CNN's GUT CHECK for July 5, 2012
July 5th, 2012
05:11 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for July 5, 2012

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

BREAKING: ROMNEY DOE$ IT AGAIN: ROMNEY BREAKS FUNDRAISING RECORD: Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign raked in a massive $100 million in June, a Romney campaign source told CNN. The amount, which includes money raised by the campaign along with the Republican National Committee, far surpasses his May fund-raising haul of $77 million.

CNN’s Peter Hamby puts it in historical perspective: McCain + RNC in June 2008: $48 million.

(Answer below)
What president turned down an honorary Doctor of Civil Law from Oxford University?

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

Why isn’t there a more robust moral debate over the drone war?

We have been debating this question in the CNN newsroom since writing about the Pew Global Attitudes Project last month. That study found while 62% of Americans supported drone attacks, the American policy was seen with not only disapproval, but also disgust by most of the nations studied. (In fact, Pew President Andrew Kohut told us at the time that he was truly surprised by the widespread negativity surrounding a key American tactic in the war on terror.)

Then, we were riveted by Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland’s opinion piece on this week, which details how much the drone attacks have expanded under the current administration: “In 2004 President George W. Bush authorized for the first time the covert lethal use of drones inside Pakistani territory. During his tenure, there were 45 drone strikes in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, according to data compiled by the New America Foundation. But when President Obama took office in January 2009, the program ramped up quickly, accelerating from an average of one strike every 40 days to one every four days by mid-2011.”

Why hasn’t America had a heated debated over the increase? “Because the U.S. is living and looking at the world through the frame of the War on Terror,” explained Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Kahldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University. “If you are looking at the drone through that frame, then you will see the most effective weapon of destruction. You press a button, someone across the world blows up. No link between killer and killed. But the debate about the moral consequences has not entered into the system: I have not heard someone ask: Is this the American thing to do? Is this the Christian thing to do? I am not hearing the moral side of this debate.”

That uptick has had a sharp effect on tribal areas, where drone strikes are concentrated. These areas are already impoverished, which raises the question of increased radicalization.

Ahmed is writing a book about the very subject, to be published by Brookings Institution Press, entitled, “The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam.” Ahmed’s research is indeed compelling. He examines the toll the drone attacks are having in more than 60 regions, coming up with a compelling thesis about how the drone attacks have exacerbated a break between the tribal regions and their central state.

“The average person in the tribal areas will say that ‘every day is like 9/11 for us,’ ” Ahmed explains. “This is what they mean: One day the drone will hit them from out of nowhere. The next day, their own army will hit them. The third day, the terrorists will hit them. The fourth day, their own tribal conflict among tribes will hit them. That’s why they say for us, every day is like 9/11.”

Which leads us to ask the same question Ahmed asks: “How do you win hearts and minds when people feel they are being terrorized by America?”

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Romney 'squandering an historic opportunity,' scathing editorial says
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal fiercely criticized Mitt Romney Thursday, days after media titan Rupert Murdoch, who owns the paper, suggested the candidate replace his staff. – Ashley Killough

Leading Drudge: Obamacare 'Is Here To Stay'
President Obama said that repealing his signature health care law is not an option. "I'll work with anybody who wants to work with me to continue to improve our health care system and our health care laws, but the law I passed is here to stay," Obama said at a campaign event in Ohio. – Reid Epstein

Leading HuffPo: Obama Campaign Disagrees With Supreme Court's Health Care Ruling
Although the Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a victory by upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Obama campaign made clear on Thursday morning that it still disagrees with Chief Justice John Roberts' ruling that characterized the individual mandate as a tax. – Amanda Terkel

Leading Politico: President Obama: Historian-in-chief
Every president is fascinated with presidential history. But President Barack Obama’s interest is deeper and wider than most, and more public. He’s invoked Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and even Richard Nixon. He’s mocked Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes. – Edward-Isaac Dovere

Leading New York Times: Romney Now Says Health Mandate by Obama Is a Tax
Mitt Romney declared on Wednesday that President Obama’s health care mandate was in fact a tax, shifting his campaign’s characterization of the law and aligning himself with the conservative voices in his party. – Jeremy Peters

The political bites of the day

- Montana GOP Senate candidate: No free lunch on health care -
DENNY REHBERG, A MONTANA REPUBLICAN RUNNING FOR THE U.S. SENATE, IN AN OP-ED: “Montanans know there's no such thing as a free lunch. Currently, many hard-working Montana families don't have the luxury of choosing not to have insurance because they simply can't afford it in the first place. But President Obama's law doesn't address even the most basic drivers of health care cost. It simply adds more people to a failing system without actually reforming health care.”

- The President bets on the Buckeye -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN MAUMEE, OHIO: “I’ll be honest with you. I think there are some folks who are betting that you will lose interest, that are betting that somehow you are going to lose heart. But here you are in the heat. I am betting you are not going to lose interest. I am betting you are not going to lose heart. I still believe in you. I am betting on you and the country is betting on you, Ohio.”

- Bracketology: Jindal, Pawlenty also in Maumee -
LOUISIANA GOV. BOBBY JINDAL AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN SUPPORT OF MITT ROMNEY: “This president can’t run on his record so he's going to do everything he can to distract our attention, to attack Mitt Romney. He’s going to talk about what he did in high school, what he did in Massachusetts, what he did in the private sector. He’s going to try to distract us. We the American people are smarter than that. We know we are not better off than we were four years ago. We know we can’t afford another four years of this president.”

- ‘Too many people are stupid,’ says … Herman Cain -
FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HERMAN CAIN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “I believe too many people are stupid because too many people don't challenge the information our leaders give or say to us, and I’m trying to wake people up, and that is basically to say don't take some of the leaders at face value for some of the things that they say because this is how a society can go down a very dangerous road. And so it might sound harsh, but it is waking some people up.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less






Former President Millard Fillmore decided to travel to Europe in 1885 after his daughter Mary died. During that trip he was offered an honorary Doctor of Civil Law from the acclaimed Oxford University.

Surprised by the honor, Fillmore declined Oxford, stating that he had “neither literary nor scientific attainment,” to deserve the award, according to historical records.

Fillmore, who was never formally educated and was admitted to the bar after an apprenticeship with a prominent lawyer in New York, would have been unable to read the Latin on his diploma – a fact Fillmore did not miss. “I have not the advantage of a classical education, and no man should, in my judgment, accept a degree he cannot read,” Fillmore said.

He also worried that his name would be soiled if he accepted the honor. “They would probably ask who’s Fillmore? What’s he done? Where did he come from? And then my name would, I fear, give them an excellent opportunity to make jokes at my expense,” he concluded.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congratulations to Matthew Gilbertson (@MattRGilbertson) for correctly answering Gut Check trivia today. Although he says it was a “shot in the dark,” Gut Check is skeptical. Come on people! Someone unseat Mr. Gilbertson.

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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 (12 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Why is CNN not reporting on the study that just showed that Pennsylvania's voter ID law will disenfranchise approximately 750,000 voters, about 200K of whom live in Philidelphia? Yeah, we know what that's about. Is this information not deemed sufficiently important in light of the fact that Obama won PA by 620,000 votes in 2008, so these numbers show definitively PA's effort to disinfranchise voters may flip the results and is why that one PA legislator claimed precisely that last week...that the voter ID laws would make it so Mittens wins. Are we now supposed to believe that 620,000 votes in 2008 were fraudulent and that disenfranchising 750,000 people is somehow fixing this imaginary problem?

    July 5, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    On Deputy Doubletink's flip-floppery: I remember a tv commercial/public insterest spot from when I was a kid and I believe it was from the Church of JC LDS. The quaint moral jingle-song went something like this...

    "When you tell one lie, it leads to another, so you tell two lies to cover each other, then you tell three lies, oh brother, you're in trouble up to your ears......"

    Oh the irony...

    July 5, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. 2020


    Get going, BOOT GOP off the planet.

    July 5, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. CBR

    Did this money go to Romney or the PACs supporting him? There was no doubt that he would have more money than Mr. Obama. His friends have very deep pockets and can find many ways to contribute since no lists are published,

    July 5, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. Darryl

    I hope someone at CNN does something about the Voter Fraud in Pennsyl

    July 5, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. Kane County Observer

    ABAR 2012

    Anybody But A Republican.

    Stop the party of no before they ruin the economy even more.

    July 5, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. Jason

    Wonder how Pres. Millard Fillmore traveled to Oxford in 1885? he died in 1874!

    July 5, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  8. Larry L

    The subject is drone attacks on terrorist targets. The question is:

    "Is this the American thing to do? Is this the Christian thing to do? I am not hearing the moral side of this debate.”

    Answer: "When about 1% of the American people have served in the military and the majority of Americans expect those of us who served to control the growth of terrorism beyond our shores something has to give..." You want the b@$+@rd$ to stop harming America but you want a nice, gentle, "Christian" way to accomplish that goal. Good f#(k!ng luck with that plan. Denial is not a plan.

    July 5, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  9. still waiting on moderation

    The voter ID laws are a blatant attempt to supress minority voting.. Thank god a federal court has put astay on the one passed here in texas. Of course our R guv and R atty general are shocked! Shocked, I say!

    July 5, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. obamaouttathere2012

    If voter ID is required, we will be disfranchising people. WHO SHOULDN'T BE VOTING ALREADY! Getting to vote here isn't a basic human right, it is a american privilege. If you are here illegally, you shouldn't be able to vote. Requiring ID will stem voter fraud and keep non-citizens from voting.

    July 6, 2012 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  11. frag

    Very interesting, the very people who always say, "You can't fix the problem by throwing money at it" are doing just that. The Republicans lost a lot of money on the stock market in 2008. It can happen again with Romney. Who's going to end up with the money in the end? The media..................there's the danger!

    July 6, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  12. Thomas

    Romney is sure pulling in big lobby money ..

    Now I understand why none of his five sons did any military service. There's no money in service ,

    July 6, 2012 02:42 am at 2:42 am |