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
PRESIDENTIAL GUT CHECK: 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.”
What town touts itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day?
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.
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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