CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 31, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING… EDWARDS WALKS , JURY FAILS, TOOBIN AGHAST: CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin on CNN: “Let me put it simply. This is a mess. This is not how trials are supposed to happen. I assure you, the legal term for this is a mess because juries are supposed to resolve an entire case, they are supposed to reach verdicts on every count before them.”
Edwards was found not guilty on count 3 of his 6 count corruption trial, with the judge declaring a mistrial on count 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6. The judge said the jury had exhausted every way to reach a verdict during their 50 hours of deliberations, stating that “It was fair trial,” according to CNN’s Ted Metzger.
Count 3 dealt with illegal campaign contributions in 2008 from Bunny Mellon, a wealthy admirer of Edwards. The count came with a 5-year max sentence.
DEVELOPING: David Axelrod to John King: “I like our math in terms of getting to that 270 but we're going to have to fight hard, particularly because as you've seen, we're going to have outside groups on behalf of Gov. Romney spending $1 billion in mostly unaccounted-for money, undisclosed money, to try and win this election for him.” Full Interview on CNN at 6 p.m. on “John King, USA.”
What famous source was revealed on this day in history?
More than 50,000 American Latinos turn 18 every month.
If that is not enough to get your attention, read this paragraph from the Pew Hispanic Center’s Mark Hugo López and Paul Taylor: “Since 2000, nearly 6 million more Latinos have become eligible to vote. The bulk of this growth was attributable to the 5 million U.S. born Latino youths nationwide who turned 18 during this past decade. That translates into an additional half-million U.S. born Latinos coming of age each year — a pattern that is certain to persist, and grow, in the coming decades.”
López also notes the political importance of the “Latino youth bulge” in states that have gained congressional seats and electoral votes – where the population surge is pronounced.
In an interview with Gut Check, Lopez points specifically at the battleground states of Florida and Nevada, which were red states in 2004 before Barack Obama turned them blue in 2008. These states in particular have seen marked increases in the Latino voting age population.
New poll numbers out in Nevada on Thursday underscore the importance of this voting group and the attention of the political community upon the ability to convert "potential" voters to "first time voters." If the general election were held today, white respondents in Nevada chose Mitt Romney over Barack Obama 56% to 38%. Hispanic respondents in Nevada chose Obama over Romney 61% to 33%.
In the 2008 election, Obama lost the white vote in Nevada but still won the state – despite the fact that whites made up 69% of the electorate. How did he do it? Obama received 76% of Nevada's Latino vote and 94% of its African-American vote, putting him over the top of John McCain, according to exit polls.
So how can Romney turn the tide and connect with a diverse Latino community? According to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Romney needs to channel the last Republican in the White House, former President George W. Bush. "He (Romney) has to make some kind of personal connection with the Latino community," Gonzales told John King on “John King, USA” on Wednesday. "Gov. Bush believed in the rule of law, believed in tougher workplace enforcement, believed in border security. But, he was able to make a personal connection. Maybe because of his experience as a border governor. We will have to wait and see whether or not Gov Romney can make that personal connection."
The fast pace of demographic change points to interesting challenges for get out the vote campaigns - especially in the hard to motivate group of young voters.
“Young people coming of age are first-time voters - they need to figure out where to register to vote and where to vote. At the same time, they are figuring out many other things - moving, starting college, starting a new job - since they are entering adulthood. ...” Lopez told Gut Check. “According to data from the 2008 presidential election, among young people ages 18 to 29 the Latino voter turnout rate was 41%. Among blacks it was 58.2%. Among whites it was 52.1.”
We will be watching the use of technology - and mobile platforms in particular - as the campaigns innovate to try to motivate the coalition that most helps their math.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Edwards mistrial: Not guilty on Count #3, hung jury on five other counts
Defense attorneys argued that former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was guilty of nothing but being a bad husband to his wife, Elizabeth, who died in 2010.
Leading Drudge: Mitt Hits Solyndra
Solyndra is the failed California-based solar technology company that received more than $500 million in federal stimulus money before it went bankrupt last year. It has since become a mantle of Romney’s argument that Obama doesn’t know how to run the economy. – Emily Friedman
Leading HuffPo: Mitt Romney's Massachusetts Record Criticized In New Obama Campaign Video
The Obama campaign ramped up its attack on Mitt Romney's record in Massachusetts with a new web video on Thursday, which focused on the former governor's economic results and his inability to translate his private sector experience into job growth in the state. – Sabrina Siddiqui
Leading Politico: Mistrial
The jury in the trial of John Edwards has found the former senator not guilty on one count and is deadlocked on the remaining five, leading the judge to declare a mistrial on them, the Associated Press reported. – Josh Gerstein
Leading New York Times: For Edwards, Mistrial on 5 of 6 Counts
The lone verdict in the federal campaign finance case against Senator John Edwards came on the third count, which involved donations from the heiress Rachel Mellon. – John Schwartz
The political bites of the day
- Move Over Jesus, Here comes WWGD -
FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH AT HIS PORTRAIT UNVEILING AT THE WHITE HOUSE: “I am pleased that my portrait brings an interesting symmetry to the White House collection. It now starts and ends with a George W… Mr. President, that when you are wondering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask, what would George do?”
- Obama graciously reminding people economic woes started under Bush -
PRESIDENT OBAMA THANKS BUSH AT HIS PORTRAIT UNVEILING AT THE WHITE HOUSE: “The months before I took the oath of office were a chaotic time. We knew our economy was in trouble, our fellow Americans were in pain but we would not know until later just how breathtaking the financial crisis had been and still, over those 2½ months in the midst of that crisis, President Bush, his cabinet, his staff – many of you who are here today – went out of your ways – George, you went out of your way – to make sure that the transition to a new administration was as seamless as possible.”
- New Front of Abortion Politics hits the House floor: Gender selection -
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER AT A CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “Listen, this is an important issue to the American people. This type of sex selection is ah, most Americans find pretty repulsive. And, and our members feel strongly about it. That's why it's being brought to the floor.”
- Romney Tries Word Association: Obama, Solyndra, Stimulus -
MITT ROMNEY AT AN EVENT IN FRONT OF SOLYNDRA HEADQUARTERS IN FREEMONT, CALIFORNIA: “Two years ago President Obama was here to tout this building, this business as a symbol of the success of his stimulus. As you can see it's a symbol of something very different today. It’s a symbol not of success but of failure. It’s also a symbol of a serious conflict of interest.”
- The Boston Axe Party -
DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN, TALKS OVER PROTESTERS AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN BOSTON: “It is great to be in Massachusetts, Obama country! (cheers and hecklers get louder) I get tweets from some of these folks so I feel close to them. You can shout down speakers my friends, but it is hard to Etch A Sketch the truth away.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
On May 31, 2005, W. Mark Felt, a man who millions will forever remember as the shadowy figure in a Washington parking garage due to his portrayal in “All the President’s Men,” was identified as “Deep Throat,” the source who helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post unravel the Watergate scandal. Felt, who was alive at the time, directed his family to reveal his identity in Vanity Fair.
Woodward and Bernstein, who won the Pulitzer Prize for their Watergate reporting, were stunned by Felt’s admission because both reporters had promised to keep Felt’s identity secret until his death. Felt died in 2008 at age 95.
Felt was the assistant director of the FBI during the Watergate scandal and throughout his career he was a close protégé of legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The Nixon White House, according to the Vanity Fair story, applied a great deal of pressure to Felt during the Watergate investigation and when he pushed back, Nixon wanted him gone.
“It is clear from the Watergate tapes that Felt was indeed one of the targets of Nixon's wrath,” writes Vanity Fair. “In October 1972, Nixon insisted he would ‘fire the whole goddamn Bureau,’ and singled out Felt, whom he thought to be part of a plot to undermine him through frequent press leaks.”
Watergate eventually sunk the Nixon presidency, leading to his resignation in August 1974.
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