CNN's GUT CHECK | for July 11, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: THE HOUSE VOTES TO REPEAL OBAMACARE FOR THE THIRTY-THIRD TIME: House Republicans voted Wednesday to repeal President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law despite Democratic objections that the move was a waste of time. The vote amounted to political theater because the measure is sure to die in the Democratic-led Senate, and the White House has made clear Obama would veto any repeal. Five Democrats joined the Republican majority in the 244-185 vote.
Who said, "This here ain't no protest song or anything like that, 'cause I don't write no protest songs," and what was the song to which was he referring?
Mitt Romney’s willingness to take on President Barack Obama today in a speech to the NAACP was a daring, if not calculated, political move on his part.
Yes, Romney was booed for criticizing the president. Yes, Romney accepted an invitation to appear before an organization that wasted little time in criticizing him after he exited the stage. Yes, it was politically smart.
Romney has no shot of winning and is unlikely to significantly chip away at Obama’s support with black Americans. In 2008, Obama won 95% of the black vote, while McCain took just 4%. A Gallup Poll from last month showed that Obama holds an 87% to 5% advantage over Romney with black registered voters. While Romney might say otherwise, we see no reason that this is going to change dramatically come November 6.
The former Massachusetts governor today at least acknowledged - in a joke that fell flat - it would be an uphill battle to convince blacks to vote for him.
“I appreciate the chance to speak first, even before Vice President Biden gets his turn tomorrow,” Romney said. “I just hope the Obama campaign won’t think you’re playing favorites.”
But it doesn’t matter. Romney wasn’t trying to persuade an audience that overwhelmingly supports Obama. His audience was much broader: conservatives who were proud that he stood his ground in his speech to the NAACP on issues such as charter schools, abolishing federal regulations on businesses, and of course, dismantling Obama’s centerpiece domestic issue: health care. The latter drew boos from the audience.
And he was making a pitch to the middle class, independents and voters who live as far west as Colorado to the Commonwealth of Virginia and a handful of states in-between – think Ohio, Michigan, Iowa.
“On Day One, I will begin turning this economy around with a plan for the middle class,” Romney said. “And I don’t mean just those who are middle class now, I also mean those who have waited so long for their chance to join the middle class. I know what it will take to put people back to work, to bring more jobs and better wages. My jobs plan is based on 25 years of success in business.”
We’ve heard Romney make this pitch before and we will hear it again. Even though Romney sprinkled in specific references to the black community in his NAACP appearance today, it was clear his target audience was much broader. And despite boos from some of those in the audience, Romney accomplished what he set out to do.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Bipartisanship isn't dirty word in Massachusetts Senate race
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown rode into office two years ago as an everyman with a pickup truck, vowing to "take back the peoples' seat" held by Democrat Ted Kennedy for nearly half a century. In an era in which bipartisanship is a dirty word in politics these days, it's never far from Brown's lips, recurrent in his ads, and most importantly, evident in his votes. – Dana Bash and Alison Harding
Leading Drudge: UN Treaty For Gun Owners? NRA Takes Aim
A treaty being hammered out this month at the United Nations - with Iran playing a key role - could expose the records of America's gun owners to foreign governments - and, critics warn, eventually put the Second Amendment on global trial. – Steven Edwards
Leading HuffPo: Edwin Leslie, Jan Brewer Appointee, Resigns Over Governor's Move To Deny Same-Sex Benefits
Edwin Leslie was appointed to the Arizona Tourism Advisory Council by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in 2010. On Tuesday, he stepped down from his position in protest of the governor's latest move against same-sex benefits for state employees. – Nick Wing
Leading Politico: Mitt at NAACP: Booed on health care
Mitt Romney drew boos, shouts and jeers from attendees speaking here to the NAACP convention, who balked at his claim that he — not the country’s first black president — could best represent black America. – Juana Summers
Leading New York Times: To Boos and Polite Applause, Romney Speaks to the N.A.A.C.P.
Less than four years after President Obama swept into the White House with the overwhelming support of the black community, Mitt Romney appeared on Wednesday before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People with a bold claim: “If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him,” Mr. Romney said. – Ashley Parker
The political bites of the day
- Pelosi begrudges voting on Obamacare repeal again … -
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI IN A HOUSE NEWS CONFERENCE: “We put forth a vision for the middle class to make health care a right, not a privilege for all Americans. Today, as they have done more than 30 times this Congress, Republicans will vote to take away that right.”
- … but Republicans promise to not go away -
REPUBLICAN REP. JEB HENSARLING OF TEXAS IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “This happens to be the seminal issue of our time. Those of us who want patient-centered health care have had two years to repeal it. It’s unreasonable to think we're going to go away.”
- Where is Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.? -
RICK PEARSON A POLITICAL WRITER WITH THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “There is no doubt that the last four years have been very difficult ones for Congressman Jackson dating back to that December morning when then Governor Rob Blagojevich was arrested at his home on those corruption charges Congressman Jackson has come under intense scrutiny just a few days before this leave was announced.”
- After Romney charges Obama with outsourcing, Carney defends POTUS -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT A WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “There is an element here of I know you are but what am I to this charge but the facts tell different story. The recovery act by independent economist saved or created over three million jobs. The recovery act helped create new industries in this country or build new industries in this country including the advanced battery industry, that barely existed here in the past and their investments in those industries help fund thousand and thousands of jobs.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Bob Dylan wrote "Blowin' in the Wind" in 1962 and it was released on his album, "The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan" in 1963. When he first performed the song at Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village, he told the crowd, "This here ain't no protest song or anything like that, 'cause I don't write no protest songs."
The song, whether performed by Dylan or covered by the group Peter, Paul and Mary, did, however, become a protest song. "Blowin' in the Wind" is widely regarded as the unofficial song of the civil rights movement and was even used recently by Iraq war protesters in the 2000s.
The opening lines in particular – "How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?" and "How many seas must a white dove sail, before she sleeps in the sand?" – came to identify the 1960s struggle for civil rights and peace in Vietnam. Though the song is still highly regarded today, Dylan told “60 Minutes” that he wrote the song in 10 minutes.
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama awarded Dylan the Presidential Medal of Freedom. "I have to say I am a really big fan," Obama said about Dylan. "I remember, you know, in college listening to Bob Dylan and my world opening up because he captured something about this country that was so vital."
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