CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 19, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING... Reports conflicted Wednesday over whether the 84-year-old former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, was clinically dead.
DEVELOPING… A MEETING AT THE O.K. CORRAL (THE U.S. CAPITOL): Attorney General Eric Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California will meet to discuss Issa's demand for more documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, a botched federal firearms sting operation that allowed weapons to reach Mexican drug gangs.
What president played the most golf during his time in the White House?
Since Gut Check first published on March 5, 2012, we’ve spoken in a singular voice on the biggest issues of the day in the “What caught our eye today in politics” column. But alas all good things must come to an end, at least for today, where we can’t seem to agree on the potential impact Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, would have if he were selected as Gov. Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate. The topic came up because of this report today by ABC’s Jonathan Karl that Rubio is not being vetted by the Romney campaign.
Our opposing views on the whether selecting Marco Rubio as his vice president would have made the difference in a Romney bid:
Mark: Rubio is a gifted politician, and he is certainly a rising star in the Republican Party. But as an astute observer of Hispanic politics told me this afternoon, not that many Hispanic voters know Rubio outside of Florida and he still has a lot of room to grow into the role as a national Hispanic spokesman. Rubio just turned 41, leaving him plenty of time to do so. Then there are the raw numbers: In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama received 67% of the Hispanic vote, more than doubling the 31% who backed Sen. John McCain, according to the CNN Exit Poll.
Coupled with Romney’s hard-line stand on immigration in the Republican presidential primary, it is hard for me to think that Rubio, much less anyone, can help the Republican presidential nominee make a significant inroad with Hispanics this election. If we are talking solely about Florida in a very close race, I would have to agree with Michelle, because his pick might persuade other voters beyond Hispanics to support Romney. But when it comes purely to Hispanic voters, I don’t think his selection would have a significant impact in this election with this subset of voters.
Michelle: I believe Romney’s vice presidential pick is extremely important and I would argue that it’s more important in this election cycle than previous elections. Rubio’s selection in my opinion certainly could have the potential to tip this election. Why? 1. Turnout. Anything that can galvanize turnout can be a game changer. Anyone who can speak to a group or a portion of the public that has previously tuned out politics can be a campaign catalyst. And anything that can get you renewed interest by donors and the press can be pivotal in politics.
In the era where social media and stage crafting has created more cautious politics, we have very few chances to evaluate for ourselves how each man would act as president. Romney’s choice of running mate will be the single biggest decision we can watch him make – and learn from.
It is harder to break through in a world with so much noise, which is why the debates were so important in the primaries, and why the vice president pick is of paramount importance to Romney in the general election (it’s the one time the challenger has the leg up on the bully pulpit).
Not to be coy, but this is truly a “gut” election, in which a hundred votes in a handful of states could make a difference. Every slice of a coalition matters. This makes *any* pick of Romney’s a potential game changer.
As for all the Rubio buzz kill, I would like to say that the point in Jonathan Karl’s piece that caught MY eye was, “Rubio may yet be asked to go through the vetting process.” I for one believe the old Supreme Court adage holds true for vice presidential search teams: Those who know don’t speak, those who speak, don’t know. (Or in the case of politics, those who speak often aim to deceive).
GOING VIRAL, BRO?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shows a bit of pop culture knowledge in using a phrase coined by Washington Nationals baseball phenom Bryce Harper. Harper effectively dodged a question with his remark, you be the judge on Reid’s attempt:
Reporter: On the DREAM Act – Mr. McConnell just said that he's waiting for Mitt Romney to say what his position is on the DREAM kids before he wants to comment. Wondering if you have any thoughts on him waiting for Mitt Romney and also, if you have any intention of bringing the DREAM Act to the floor for votes in the next couple of months to put people on record?
Reid: I don't wanna answer that question. That's a clown question, bro.
CONTEXT: Reid is a true Bryce Harper fan. On top of the similarities between the two – both are Mormon and both are from southern Nevada – Reid called Harper “a good role model” in a Senate floor speech and even compared him to baseball great and Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle. The two met at Nationals Park on May 4, 2012.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Congress: Same hours, half the work
The current Congress has worked just as many days as its legislative predecessors. It just has a lot less to show for it. According to a CNN analysis of congressional records that looked at bills that became law and the number of days lawmakers worked, members of the House have spent more than 150 days and Senate just over 140 days in session so far, comparable to previous Congresses at this point in the term. – Allison Brennan and Halimah Abdullah
Leading Drudge: SyriaIranRussiaChina Plan War Games
Iran, Syria, Russia and China are planning the “biggest-ever wargames in the Middle East,” according to an unconfirmed report on the semi-official Iranian news site Fars News. A Syrian official denied the claims. – Gabe Fisher
Leading HuffPo: Marco Rubio Book Reveals Fondness For Ted Kennedy, Foam Parties, Frank Sinatra
As a 13-year-old, Marco Rubio, now a Republican senator from Florida, strongly supported hotel workers pushing for better treatment - so much so that he called his father a scab for returning to work during a strike, according to his new autobiography, "An American Son." – Elise Foley
Leading Politico: Can Chuck Schumer win back Wall St. for Democrats?
One of New York’s top hedge fund managers got an unusual request from Sen. Chuck Schumer recently: Could he organize a private dinner so the senator could meet Wall Street executives from across the political spectrum? – Kate Nocera and Manu Raju
Leading New York Times: Road Trip Helps Romney Brush Up on Banter
Mitt Romney’s English is direct and to the point, useful for attacking President Obama on the stump or dismantling his Republican opponents in primary debates. He is even fluent in French. But the one language Mr. Romney doesn’t seem to speak is small talk. – Ashley Parker
The political bites of the day
- Boehner charges that Obama’s immigration policy is a distraction from economy -
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER AT A WEEKLY GOP CONFERENCE STAKEOUT: “But let's go back to what's really going on here, the president can't talk about his economic policies, can't talk about the No. 1 issue on the minds of Americans because his policies have failed. They have made things worse. And so he has turned to the politics of envy and division, which I don't think the American people are going to accept.”
- Biden continues reaching out to the union vote -
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AT A UNION EVENT IN LOS ANGELES: “Americans have always dealt with crisis, whether moral or economic, best when everyone has chipped in. Everyone is part of the solution, but they've chosen to scapegoat you to justify their gargantuan cuts and really just batter unions.”
- Rubio: Fix legal immigration, then we can talk about illegal immigration -
SEN. MARCO RUBIO IN AN INTERVIEW WITH UNIVISION’S JORGE RAMOS: “If we can first gain the confidence of the American public to do two things: update the legal immigration system. A modern system, which for example, has a system of temporary workers. I believe that many of these people who are right now undocumented, if there were a system of ‘guest workers’ as it is called in English, many of those persons would use that. I believe that if we do all that, then we arrive at a moment when something can be done about those people who are here undocumented.”
- Colbert has fun with demographic trends in advertising -
STEPHEN COLBERT ON HIS SHOW, “THE COLBERT REPORT”: “Now maybe I am a conspiracy theorist, but I’m beginning to think that Barack Obama is trying to get re-elected. You don't see Republicans cynically pandering to Latinos like this. I mean just look at the GOP's Hispanic outreach Web page. Last week the front banner featured a stock photo of Asian children. I mean, I think that is wonderful. It's the promise of America. These Asian kids can grow up to be anything they want to be, even Hispanic.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
When Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States, the former academic logged more than 1,000 rounds of golf over eight years. According to Martin Davis, editor and publisher of The American Golfer, Wilson played a few holes each day – even in the snow. “Maybe that's why the League of Nations failed,” Davis quips in a CNN.com piece on golfing and the American presidency. LINK
Second to Wilson would most likely be Dwight D. Eisenhower, who during his presidency played around 210 rounds of golf at Augusta National alone. Davis writes that Ike even played a number of rounds with golfing legend Arnold Palmer. “Such was his fervor for the game, he even had a putting green installed on the White House lawn,” Davis writes.
This weekend, President Obama enjoyed his 100th White House golf outing. It became a campaign issue when the president’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, accused Obama of spending too much time golfing, a sign that he isn’t taking his job as president seriously enough.
But Romney’s own political family has a history with golf; his father was an avid golfer while governor of Michigan. As detailed in a previous edition of Gut Check, George Romney played speed golf and according to some analysts, played more holes than any sitting governor in America history. LINK
A few more presidential golf facts: John F. Kennedy was the best golfer (he generally shot an 80), Bill Clinton was known for taking do-over shot’s (the press called them Billigans) and Calvin Coolidge had so much trouble getting the hang of the game that he left his clubs in the White House when he left.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congratulations to Bonney Kapp (@bkappcbs) for correctly answering today’s hotly contested Gut Check trivia question. There were many wrong answers – from Ike to JFK – but Bonney rose above the rest to correctly answer “Who is Woodrow Wilson.” Though not necessary, we appreciate sticking to the Jeopardy rules.
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