CNN's GUT CHECK for August 1, 2012
August 1st, 2012
04:46 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for August 1, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 1, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING:POSTAL SERVICE COULD RUN OUT OF CASH IN OCTOBER Without help from Congress, the Postal Service will not only default on payments for retiree health care benefits, but it could lack cash for operations by mid-October. As of midnight Wednesday, the Postal Service will be in default - for the first time in its history - on a $5.5 billion payment owed the federal government to prepay health care benefits for retirees. – Jennifer Liberto

(Answer below)
What television station launched on this day in history and revolutionized two areas of business?

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

Remember all that talk about how much the Obama campaign was spending?

The strategic decision to spend heavily quickly, despite being outraised, was a much debated decision. Obama loyalists argued that it was campaigning 101: Define your opponent before he defines himself.

Looking at a new round of swing state polls, it appearsthe ad and campaigning barrage against Mitt Romney might be working. Former Gov. Ted Strickland told Ohio voters on Wednesday, “One thing really bothers me above all else about Mr. Romney. He wants to be the president of this country. He wants the American people to trust him with the presidency. And he refuses to trust the American people with his income tax returns. I am personally convinced that Mitt Romney has concluded that there is something in his income tax returns that would be a deal breaker with the American people.”

Similarly, the Obama campaign ad “Firms” pounds at Romney’s central tenet of economic trust and stability, writing on the screen, “In business, Mitt Romney's firms shipped jobs to Mexico. And China. As governor, Romney outsourced jobs to India. He had millions in a Swiss bank account. Tax havens like Bermuda. And the Cayman Islands. Mitt Romney's not the solution. He's the problem.”

That advertisement has run 2,079 times in Ohio alone. And it was only released 18 days ago.

As for electoral implications in Ohio, Obama tops Romney 50% – 44% among likely voters in the new Quinnipiac Poll. Among Romney voters, 42% strongly favor him while 35% like him with reservations and 22% say they are voting against Obama.

Obama has a 51% – 45% favorability rating. Romney gets a 40% favorable rating and a 43% unfavorable score.

This strategy of go in fast and fierce was one employed by Harry Reid in his 2010 Senate race against Sharron Angle. In their post-election memo, duly entitled, “Harry Reid: Withstanding the Wave,” Mark Mellman and Jim Margolis laid out the strategy that helped Reid win his seat on a night that CNN’s John King – and later President Obama - dubbed a “shellacking” for the rest of the Democratic Party:

Disqualifying our opponent was central to our strategy. Having studied Democratic failures in Massachusetts and New Jersey during 2009, we concluded that once challengers picked up a head of steam in this climate, stopping them was exponentially more difficult. We therefore resolved to begin to define our opponent immediately after the primary. To that end we tested arguments against each of our potential adversaries in polling before the primary and developed a “first line of attack” against each. Thus, when Sharron Angle emerged victorious from the primary, we were immediately on the air with a devastating attack highlighting her view that Social Security and Medicare should be wiped out.”

The next paragraph is the one that the folks in Boston should surely read, “As a result, [Angle’s] unfavorable ratings skyrocketed, jumping to 52%, up 32 points between March and August. As we moved into the fall, the foundation had been laid to take Angle’s extreme positions to a new level: dangerous.”

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: In key counties of Ohio, swing state politics have real-life impact
Ohio is a fascinating county-by-county chess game. Republicans don't expect to carry Summit County, for example, but Romney won't have a prayer statewide unless he improves on Sen. John McCain's weak 41% performance here in 2008. With so much TV ad money being spent here, LaRose argues there will be a "saturation point," and that Ohio in the end will be decided on the strength of grassroots organizing. – John King

Leading Drudge: Olympic Shock: Playing To Lose!
The disqualification of eight women badminton players from the London Olympics for 'throwing' their matches to secure a more favorable draw sent shockwaves through the tournament on Wednesday, and prompted cries of injustice from team officials. – Ian Ransom

Leading HuffPo: 2012 Election Gaffes Fuel Media Obsession, Leading To Scripted Campaigns
Reporters complain that Romney's too robotic and Obama's too detached. But given that media's extensive coverage of gaffes so far, including at The Huffington Post, the chances of unscripted moments or off-the-cuff question-and-answer sessions seem likely to grow more remote from now until November. Reporters, in short, may be facilitating the very reality they detest. – Michael Calderone and Sam Stein

Leading Politico: Move over, Marco Rubio: Ted Cruz's star rises
Move over, Marco Rubio: there’s another national Latino star-in-the-making likely headed to Washington. Ted Cruz’s resounding win over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Texas Republican Senate runoff Tuesday night positions the 41-year-old, Ivy League-educated Cuban-American to become a force to be reckoned with in the nation’s capitol — an overnight A-lister of Republicans to watch. – David Cantanese

Leading The New York Times: New Polls Show Obama Has Edge in 3 Battleground States
President Obama is struggling to convince voters that he deserves to win re-election based on his handling of the economy, but his empathy and personal appeal give him an edge over Mitt Romney in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, according to Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News polls. – Jeff Zeleny

The political bites of the day

- Boehner tries to put sequestration, taxes in the lap of the Dems -
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER AT HIS WEEKLY CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “Listen, President Obama said that small business tax hikes threaten our economy. Frankly, the Democrats' sequester threatens our national security. By the end of the week, Republicans will be the only ones in this town which will have addressed both of those threats. The only question now is will Senate Democrats work with us and follow us to remove these two giant threats that face the American people and frankly face our economy.”

- Obama accuses Romney of personally wanting a tax cut -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN OHIO: “Here's the thing, he's not asking you to contribute more to pay down the deficit, or to invest in our kids' education. He's asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a tax cut.”

­- Graham calls sequestration ‘the dumbest idea in the history of the Congress’ -
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM IN AN INTERVIEW ON FOX NEWS: “The Congress and the White House jointly have created the dumbest idea in the history of the Congress known for dumb ideas,” Graham said. “They don’t want to put the public on notice.”

- Gut Check loves a Hank Williams Jr. joke -
STEPHEN COLBERT JOKES ABOUT ROMNEY’S TRIP ABROAD ON HIS LATE-NIGHT TALK SHOW: “Of course the liberal media has been hammering Mitt throughout the trip for a couple of hiccups, like when he offended Palestinians by suggesting they aren't prosperous because of their culture and offended the English when he questioned whether London was ready for the Olympics. Why is that controversial? Every week Hank Williams Jr. questioned if Americans were ready for some football. Come on. Double standards.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less








“I heard you on the wireless back in Fifty Two. Lying awake intent at tuning in on you.”

Those lyrics, sung by “The Buggles,” kicked off the newly minted Music Television station on this day in 1981. The actual first words uttered on MTV were delivered by the channel’s creator, John Lack. “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll,” he said.

MTV went on to revolutionize the recording and television industries, with record labels starting to invest huge sums of money into heavily produced music videos.

Fast forward to 2012 and critics have begun attacking MTV for not living up to its founding or its name. With a bulk of airtime now devoted to reality television programming, watching a music video on MTV is a rarity.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congratulations to Dave Stroup (@DaveStroup) for winning today’s Gut Check Trivia. Some CNN swag may or may not be on his way.

Our inbox awaits:
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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: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    oops, haha, edit:

    And in keeping with the theme of today's gut check, let's have some fun with wordplay to help everyone define and understand the GOP/Teatrolls and Mittens more thoroughly:


    The economic ideology that posits that (a) cutting taxes for the rich, shifting tax burden to the middle-class and poor to pay for it and thereby accelerating the already existing redistribution of wealth towards the extremely weatlhy and away from the middle-class and poor and (b) increasing the budget deficit by $360B will somehow result in economic growth, widespread prosperity and job creation, increased government revenue and NOT a deepening of the demand vaccuum that has brought economic activity to a sluggish post-recession crawl.

    August 1, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. drake mallard

    Why keep trotting out this Marco Rubio=Anchor Baby character? He has
    nothing to say and basically no one gives =Running on Empty aka joke

    Rubio is a crook, and a liar.

    No more needs to be said

    Taxpayers-sold down the river again by the crooks™

    August 1, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. drake mallard

    Ted Cruz was born and spent the first four years of his life in Calgary Alberta Canada

    What Socialist America Will Look Like?

    His father was jailed and tortured by the Batista regime and fought for Fidel Castro in the Cuban Revolution!

    August 1, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Jeb

    Romney is more secretive than the Swiss bank accounts he hides his millions in.

    August 1, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. JackBeHumble

    Whether or not his strategy now is working... doesn't really matter. It all comes down to which party can get the vote out in November. The next President will most likely have an opportunity to appoint two Supreme Court Justices. But more importantly than the Presidential election are all of the Senate and Congressional votes. Will the rascals be thrown out? Will the Senate go over to the Republicans, or will the House go back to the Democrats?

    August 1, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. John

    Obama is the one hiding something. It's called a Strategy For Creating Jobs For 23 Million People!! I couldn't care less about any more of Romney's tax returns. That doesn't pay the bills. Good paying jobs do!

    August 1, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. tkret

    Let's not forget the Quinnipiac Poll referenced above polled 9% more democrats than Republicans or Independents.
    Just about every add, or message sent out by obama's camp, or other democrats can be rebunked as being outright untrue, or so biased the inference is totally incorrect.
    The most recent example of this is Harry Reid saying Mitt Romney has not paid taxes in 10 years. Do you actually think if he hadn't paid taxes in 10 years (yes, he filled his taxes as opposed to paying taxes), the IRS wouldn't have found some improprieties?

    August 1, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  8. dave

    this guy doesn't answer many questions from the press. this guy won't give any details of what he intends to do when elected. this guy that not even the right wingnuts know very much about gets their vote hands down! really! hay mittens when are you going to release your tax returns so that the wingnuts will know something about how great you are? the last time a republican covered up something this important was old trick Dick Nixson and we all know how well that worked out for him! the more i look the more he even looks like old tricky!

    August 1, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    Romney is so secretive he won't tell us what any of his policies will be, what tax cuts for the wealthy or tax increases for the poor, which countries he will nuke, etc. You get the message.

    There – I've told you more in one sentence than Robingme has told us in 6 years.

    August 1, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. charliesix

    If I recall my civics correcly, the US constitution does not mention tax returns at all but it does require the president to be a natural born citizen. To break the impasse on Mitt Rommey's tax returns, what about a deal – for every year of tax returns, Obama releases his college/school records, or his thesis, his unadulterated long form birth certificate, an explanation how he secured his social security number/card.

    Perhaps the country is better off if the debate is about the economy, But then Mr. Obama is never responsible for anything that goes wrong so his surrogates come up with utterly moronic issues as tax returns.

    August 1, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. tkret

    drake – mallard
    Would you care to expand on or give details of when Marco Rubio has been a crook and a liar?

    August 1, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. eviltaxpayer

    Hope and change is now hoax and blame.
    obama and his lies are why he will be thrown out soon (november! )

    August 1, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. Some guy

    At destroying America? Yep!, it's working!

    August 1, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. Robert

    America is a sick puppy as evidenced by support for Obama. If Obama wins, there is nothing left but revolution to correct the ills of this country.

    August 1, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. joesixpackjr

    There was a Gallup poll out today of 90,000 voters with a 1% margin of error, and that was not mentioned in the above story. Why not report both polls? Gallup is respected, and its poll has a low margin of error. Excuse me. This is CNN. I forgot, CNN does not report polls or news favorable to Romney.

    August 1, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. joesixpackjr

    CNN should report the Gallup poll out today that has a lower margin of error than Quinnipiac and shows better results for Romney.

    August 1, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Bad Dog

    Romney talks and acts like he has some kind of neurological deficit, as if he is unable to even recognize exactly where he is at times. In Israel, he gave a meandering speech that sounded like he was looking around for his son and then remembered that this wasn't London. He often gives answers over a short period of time that are contradictory, and he uses phrases that suggest problems with accessing specific words. I think the man needs an MRI urgently. He did have a serious head injury decades ago and it may be catching up with him. Definitely. Not. Normal.

    August 1, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Formed Dem

    I personally give up on Obama. He promised us too many things and none of it came out to be true. I dont think Romney is perfect either however, he seems to be the one that can fix the economy and that is what the country needs now not good fake stories that Obama gives.

    August 1, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  19. David

    I still can't understand why the polls show so many average Americans support Romney and the Republicans. The Republicans are actually saying out loud what they want ot do to the middle class and working class American. Why would any of us vote for the Republicans? I think maybe the Republican are reaping the harvest of our failed school system.

    August 1, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. wade

    Obama really does not need a strategy he has the Liberal media campaigning for him 24-7. They attack Romney for sneezing the wrong way while allowing Obama to completely destroy America and say nothing at all. The Fix is in. The Liberals control the media so there is no such thing as an informed public anymore.

    August 1, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. Bren

    Did you see that New York Times/Quinipiac poll that was released today showing Obama leading in PA, OH, and Florida by between 6-8%. Make sure that you look at the polling information about each of these polls. In all (3) polls, they weighted them with more Democrats then Republicans--between 6-9%. There is NO way that if they polled the same number of Republicans as Democrats, that Obama would be leading in those polls. But, alas, Obama and the liberals can keep believing these manipulated, bogus polls--But, just like when Scott Brown won, Scott Walker easily survived the recall election, and the liberals got shellacked in 2010...........In (3) months, you will see the "real" poll results--when Obama is sent back to Chicago!!

    August 1, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  22. george of the jungle

    Obama 2012 Forward

    August 1, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Romney is out for himself and his ultra rich player friends. However, what is really needed is legislation about how prosperity must be shared within a company, not how to tax the affluent.

    August 1, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. Rude9899

    What are 3 radical right wing political groups that believe in the oppression of women, hatred for homosexuals, other religions, and other races? Answer: Nazis, Al qaeda, and Republicans

    August 1, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  25. dontbow

    No i don't think his spending spree plan is working to defeat romney.

    August 1, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
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