CNN's GUT CHECK | for July 30, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
JUST IN: TOP ISRAELI POLITICIANS LAUD CLOSE TIES WITH THE UNITED STATES, WHITE HOUSE… Both President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak highlighted, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, the relationship the Obama administration has kept with Israel.
Peres: “When I look at the record of President Obama concerning the major issues, security, I think it's a highly satisfactory record, from an Israeli point of view.”
Barak: “I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing, in regard to our security, more than anything that I can remember in the past. … In terms of the support for our security, the cooperation of our intelligence, the sharing of sorts in a very open way even when there are differences.”
Tune in at 5 p.m. ET to “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”
DEVELOPING: DNC PLATFORM TO INCLUDE SAME SEX MARRIAGE… The Democratic National Committee took a step this weekend towards recognizing same sex marriage in the party’s convention platform. Meeting in Minneapolis, Democrats approved draft language that will now be reviewed by the full platform committee. If approved by the committee and then the delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, it would mark the first time support for same-sex marriage was part of the Democrats' platform.
What landmark government program was signed into law on this day in history?
A telling sign that you chose the right person to nominate your candidate for president is the reaction from your opponent.
Take this headline from a Romney campaign e-mail sent this morning to reporters: “Conventional Wisdom: Obama Can’t Match Clinton’s Record.”
The two-page memo was reaction to news that former President Bill Clinton will officially nominate President Obama for a second term in a primetime speech at the Democratic National Convention.
In criticizing Obama, the Romney campaign heaped praise on Clinton for balancing the budget, creating jobs and having an unemployment rate of 4.2%. With the praise came this caveat from the Romney campaign, of course: Clinton accomplished it while working with a Republican Congress.
Still, it is amazing how the contempt for a former opponent is easily forgotten when you have a new enemy before you. And that is what we call politics.
Clinton’s choice to deliver the Obama nominating speech should come as no surprise. In a CNN/ORC International Poll released in June, 66% of adult Americans had a favorable opinion of Clinton, while 31% had an unfavorable view of him.
The talk of the raw feelings between the two men from the 2008 campaign still lingers. The question is how much of it is real? Clinton certainly is his own person with his own ideas. And he has had to reel some of them back in, such as the comments he made about extending the Bush-era tax cuts.
But Clinton has been loyal to Obama. The former president narrated a 90 second video for Obama earlier this year praising him for making the call to kill Osama bin Laden and he has headlined two fundraisers for the president.
We are told the focus of Clinton’s speech will be on the economy and directed at middle-class voters, who have been hit hard in these tough times. For the Obama campaign, Clinton seems to be the best Democrat to make that case. Even Republicans seem to think so. But will voters?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Romney to Blitzer: Nuclear Iran is 'number one national security threat'
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney clarified his March remark that Russia is the nation's top foe, saying in an interview to air Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" that Iran potentially poses the greatest national security threat to the U.S. – Gregory Wallace
Leading Drudge: Romney Comes Out Swinging For Israel
Mitt Romney told Jewish donors Monday that their culture is part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians, outraging Palestinian leaders who suggested his comments were racist and out of touch with the realities of the Middle East. His campaign later said his remarks were mischaracterized. – Kasie Hunt and Karin Laud
Leading HuffPo: John McCain Responds To Dick Cheney's Sarah Palin Criticism
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) struck back at former Vice President Dick Cheney for calling his choice of 2008 running mate Sarah Palin a "mistake," and brought up their famous disagreement over torture during the Bush administration. – Luke Johnson
Leading Politico: Rob Portman’s ‘genteel’ conservatism
In both his political education and political identity, Portman is much more closely aligned with the 41st president than with the 43rd. The Ohio senator and GOP vice-presidential finalist got his start in national politics on George H.W. Bush’s 1980 presidential campaign and partly owes his first congressional victory to former first lady Barbara Bush, who recorded a radio ad name-dropping Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili and Portman in the same sentence. And overall, his views and political style are more reminiscent of the first President Bush: center-right, bipartisan, results-oriented and gentlemanly, if not terribly charismatic. – Jonathan Martin
Leading The New York Times: Romney Comments on Palestinians Draw Criticism
Mitt Romney found himself on the defensive yet again on his overseas trip, this time after offending Palestinian leaders with comments he made at a breakfast fund-raiser here on Monday. – Ashley Parker
Leading Las Vegas Review Journal: Washoe County 'critically important' to Democrats, GOP
Washoe is the battleground county in the battleground state of Nevada. Rural Nevada is safe Republican terrain. Clark County is where 70 percent of the state population lives and where more Democrats thrive. So it's Washoe County where the political wrestling is happening, a swing county in a swing state. – Laura Myers
The political bites of the day
- Romney shrugs off magazine's ‘wimp’ cover -
MITT ROMNEY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CBS NEWS: “If I worried about what the media said I wouldn’t get much sleep. And I’m able to sleep pretty well.”
- Chicago would love to see Romney spend more time abroad -
MICHELE FLOURNOY, OBAMA CAMPAIGN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, IN AN INTERVIEW ON CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “President Obama has made very clear that all options are on the table. What Romney seems to be doing is grabbing at straws and trying to make an impression on his foreign trip. Frankly, with the gaffes in London and performance in Israel, I think this trip raised more doubts. Is he really ready to represent the United States abroad? Is he really ready to be commander in chief? Is he really ready to lead on the global stage? I think this trip and his performance has raised more questions than it’s answered.”
- Possible VP speaks very highly of Romney… -
SEN. ROB PORTMAN OF OHIO AT A CAMPAIGN RALLY FOR MITT ROMNEY IN LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA: “We need somebody willing to step up and say you know what, we have got to take on this debt and deficit because it is immoral for future generations because it is impacting our ability to create opportunity today. Mitt Romney is that man, folks. He is that leader. He will do that.”
- S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s husband will deploy to Afghanistan -
GOV. HALEY’S STATEMENT ON NEWS THAT HER HUSBAND, MICHAEL, WILL DEPLOY IN JANUARY: “As a military sister, and now a military wife, I know the sacrifices a family goes through when a loved one is serving his or her country. I also know the amazing pride we feel in watching them drop everything to serve. Our time has come, and it is an honor to watch him serve our country. Our family could not be more proud of Michael and every man and woman who puts on a uniform.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Sitting inside the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law. Former President Harry Truman, who watched Johnson sign the bill, would become the first Medicare beneficiary after the signing on July 30, 1965.
There was symbolism in Truman being the first beneficiary; the former president was the first president to suggest some sort of national health care program. He did so in 1945.
The Medicare program built upon the Social Security Act of 1935 and ensured health care to more than 19 million people in the first year of its existence. Over the years, Medicare has been expanded greatly, including in 2003 when former President George W. Bush signed a bill that compelled Medicare to include outpatient drug benefits. The scope and size of the program has been a subject of controversy because of the strains it puts on the federal budget.
Medicare had 47.5 million beneficiaries in 2010, a majority of which were individuals 65 years old and older. The average benefits per enrollee totaled $11,762 in 2010. In 2011, 23% of the federal budget was spent on Medicare and Medicaid, a similar program for low-income Americans.
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