CNN’s GUT CHECK for May 28, 2012
May 28th, 2012
04:47 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for May 28, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 28. 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

MEMORIAL DAY GUT CHECK… Put down the BBQ & read this: More than 6,400 U.S. servicemen and women have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and at least 48,000 more have been wounded. Today, there are nearly 1.5 million active-duty U.S soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in uniform today. LINK

For the first time since 1944, the American race for president features two candidates who have never served in the military. CNN’s Steve Brusk notes that the 1944 race featured President Franklin Roosevelt who served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, but that was a civilian position. He was never an enlisted member of the military.

POLITICIAL GUT CHECK: Dana Bash’s script from the Situation Room, “For a Republican presidential candidate 5 months away from election day- there is no such thing as a politics-free zone. Just look who the former governor with NO military or foreign policy experience chose to join him: his old rival, and war hero – John McCain.”

(Answer below)
What town touts itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day?

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

Is “going negative” taboo for an American president - especially a personally popular one such as Barack Obama?

“I think starting negative not only distracts you from what he should be talking about, the big agenda for our structural problems, but also damages his personal reputation,” conservative columnist David Brooks said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday.

It made us wonder whether going negative is harder for politicians whom voters deem personally likeable.

When the personally popular first-term President George W. Bush launched a negative ad against John Kerry in March of 2004, it was deemed “extraordinary.” CNN’s own John King reported, “The attack ads represent the earliest date at which an incumbent president has gone on television to attack his opponent.” The same David Brooks lamented the loss of Bush’s “compassionate conservative” mantle of his first run. The National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru noted the change in tone from 2000 to 2004 with a story entitled, “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”

In 2000, Bush ran on a changing the tone in Washington and restoring “honor and dignity to the White House." In 2004, Bush’s first ad mentioning his opponent questioned whether John Kerry could keep America safe. The ad laid out Kerry’s “100 Days” agenda, and the narrator stated that Kerry would “weaken the Patriot Act used to arrest terrorists and protect America. And he wanted to delay defending America until the United Nations approved.”

In 2008, we had “hope and change.” In 2012, Obama’s first ad mentioning Mitt Romney features Jack Cobb, a steelworker, comparing Bain Capital to a “vampire.”

It is important to note in both ads it was not the president delivering the blistering charge, it was a narrator in Bush’s case or a steelworker in Obama’s. Both presidents, however, did approve those messages. Even if the pundits didn’t.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: GOP outspends Dems to run ads in Wisconsin recall
If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wins next week's recall election, the big bucks the Republican governor and his allies have spent to run TV commercials will be a contributing factor. – Paul Steinhauser

Leading Drudge: Mall Fire Rocks Qatar
A fire that erupted Monday at a main shopping center in Doha killed 19 people, including 13 children, the interior ministry said.

Leading HuffPo: Drone Lobbying Ramps Up Among Industry Manufacturers, Developers
It may be years before unmanned aircraft are common in the sky, but lobbyists for the industry that develops and manufactures the drones are already buzzing around Capitol Hill. – Andrea Stone

Leading Politico: K Street not thrilled with Tampa
Republicans aren’t living up to their moniker - the Grand Old Party - at this summer’s national convention. Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, Time Warner and United Airlines aren’t on hosting duty. Trade groups like the American Chemistry Council, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the International Franchise Association are planning on staying home as well. – Anna Palmer

Leading New York Times: Obama Finds Campaigning Rules Clock
By the time President Obama took the stage at the Fox Theater here, he was in the 18th hour of a 19-hour day. His tie was still knotted to the top as he launched into his stump speech, attacking his opponent’s record and defending his own. “I still believe in you,” he said, “and I hope you still believe in me.” – Peter Baker

The political bites of the day

- Obama gets Memorial Day applause for the end of Iraq War -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A MEMORIAL DAY EVENT AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY: “This Memorial Day we mark another milestone. For the first time in nine years, Americans are not fighting and dying in Iraq… As long as I am president, we will make sure you and your loved ones receive the benefits you've earned and the respect you deserve. America will be there for you.”

- Romney: ‘The world is not safe’ -
MITT ROMNEY AT A MEMORIAL DAY EVENT IN SAN DIEGO: “I wish I could tell you that the world is safe place today. It is not. Iran is rushing to become a nuclear nation. As the national sponsor of terror around the world, the thought of fissile material in the hands of Hezbollah or Hamas or other terrorists is simply unthinkable. Pakistan is home to some 100 nuclear weapons. China is on the road to becoming a nuclear supe – excuse me – a military superpower. Russia is rebuilding their military and is now led by a man who believes that the Soviet Union was a great as opposed to evil empire. Chavez is campaigning for power throughout Latin America. Mexico is under siege from the cartels. In the Middle East the Arab spring has become an Arab winter. The world is not safe.”

–Syria: Military options “should be considered” -
CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHEIFS MARTIN DEMPSEY ON CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “I think, as you know, my job is to provide the commander in chief with options, and I think the military option should be considered and I think that, but my preference of course always as the senior military leader would be that the international community can find ways of increasing the pressure on [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad to do the right thing and step aside. But of course, we always have to provide military options and they should be considered.”

- Frank jokes that he hopes graduates in hoodies don’t get shot -
REP. BARNEY FRANK TO ACTIVIST HUBIE JONES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-DARTMOUTH GRADUATION: “One of the great men that I‘ve worked with Hubie for many years and I’m particularly pleased that Hubie got an honorary degree today… You know, when you get an honorary degree they give you one of these (Frank holds up his hoodie) and Hubie, I think you now have a hoodie you can wear and no one will shoot at you. So, I think you’ll feel, I hope, pretty protected by that.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less







On May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a presidential proclamation that named Waterloo, New York, as the birthplace of Memorial Day. “On this Memorial Day, as we honor the memory of brave men who have borne our colors in war, we pray to God for His mercy,” the resolution stated. “We pray for the wisdom to find a way to end this struggle of nation against nation, of brother against brother.”

Though Memorial Day was observed in different ways throughout the country and the exact first day of remembrance is hard to pinpoint, it was on May 5, 1866, that Waterloo first commemorated the day. The tradition was continued each year, but in 1868, the day was moved to May 30 to conform with the wishes of Gen. John B. Murray, an early and ardent supporter of the day.

“It is my privilege to call attention to the centennial observance of Memorial Day in Waterloo, New York, on May 30, 1966,” Johnson wrote in the proclamation.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    This nation is on right track, NO WARS, stump on education, pass HealthCare Reform, Fin. Reg. Reform, GM alive, Bin Laden, ghasdaffi, saddam, kill, DADT pass, STOCK ACT, consumer protectio pass. No potholes since Obama sworn in, unemployment is down, economy is improving, so is housing Market, yes, on obama12. Period.
    PS: nation was corrupt to 2 wars, trickle down tax cheats, Medicare fraud.

    May 28, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Steve

    I'm glad the Presidential wannabee, Mitt Romney, has realized the world is not safe. He finaily realizes what most everone has known for decades.
    Just imagine, this man as president. Listening to him condescend and etch a sketch. No thanks.

    May 28, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  3. F. Roberson, Active duty Army

    I would like to comment on this so-called poll that says more veterans prefer Mitt Romney over President Obama.
    I'm a veteran and I am all for President Obam over Mitt Romney any day and I know even more soldiers and veterans who feel the same way.
    I don't know who took that poll and what demographics groups were polled, but they don't represent my views are me.
    So before telling a story like this, make sure you have all of the facts.

    May 28, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  4. mary

    No one is safe from "The Barber of Cranbrook".

    May 28, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  5. tired of the lies

    i too believe in american exceptionalism- i am a believer in a strong military, i am a veteran myself. what i do not believe in is our leadership at the federal level whatsoever. not the current nor the prospective. i am tired of the lies, class warfare from both sides, and the complete lack of spine to do anything besides pander to every voting block or source of large political contributions. I am tired of obama giving my money to 100 week unemployment collectors. i am tired of him giving my money to illegals in the form of obamacare, the dream act, and the like. i am tired of romney telling me how he is going to give my money to hedge funders, bankers, oilmen and his group. everyone wants the housing market to improve, right? it is where most of middle america's wealth is stored. so tell me how eliminating the deduction for mortgage interest will help that rebound as he proposes. I work hard, pay a ton of taxes and he openly speaks of taking away the middle class one major break – but believes capital gains and carried interest should be zero? why does no one else have a problem with this. what about his proposal to eliminate the deduction for employer paid heath plans. So now we will penalize those who don't go on obama/romney's( they did form the plan somewhat collabritively) health insurance program. i can't take any of them- ron paul maybe- even him only after a few beers

    May 28, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  6. John

    Romney "Russia is our number one geo-political foe"

    Colin Powell to Wolf Blitzer last week...."Rush is not only not our *1 geo-political foe, but they aren't a foe at all. A foe is an enemy and Russia hasn't been our enemy since the cold war".....this is just incorrect....

    I.e. this statement is dangerous and idiotic..............

    May 28, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  7. Thomas

    There have been Presidents who never served in the military , John Quincy Adams; Martin Van Buren; Millard Fillmore; Grover Cleveland.

    Yet I find it offensive that during two war's . That Mitt Romney supported and promoted , none of his five sons volunteered for military service. Not one of them.

    I find that to be a statement on how socially and economically class divided we have become.

    May 28, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  8. Ivan Bial

    I am not saying you have to serve in the military to be President.
    However one needs to be careful about how they discuss the military.
    Romney did not serve,
    his five sons did not serve
    His father did not serve
    and his grandfather turned his back on the country when he moved to Mexico because he did not like the law on bigamy.
    With Romney's father being born in Mexico and his grandfather hiding out in Mexico, perhaps it's Romney does not understand this country, and where is his birth certificate.

    May 28, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  9. Sandy

    Ask Mitt, if his sons and grandson, with be taking part in this high perfromance Army? I'm a female vet that service in Iraq 2003

    May 28, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  10. David

    Another GOP candidate that wants to start a new war....

    May 28, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  11. dave

    shut up, Mittens. stop trying to appeal to the right wing nitwits and be a real person, givecredit where it's due, and try and be a real candidate instead of a fool.

    May 28, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  12. (Butch) Ronald Dennis Long

    The world has never been safe.

    May 28, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  13. Dave

    romney seems to forget that we had a strong military during 9/11 and yet that still didn't stop terrorists from attacking us. Romney also needs to check his facts also that under Obama he's stopped more attacks against us than Bush did

    May 28, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  14. Jorge UU Boosh


    Those pitifuil GOP voters belive this GARBAGE!?!

    May 29, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  15. Common sense

    Never in history has there ever been peace without an overwheingly dominant military. I suppose it it is counterintuitive to some, as us the idea that our unrivaled superpower status is the bedrock of our economic prosperity. Simply cutting military spending to subsidize bloated social services is a long term strategy for American decline in every way possible. The safety net is too good, because as it is the most productive citizens due to the demands of education and taxation have half as many children as the least productive citizens who use the better half's prosperity to pay for thier offspring's well being. We need a strong military and economy, not more handouts, to be successful for generations to come.

    May 29, 2012 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  16. Tom

    I'm not sure what Romney is referring to when he makes a statement about world safety and comparisons to the US Military. Saying Obama wants to downsize the military? Didn't we just pass a $650 billion budget for the military? Maybe he didn't get the memo. Just politics, you know the (P)ractice (O)f (L)ying (I)nfused (T)actile (I)nformation (C)ausing (S)cares ) POLITICS by definition.

    May 29, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  17. 0rangeW3dge

    "Compassionate Conservative" – – Ha, that's a good one. That would be like saying a "caring" billy club.
    I think that Mitt McCain is following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan, namely, Alzheimer's Syndrome.

    May 29, 2012 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  18. jubilirao

    Mitt Romney's memorial day message or it is a rant similar to Hitler's in his heydays but it will not sound scared for Americans. They will answer on the election day.

    May 29, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |