CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 18, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING… MCGURK OUT: President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the ambassador to Iraq, Brett McGurk, has withdrawn his nomination for the post after racy e-mails surfaced about McGurk’s affair with a then-Wall Street Journal reporter who is now McGurk’s wife. In a letter to Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, McGurk writes, “It is with a heavy heart that I write to withdraw my nomination to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. I am grateful for the continuing confidence that you have placed in me. But after much thought over the past week, and having discussed the issue with my wife, Gina, I believe it is in the best interests of the country, and of our life together, to withdraw my nomination and serve in another capacity.
BREAKING… ROGER CLEMENS FOUND NOT GUILTY OF PERJURY: Famed baseball pitcher Roger Clemens was found not guilty Monday of lying to Congress during an investigation of steroid use among major league players.
DEVELOPING… MCCAIN CHARGES RUSSIA WITH ‘POSSIBLY MOVING TROOPS INTO SYRIA’: “All I can say is we are looking at the situation of a protracted long drawn out conflict where Bashir Assad is being supplied arms, equipment, helicopters, tanks, artillery. And now we hear reports today of even actually Russian troops being possibly moved into Syria versus people who are basically without any real means to defend themselves. It is not a fair fight. It is not a civil war because all the military strength is on the same side and not the other. At least we ought to give them a chance to have a fair fight.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will be on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” tonight at 5 p.m.
What war began on this day in history?
Rodney King proved that even those who feel powerless have great power.
King, an unemployed construction worker on a drive one Sunday morning in 1991, changed the course and conversation of the city of Los Angeles and the national debate over race and respect.
King’s run-in with police and subsequent beating touched a viral nerve with humanity – long before “going viral” existed in media parlance. It’s hard to imagine how the social media landscape would have added to the outrage and subsequent riots that ensued after that Ventura county jury found the police officers innocent in the beating on April 29, 1992.
King’s desperation touched a nerve, and shed light on a lack of faith in institutions, even local ones that pledged to “protect and to serve.”
On the bright side, a study marking the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots for Loyola University’s Center for the Study of Los Angeles found that race relations are vastly improved in the city, as well as confidence in the police corps.
Upon hearing of his death, our newsroom was struck with a recent CNN interview in which King, despite a life of obvious pain, articulated a sincere patriotism. King told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on April 24, 2012, “My country has been good to me. I've done some things that wasn't pleasant in my lifetime and I've been forgiven for that. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night or it wouldn't be a part of a citizen for me not to forgive, you know, this horrible situation in my own country. “
O’Brien told Gut Check on Monday that many viewers reacted to her “Starting Point” interview with King. She said that “many referenced how sweet - even gentle - he seemed in his interview; and yet still sort of struggling.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: G-20 nations must 'do what's necessary' to boost world economy, Obama says
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday welcomed the results of the Greek election as he prepared to join other world leaders at a summit aimed at boosting a sluggish global economic recovery. – Adam Aigner-Treworgy and Dan Lothian
Leading Drudge: U.S. Gov't Censorship Requests Up 718%
Western governments, including the United States, appear to be stepping up efforts to censor Internet search results and YouTube videos, according to a "transparency report" released by Google. – John D. Sutter
Leading HuffPo: Mitt Romney Predicts He'll Win Wisconsin
Mitt Romney sought Monday to capitalize on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's victory in a contentious recall election and predicted that momentum from that race will help him win the state come November and, with it, the White House. – Kasie Hunt and Scott Bauer
Leading Politico: Bain Capital: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a muddle
The Obama campaign wants you to know that Mitt Romney took over companies, laid off workers, canceled health plans, shipped jobs overseas and walked away with millions. Not, mind you, that there’s anything wrong with that: “He should be proud of the personal success he achieved as the head of a large financial firm,” President Barack Obama said last week, of the man his own campaign ads have portrayed as a corporate vampire. – Alexander Burns and John F. Harris
Leading New York Times: On and Off the Romney Bus, Tryouts for a Spot on the Ticket
One of the most secretive rituals of the presidential race unfolded in plain sight over the weekend as Mitt Romney stood a few paces behind, watching and smiling, while a procession of prospective running mates delivered their best arguments against President Obama’s re-election. Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker
The political bites of the day
- Obama and Putin agree to ‘see a cessation of violence’ in Syria -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT THE G-20 CONFERENCE IN LOS CABOS, MEXICO: “And finally as Mr. President mentioned, we discussed Syria, where we agree that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war and the kind of horrific deaths that we have seen over the last several weeks. And we pledged to work with other international actors including the United Nations, Kofi Annan and all interested parties in trying to find a resolution to this problem.”
- Ann’s horse goes to London -
ANN ROMNEY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH WJR IN DETROIT: “I am so excited honestly to be able to represent the United States. I have a horse that is going to be fighting for gold in London and I am very excited about that. Wow! It has been a dream of mine for a very long time ever since I was a little girl. You know I love horses and what a dream come true to be able to go to the Olympics and have my horse representing the United States.”
- Being considered for VP would be an honor, but Pawlenty says he would be better in other positions -
TIM PAWLENTY IN AN INTERVIEW ON CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “I want to do whatever I can to get Mitt Romney elected president of the United States. I think he will be a terrific president. I think I could serve him best in positions other than VP, so I’ve encouraged people to look at the other great choices that he has, but obviously anybody asked or to be considered would be an honor.”
- Romney accuses president of being anti-business -
MITT ROMNEY AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN: “I don't think the president likes it very much when you're trying to start a business. I love you when you're starting businesses and growing and I’m going to try and get good jobs for the American people.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
On June 18, 1812, President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain, officially beginning the War of 1812.
In the years leading up to 1812, the British had been supportive of hostile Indian tribes in the Great Lakes region of North America – a major catalyst to the declaration. After war was declared, Madison launched a three-point invasion of Canada in order to rout the British and Indians but were roundly defeated. This news came to the dismay of the “War Hawks” in Congress who had advocated a war at the hopes of expanding the United States by taking territory from the British in the north.
In August of 1814, the British seized Washington and the soldiers famously burned the White House and the Capitol. It wasn’t until a naval victory on Lake Champlain that the tide turned in favor of the Americans and forced the British to sign the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814.
Even though a treaty had been signed, war continued on the Gulf Coast, where Andrew Jackson defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans by enlisting the help of pirates. When news of the victory reached Washington, faith in both the young country and in the leadership of Andrew Jackson skyrocketed.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congratulations to Bob Kovach (@bobkovachcnn) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. Bob, a coverage manager at CNN’s D.C. bureau, will now win some swag from the company he has called home for … a long time. And Gut Check is proud to note that he, like Paul Ryan, drove the Wienermobile.
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