CNN's GUT CHECK for July 24, 2012
July 24th, 2012
05:20 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for July 24, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for July 24, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle


- Feinstein pushes White House on leaks -
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN ON MONDAY IN A QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION AT THE WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL: “I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks. I don’t know specifically where, but they have to begin to understand that, and do something about it. There’s one book they can read and see it very clearly, and I think that should be the case. I think you know what the president actually knows about this is difficult, because with respect to intelligence, he’s in a bubble. He has his daily brief, called the PDB, the president’s daily brief, early every morning. And so he gets a briefing of intelligence. I don’t believe for a moment he goes out and talks about it. I don’t believe the briefers go out and talk about it. But who knows who else.”

- Romney quotes Feinstein -
MITT ROMNEY IN A SPEECH TO THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS: "It is not enough to say the matter is being looked into, and leave it at that. When the issue is the political use of highly sensitive national security information, it is unacceptable to say, 'We'll report our findings after Election Day.'"

- Feinstein pushes back on Romney’s use of her comments -
DIANNE FEINSTEIN IN A PRESS RELEASE: “I am disappointed by the statements made by Mr. Romney today regarding a question I was asked yesterday at the World Affairs Council. I was asked whether the White House might be responsible for recent national security leaks. I stated that I did not believe the president leaked classified information. I shouldn’t have speculated beyond that, because the fact of the matter is I don’t know the source of the leaks.”


(Answer below)
On this day in history, Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev engaged in their famous “kitchen debate.” When Khrushchev saw the debate getting heated, what did he say he wanted?

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

Only 24% of Americans say that foreign policy is extremely important to their vote in the presidential election, yet this week it is the issue on the front burner because of back-to-back speeches by Mitt Romney and President Obama to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention as well as Romney’s upcoming overseas trip.

Yes, the presidential election will be largely decided by the candidate who voters think has the best plan to turn the economy around. But we shouldn’t dismiss foreign policy as an influencing factor even if the polls suggest it is not a major issue.

Why? In simple terms, foreign policy allows Obama to highlight some of his biggest successes: killing Osama bin Laden and ending the Iraq war, while Romney is using the subject to question the president’s decision making on key issues such as cuts in defense spending and national intelligence leaks. The VFW speeches provided Obama and Romney a platform to promote their respective points.

Obama, in his VFW speech Monday, also took credit for helping the United States regain its international standing. “Because we’re leading around the world, people have a new attitude toward America,” he said. “There’s more confidence in our leadership.”

Romney, of course, disagreed in his speech to the VFW just hours ago and said that “this president has diminished American leadership.”

“American leadership depends, as it always has, on our economic strength, on our military strength, and on our moral strength,” Romney said later in his speech. “If any of these falter, no skill of diplomacy or presidential oratory can compensate. Today, the strength of our economy is in jeopardy.”

It is no surprise that Romney sought to then tie foreign policy with the current economic conditions. While only 24% of Americans in the CNN/ORC International Poll said that foreign policy was extremely important to their vote, this number jumped to 51% when asked about the economy.

Over the next six days, Romney will seek to build his foreign policy credentials, an issue area where he trails Obama by double digits. Voters have more confidence in Obama than Romney, 53% to 41%, when it comes to foreign policy, according to the CNN/ORC Poll. Romney hopes this trip will help give voters a better understanding of his foreign policy positions and ultimately close the gap on this issue.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Romney walks tightrope on foreign policy
Mitt Romney's political tightrope in his quest for the presidency has been especially evident on foreign policy, with Romney sounding conservative while also espousing more moderate approaches similar to his opponent, President Barack Obama. – Tom Cohen

Leading Drudge: 'Joker' On $26k Federal Grant
James Holmes, the alleged gunman in the recent theater shooting that left 12 dead in Aurora, Colo., was previously awarded a $26,000 federal grant.

Leading HuffPo: Postal Service On Edge: What Would A World Without Mail Look Like?
Americans may soon witness the fraying of an institution that, despite the rise of the internet, they still badly need. Even for those of us who pay our bills online, the postal service is intertwined in our daily lives, delivering the products we buy, the magazines we read and, in many cases, the medications we rely on. – Dave Jamieson

Leading Politico: The hidden Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney is a man of faith, successful in business and with the executive experience that comes from running a big state. A perfect presidential résumé? Pretty close. Only one problem, as his critics note: Romney doesn’t spend much time talking about it. – Maggie Haberman

Leading New York Times: Romney Goes After Obama on Defense Cuts and Information Leaks
Mitt Romney set the stage on Tuesday for a weeklong trip abroad with a tough speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in which he accused President Obama of allowing devastating defense cuts and of failing to stop leaks of classified national security secrets. – Michael Shear

The political bites of the day

- Myers speaks highly of Virginia governor, other Republicans -
BETH MYERS, HEAD OF ROMNEY’S V.P. SELECTION PROCESS, AT A VIRGINIA WOMEN FOR ROMNEY EVENT: “But one thing that is true is that this year, we have a ton of qualified Republicans. It is amazing. It made my job really, really hard. Because it wasn’t a year where there were three people who might fit the bill. We have a deep bench, including your governor – an incredibly able guy. And all sorts of really able people. And I'm sure that whoever Gov. Romney decides to pick will be a great addition to the ticket.”

- Congressional hearing blasts state of U.S.-backed Afghan hospital -
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN, IN A COMMITTEE HEARING ON CAPITOL HILL: “Photographic evidence and firsthand accounts indicated that wounded Afghan soldiers endured starvation, bed sores and botched operations. Wounds were left undressed and Afghan doctors conducted procedures without anesthesia or painkillers. In his written testimony, Col. Carozza described the conditions as ‘Auschwitz-like.’ Oftentimes, Afghan doctors and nurses would demand bribes in exchange for care. Those who could not afford to do so died in their hospital beds. The medical care in Afghanistan was so substandard that it was ranked in the lowest 1% by the World Health Organization. All of this was funded by the U.S. taxpayers.”

- ‘Barack knows the American dream because he's lived it’ -
MICHELLE OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN SPEECH IN COLUMBUS, OHIO: “Barack knows the American dream because he's lived it. And he believes that when you've worked hard and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other people a chance to succeed as well. That's what the American dream is about. And more than anything else, that's what's at stake in this election.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less






While taking a tour of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, then-Vice President Richard Nixon got into an animated argument with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. At the height of the argument and after warning Nixon of “very bad consequences,” in threatening him, the Soviet leader backtracked a bit and told Nixon that all he wanted was “peace with all other nations, especially the United States.”

The debate, which was called the “kitchen debate,” came to symbolize the Cold War and the heated differences between communist Soviet Union and capitalist United States. Most publications had the argument plastered on their front pages and people in the United States became well aware of the showdown.

The “peace with all other nations” line was not the only memorable one from the exchange, however. Khrushchev also told Nixon he didn’t “know anything about communism–except fear of it” and that the vice president should “not be afraid of ideas. After all, you don't know everything.”

(why aren’t you in it)

No Gut Check Trivia winner’s today. We did enjoy this answer – “I want a little of everyone else's food.” – which was tweeted to Gut Check by Pete Royston (@Omni10). Check back tomorrow for another trivia question.

Our inbox awaits:
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing
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: 2012 • CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. FORWARD into the Obama FISCAL ABYSS

    Gut Check??? Obama showing heavy bruising after withering body blows by Romney and Feinstein.
    Obama is down on one knee gasping for air....

    July 24, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. kayla

    romney gut check, the man has no spine

    July 24, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. CBR

    Mr. Romney will seize on any comment to avoid telling the American people his plans for getting us out fo the recession. He will cut, cut, cut, and increase the power of the military. Folks, our military is is being stretched to the limits because of the wars begun during the last administration. We did not complete the task in Afghanistan and then moved heaven and earth to go into Iraq. Those wmd's were not there and we entered a quagmire.
    We also had an obligation to go back into Aghanistan where those in opposition had time to regroup and rearm.

    Mr. Romney si now blasting away while he supportive pacs fill the airwaves with ridiculous ads. Do they think we are stupid. If his handling of western Massachusetts is any indication of how he will help those who are down and out then be careful. The western part of the state was struggling and there were many problems. He easily ignored the problems. After two years as Governor he was running for President. What now makes him a good candidate for President – all of his flipflops.

    July 24, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. IrvineCAVoter

    Where's Mitt's tax returns?

    July 24, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Okay, so based on President Obama's philosophy and everything you guys are saying to me than I think it is only correct for government employees, including President Obama, to take a cut in their salaries and benefits to alleviate the burden we are all carrying in paying more taxes to support our government."

    Nice try, but taxes are lower than they've been in 60 years. The only reason they "pinch" is because your emlpoyers have been robbing you of all th eincreased profit your blood sweat and tears have created and keeping it all for themselves....keeping middle-class salaries stagnant and not keeping up with inflation for 40+ years.

    July 24, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    ""And yet Romney leads Obama by over 20% among veterans, something like 58% to 37%. You are in the minority."
    Citing Rasmussen polls is like holding up a sign that calls people "morans." The dude's methodology is compelte crap and has been shown to be such.
    And yet your post cites NOTHING to prove his methodology is wrong or flawed. Of course, you have no proof of what you say, so you just try to deflect from the poll results by attacking the pollster without citing facts. Just more leftist smoke and mirror show... it really is getting old after 4 years."

    Nate Silver did a pretty efficient takedown of Rasmussen's methods on his FiveThirtyEight website a while ago. The guy's a statistical wizard and, as I said before, pretty much predicted the last elections in 2008 and 2010 to a T.

    July 24, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Jack

    Wonder what vets REALLY THINK about alexithymic Mitt running scared over to France during Viet Nam? And what do they REALLY THINK about any of Mitt's 5 useless sons not fighting in any future war that Mitt (and Cheney, in the backround) would gladly start, or keep going?

    July 24, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. Obama 2012 - MOVE Forward America, NOT another round of DUBYA's FAILURES

    @FORWARD into the Obama FISCAL ABYSS – Gut Check??? Obama showing heavy bruising after withering body blows by Romney and Feinstein. Obama is down on one knee gasping for air....
    Gut Check? Really... Obama's no more gasping for air than you are. Yet another name change eh? Like the well oiled troll, keeps on trolling. Pretty much like Faux Noise Entertainement tho, no basis on reality. For entertainment purposes only... just like Willards candidacy.. hahahah

    July 24, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Keeping it Real

    CBR " Folks, our military is is being stretched to the limits because of the wars begun during the last administration. We did not complete the task in Afghanistan and then moved heaven and earth to go into Iraq."

    And just what has Obama done? NOTHING. Sorry, try again.

    July 24, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. Keeping it Real

    SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN ON MONDAY IN A QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION AT THE WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL: “I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks. I don’t know specifically where, but they have to begin to understand that, and do something about it

    So when Feinstein believes the Obama White House was involved in the leaks, you KNOW there has to be something to it. It sounds more and more like the GOP's desire to have a non-partisan investigation was the correct way to go after all. So much for the transparency for this administration. Yeah, we all know how much of a joke those Obama campaign promises were anyway.

    July 24, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. ge

    so mitt wants to go with the old republican plan,put in as many troops as you can,create jobs for haliburton,and suck as much money out of the tax payers as they can

    July 24, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  12. Name no way

    No way am i going to vote for someone to be the president of the U.S. who moved his income out of the country to avoid paying taxes. If this man believes he is entitled to do this evasive practice....why would we trust him with the country. Hippocrite...he wants to lead the country he cheats! If youvote for a republican, then do you believe in the Republican platform? No matter what he says or promises, he will execute the Republican platform...thats who he is. And the Republican platform does NOT support the middle class...the health of the economy rides on the backs of the middle class. The last 8 years of a Republican adm almost destroyed our middle class. No way will i vote for apresident who makes the middle class poor and the rich billionaires. The reason we have such a big defic is because the tax rev used to run the country was drastically cut with the tax cuts for the wealthy....they did not pay their fair share and now this clown who was brazen enough to move his money elsewhere so he didnt have to pay taxes wants us to vote for him!!! I believe in the middle class, I still believe in socoial programs...lets fix the processes that are broken..its american, thats why we are different from other nations...thats who we are...

    July 24, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |

    Romney INSISTS THAT EVENTHOUGH THE LEAKS OF WHITEHOUSE STAFF SECURITY INFORMATION CAN DO DAMAGE TO THE country, The American people have the right to know all of the details. Why then shouldn't we be able to see his tax returns as we have for every other honest candidate for president for generations. Key Word is HONEST

    July 24, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  14. Ashley F. McDonald

    Mr Rommey talks tough on Iran, is he going to send any of his five sons there to fight for the USA, nobody ask why non of his sons are in the miltary!!!! I had two in Iraq and I was with the 82nd Airborne Div My father was a paratrooper in the 50,s

    July 24, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  15. w l jones

    Ms Fienstein do not need help defending herself she can take anything throw at her and give much more back . Bless.

    July 24, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  16. Ancient Texan

    Irvine.....where's Obama's records? He's been in office almost 4 years and we still know nothing about him except his plans to soak the rich and give it to the 49.5% that pay no taxes.

    July 24, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  17. Sue

    When will Obama and the liberals figure out-as they keep asking for Romney's tax returns............The majority of voters are not worried about what Romney did with his OWN money--they are worried about what Obama is doing with THEIR money!!......Wow....Feinstein publicly stating that the leaks are coming from Obama's White House for political gain, is definitely not good news for Obama!!

    July 25, 2012 07:08 am at 7:08 am |