CNN's GUT CHECK | for July 9, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: OBAMA DISCOURAGES ‘TOP DOWN ECONOMICS,’: “We need policies that grow and strengthen the middle class. Policies that help create jobs, that make education and training more affordable, that encourage businesses to start up and create jobs right here in the United States so that's why I believe it's time to let the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, folks like myself, to expire.”
THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN RESPONDS IN WRITING TO THE PRESIDENT’S REMARKS BEFORE THE EVENT STARTS: “President Obama's announcement this morning will mean a tax increase for millions of families, job creators and small businesses. … Gov. Romney knows that job-killing tax increases will hurt our troubled economy even further, and he has a plan to lower the rates and broaden the base without increasing the deficit to encourage investment and job creation.”
What president died on this day in history due to causes that are still debated by historians?
How can an incumbent president run against Washington?
He can ignore Congress. Repeatedly. And strategically. In an attempt to patch up a coalition that had been bruised by inaction:
July 9 – Obama calls an East Room event to re-voice his long-standing opinion on tax cuts: He urges Congress to extend some Bush tax cuts, but not those of the wealthiest Americans
What is striking in looking at this timeline is that it reveals a more aggressive executive branch than we have seen in the first three years of the Obama administration on the domestic front. In most of Obama’s policy wins from health care to last year’s lame duck Congress, Obama did most of his negotiating behind closed doors. This year, starting in May, you have seen a steady drumbeat of presidential fanfare in a domestic policy assault to woo back his base.
Liberals like the American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner, lamented in 2011, “Obama ran and inspired voters as a ‘transformational’ figure but governed as a ‘transactional’ one. Notwithstanding a vow to profoundly change Washington, Obama took the Washington power constellation as a given. Despite an economic emergency, he moved neither Congress nor public opinion very much and only seldom used his oratorical gifts. … Obama’s reticence, his reluctance to lay blame, make sharp partisan distinctions, or practice a politics of class, reflects the interplay of his personality and his tacit theory of power–one that emphasizes building bridges to opponents, defying ideological categories, shying away from the kind of mass mobilization that swept him into office, and practicing a kind of Zen detachment.”
Yet, this year, in the face of a tough re-election and a daunting opponent, Obama has shown a learning curve in using the bully pulpit to suck the oxygen out of the news cycle and use it to frame the debate on his terms – or to be more precise, the terms of his coalition.
Reached today, Kuttner tells us, “I think the Obama campaign is acting a little more aggressively to split and embarrass the Republicans, but only in the context of a campaign, and only selectively. The move on suspending deportations was brilliant. The move on same-sex marriage he backed into. He's all over the place on jobs versus deficit reduction. The tax cut move doesn't seem very new to me, because something like it has been his position all along, and the story is partly that he and key Congressional Dems disagree on whether the cutoff should be 250k or a million. So he is moving in the right direction, but he has a long way to go before he's Truman or LBJ.”
Perhaps Obama can be both ‘transactional’ and bold in election years?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Awkward! When news is bad, politicos change subject
Think of President Barack Obama's pivot from last week's anemic job growth numbers to Monday's populist call to lower taxes for the middle class as the political equivalent of shifting an awkward dinner party conversation to a rousing comment about the home team's last game. – Halimah Abdullah
Leading Drudge: 'Statesman Of The Year'
That’s the latest title to be bestowed upon Donald Trump when he receives the 2012 “Statesman of the Year” award from the Sarasota Republican Party in August. – Patrick Gavin
Leading HuffPo: Rick Perry Won't Implement Obamacare
Texas will not expand Medicaid or implement a state health exchange following the Supreme Court's upholding of the constitutionality of Obamacare, Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Monday. – Luke Johnson
Leading Politico: GOP unnerved by Democrats' candid camera techniques
Politicians recognize they give up a degree of privacy when they run for office. But Democrats are testing the outer limits of that understanding with a practice that raises questions about when campaign tracking becomes something more like stalking. – Alex Isenstadt
Leading New York Times: Obama Pushes Tax Cut Extension That Excludes Wealthiest
President Obama, drawing a contrast with what he called Republican trickle-down economics, called on Monday for temporarily extending the Bush-era tax cuts for people making less than $250,000 while letting the taxes of the wealthiest go up. – Mark Landler and John H. Cushman Jr.
Leading CNNMoney: Middle class taxes may rise anyway
Middle class Americans may end up paying more in taxes next year anyway. That's because neither side is pushing to extend the payroll tax cut. – Jeanne Sahadi
The political bites of the day
- Mandel hopes that 38 is his lucky number -
JOSH MANDEL, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR SENATE FROM OHIO, IN A FUNDRAISING E-MAIL: “38 has become a significant number in our campaign to Change Washington. 38 is the number of years Sherrod Brown has been a career politician. Yes, when Nixon was President, Elvis was King, and Disco was the thing, Sherrod Brown was running for office. And he hasn't stopped since. 38 is also Sherrod Brown's approval rating in a recent poll conducted by a Democratic polling firm.”
Gut Check Current Temperature… SAFE DEM SEAT: Latest poll: 50% Brown, 34% Mandel.
- Christie gives leadership advice, justifies ‘being yourself’ -
NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE AT A SPEECH IN WASHINGTON: “You can't lead by being a mystery. You can't lead by being an enigma. You can't lead by being aloof. You can't lead by being programmed. I think you have to lead by being yourself and who you are and then people will trust you and when they trust you, they'll follow you.”
Gut Check Flashback: Gov. Christie gets into a confrontation with a passerby on the Seaside Heights boardwalk: “You're a real big shot ... you're a real big shot shootin' your mouth off… Keep walkin' away ... really good ... keep walkin'.”
- If we lose, fundraising could be the culprit, says Obama e-mail -
ANN MARIE HABERSHAW, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER FOR THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN, IN AN E-MAIL TO SUPPORTERS: “Together with the Democratic National Committee, we raised a total of $71 million from more than 706,000 individual donors. It was our best month of this election so far. But we still got beat - and not by a little bit. Romney and Republicans raised more than $106 million, not even including money to pro-Romney super PACs. If we lose this election, it will be because we didn't close the gap enough when we had the chance.”
- Barbour thinks Romney’s tax returns will amount to ‘diddly’ -
FORMER MISSISSIPPI GOV. HALEY BARBOUR TALKS MITT ROMNEY’S TAX RETURNS IN AN INTERVIEW ON "THE SITUATION ROOM":
BLITZER: Tax returns, should he release the tax returns?
BARBOUR: I would, but should it be an issue in a campaign, I don’t think it amounts to diddly.
Gut Check DVR: Gov. Barbour will be on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” in the 6:00 p.m. hour.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
While former President Zachary Taylor died on July 9, 1850, the debate over how he died continues on today.
Much of the debate centers around what Taylor ate and drank five days earlier during Independence Day celebrations on the site of the future Washington Monument. According to historical reports, Taylor wore a black suit in the suffocating Washington heat and then proceeded to devour cold cherries and iced milk at the event.
Shortly after the event, Taylor fell very ill. Though doctors tried to treat the ailing president, he died on July 9.
At the time, published cause of death was cholera, a bacterial disease that was prevalent in Washington during the 1800s – especially during the humid summers. Scholars, however, as not so sure that was the real cause of death.
Clara Rising, a former professor at University of Florida, worked extensively in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s on the theory that Taylor did not die of cholera but was actually poisoned. Rising even persuaded members of the Taylor family to exhume the former president’s body in 1991 to test it for arsenic and other poisons.
On June 17, 1991, the president’s body was exhumed, sent to the Kentucky Chief Medical Examiner and then reinterred with honors. After extensive tests, no traces of arsenic or other poisons were found, and Rising was ridiculed for her hypothesis.
“But she retains her suspicions about the demise of the man people liked to call Old Rough and Ready,” wrote the Orlando Sentinel in a 1993 profile of Rising. “We may not have found arsenic, but by damn, I still think he was poisoned," she says.
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