CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 21, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING… GAME ON, 2012: OBAMA DRAWS LINE IN THE SAND OVER PRIVATE EQUITY, SAYING THIS IS WHAT THE CAMPAIGN IS ABOUT. OBAMA: "THIS IS NOT A, QUOTE, DISTRACTION."
4:37 p.m. ET: President Obama, at the NATO summit press conference, pits POLITICAL EQUITY against PRIVATE EQUITY: “My view of private equity is that it is, it is set up to maximize profits and that is a healthy part of the free market, of course. That’s part of the role of a lot of business people. That is not unique to private equity. My representatives have said repeatedly and I will say today, I think there are folks who do good work in that area and there are times where they identify the capacity for the economy to create new jobs or new industries. But understand their priority is to maximize profits, and that is not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers. And the reason this is relevant to the campaign is that because my opponent, Gov. Romney, the main calling card for why he should be president is his business experience. He is not going out there touting his experience in Massachusetts, he is saying, 'I am a business guy and I know how to fix it,' and this is his business. And when you are president as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot. … And so if your main argument for how to grow the economy is, 'I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,' then you are missing what this job is about.”
4:28 p.m. ET: The Obama Campaign Tweets:
Barack Obama (@BarackObama)
“Mitt Romney takes from the poor … and gives to the rich. He’s just the opposite of Robin Hood.” http://OFA.BO/j6FZcR #RomneyEconomics
What was Camp David called during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration?
It is never a good day for a candidate when a prominent surrogate becomes the story and sucks all of the political oxygen out of the room. Cue Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, whose comments Sunday on “Meet the Press” about negative campaigning has overshadowed all other political stories in the past 24 hours.
Booker’s sharp critique of the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s private equity experience as well as a Republican proposal to resurrect the issue of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is the type of “straight talk” that voters say they want to hear from politicians.
“This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides,” Booker said Sunday on “Meet the Press.”
“It's nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity, stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop because what it does is it undermines, to me, what this country should be focused on. It's a distraction from the real issues. It's either going to be a small campaign about this crap, or it's going to be a big campaign, in my opinion, about the issues that the American public cares about.”
Until the straight talk becomes a little crooked.
It took only a matter of hours after his “Meet the Press” appearance before Booker put out a three-minute, 42-second You Tube video clarifying his remarks and endorsing the Obama campaign strategy to criticize Romney’s business record.
“Let me be clear, Mitt Romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign,” Booker said in the straight to camera explanation. “He's talked about himself as a job creator, and therefore it is reasonable, and therefore I encourage it, for the Obama campaign to examine that record and discuss it. I have no problem with that.”
Ben LaBolt, Obama’s campaign spokesman, told CNN’s Brook Baldwin just a short time ago that the campaign did not ask Booker to issue the video. “These are his own views in the video,” LaBolt said.
To be fair, Booker is very active on social media and very attune to supporters who may find him off message. However, you could see from Obama’s comments at the NATO press conference, that his campaign used the “Booker news cycle” to double down on their attacks on Romney and Bain.
And what seems to have been lost in the shuffle was that Booker would not back off his criticism of the negative tone of the campaign.
“I used the word nauseating on ‘Meet the Press,’ because that's really how I feel when I see people in my city struggling with real issues and still feeling the challenges of this economy, and still looking for hope and opportunity and real specific plans,” Booker said. “I get very upset when I see such a level of dialogue.”
The dialogue Booker bemoans had a presidential podium at an international news conference moments ago.
Did you miss it?
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Leading Drudge: Fadebook
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Leading HuffPo: Members Of Congress Speak Like High School Sophomores, Sunlight Foundation Report Says
The sophistication of federal lawmakers' speech patterns is on the decline, with members of Congress now talking, on average, at the level of high school sophomores. According to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation, Congress has fallen by almost a full grade-level since 2005.
Leading Politico: Carmona draws fire from former boss
Richard Carmona, the former U.S. surgeon general now running as a Democrat in Arizona for a Senate seat, made national headlines in 2007 when he told Congress that the Bush administration had improperly interfered in public health decisions for purely political reasons.
Leading New York Times: ‘Super PACs’ Let Strategists Off the Leash
The intensifying flood of uncapped donations to outside political groups is transforming not just campaigns but the entire business of politics.
The political bites of the day
- Advancing the goal of bringing Afghanistan war to an end -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT THE OPENING DAY OF THE NATO CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO: “Our nations and the world have a vital interest in the success of this mission, and I am confident because of the leadership represented here as well as the leadership of our outstanding armed forces that we can advance that goal today and responsibly bring this war to an end.”
- What are the real costs of a childhood online presence? -
CHELSEA CLINTON AND JAMES P. STEYER WRITE THIS IN A CNN OPINION EDITORIAL: “By the time they're 2 years old, more than 90% of all American children have an online history. At 5, more than 50% regularly interact with a computer or tablet device, and by 7 or 8, many kids regularly play video games. Teenagers text an average of 3,400 times a month. The fact is, by middle school, our kids today are spending more time with media than with their parents or teachers, and the challenges are vast: from the millions of young people who regret by high school what they've already posted about themselves online to the widely documented rise in cyberbullying to the hypersexualization of female characters in video games.”
- Karzai: How could bin Laden been in Pakistan ‘without some knowledge’ by Pakistan -
CNN’s WOLF BLITZER IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HAMID KARZAI: One historic footnote, do you believe they were protecting OBL in Abbottabad? KARZAI: Well, he was killed in Abbottabad. Whether he had official protection I can not tell. WOLF: What do you think? KARZAI: Uh, really difficult to say one way or the other but where he was, how could he have been without some knowledge of him there?
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
When the U.S. Secret Service informed Franklin Delano Roosevelt that they were concerned about him yachting in New York while German U-boats patrolled the Atlantic Ocean during World War II, the White House began to seek out a place for the president to relax within a 100 mile radius of Washington.
After a number of sites were considered, the site that would come to be known as Shangri-La was selected high in the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area. Originally named Camp High-Catoctin, Roosevelt named the site Shangri-La, after James Hilton’s 1933 novel, “Lost Horizon.”
Don Keelan, a U.S. Marine sentry at Camp David from 1957 to 1960, wrote in the Bennington Banner that Roosevelt was incredibly weary of overspending on the site.
“The National Park Service’s $18,645 estimate to fix up the camp came under detailed scrutiny by FDR,” wrote Keelan. The president went through the budget line by line. He crossed out $1,000 for dust control of the camp’s roads; he canceled out $1,250 for vista and shelter cutting. FDR removed the cost of building wooden huts for Secret Service housing and ordered that the agents stay in tents.
Following the Roosevelt presidency, the Eisenhower White House renamed the retreat Camp David after Eisenhower’s grandson. When John F. Kennedy became president, the assumption was that the name change tradition would continue and Kennedy would rename the retreat. That change never happened, though, and the name Camp David stuck.
Gut Check Winner’s Circle
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David Di Martino (@ddimartino1) was the first person to correctly answer Gut Check Trivia today. Within minutes, David answered “Shangri-La.” Jonathan Kappler (@jonathankappler) was a close second.
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