CNN's GUT CHECK | for July 26, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: ROMNEY: STOP ATTACKING SUCCESS … Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney hit back against Obama campaign criticism over his success and wealth in an interview that will air at 9 p.m. ET on CNN's “Piers Morgan Tonight.”
“There are people who are trying to attack success … that's not going to be successful,” Romney told Morgan. “When you attack success, you have less of it, and that's what we've seen in our economy over the last few years. Dividing America based on who has money and who hasn't - who is successful and who is less successful… That is not the American way.”
Romney also discussed the debate over gun control in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado, shootings.
“I don't support new gun laws in our country,” Romney said. “We have a lot of gun laws now. We have background checks and other restrictions on gun ownership in our country. But as you say, we have 300 million guns in America. We have a Second Amendment that protects the right of people to bear arms. I support that. I think that the effort to continue to look for some law to somehow make violence go away is missing the point. The real point has to relate to individuals that are deranged and distressed and to find them, to help them and to keep them from carrying out terrible acts.”
Who is the most recent House member to win an Olympic medal?
As we look east to London to see how Mitt Romney performs on his first overseas trip as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, the most important headline of the day was written here in the nation’s capital: “New Poll Finds Little Voter Discomfort with Romney’s Mormon Religion.”
Boston must be happy.
For Romney, despite taking heat for saying that security shortfalls and a now-cancelled strike from border guards make for a "disconcerting" start to the Olympic Games, it was a good day. A good day because the poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, says that Romney’s religion won’t be a factor in November.
“Romney’s Religion Not Costing Him Support,” Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, writes in a memo summarizing the poll. “Overwhelming majorities of Republican and Republican-leaning voters who know Romney is Mormon support him, whether they are comfortable with his religion or not. However, Romney supporters who are uncomfortable with his Mormonism are less enthusiastic about his candidacy than those who are not bothered by his faith.”
The “less enthusiastic” line certainly has got to raise some red flags within the Romney campaign, but they shouldn’t be surprised by it. The fact that Romney is Mormon has been a major topic of conversation throughout this campaign – from the primaries into the general election.
In writing about the poll, CNN.com Religion Editor Dan Gilgoff notes that 60 % of Americans know that Romney is Mormon and of those people 81% say that they are comfortable with it or that it doesn’t matter to them.”
We asked Gilgoff, what about the people who do not know about Romney’s religion?
“We don’t know how these people will receive his Mormonism,” said Gilgoff, who edits the Belief Blog. “Previous polls have suggested those who don’t know he is a Mormon are less comfortable with a Mormon candidate.”
Another interesting data point from the poll is that 49% of Americans identify President Obama as a Christian, while 17% think he is a Muslim – which he is not.
Read the full poll here.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: The Battlegrounds: African-American turnout
In 2008, just shy of 65% of eligible African-Americans voted for president; in 2004, it was 60%. That prospect of lower turnout could change the math in some key battlegrounds even if the president runs roughly equal to his share of the African-American vote, an eye-popping 95% in 2008. – John King
Leading Drudge: Godfather Welcomes Farrakahn
Ignoring Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s history of anti-Semitic remarks, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday welcomed the army of men dispatched to the streets by Farrakhan to stop the violence in Chicago neighborhoods. – Fran Spielman
Leading HuffPo: Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital Claims Don't Hold Up To Evidence
Mitt Romney has repeatedly insisted that he had no active role at Bain Capital after February 1999, when he left the private equity firm to take over the Salt Lake City Olympics. But a growing pile of evidence shows that Romney was involved in Bain's dealings far longer than he claims. From signatures on Securities and Exchange Commission filings to his own sworn testimony, this body of proof reveals how Romney's fingerprints lingered on Bain transactions well into 2002, even while he was managing the Olympics. – Mollie Reilly
Leading Politico: Joe Biden carries the message to the Democratic core
Barack Obama may be the head of the Democratic Party, but for the past few months it’s been a different politician tending to the health of the Democratic base: Joe Biden. – Alexander Burns
Leading The New York Times: Romney’s Remarks on Olympics Cause Stir in London
Mitt Romney’s carefully choreographed trip to London caused a diplomatic stir when he called the British Olympic preparations “disconcerting” and questioned whether Londoners would turn out to support the Games. – Ashley Parker
The political bites of the day
- Boehner charges Obama is MIA on sequester -
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER IN HIS WEEKLY NEWS CONFERENCE: “It was the president who came up with the sequester because he didn’t want the debt limit to get in the way of his campaign. Now these arbitrary cuts are looming and frankly he's nowhere to be found on the issue.”
- Carney reiterates that POTUS is ‘mindful’ of the Second Amendment -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE NEWS BRIEFING: “He does take a broad view about the problem of violence and how we need to address it. He is very mindful of the need when it comes to legislation that we ensure that we protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens. That is very important to him and he believes that we can take measures that improve public safety by preventing weapons from getting into the hands of those who should not have them under existing law.”
- Romney: Oversees trip an exchange of ideas, not a time to be critical -
MITT ROMNEY IN A NEWS CONFERENCE AFTER A MEETING WITH ED MILIBAND, BRITIAN’S OPPOSITION LEADER: “While I'm on foreign soil, I'm very careful not to be critical of my own government's policies. I would be even more remiss if I were to try and be critical of any other government's policies, so I will instead look forward to an exchange of ideas.”
- POTUS pushing his successes, even in his letter sign off -
CONAN O’BRIEN JOKES ABOUT ROMNEY AND OBAMA ON HIS LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW: “Strange facts are coming out about both presidential candidates. A new study suggests President Obama’s e-mails are more personal than Mitt Romney’s e-mails. Yeah, Romney’s usually end with best regards, Mitt, while the president's usually end with, I killed Osama bin Laden.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Jim Ryun, a Republican who served Kansas’s 2nd District from 1996 to 2007, might not the congressman with the most Olympic medals. However, because of Ryun’s long-running career before Congress, he is likely the congressman to hold the most world records and the most recent member of Congress to win an Olympic medal.
The highlight of Ryun’s running career came in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, where the future congressman took silver in the 1,500-meter race.
But more than that, Ryun was known for being a remarkably adept runner at a young age. In 1964, Ryun became the first high school runner to break the four-minute mile when he ran a mile in three minutes and 59 seconds as a junior at East High School in Wichita, Kansas.
Over the course of his running career, Ryun held world records in the 880-yard run, 1,500-meter run, one-mile run (twice) and the one-mile indoor run.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Christopher S. Brown @chrisbrowntv for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. Though Brown was skeptical about his answer – he tweeted “Ryun?” – he was first to correctly answer the question. We wish we could award him a gold medal for his efforts … but that is a bit out of our budget.
Our inbox awaits: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing email@example.com
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.