CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 14, 2012| 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: From CNN producers Ted Barrett and Paul Courson: The nomination of the president’s pick to be ambassador to Iraq appeared to be in jeopardy Thursday as Senate Democrats raised concerns about recent revelations of questionable conduct. The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he is “evaluating” controversies surrounding Brett McGurk and may postpone a scheduled committee vote on the nomination next Tuesday.
John Kerry told CNN: “People have become aware of things they weren’t, so we have to evaluate.”
DEVELOPING: BATTLE FOR THE BUCKEYE… In dueling Ohio speeches, the presidential campaigns struggle to own the split-screen moment:
ROMNEY SAYS TIME’S UP: “You may have heard that President Obama is on the other side of the state and he’s going to be delivering a speech on the economy. He’s doing that because he hasn’t delivered a recovery for the economy. And he’s going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better. But don’t forget, he’s been president for 3½ years. And talk is cheap. Action speaks very loud. And if you want to see the results of his economic policies, look around Ohio, look around the country, and you’ll see that a lot of people are hurting.
OBAMA TRIES CHARM OFFENSIVE: The other side will spend over a BILLION dollars on ads that tell you the economy is bad, that it is all my fault, that I can’t fix it because I think government is always the answer or because I didn’t make a lot of money in the private sector and don’t understand it, or because I am in over my head, or because I think everybody is doing just fine. That’s what the scary voice in the ads will say. That’s what Mr. Romney will say. That’s what Republicans in Congress will say. That may be their plan to win the election but it is not a plan to create jobs. It is not a plan to grow the economy.
What did the Continental Congress agree to on this day in history that still remains with us?
Just a couple of hours ago, we watched The Blame Game play out in one of the most important battleground states as Mitt Romney and President Obama sought to control the narrative over who is best equipped to turn the economy around five months before Election Day.
The scripting of the two back-to-back speeches in Ohio made this mid-June day feel like it was late October. Romney chose a metal manufacturing plant in Cincinnati to criticize Obama’s economic policies, while Obama was in Cleveland making his case for a second term in the Cuyahoga Community College gymnasium.
The speeches come as the two rival presidential campaigns appear to be tightening their laces for what now looks like a sprint to November 6 without much of a pause in campaigning this summer.
Obama used today’s speech to emphasize that he inherited an economic mess and needs more time to turn it around. Romney argued that Obama has been in office for more than three years and unemployment remains north of 8%. Obama sought to link Romney to former President George W. Bush. Romney said Obama’s policies are anti-business and are preventing an economic recovery.
It wouldn’t be outrageous to think that Americans are laying blame for the current state of the economy at the doorstep of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But a new Gallup Poll shows that a greater number of Americans blame Bush more for the current state of the economy than Obama.
According to Gallup, 52% of Americans say that Obama deserves a “great deal” or “moderate amount” of blame for the economic problems, while 68% say Bush deserves a a “great deal” or “moderate amount.” When you drill down in the numbers, Gallup notes that 51% of independents say Obama is at fault for the economy. Sixty-seven percent of independents blame Bush.
It is no surprise that Obama is trying to link Romney to Bush.
While the poll is not great news for the Obama campaign, it still is a welcome statistic for Chicago, which has faced a rough week so far with headlines such as these: Family net worth plummets nearly 40% and foreclosures spike 9% in May.
So, more Americans believe Bush is to blame for the nation’s current economic problems. But it remains to be seen whether this will help Obama win a second term in November. And there is no historical trend to work from – each election is its own contest, in its own moment in time.
“In the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt was able to win re-election, in part, because voters blamed Herbert Hoover, not FDR, for the Great Depression,” said CNN’s Keating Holland. “The public did not cut Jimmy Carter and the elder George Bush the same slack.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Obama, Romney give dueling economic speeches from Ohio
President Barack Obama seeks to re-energize his economic message Thursday with a campaign speech in the electoral battleground of Ohio, while certain Republican rival Mitt Romney will offer his take on the economy at the same time in the same state. – Tom Cohen
Leading Drudge: Chaos In Cairo: Military Claims Control
Egypt's highest court declared the parliament invalid Thursday, and the country's interim military rulers promptly declared full legislative authority, triggering a new level of chaos and confusion in the country's leadership. The Supreme Constitutional Court found that all articles making up the law that regulated parliamentary elections are invalid, said Showee Elsayed, a constitutional lawyer. – Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Josh Levs
Leading HuffPo: Romney's 'Doing Fine?' Ad Is Mirror Image Of Obama Ad From 2008
When the Republican National Committee released a web video hours after President Barack Obama's "the private sector is doing fine" comment last Friday, it got plenty of attention for closely mirroring a 2008 ad that the Obama campaign ad ran against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz). – Jon Ward
Leading Politico: The Republican family feud
It turns out Democrats are not the only ones with a surrogate problem. When Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels and Scott Walker all lobbed rhetorical explosive devices of varying sizes in Mitt Romney’s direction, Democrats were gleeful that Republicans now had their own version of a Bain family feud. – Maggie Haberman
Leading New York Times: Campaign Aid Is Now Surging Into 8 Figures
Even in a political season marked by unprecedented levels of political spending, Sheldon Adelson stands alone. In recent days, Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino owner, and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, gave $10 million to Restore Our Future, a “super PAC” backing Mitt Romney, people with knowledge of the contribution said Wednesday. The move leaves the Adelsons by far the most prolific campaign donors in the country. – Nicholas Confessore
The political bites of the day
- McCain doesn’t know what a moth pheromone is… but he knows he is against it -
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN IN A SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “$700 million for agriculture and food research initiative which funds a variety of research grants like testing pine tree growth in Florida or studying moth pheromones. I have no clue what a moth pheromone is. When did it become a national priority to study moth pheromones?”
- Dempsey warns of vacuum caused by smaller U.S. force -
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S BARBARA STARR: “It (budget cuts) raises the risk. I mean clearly. You know, it is defining the degree of that risk that I am struggling with right now… we would certainly be less visible and active globally because we would have a much smaller force. And nature abhors a vacuum and if we are not there others will be and that doesn’t mean we have to be the world’s policeman and all the rhetoric, but it does mean we have to engage and build partnerships, we have to live up to our treaties, obligations and so forth.”
- Holder proposes meeting with Issa on Fast and Furious -
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER IN A LETTER TO REP. DARRELL ISSA: “The department’s willingness to provide these materials is a serious, good faith effort to bring this matter to an amicable resolution. However, because as the chairman only you have the authority to bind the committee, I continue to believe that a meeting is required both to assure that there are no misunderstandings about this matter and to confirm that the elements of the proposal we are making will be deemed sufficient to render the process of contempt unnecessary. I seek your direct engagement for precisely that reason, and I propose that the meeting occur by Monday, June 18, 2012.”
- An economic plan that is just for laughs -
CONAN OBRIEN JOKES ABOUT PRESIDENT OBAMA ON HIS LATE-NIGHT TALK SHOW: “This is exciting news. President Obama is coming to Chicago this weekend. Did you know that? Yeah. Obama is introducing his new economic plan as part of the Just for Laughs Festival.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed a resolution that outlined "the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white.” Additionally, they decided "the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
The flag was based upon the already widely used “Grand Union” flag. During the American Revolution, the Continental Army used a flag that also used stars and stripes in red, white and blue. The flag has become a bit of a legend, too. According to lore, Betsy Ross designed the original flag at the request of George Washington.
While the stripes on the U.S. flag have remained the same since that day in 1777, as different states were added to the union, more stars were affixed to the flag. In total, there have been 27 versions of the flag, including the present flag.
In 1949, the U.S. Congress mandated that June 14 be observed as Flag Day.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congratulations to Matt C-Roy (@Seeroy) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Admittedly, it was fairly easy (the answer was original design of the U.S. flag), but Matt was the first to tweet the correct answer. Matt lived with a member of Gut Check in college and has been a Gut Check fan from the beginning.
GUT CHECK LOVES A GOOD ROAST
And by roast, we mean what happened last night at an event honoring CNN’s Candy Crowley for winning the 2012 Award for Excellence in Journalism by the American News Women’s Club. At the event, CNN’s Dana Bash got a shot at roasting Crowley and though Dana’s first job was not in comedy – it was at Van Riper Farm in northern New Jersey (no joke) – Bash knocked it out of the park with her comedy routine. “For the last decade, Candy has been a friend and a mentor,” Bash said. “It’s been my own personal page program — but without the inappropriate texting.”
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