@HotlineReid)
Republican presidential candidates have spent a total of $87 million on TV ads already

Byron Tau (@ByronTau)
John Kerry: They're swiftboating Obama


That pizza-eating, adrenaline pumping campaign aide would be none other than Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida. (Rubio dominated the news today for his endorsement of Mitt Romney and his adamant denial about hoping to become vice president.)

Rubio started his career in politics with two prominent politicians. While earning his law degree at the University of Miami, Rubio interned with U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Later in 1996, Rubio went on to join the Florida operation of Bob Dole’s campaign. When NPR stopped by the campaign office before the 1996 election, Rubio talked to them about the importance about getting out the vote.

“It’s important to get people excited about the political process and understand the importance of their vote, and understand the importance of elections,” said Rubio.

“Maybe someone who wasn't going to vote, who hasn't an interest or paying attention because they were watching the World Series or something on television, goes out on Monday morning and sees a caravan or street rally and is reminded of the importance of voting, gets excited about our candidate and decides, ‘I'm going to take a couple of minutes out of my day and go vote tomorrow.’ ”

Though Bill Clinton went on to win Florida (and the country) in 1996, Rubio’s political career was far from over. He went on to serve as city commissioner for West Miami and was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000 and the U.S. Senate in 2010.

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Filed under: 2012 • CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Ryan is so full of himself that he calls the generals liars. Like most baggers he is dangerous to national defense.

    March 29, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. diridi

    GOP is full of nonsense. OK., Ryan's Budget is totally a nonsense.

    March 29, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. MWM

    Does Ryan's budget include the cost of wars in Syria and Iran that the republican candidates are determined to start?

    March 29, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. steven harnack

    The generals just don't know that if Republicans take the White House they are going to need that money and much, much, more.

    March 29, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |