CNN’s GUT CHECK for April 12, 2012
April 12th, 2012
06:12 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for April 12, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 12, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

MOMENTS AGO… THE PRESIDENT ON THE PUNDIT: “I don’t have a lot of patience for commentary about the spouses of political candidates.”

MINUTES EARLIER… Vice President Biden was asked by CNN’s Laura Dolan, “Mr. Vice President, did Hilary Rosen go too far last night with her comments?” Biden: Absolutely, absolutely.

STAY TUNED… What would you do if you were leading the president’s re-election campaign and the biggest gift of a calendar day, the Sixth anniversary of Romneycare, was derailed by unintentional friendly fire and a 24 hour onslaught of mom power? Tune in to John King, USA at 6:30 pm to see what David Axelrod does with the ball in his court.

(Answer below)
Who said this in 2004: “we still live in a country where there are two different Americas... one, for all of those people who have lived the American dream and don't have to worry, and another for most Americans, everybody else, who struggle to make ends meet every single day. It doesn't have to be that way.”

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

Back in 2004, Teresa Heinz Kerry answered a question from USA Today as to how she’d “be different from Laura Bush” with this answer, “Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job — I mean, since she's been grown up.”

The “real job” comment about a mom and a librarian that happened to also be the nation’s sitting first lady, even with a quick apology, cost the Democratic ticket precious news time as well as momentum in the crucial closing weeks of a campaign. The USA Today interview was weeks before the election that Bush won – and while Bush lost the female vote to John Kerry, Bush did gain 5 percentage points among women in comparison with his 2000 showing, according to the CNN Exit Poll.

Now in 2012, we are witnessing the hijacking of an entire news cycle by another unintended consequence. Hilary Rosen said this, “What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that's what I'm hearing. Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we - why do we worry about their future?” Rosen has apologized and clarified her comments, but the quickness her comments have traveled internationally has proved an interesting case study in the speed and challenge of the 2012 campaign.

Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics, says the intensity and speed of the reaction to Rosen’s comments is less about women and men, and more about the new viral world we live in, “It’s a phenomenon about information and the speed of which it is transferring. … You used to be able to change an errant quote and it went away. Now 8 million people discuss it instantly and give it more life.” Walsh also adds that this election cycle specifically has added to the uncertainty, “things can swing very quickly as we have seen already with this cycle – and this year the electorate is already volatile.”

And volatility can swing both ways. Yes, this was the day that the Obama campaign wanted to remind people that 6 years ago today Mitt Romney signed his health care bill. But, remember the day two months ago when Mitt Romney was supposed to be taking a post-Florida primary victory lap and instead he told Soledad O’Brien that “"I'm not concerned about the very poor?"

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Democratic strategist's Ann Romney comments draw criticism from both sides
Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen defended her controversial comments about Ann Romney on Thursday, saying Republicans were attacking her to divert attention from what she said were policies that negatively affected women.

Leading Drudge: 'She has never worked a day in her life'
Ann Romney’s debut on Twitter couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Ann’s first tweet came just moments after Democratic strategist and DNC adviser Hilary Rosen lobbed an insult at Ann Romney, suggesting that the 64-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 16 had never held a job.

Leading HuffPo: House GOP Freshmen Face Opposition From Democrats, Tea Party In Re-Election Bids
In the November 6 elections, Democrats are targeting Grimm and more than two dozen other Republican freshmen by casting them as the compromise-resistant sources of division and dysfunction for an unpopular Congress.

Leading Politico: Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney in TV faceoff
The political “war on women” turned personal on Thursday as Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen and Ann Romney took their dispute over stay-at-home moms to the airwaves in dueling TV appearances that only added more fuel to the fire over women’s career choices.

Leading New York Times: Romney Taking Steps to Narrow His Gender Gap
Mitt Romney moved Wednesday to confront one of his most vexing general election problems — how to narrow the gender gap he faces against President Obama — but his campaign immediately found itself squeezed between its intensifying efforts to appeal to women and its need to avoid alienating conservatives.

The political bites of the day

- Ann: Mitt respects a woman’s choice (not to work) -
ANN ROMNEY SAID THIS ON FOX NEWS THIS MORNING: “Mitt respects women that make those different choices. He had a lot of women in his life that have been his advisers. He listens to a lot of different women and if I get a chance I want to tell you what women are telling me and Hilary needs to know this."

- America is exceptionally rigged -
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN SAID THIS THURSDAY AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: “You know Ronald Reagan, Warren Buffett, Deadra, the president, nobody that I know, no reasonable person at least in my view thinks this is the American way. In America we're not supposed to have a system that's rigged.”

­­- Newt: Unfair and unbalanced? -
NEWT GINGRICH SAID THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT A PRIVATE MEETING IN DELAWARE: “I think FOX has been for Romney all the way through. In our experience, Callista and I both believe CNN is less biased than FOX this year. We are more likely to get neutral coverage out of CNN than we are of FOX, and we’re more likely to get distortion out of FOX. That’s just a fact.”

- Clinton: Relishing un-polarizing world at State -
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON SPOKE THURSDAY AT THE CONFERENCE OF AMERICAS: “I remember it very well when my husband announced in this building somewhere but not in this brand new conference center that the United States would host the first ever gathering of democratically elected leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere. He talked then about our unique opportunity to build a community of free nations, diverse in culture and history, but bound together by a commitment to a responsive and free government, vibrant civil societies, open economics and rising living standards for all of our people.”

- West channels McCarthy, Van Hollen calls him out -
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN RESPONDED TO COMMENTS BY ALLEN WEST ON COMMUNISTS IN CONGRESS: “I think Allen West is well known for his ridiculous and outrageous comments and I will leave it at that.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less








At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, John Edwards delivered a speech titled “Two Americas,” in which he outlined his views on the social stratification of America. Touching upon health care, education and taxes, Edwards described the country in terms of the haves and have-nots.

The “Two Americas’ phrase became a repeated theme in the 2004 campaign as Edwards ran as vice president on the John Kerry ticket.

After the Kerry-Edwards ticket lost, Edwards continued to use the phrase.

“Today ... we see a harsher example of two Americas,” Edwards said after Hurricane Katrina. “We see the poor and working class of New Orleans who don't own a car and couldn't evacuate to hotels or families far from the target of Katrina. We see the suffering of families who lived from paycheck to paycheck and who followed the advice of officials and went to shelters at the Civic Center or the Superdome or stayed home to protect their possessions.”

Since then, Edwards has suffered an epic fall from grace. After fathering a child with his mistress, Rielle Hunter, Edwards now faces six criminal counts related to nearly $1 million in secret payments to hide the affair and child.

After years of delays and disagreement, jury selection at the Greensboro, North Carolina, court begins Thursday.

Our inbox awaits:
Tips or comments? Send them to Michelle; send complaints to Preston, because he is already in a bad mood. We also want to give a shout out to Dan Merica, who runs our Twitter account @gutCheckCNN and enriches this product every single day.

Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    You want a "gut check"? You got one:

    "Now in 2012, we are witnessing the hijacking of an entire news cycle by another unintended consequence."

    When are you finally going to be honest with th epublic and with yourselves CNN? HIlary Rosen's offhand off-color comment didn't hijack the news cycle. Obama's condemnation of it didn't hijack the new cycle. The Changeling's cynical mischaracterization of it to set up the "war on stay at home moms" straw man and attempt to put Rosen's words in Obama's mouth...that didn't even hijack the news cycle.

    What hijacked the "news cycle"? --> The advertising revenue is priority number 1 he-said-she-said sensationalized controversy mountains out of molehills tempsts in a teapot false equivalencies paradigm that was the death of modern journalism. THAT hijacked the news cycle. These people wouldn't be scrambling to spew trite, childish, incendiary nonsense and wouldn't be actually be FORCED to, and it wouldn't distract the entire public from what's really important on a daily basis, if it weren't for the fact that the "news" media will take whatever verbal feces comes out of their mouths and desperately try to polish it into something that will hopefully grab viewers/clickers to justify advertising prices (not to mention help them fill the long 24-hours of airtime with repetative garbage on their 24-hour dedicated news networks).

    Gut check indeed. The entire "news" industry does desperately need one, and I'd suggest it do some serious soul searching to go along with it...if it hadn't so obviously sold whatever soul it had long ago.

    April 12, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. Chipster

    Hillary Rosen should not apologize for telling the truth. I'm sure Ann Romney is a lovely person and a wonderful mother but that wasn't the context of Rosen's comments. She was discussing the struggles of working women who are also mothers who fear they may lose child care subsidies. Can anyone possibly think for one minute that Ann Romney has ever wondered how she was going to balance being a mother while working full time to put food on the table for her children? Seriously? Most mothers work hard to care for their children but some mothers fear losing child care assistance because they can't afford to pay for child care if they work and can't afford to keep their home if they can't go to work because they have no one to care for the children! That is not a choice that has been a concern for women married to affluent husbands. I'm really tired of Democrats apologizing for telling the truth.

    April 12, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. Jane

    OMG – how stupid .... the comments about Mrs. Romney were made in context of how a working mother has to deal with issues outside of being an at-home mom !!! .... and the moment Ann Romney stood up in front of the world and spoke on behalf of her husband, she opened herself up to comments. I cannot believe Hilary Rosen is taking such a lashing for this. Both parties have responded badly and really show their true colors.

    April 12, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    Gotta love watching the poutraged righties and their lapdogs in the so-called "liberal" media yapping about the Rmoney "controversy" while missing the blatant hypocrisy as they speak not a word of condemnation when GOBP lunatic claims many Dems are communists.

    This is how our political and media elites control the masses. Focus on the trivial. Ignore what's important. Oh look, something shiny.

    April 12, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Five sons , all avoided voluntary military service during Americas longest wars.

    John McCains sons served , so did Joe Biden's son !

    April 12, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  6. Blindersoff

    where is the picture of the nanny, isn't she apart of this family?

    April 12, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. cathy wolff

    Please. We women know exactly what Hilary Rosen meant. Ann Romney has never had to wonder how she was going to pay the rent, or whether to buy food or gas for the car, or how to pay for an expensive prescription. Ann Romney has no idea what its like to leave your child with someone you are not sure you trust, but if you don't get to work, you don't get paid, and the kids don't eat. I raised five boys (and two girls) too, and it is hard work, but Ann Romney had all the money and help she needed. Give me a break.

    April 12, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. Debra from Georgia

    Did any boys serve country, Oh that right, they went to Harvard like they DADDY

    April 12, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    She never had to worry if one of them broke a bone - they had healthcare. She always had enough food. Probably had a maid to clean and do laundry and maybe even cook.

    BIG DIFFERENCE when you have ONLY 5 kids to take care of and nothing else to worry about. She had insurance for all her medical needs - most average women don't. BIG DIFFERENCE.

    April 12, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. Joan

    The Republicans may want to rethink how they are inflating the whole "stay at home" and "working woman" controversy. Right now it seems that it is focussing squarely on Ann Romney and that might backfire just like the contraception issue. Obviously Ann Romney is a fine lady but she definitely does not represent normal, middle class stay at home or working moms. She had the perks of being married to a multi-millionaire and could have the luxury of housekeepers, gardeners, nannies, cooks, etc. Plus they lived in a mansion and had a luxurious summer home or homes. Contrast that to normal moms who are stretching the budget, doing all their own work and worrying about the cost of their kids education. Ann Romney did not have to worry about those things and unless you have lived through it you can't really understand. Yes, she has had health problems and everyone is sorry about that but many middle class moms do too. It is especially hard for working single moms. Hilary Rosen should have chosen her words more carefully and needs to apologize not only to Mrs. Romney but also to the Democrats because she said this on her own and it did not reflect the opinion of the White House. However, the Romney campaign has already twisted it and linked it to the President. When women really start to think about this they may start to see the contrast between their lives and Mrs. Romney and it will add to the impression that the Romneys are out of touch with real people. The Republicans better watch out what they wish for.

    April 12, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. jeanette

    Ann Romney may have been a stay at home mom but im sure she didnt have a very hard time as she more than likely had nannies and maids to help her with all the day to day chores. She is as much out of touch with the regular woman/mom as her husband is. I am a mom of t
    3 and i work ft and make less than $25000 a year unlike her husband who makes $57000 a day. Yeah we are so much alike!!

    April 12, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |