CNN's GUT CHECK | for July 31, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: ROMNEY PREPS SWING STATE BLITZ, STIRRING V.P. SPECULATION… Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is quietly laying the groundwork for a high-profile blitz of several key battleground states in the run-up to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and Republicans briefed on the plans say it has all the trappings of a vice presidential rollout tour. – Peter Hamby
With Watergate nearing its climax, who was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee during the three Nixon impeachment votes?
A question often pondered in political circles is who will be the next Barack Obama – a relatively unknown politician who is ready to make a splash on the national political scene?
For Republicans, Sen. Marco Rubio seems to have fit the bill – a 40-year-old Floridian who excites the conservative base and is seen as an envoy to young Hispanic voters.
Today, we wonder if we have met the Democratic Party’s next young leader, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. The 37-year-old mayor was announced as the keynote speaker for the Democratic National Convention – the launching pad for Obama’s meteoric rise in national politics and eventually the presidency.
“I know I’ve got some big shoes to fill,” Castro said in a web video distributed by the DNCC. “Two conventions ago, the keynote speaker was a guy named Barack Obama. I remember watching his speech in 2004 and being inspired. When Obama talked about the audacity of hope I thought back to my mother saying that if you didn’t like the way things were you could dare to change them. I thought my mother would like this guy. I felt that this young state senator from Illinois had a clear idea of where we needed to go as a country and I got the sense he knew how to get us there.”
When Castro takes the stage in Charlotte, people will be wondering if this young mayor has a “clear idea of where we need to go as a country.”
Matt Angle, a Democratic strategist with deep ties to Texas, said that even though Castro has been a mayor for only a few years, he is well respected by Democrats and Republicans in the state.
“The Obama folks have been very shrewd and forward looking in appealing to the Hispanic community and younger voters,” he said. “I think people will be stuck by the youthfulness of Julián Castro. In a keynote, it is very important to signal what your party is going to look like in the future.”
What will Castro say in his primetime national address? It’s unclear, but we can hazard a guess that he will be touting the Obama agenda. But in an interview with Time Magazine Castro pointed to a fragile natural resource as the most overlooked issue facing the nation.
“The politics and availability of water will be an increasingly important issue in the 21st century,” Castro told Time. “Too often, water is looked at as a local or regional issue, but clean drinking water is a global concern.”
And how about this … he has a twin brother, Joaquin Castro, who is very likely to win a U.S. House seat in November.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Was Romney's trip 'a great success' or gaffe-filled disaster?
A trip that was supposed to show off the former governor's foreign policy expertise during an election year has been plagued with distractions as well as marked by substantive highlights. – Jim Acosta
Leading Drudge: Obama Campaign Brings Up 'Felons' in Latest Ad
The latest web ad from Barack Obama's campaign goes after Mitt Romney for not releasing more tax returns than he already has. The ad, titled "Mitt Romney's Tax Returns: When Will He Come Clean?" at one point flashes two words onscreen, "FELONS" and "TAX RECORDS."
Leading HuffPo: Tom Coburn Apologizes For Calling Harry Reid Incompetent
The notoriously cranky Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) took to the Senate floor Monday night to apologize for calling Majority Leader Harry Reid "incompetent." – Mike Mcauliff
Leading Politico: Mitt Romney aide's gaffe exposes rift
In one week abroad, Mitt Romney has managed to enrage both the Brits and the Palestinians. Now add to that roster his own press corps. Over seven days in the UK, Israel and Poland, Romney held just one media availability for the U.S. traveling press — and even then, standing outside 10 Downing St. in London, he answered only three questions. While he gave a series of interviews to the major television networks, he granted no interviews to other U.S. outlets. – Dylan Byers
Leading The New York Times: Romney Trip Raises Sparks at a 2nd Stop
Mitt Romney offended Palestinian leaders on Monday by suggesting that cultural differences explain why the Israelis are so much more economically successful than Palestinians, thrusting himself again into a volatile issue while on his high-profile overseas trip. – Ashley Parker
The political bites of the day
- In close Texas runoff, both Cruz and Dewhurst are confident -
JAMES BERNSEN, A SPOKESMAN FOR TEXAS SENATE CANDIDATE TED CRUZ, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: "All indications are that our voters are excited and encouraged, but now's not the time to let up. We need every conservative across the state who hasn't voted to show up at the polls…”
DAVID DEWHURT SLYLY SAYS HIS OPPONENT ISN’T A FIGHTER AT A VFW SPEECH: “Normally, I’ve found in my life that the louder you speak, probably, the less of a fighter you are. All the fighters I’ve had a chance and the honor to serve with didn’t pat themselves on the back, were pretty humble men and women.”
- Romney highlights Poland’s smaller government and strong military in Warsaw speech -
MITT ROMNEY IN A SPEECH AT THE HALL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WARSAW LIBRARY IN WARSAW: “Yesterday one of your leaders shared with me an economic truth that's been lost in much of the world. He said this: "It is simple, you don't borrow what you can't pay back." The world should pay close attention to the transformation of Poland's economy. A march toward economic liberty and smaller government has met a march toward higher living standards, a strong military that defends liberty at home and abroad, and an important and growing role on the international stage.”
- Gibbs: Romney didn’t pass the commander in chief test -
ROBERT GIBBS, A SENIOR OBAMA CAMPAIGN ADVISER, IN A CONFERENCE CALL WITH REPORTERS: “He both offended our closest ally and triggered a troubling reaction in the most sensitive region in the world. He certainly didn't prove to anyone that he passed the commander in chief test.”
- The story of this election through the eyes of a 4 year old -
PRESIDENT OBAMA TOLD THIS STORY LAST NIGHT AT A FUNDRAISING DINNER IN NEW YORK: “Jim Messina… my campaign manager… was in some event, and this young couple who was there with their adorable 4-year-old son, and I guess there was a picture of me somewhere, and so they were very excited. They said, ‘Sammy, who’s that?’ And he said, ‘That's Barack Obama.’ ‘And what does Barack Obama do?’ And the boy thinks for a second and he says, ‘He approves this message.’ So that’s what I do. I approve this message.” LINK
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Though Peter Wallace Rodino Jr., a Democratic congressman from New Jersey, served in the House of Representatives for 40 years – from 1949 to 1989 – the highlight of his career came when he chaired the House Judiciary’s impeachment hearings of President Richard Nixon in 1974.
As the hearings turned incredibly partisan, with Democrats stepping anti-Nixon rhetoric and Republicans calling the impeachment politically motivated, Rodino was seen as a moderating force in the room. In July of 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted on three articles of impeachment – obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress.
The votes, along with mounting evidence brought to light by grand jury testimony and the Washington Post, led to Nixon’s resignation on August 8, 1974.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Christopher S. Brown (@chrisbrowntv) wins again – with the correct answer of Peter Wallace Rodino, Jr. Time to unseat this back-to-back winner.
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