CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 30, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TRIES TO JUSTIFY THE DRONE WAR: John Brennan, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, says President Obama directed him to be more open about drones: “President Obama believes that — done carefully, deliberately and responsibly — we can be more transparent and still ensure our nation’s security. I’m here today because President Obama has instructed us to be more open with the American people about these efforts.”
He was a janitor; she was an employee at a pharmaceutical company. This starts the love story for which U.S. politician?
Politics is often about who wins the message – and it is hard to find a message that trumps “Osama bin Laden is dead.”
Mitt Romney tried on Monday. Asked on the rope line if he would have given the order to get Osama bin Laden, Romney said, “Of course … even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”
President Obama, at a press conference hours later, seemed to enjoy the opportunity to respond: “I hardly think you've seen any excessive celebration taking place here. I think that the American people rightly remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 of our citizens,” he said. “And it’s a mark of the excellence of our intelligence teams our military teams, a political process that worked. And I think for us to use that time for some reflection to give thanks to those who participated is entirely appropriate and that’s what has been taking place.”
The president then made the pivot to his 2012 challenger: “As far as my personal role and what other folks would do, I just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden.”
The president is alluding to a speech Romney made in Iowa in 2007 in which he criticized then-candidate Obama for pledging to go into Pakistan to root out terrorists. Romney called Obama’s pledge “ill-considered.”
Sen. John McCain, Obama’s former rival, took a different tack, a more personal one. In a written statement circulated by the RNC, McCain said, "Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11 and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad. This is the same president who once criticized Hillary Clinton for invoking bin Laden 'to score political points.' This is the same president who said, after bin Laden was dead, that we shouldn't 'spike the ball' after the touchdown.” In case you didn’t get the picture, McCain ends his statement with a pointed line, “President Obama is shamelessly turning the one decision he got right into a pathetic political act of self-congratulation."
And there you have the goalposts for the next two days, when our country revisits a great bipartisan success in a viscerally partisan election year.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Crowley: Playing politics with bin Laden
It was probably only a matter of time - about 365 days, in fact - before the death of Osama bin Laden got into the political groundwater of 2012.
Leading Drudge: Occupy Wall Street Plans Global Disruption of Status Quo
Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, whose anti-greed message spread worldwide during an eight-week encampment in Lower Manhattan last year, plan marches across the globe tomorrow calling attention to what they say are abuses of power and wealth.
Leading HuffPo: The Legendary Paul Ryan
Ryan’s prestige explains, among other things, the equanimity with which movement conservatives have reluctantly accepted the heresies of Mitt Romney. They may not have an ideal candidate, but they believe Romney could not challenge Ryan even if he so desired.
Leading Politico: Mitt Romney's lukewarm endorsers
It’s the season of lemon-sucking endorsers for Mitt Romney. With his presidential nomination all but assured, a number of high-profile national Republicans who’d stayed on the sidelines have emerged as Romney endorsers — each one damning the future standard-bearer with faint praise in their blessings.
Leading New York Times: Ryan’s Rise From Follower to G.O.P. Trailblazer
He may be, as a friend described him, “a hunting-obsessed gym rat,” but Mr. Ryan, 42, of Wisconsin, has become perhaps the most influential policy maker in the Republican Party, its de facto head of economic policy, intent on a fundamental transformation of the federal government.
The political bites of the day
- Romney: ‘I want to help the poor’ -
MITT ROMNEY AT A CAMPAIGN STOP IN PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE: “We are seeing a greater and greater gap between those that have the most and those that have the least. The president’s focused on taking away from those that have the least. I want to help everybody, particularly those that are being left behind. I want to help the poor. I want to help the middle class get the kinds of jobs that raise their income. Let’s focus on helping the people who need the help the most.”
Gut Check Flash Back: ROMNEY TO SOLEDAD O’BRIEN ON FEBRUARY 1, 2012: “I’m not concerned about the very poor — we have a safety net there.”
- Obama to Congress: ‘It shouldn’t be that hard’–
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA CONTINUED TO PRESS CONGRESS AT A SPEECH IN WASHINGTON: “Congress needs to do the right thing. Pass this bill (transportation bill) right away. It shouldn't be that hard. It shouldn't be that hard. Not everything should be subject to thinking about the next election instead of thinking about the next generation. Not everything should be subject to politics instead of thinking about all those families out there and all your membership that need work.”
- Christie dares Romney to convince him -
NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE AT AN EVENT IN PLAINSBORO TOWNSHIP: “I’ve said before I really have no interest in being vice president, but if Gov. Romney calls and asks me to sit down and talk to him about it I’d listen because I think you owe the nominee of you party that level of respect … and who knows what he’s going to say … and he might be able to convince me … he’s a convincing guy … but I really love this job … I really want to stay in this job.”
- So, does Christie make the list? -
JOHN H. SUNUNU, A ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SUROGATE, TALKS ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN'S V.P. LIST: “I know that the bowl has about 19 or 20 little folded pieces of paper in it, and they keep shaking the bowl.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
John and Debbie Boehner first met when he was emptying the trash at Debbie’s desk. Boehner, a janitor at the pharmaceutical company that Debbie worked at, told CNN’s Candy Crowley that when his future wife walked into the room, he thought, “Well, she is cute.”
“I was a janitor, one of my odd jobs. I was working at this pharmaceutical company, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. One morning about 6:45, I was cleaning off this desk and this lady … came to work early,” Boehner said. “A couple of weeks later I was playing softball for the company softball team and she happened to be there. And then in about three months we ended up working about as far away as you and I are sitting. And eventually she became my wife.”
When Boehner was chosen as the House speaker after the 2010 midterm elections, Debbie Boehner told The New York Times that she was “not going to change.”
“His job is to do this job, and I’m just going to do whatever I can to stay out of the way,” she said. “I just live the life at home that he would be living if he was there.”
The Boehners have been married for 38 ½ years, many of which were spent long-distance between Ohio and Washington. “You find a way to make it work,” John Boehner told Crowley.
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