June 20th, 2012
05:06 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for June 20, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 20, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: CONTEMPT: The House Oversight & Government Reform Committee recommended that Attorney General Eric Holder be cited for contempt of Congress on Wednesday in a vote that fell strictly on party lines. The recommendation was issued because of Holder’s failure to turn over documents regarding the botched Fast and Furious weapons sting operation.

“The aye's have it and a contempt report is ordered reported to the House,” committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, read at the close of the meeting.

In a statement following the vote, Holder reacted to the contempt recommendation.

“From the beginning, Chairman Issa and certain members of the Committee have made unsubstantiated allegations first, then scrambled for facts to try to justify them later,” read Holder’s statement. “That might make for good political theater, but it does little to uncover the truth or address the problems associated with this operation and prior ones dating back to the previous Administration."

The measure now goes to the full House for consideration and a vote will be held sometime next week, according to Speaker of the House John Boehner.

“While we had hoped it would not come to this, unless the Attorney General reevaluates his choice and supplies the promised documents, the House will vote to hold him in contempt next week,” read a joint statement by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia. “If, however, Attorney General Holder produces these documents prior to the scheduled vote, we will give the Oversight Committee an opportunity to review in hopes of resolving this issue.”

(Answer below)
Why did House Speaker Sam Rayburn stop the traditional congressional baseball game in 1958?

MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

We are reading David Maraniss’ new biography, “Barack Obama: The Story” and were indeed struck by Maraniss’ masterful writing and our president’s unique, American story.

We reached out to the author to answer a few of our questions about how Obama made the untraditional path from Honolulu to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Gut Check: Despite his father’s absence for most of his life, President Obama cites his father’s death as a catalyst in his own life; his own personal version of Martin Luther King’s “fierce urgency of now.” How has that loss affected Barack Obama the politician?

David Maraniss: At the time his father died in 1982, Obama was in New York, beginning his senior year at Columbia. He did not know his father, and friends say he barely mentioned his father's death in the days and months after he learned of it, indicating that he internalized whatever he was feeling about it. I think he was already developing a sense of urgency in his life but was trying to figure out in what direction to take himself. After studying that part of his life, I think he uses the death of his father in part as a literary device, since the title of his book is “Dreams from my Father.” His mother in my opinion was far more important in developing his sense of urgency and action, to live up to what she saw as his promise.

Gut Check: How has being a father himself changed Barack Obama politically?

David Maraniss: Barack Obama's story is a search for home, which he never really had during his formative years. He found that home in Chicago, and with Michelle, and with his children. Since he never knew his father and his mother, though loving, was often gone, thousands of miles away, during his teenage years, he never had the comfort of family as a kid. He did not want to repeat that with his own children, so being a father is central to his self-identity now.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Panel votes to cite Holder for contempt
Voting on strictly partisan lines, a House committee recommended Wednesday that Attorney General Eric Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the botched Fast and Furious weapons sting operation. – Tom Cohen

Leading Drudge: The Executive Privilege
Rep. Darrell Issa pressed ahead with a committee vote Wednesday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, despite an 11th-hour move by President Obama to exert executive privilege over the Fast and Furious documents at the heart of the dispute. – William LaJeunesse and Chad Pergram

Leading HuffPo: Obama Executive Privilege Asserted Over Fast And Furious Documents
President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege in response to requests made by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who has embarked on a controversial investigation into the Department of Justice's Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program. – Sam Stein and Nick Wing

Leading Politico: Contempt: House panel moves against Holder
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena in the “Fast and Furious” investigation, setting up a legal showdown with President Barack Obama in the middle of his tough reelection battle. – John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman

Leading New York Times: President Asserts Executive Privilege in Bid to Forestall Contempt Vote
The Obama administration asserted executive privilege in response to a planned Congressional vote to hold the attorney general in contempt for withholding documents about a failed gun-running investigation. – John H. Cushman

The political bites of the day

- ‘We got zilch’ -
Grassley: “We had the meeting yesterday just prior to the contempt meeting of the House of Representatives and we thought we'd get the documents and we got zilch!”
Kate Bolduan: “You know what your colleagues on the other side are saying – Democrats are saying this is a witch hunt. Even the attorney general said to me last night that he thinks this is more about political gamesmanship than getting the documents. I want you to respond to that.”
Grassley: “What do they have to hide? We are just asking for information, just asking for documents. So why the stonewalling?”

- Cummings charges Issa’s meeting with Holder was purely show -
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, RANKING DEMOCRAT ON THE HOUSE OVERSIGHT & GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: “Last night you flatly rejected the attorney general's offer. You refused to even commit working towards a mutually agreeable resolution. Instead, you rushed to a pre-arranged press conference to announce the failure of the meeting. It seems clear that you had no interest in resolving this issue and that the committee planned to go forward with contempt before we walked into the meeting with the attorney general. It pains me to say this but this is what I believe.”

- Carter says getting involved in Syria would be “a tragic mistake” -
FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “I don't believe we will get directly involved in any military action in Syria. I believe that would be a tragic mistake, but I do think that the United States could work intimately with Kofi Annan and give him full support. He is working with the Iranians and he is working with the Russians and he is working with the Assad regime and working with the revolutionaries in Syria and the United Nations, but the support that has been given to him from Washington has been very uncertain. He’s the only ball game in town.”

- Jay jokes about politics in Obama’s immigration announcement -
JAY LENO ON “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”: “President Obama announced that illegal immigrants who came to this country as children will be able to stay and obtain work permits. He said it's not - it's not a permanent fix. It's just a temporary stopgap measure to help him get reelected, so it's not a permanent - not a permanent solution.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

[tweet https://twitter.com/schwarzgcnn/status/215489403206893568%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/DarrellIssa/status/215427205231165441%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/StevenTDennis/status/215484941344051201%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/TheFix/status/215478416584097793%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/samsteinhp/status/215459610134462465%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/cwelchCNN/status/215491448693465089%5D


In 1909, Rep. John Tener of Pennsylvania, a former professional baseball player, organized the first congressional baseball game between Democrats and Republicans. Over the years, however, the game had become increasingly contested and in 1958, House Speaker Sam Rayburn cancelled the game because he felt it was getting too physical and congressmen were getting hurt.

Rayburn's squashing of the fun didn't last long, though. In 1962, House Speaker John McCormack brought the game back with the sponsorship of Roll Call newspaper. A new Roll Call trophy was created and it is now awarded to the team that wins three out of five contests. In the last 50 years, Republicans have won the Roll Call trophy eight times, while Democrats have taken in home only twice.

Four years ago, the ladies of congress started their own tradition. The game that pits congresswomen – both Democrats and Republicans – against women of the media that helps raise money for Young Survival Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to young women affected by breast cancer.

Last year, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz led the legislators to victory when she drove in the game winning run in the bottom of the seventh and final inning. Final score: 5-4.

The fourth annual game is tonight at Watkins Recreation Center in Southeast Washington, D.C and the media team, captained by CNN’s Brianna Keilar, ABC’s Amy Walter and Roll Call’s Abby Livingston, is ready to rectify last year’s loss.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congratulations to Jason Warner (@JasonEWarner) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia. Warner correctly tweeted that Rayburn “cited the 'increasingly physical nature' of the game for calling it to a halt.” We have a question for Warner – are you coming to D.C. to attend the Congressional Women's Softball Game?

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Tips or comments? Send them to Michelle; send complaints to Preston, because he is already in a bad mood. We also want to give a shout out to Dan Merica, who runs our Twitter account @gutCheckCNN and enriches this product every single day.

Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Eric in Denver

    Just a matter of time before Obama and Holder come out and blame Bush and say it started in his administration. Obama and Holder are the 2 most incompetent individuals in DC.

    June 20, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    More like "Barack Obama: The Empty Suit".

    June 20, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Hey issa (who thinks he is god's gift to women) I know you are a millionaire now since you became a member of congress but HAVE YOU STOLEN ANY CARS LATELY or did you STOP AT TWO OR WAS IT THREE?

    June 20, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Name willardbullock

    Bend forward amercian take another 4 longer yrs of failure

    June 20, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. CBR

    Darrell Issa has taken three years to find something to make this "case" against the Attorney General. He has made it very clear that he does not respect the AG or the President. He has, however, a very high opinion of himself which has been duly noted as long as he has been in Congress.

    June 20, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  6. Obama Your Fired!

    138 days till Obama is fired!!!!!!!

    June 21, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |