CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 10, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: Rick Santorum bows out of the presidential race at an event in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, leaving Mitt Romney’s path to the Republican nomination almost unhindered.
Santorum made no mention of Romney in his speech but did pledge to help defeat Barack Obama in November. According to reporting by CNN’s Shawna Shepherd, Santorum spoke to Romney before addressing the media and Romney requested a meeting in the near future. Santorum campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield that a Romney endorsement “is not a inevitability.”
FIRST ON CNN: In a video obtained by CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, acting General Services Administration Administrator Dan Tangherlini said halting the Hats Off Store that provided employee awards was one step in an effort to prevent the kind of "indefensible" wasteful spending involving a 2010 Las Vegas conference of GSA workers from happening again. He said the misdeeds surrounding the 2010 conference included violations of travel rules, acquisition rules and good conduct, and also violated "rules of common sense" and the spirit of public service, as well as the public trust placed in the GSA.
Name the Florida congressman who worked briefly as a high school teacher before running for office?
Rick Santorum’s decision to drop his bid for the GOP nomination is “what caught everyone’s eye today in politics.” As we turn to the general election, we want to highlight a developing story about the National Rifle Association’s plan to try to defeat President Obama.
Tens of thousands of gun rights activists and enthusiasts are expected to descend upon St. Louis this week for the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting, a gathering that will have a major political undertone.
Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are all scheduled to speak at the meeting, providing them with an opportunity to champion the Second Amendment and reach voters who tend to be politically active. With Santorum ending his campaign Tuesday, it is unclear if he will still speak at the meeting. Ron Paul was invited, but the NRA said he didn’t respond to their invitation.
Who did not receive an invitation to speak at the meeting? President Obama.
“The president is anti-Second Amendment,” said Andrew Arulanandam, NRA spokesman.
The NRA hasn’t endorsed a candidate in the Republican presidential primary, but the organization is planning an extensive general election effort against the president. “We are ‘all in’ to defeat President Obama in November,” Arulanandam said.
“All In” is the NRA’s campaign theme to try to defeat Obama in what the organization is billing as “the most important election in our lifetime.”
The NRA estimates it has spent $30 million in previous presidential election cycles, but the amount is likely to increase this year.
“We'll need more this year going against the Obama money machine,” Arulanandam said.
The NRA is one of the most powerful lobbying and political organizations in Washington. It has a membership of 4 million, but the organization says that millions more identify with its cause of gun rights.
In a speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, pledged that these Second Amendment advocates would help beat Obama in November.
“Time after time, election after election when freedom is at risk, gun owners step up and make a difference,” he said. “We’re stepping up again. We’re not backing down, and mark my words, when the sun goes down on Election Day, Barack Obama will have America’s gun owners to thank for his defeat.”
Ben LaBolt, spokesman for Obama’s presidential campaign, dismissed the NRA’s criticism and sought to call into question likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s record.
“The president's record makes clear that he supports and respects the Second Amendment, and we'll fight back against any attempts to mislead voters,” LaBolt said. “Mitt Romney is going to have difficulty explaining why he quadrupled fees on gun owners in Massachusetts then lied about being a lifelong hunter in an act of shameless pandering. That varmint won't hunt.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Race over, but Santorum vows to keep fighting
Rick Santorum suspended his campaign on Tuesday after it became increasingly unlikely he could tackle the obstacles standing in his way on the road to the GOP presidential nomination, according to a Santorum source.
Leading Drudge: It’s Over
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has suspended his campaign.
Leading HuffPo: Rick Santorum Drops Out: GOP Presidential Candidate Suspends 2012 Campaign
In a surprise decision Tuesday, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) announced that he is suspending his presidential campaign, all but putting an end to the Republican primary.
Leading Politico: Rick Santorum drops 2012 campaign for president
Rick Santorum announced Tuesday afternoon that he is ending his campaign for the presidency, effectively closing out the GOP primary season and cementing Mitt Romney's status as his party's presumptive nominee.
Leading New York Times: Santorum Suspends Presidential Campaign
Rick Santorum suspended his presidential campaign on Tuesday, bowing to the inevitability of Mitt Romney’s nomination and ending his improbable, come-from-behind quest to become the party’s conservative standard-bearer in the fall.
The political bites of the day
- Santorum suspends campaign, pledges to continue fighting -
RICK SANTORUM SUSPENDED HIS CAMPAIGN AT AN EVENT IN GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, TODAY: “We made the decision to get into this race at our kitchen table against all the odds and we made the decision over the weekend that while this presidential race is over for me and we will suspend the campaign effective today, we are not done fighting.”
- Romney: Santorum a ‘worthy and able competitor’ -
MITT ROMNEY RELEASED THIS MESSAGE AFTER SANTORUM’S CAMPAIGN SUSPENSION: “Sen. Santorum is an able and worthy competitor, and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran. He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation. We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity.”
- Newt points Santorum supporters to his campaign website -
NEWT GINGRICH RELEASED THIS STATEMENT AFTER SANTORUM’S ANNOUNCEMENT: “I am committed to staying in this race all the way to Tampa so that the conservative movement has a real choice. I humbly ask Sen. Santorum’s supporters to visit Newt.org to review my conservative record and join us as we bring these values to Tampa. We know well that only a conservative can protect life, defend the Constitution, restore jobs and growth and return to a balanced budget.”
- Obama touts Buffett rule -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAID THIS AT AN EVENT AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY: “This is not about a few people doing well. We want people to do well, that's great. But this is about giving everybody the chance to do well. That's the essence of America. That's what the American dream is about! That's why immigrants have come to our shores, because the idea was you know what, it doesn't matter what your name is, what you look like. You can be named Obama. You can still make it if you try.”
- Bush 43 on why he is staying out of the limelight -
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH SPOKE TUESDAY AT AN ECONOMIC FORUM IN NEW YORK: “When you get out of office it is kind of a daunting feeling. You have served, you have given it your all and all of a sudden you have got some years ahead of you. And I have decided to stay out of the limelight. I have had plenty of the limelight. I don’t think it is good, frankly, for our country to undermine our president and I don’t intend to do so, but I do intend to remain involved in areas that I am interested in.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Rep. Allen West, R-Florida, is best known for serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Army before he ran for Congress. But after he retired from the Army and before he became a civilian adviser to the Afghan army, West taught high school.
In an interview with The New York Times in 2004, West spoke about teaching. LINK
“He is awaiting placement in a high school in Broward County and, he said, he prays that God will see to it that he gets a spot in one of the low-performing, predominantly black schools, where he can try to make a difference,” the Times article said. “Ever the striver, he plans to begin studying for a master's in education so he can advance into administration ‘within five years,’ he said.”
West’s stint in the classroom was short, however. After one year, the retired lieutenant colonel accepted an offer to train Afghan soldiers as a private contractor.
West first ran for office in 2008, but lost to Democrat Rep. Ron Klein. The two faced off again in 2010 in a hard fought campaign in which West defeated Klein.
President Barack Obama will be near Deerfield Beach High on Tuesday. The president is traveling to West’s district for a speech on the economy and the “Buffet Rule” at Florida Atlantic University.
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