CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 7, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “She has her father’s energy, and her mom’s brains and character,” – Bill Clinton talking about his daughter Chelsea to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (Watch the full interview on CNN’s the Situation Room at 5 p.m. ET)
BREAKING: FOLLOW THE MONEY… MITT ROMNEY TOPS BARACK OBAMA IN FUND-RAISING FOR THE FIRST TIME, despite the Obama campaign’s high profile fund-raising efforts with George Clooney following his much talked about May 9th interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts where he voiced support for same sex marriage – a stance that many pundits proclaimed would help Obama with fund-raising.
Romney Total for May: $77 Million
Obama Total for May: $60 Million
FOOTNOTES: The Obama team says 98% of their May contributions were less than $250, while Romney's campaign said 93% of their May contributions were less than $250, and amounted to $12 million of their total haul.
Romney total includes money taken in by Romney for President, Romney Victory, and the Republican National Committee. Obama total includes Obama for America, Obama Victory Fund and the Democratic National Committee.
What gubernatorial hopeful ran his first campaign promising to get "the welfare bums back to work"?
Like father, like son.
It’s a saying that oftentimes is true, especially in politics. But not so much today when we look at a fresh set of data that distinguishes a former president from his son, also a former president.
Looking through the prism of the 2012 election, Mitt Romney would likely benefit from having former President Bush on the campaign trail this summer. That is if it is President George H.W. Bush, not his son, President George W. Bush.
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows that a majority of Americans view George W. Bush in an unfavorable light – three and a half years after he left office. As for his father, it is a different story.
Blame a dismal economy, high unemployment, housing slump and unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for George W. Bush’s 53% unfavorable rating. Only 45% of Americans view him favorably, according to the poll. Compare that with his father, George H.W. Bush, who lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton in 1992. George H.W. Bush is viewed favorably by 60% of Americans, while only 34% see him in unfavorable terms.
It should be no surprise that George W. Bush’s first public endorsement of Romney came in the form of four words to ABC News last month. “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush told ABC as the doors of an elevator closed on him. Romney later thanked George W. Bush for his support in a telephone call.
When George H.W. Bush expressed his support for Romney, he did so in person, not in an elevator. While George H.W. Bush had told the Houston Chronicle in December that he thought Romney was the “best choice” to win the nomination, he officially announced his endorsement in March during a Romney visit to Texas.
So, what types of voters would George H.W. Bush be most helpful with for Romney: conservatives or independents? How about both as the poll shows that George H.W. Bush has a 74% favorable rating with conservatives and a 61% favorable rating with independents. George H.W. Bush might also be helpful with voters who make under $50,000, where he registers a 55% favorable rating.
As for George W. Bush, his favorable numbers across the board are depressed at best, with the exception of people 65 and older (57%), conservatives (70%) and people who support the tea party (73%).
But as one of the sharpest minds in politics, Stuart Rothenberg, notes there is still plenty of time for George W. Bush’s favorable rating to increase.
“We don’t merely have second acts for politicians, we have third acts and fourth acts,” said Rothenberg, editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report. “Jimmy Carter was a disaster when he left office and his numbers are good now. Richard Nixon left the presidency because of scandal, but years later he was regarded as a savvy gray beard. It certainly is not impossible that George W. Bush could have his own recovery in a few years.”
Just not in time for the 2012 election.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Romney remembered as CEO governor
It is one of Mitt Romney's favorite selling points. Romney often notes that as governor of Massachusetts, he worked with a mostly Democratic legislature to tackle his state's problems. – Jim Acosta
Leading Drudge: Romney Cash Haul Tops Obama
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Republican groups raised more than $76.8 million in May, his campaign said on Thursday, topping the $60 million President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies hauled in. – Patricia Zengerle
Leading HuffPo: Florida Voter Purge Defiance Sets Up Legal Fight With U.S.
Florida election officials responded late Wednesday to a Department of Justice warning to quit purging suspected non-citizens from state voter rolls with an unapologetic explanation and no agreement to stop. – Janell Ross
Leading Politico: 2012 surrogate gaffes: The art of d'oh
Welcome to the walk-back — a strained, three-act political exercise of speaking candidly, then shamelessly buckling under pressure. It’s a drama as old as politics itself, with well-worn characters and a familiar arc. It always starts the same and ends the same, with a crowd-pleasing finale of reversal and contrition. Or maybe a YouTube video. – Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen
Leading New York Times: Election Forecast: Obama Begins With Tenuous Advantage
The first look at the 2012 FiveThirtyEight presidential forecast has Barack Obama as a very slight favorite to win re-election. But his advantage equates to only a two-point lead in the national popular vote, and the edge could easily swing to Mitt Romney on the basis of further bad economic news. – Nate Silver
The political bites of the day
- McCain rules himself out as leaker, won’t talk about classified info -
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN TO REPORTERS AFTER A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING: “I don’t talk about classified information. … I’m not going to talk about what goes on in a classified hearing. I have nothing to say guys. … I am not going to talk about what went on in a classified briefing. That’s why it’s classified.”
Gut Check Flashback… Barry Goldwater reacts to a reporter’s question about a confidential briefing: “I am not going to talk about it. It is highly sensitive; I am not going to talk to you about things like that. You know that… I am not going to talk to you about it goddamn it.”
–“I’m not going to do it…” Wouldn’t be prudent? -
FORMER FLORIDA GOV. JEB BUSH IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CBS NEWS: “I'm not going to do it, and I'm not going to be asked and it's not going to happen. That doesn't mean I don't have a voice. Doesn't mean I don't want to enthusiastically support Mitt Romney. I intend to do that. I'm doing it. But I'm not going to be a candidate with him.”
- Sen. Reid promises change, next Congress -
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID IN A SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “I’ll just bet you, Mr. President, if we maintain our majority and I feel quite confident we can do that and the president is re-elected there is going to be some changes. We can no longer go through this every bill. Filibusters on bills that they agree with, that’s just to waste time to prevent us from getting things done.”
- So that is why there is no NHL team in Honolulu -
CONAN O’BRIEN ON HIS LATE-NIGHT TALK SHOW “CONAN”: “President Obama is in town, and there's a rumor that president Obama’s going to stop by tonight's L.A. Kings hockey game. Yeah. The president doesn't want to draw attention to himself. He just wants to blend in with all of the other black Hawaiian hockey fans.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
The year: 1966. The man: Ronald Reagan. The promise: to get “the welfare bums back to work.”
Reagan, an actor, launched himself onto the political scene with his “A Time for Choosing” speech at a fundraiser for presidential hopeful Barry Goldwater. “The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing,” Reagan said in 1964. That event is largely seen as Reagan’s political launching pad.
Two years after the speech, the California Republican Party nominated Reagan to run for governor, a race that Reagan won by defeating the two-term governor, Pat Brown. Reagan was sworn in on June 7, 1966. Attempting to make good on his campaign promise, Reagan regularly spoke out against the welfare state while in office.
From the outset of his gubernatorial career, however, Reagan had larger aspirations. He challenged Republican Richard Nixon for president in 1968 and later challenged Republican Gerald Ford for the White House in 1976.
It wasn’t until 1980 that Reagan successfully ran for president, a feat he would repeat in 1984. Reagan’s election in 1980 – at 69 years old – made him the oldest person ever to assume the presidency.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congratulations to Bernard Lin (@blin11592) for correctly answering Gut Check Trivia today. Bernard responded to the question with “none other than Ronald Reagan,” an answer that will earn him some CNN swag. If Bernard can get on a Gut Check Trivia hot streak, he may become the real Linsanity.
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