CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 29, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING… Wolf Blitzer And Donald Trump In A Feisty Exchange On CNN’s “The Situation Room”:
On Trump’s Continuing to Question the President’s Birthplace
BLITZER: Donald, You're Beginning To Sound A Little Ridiculous, I Have To Tell You.
TRUMP: No, I Think You Are, Wolf.
On Conservative Columnist George Will’s Charge That There Is No Gain For Romney To Stand With Trump
TRUMP: I've responded to George Will. He's not someone that I've respected. I don't consider him a very smart person. He was at Mar-a-Lago and totally bombed in front of a lot of people. I don't respect George Will and he's someone that said recently that the Republicans will not win the election. I think it was a terrible statement. He's somewhat retracted that now, and I'm not a fan of George Will and I never have been, and I don't think he would like me because of his sorry performance at Mar-a-Lago.
Watch the interview everyone is talking about (Blitzer And Trump both trending worldwide on Twitter at press time) LINK
CNN’s Political Ticker’s Take from the Trail: Trump sticks with 'birther' argument, Romney sticks with Trump LINK
What politician climbed Mount Everest with a broken leg?
Have you gotten the feeling lately that our country is moving in opposite directions?
We have something to add to the arsenal of proof.
We were struck by a new census report that shows 49.1% of all U.S. households receive some form of government assistance.
At the same time, trust in government is near the lowest point in American history, according to Gallup.
How will this growing number of ties to government assistance affect the simultaneous urge to reduce the size of government and deal with the debt? What’s interesting for politics is that the answer is as complex as the demographics themselves. The number of Americans who receive food assistance (47 million) now nears the number of Americans on Social Security (49 million).
The question we will keep tracking is whether Americans will connect the dots between the government “safety net” and their vote, and whether people most in need of a safety net will turn out to vote. According to the 2008 exit poll, people making under $15,000 a year made up 6% of the electorate. 73% of them voted for Barack Obama and 25% for John McCain.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Rubio on voter ID laws, fraud and Latinos: 'What's the big deal?'
The debate over the wave of voter identification laws cropping up in more than 30 states is playing out against the backdrop of the 2012 general election's high-profile fight for Latino voters. – Halimah Abdullah
Leading Drudge: 'Bath Salts' Triggered South Beach Cannibal
The crime shocked South Florida and has drawn the attention of the world. A naked man is shot by Miami Police while eating another naked man’s face on the MacArthur Causeway.
Leading HuffPo: Obama Campaign Targets Romney Over Trump 'Birther' Conspiracies
The Obama campaign is criticizing Mitt Romney for campaigning with Donald Trump despite the latter's continued focus on the "birther" conspiracy. The campaign's new web video, released on Tuesday and coinciding with a Romney fundraiser featuring Trump at his Las Vegas hotel, highlights Trump's repeated references to President Barack Obama's birthplace. – Sabrina Siddiqui
Leading Politico: Mitt Romney: Solyndra trumps Bain
Republicans haven't had much luck proving that Solyndra is synonymous with government graft. Still, Mitt Romney and a super PAC supporting him are giving Solyndra a try on the trail, unveiling ads that wield the $535 million energy loan scandal as a double-whammy: an indictment of big government spending and the answer to Romney’s private equity problem. – Bob King
Leading New York Times: Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will
This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years. – Jo Becker and Scott Shane
The political bites of the day
- Carney talks tough on Syria after U.S. expels Syrian diplomat -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “Make no mistake, it is a horrific example of the brutality of this regime. The extent that it is willing to go in order to preserve its own power, the depravity and disregard for human life that is demonstrated by this is terrible. And we will continue to make that clear to the world. We will continue to work with our partners, consult with other members of the U.N. Security Council to discuss future measures we can take to make clear to Assad that this kind of behavior is not and will not be tolerated by the international community.”
- Romney responds to question with ‘best-selling point’ -
MITT ROMNEY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH FOX NEWS: “I can make the economy better. I can get more jobs in America. I can get competition between employers for jobs, rising wages. I understand how the economy works. The president wants to make this a personal attack campaign. He's going after me as an individual. Look, I’m an American. I love this country. I have experience in the economy that's going to help me get good jobs for Americans so we can be secure again.”
- Cleaver on the African-American community vote -
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER II, D-MISSOURI, IN AN MSNBC INTERVIEW TODAY: “President Obama is probably going to get 95 percent of the vote. And that's tragic because Republicans think either if they get a black candidate who espouses the same old policies that somehow African Americans are going to flock to that party. It is not going to happen. That is to the detriment of the American political process.”
- Walker puts out tough ad in Wisconsin governor’s race -
A NARRATOR IN AN AD CHARGES TOM BARRETT, WALKER’S OPPONENT, OF NOT TELLING THE TRUTH ON CRIME… Narrator: This two year old spent six days in intensive care after being severely beaten. But Tom Barrett’s police department didn’t consider it a violent crime. Tom Barrett claims: Barrett: Violent crime is down 15.5 percent Narrator: But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that hundreds of beatings, stabbings and child abuse cases were never even counted. Violent crime in Milwaukee is up. And Tom Barrett isn’t telling the truth.
Gut Check Inbox… From Russ Feingold/Progressives United: “We only have one chance to recall Scott Walker and elect Tom Barrett. But beating Walker isn't all that's at stake in this election. If progressives win, it will be a major victory over the Koch brothers and the entire movement of anonymous, big-money political influence. … After promising to create jobs, Walker has presided over more jobs lost in Wisconsin than any other state in the country.”
- With Virginia succeeding, governor asked why Obama doesn’t deserve credit -
VIRGINIA GOV. BOB MCDONNELL IN AN INTERVIEW ON MSNBC: “We’re doing pretty well in Virginia, we’d be doing a lot better if we had a President Mitt Romney…look what Obama’s done to energy policies. I’m an energy rich state, I’ve got a president, an EPA and administration that constantly is undermining us on coal, natural gas, off-shore oil and gas, nuclear, I mean I can’t find one pro-energy policy this administration is coming up with to help us. We’d be a lot further along in that sector.”
- Stand by your man, and show the world you love him -
ROMNEY SPOKESPERSON ANDREA SAUL IN A STATEMENT TO NEWS GROUPS: “Gov. Romney has said repeatedly that he believes President Obama was born in the United States. The Democrats can talk about Donald Trump all they want - Mitt Romney is going to talk about jobs and how we can get our economy moving again.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
On May 30, 2003, former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico reached the 29,305-foot summit of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, with his left leg broken. In interviews after his return to the U.S., Johnson told reporters he thought he was going to die during an ice fall collapse.
After reaching “the fin,” a shaky point in the dangerous ice-fall section of the Everest climb, Johnson and his friend Dave hear a crashing sound. “There's this huge crash of ice. Dave is visibly shaking, and Dave doesn't visibly shake. So the fin is gonna collapse, and we're on top of it, and we're gonna die. That's just that. Well, it turns out it didn't collapse,” Johnson told GQ.
Johnson, who was governor of New Mexico for eight years and is now the libertarian nominee for president in 2012, described the situation to GQ as a “holy-s*** moment.”
Today is also the anniversary of the first successful summit of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa on May 29, 1953. The two spent the night at 27,900 feet on May 28 and climbed the last 1,235 feet in the morning. The last incline at the summit of Everest is now known as the Hillary Step.
For his efforts, Hillary was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. No word on whether Queen Elizabeth (who is still in power!) plans to award Johnson.
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