CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 23, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
THIS JUST IN… THE VEEP SEARCH HEATS UP: Sen. Marco Rubio, standing alongside Mitt Romney on the trail in Aston, Pennsylvania: “I had something [my parents] didn't: the privilege and honor of being born in the single greatest society in all of human history… And now, we now have leaders, we now have a leader in this country who wants to take that from us. Who's telling Americans that the reason why they're hurting is that other people are doing too well. That the way they can climb up the ladder is to pull other people down. If we do that, we become like every other country in the world. We cannot do that. If we become that then the American inspiration will be gone and there will be nothing that the rest of the world can look to hopefully in the hopes that they too can one day have what we have. So your question goes to the heart of what this election is about.”
MEANWHILE: DICK CHENEY, IN DC AT THE WASHINGTON CENTER ON PICKING A VP: “I think the single most important criteria has to be the capacity to be president. That's why you pick 'em. And lots of times in the past, that has not been the foremost criteria... As you watch the talking heads out there now, they're talking about, 'Well, gee, you better get a woman,' or, 'You better get a Hispanic,' or, 'You better pick somebody from a big state.' Um, those are all interesting things to speculate about, but it's pretty rare that an election ever turns on those kinds of issues. It's much more likely to turn on the kind of situation where they'll judge the quality of your decision-making process based on whether or not this individual is up to the task of taking over."
Who is the last president of France to be a member of the Socialist Party?
What caught our eye today in politics
Even before Republicans train their eyes on November in an effort to try to win back Iowa, the GOP might first have to fight one more battle that could have repercussions in this election and beyond.
The election of A.J. Spiker in February as chairman of the Iowa Republican Party was another sign of the growing influence by Ron Paul supporters in the state party since the Iowa caucuses wrapped at the beginning of the year. And as Craig Robinson just wrote in The Iowa Republican Paul is on the verge of winning the most delegates to the Republican National Convention even though he placed third in the January contest.
“As unthinkable as it seems, Iowa Republicans are on course to declare three different candidates the winner of the 2012 caucuses,” Robinson wrote. “Ironically, the candidate who actually won the contest, Rick Santorum, will have received the least for his effort here as Mitt Romney received all the attention and hype from being declared the winner on caucus night, and Ron Paul is likely to get the most delegates.”
Great news for Paul and his allies as the Texas congressman seeks to have an influential voice at the convention in Tampa. But perhaps bad news for the Iowa GOP, which is always working to protect its status as the first state to officially weigh in on the presidential race. Since 1980, only two nonincumbent Republicans have won the Iowa caucuses and went on to become the GOP presidential nominee: Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000. The state’s favored presidential status is always under assault and party leaders are constantly seeking to minimize situations that may dilute its power.
Robinson expressed specific concern that if Paul is awarded more delegates then presumptive GOP nominee Romney will look suspiciously upon the state party and may choose to put other state’s Republicans in charge of money, staff and resources that will be allocated to Iowa for the general election. Add this embarrassing incident Friday at the Republican National Committee meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Iowa’s three RNC members refused to sign a Romney “loyalty pledge” required in order to have a picture taken with the presumptive nominee. CNN’s Peter Hamby witnessed the heated exchange between the three Iowa Republicans and Romney supporters and broke the story.
“All three members of Iowa's conservative RNC delegation – party chairman A.J. Spiker and committee members Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman – attempted to enter the [Romney] reception but were rebuffed after refusing to sign the delegate pledge. The dispute became heated in the hallway outside, with the Iowans demanding to know why they had to sign a form to get their picture taken with the former Massachusetts governor. Several of Romney's deputies on the committee assured the trio that they could keep their support a secret by checking the appropriate box, but they refused to do so.”
Later, the Romney campaign allowed for a separate picture with Romney and the Iowa delegation. “They don't trust us,” a frustrated Scheffler said. “I have said I will support the nominee when we have a nominee, no ifs, ands or buts.”
It would be a serious blow to the Iowa Republican Party if Romney and the RNC decided to bypass the state party and have someone else oversee the get-out-the vote efforts.
But some Iowa Republicans are also wondering if there will be long-term consequences if people loyal to Paul are able to control the state party and hostility remains between Romney backers and the Iowa RNC members.
“There has been a systematic takeover of the Iowa GOP machinery by the Ron Paul forces,” said a senior Iowa Republican, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“Our three national committee members are openly antagonistic towards our presumptive nominee, who will undoubtedly have a lot of say on the rules that come out of Tampa for the 2016 calendar.”
The RNC will decide at the convention in August the rules that will govern the 2016 presidential nominating calendar. As Scheffler told Hamby, he “will support the nominee when we have a nominee, no ifs, ands or buts.”
But looking ahead, if Romney loses and there is a race for the GOP nomination, will candidates be looking at Iowa to kick off their campaign if Paul allies control all the levers in the state party? It is unlikely that Ron Paul will run for president again, but his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, is said to be interested in running for president in the future.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Obama targets tech in human rights abuses
President Barack Obama announced new sanctions against companies that enable Syria and Iran to use technology to carry out human rights abuses as he spoke in a somber ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Leading Drudge: Marco and Mitt
Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney was campaigning in Pennsylvania ahead of the state's Tuesday primary with Marco Rubio in tow, the US senator widely discussed as a possible running mate.
Leading HuffPo: Mitt Romney Budget Promises Leave Tough Cuts To Social Programs, Domestic Agencies
Reducing government deficits Mitt Romney's way would mean less money for health care for the poor and disabled and big cuts to nuts-and-bolts functions such as food inspection, border security and education.
Leading Politico: 6 things to watch for at the John Edwards trial
John Edwards’s trial is the latest chapter in a “sex, lies and videotape” saga involving a politician’s reckless affair, a brazen cover-up and a spurned wife who later lost her battle with cancer.
Leading New York Times: Shift on Executive Power Lets Obama Bypass Rivals
One Saturday last fall, President Obama interrupted a White House strategy meeting to raise an issue not on the agenda. He declared, aides recalled, that the administration needed to more aggressively use executive power to govern in the face of congressional obstructionism.
The political bites of the day
- Obama tells cautionary tale at Holocaust reflection -
PRESIDENT OBAMA IN REMARKTS AT THE UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM: “In this sense ‘never again’ is a challenge to us all to pause and to look within, for the Holocaust may have reached its barbaric climax at Treblinka and Auschwitz and Belzec but it started in the hearts of ordinary men and women - and we have seen it again, madness that can sweep through peoples - sweep through a nation.”
- Romney: I won’t be divisive -
MITT ROMNEY CHARGED DIVISIVNESS AT AN EVENT IN SOUTH PARK TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA ON MONDAY: “The road we're on also has a president spending his time trying to figure out who he can blame, trying to divide America. And that kind of divisiveness has never been part of the American experience. I will return America to a principle that we have long revered and that is that we are one nation under God.”
- Perkins sees opportunity at Liberty University for Romney -
TONY PERKINS ON CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “Liberty is a little bit different. As Christians we can disagree strongly but we show respect and I think they will show respect for Mitt Romney. They may not warmly applaud him and may continue to express differences and clearly there are differences theologically between Mormons and Christians, but here's an opportunity for Mitt Romney to talk about what he has in common with evangelicals and that is on the value issues.”
- President briefed on Secret Service, but not ‘highest priority’ -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “This is an issue that warrants investigation and it is being investigated appropriately. But it is not something that is, you know, is the highest priority. He is dealing with trying to keep our economic recovery going, trying to help the economy continue to create jobs as it has done now for 25 straight months and working to ensure that our national security interests are protected. So, he has been appropriately briefed. He met to be briefed directly by the Secret Service director on Friday and he’ll continue to be briefed appropriately.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
To this day, Francois Mitterrand is the only French president to be a member of the Socialist Party since passage of the fifth French constitution in 1958. Serving from 1981 to 1995, Mitterrand is the longest serving president of France and is largely seen as the person who made the French Socialist Party electable.
It is for those reasons (and more) that Francois Hollande, the top vote getter in France’s elections over the weekend, says Mitterrand is his hero.
With about 75% of votes counted late Sunday, Hollande had 27.9% support, followed by President Nicolas Sarkozy at 26.7% in the country’s first round of balloting. "I want to thank warmly the voters who, through their votes, have placed me in this position," Hollande told supporters in Paris on Sunday night. "This is an act of trust of confidence in my (positions) that I have presented to the French people."
There were sharp contrasts drawn between the two leading candidates. While Hollande modeled himself as a Socialist in the same mold as Mitterrand – raising taxes on the wealthy, increasing the number of teachers in French schools and using the government in different ways to stimulate the economy – Sarkozy detailed different positions on the role of government. He proposed lowering taxes and possibly repealing the government mandated 35-hour workweek.
If no candidate wins an absolute majority, French law requires the two top candidates to face off against each other. Hollande and Sarkozy will now compete in a May 6 runoff.
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