CNN’s GUT CHECK for August 13, 2012
August 13th, 2012
05:07 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for August 13, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 13, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

JUST IN: TOP IOWA REPUBLICANS SAY RYAN BETTER THAN PALIN PICK… Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad tells CNN’s Peter Hamby that Paul Ryan is "unflappable" and said the Wisconsin congressman is "absolutely" a better vice presidential pick than Sarah Palin was in 2008, though he quickly hedged his answer. "I don't want to compare with anybody," he said, "I just want to say that I think he's a great choice, and as the American people get to see him they are going to be more and more impressed that he is a positive guy with new ideas and is the kind of leadership we need for America's future."

ROAR: CROWLEY NAMED PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE MODERATOR, FIRST WOMAN IN TWO DECADES… “As someone who is in awe and grateful every day to be in a country where freedom of the press, free speech and free elections are a way of life, I am wowed, amazed and excited by the opportunity to moderate a 2012 presidential debate,” said Candy Crowley, anchor of CNN’s “State of the Union.”

(Answer below)
What former president of a nation at odds with the United States is celebrating his birthday today?

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

A seven-term Wisconsin congressman whom 54% of the American people were not aware of last week just knocked the president of the United States off of his perch as the most talked about politician on the largest social media platform in the world.

According to the exclusive Facebook-CNN Election Talk Meter, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, in the 54 hours since being announced as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, sucked up the political oxygen in the social media landscape – with the beltway topping the buzz and his home state of Wisconsin close behind. What caught our eye? The swing states of Virginia (where Ryan was announced) and New Hampshire were also high up the list:

Facebook-CNN talk meter scores
1) Rep. Paul Ryan 5.21
2) President Barack Obama 4.84
3) Vice President Joe Biden 4.01
4) Gov. Mitt Romney 3.74

Top 10 states + DC buzzing about Rep. Paul Ryan
1) Washington, D.C.
2) Wisconsin
3) Virginia
4) New Hampshire
5) Maryland
6) Minnesota
7) Massachusetts
8) Utah
9) Vermont
10) North Carolina

Note: The talk meter calculates a jump in buzz, therefore Ryan’s relative anonymity helped him jump up the talk meter scale, like a seismic shift with an earthquake. Yet the growth wasn’t just in buzz, but also in “likes” – the Facebook term for social approval, which enables people to follow your moves closely and voice their support to their social networks.

For perspective, on July 31st, when Michael Phelps became the most-decorated Olympian in history, he registered a 6.51 on the same scale.

Facebook fan growth at publication time

Barack Obama
– 27.8M fans currently
– since 8/1: added 150K fans (+0.5%)
– since 8/11: added 9.9K fans (+0.03%)

Joe Biden
– 355K fans currently
– since 8/1: added 4.2K fans (+1.2%)
– since 8/11: added 728 fans (+0.2%)

Mitt Romney
– 4.1M fans currently
– since 8/1: added 906.6K fans (+28.3%)
– since 8/11: added 111.4K fans (+2.8%)

Paul Ryan VP
– 501K fans currently
– since 8/1: n/a (non-existent)
– on 8/11: added 222.1K fans
– since 8/11: added 237.9K fans (+107.1%)

Fans by state

Barack Obama
1) California
2) New York
3) Texas
4) Florida
5) Illinois

Joe Biden
1) California
2) New York
3) Florida
4) Texas
5) Illinois

Mitt Romney
1) Texas
2) California
3) Florida
4) Georgia
5) Ohio

Paul Ryan VP page
1) Texas
2) Florida
3) California
4) North Carolina
5) Wisconsin

We often say we write about demographics, not politics. And, thus it comes as no surprise that we are once again writing about the gender gap and the age gap in this election – something that the insights from Facebook reveal also exist online:

Gender & age breakdown of Facebook fans

Barack Obama
Avg. Age = 28
Male = 51%
Female = 49%

Joe Biden
Avg. Age = 35
Male = 51%
Female = 49%

Mitt Romney
Avg. Age = 46
Male = 50%
Female = 50%

Paul Ryan VP
Avg. Age = 43
Male = 63%
Female = 37%

How this translates to the election will be something we keep our eye on from now until November. It’s staggering when you put it in historical perspective – today there are 160 million monthly active users in the United States on Facebook - more than half the U.S. population. In 2008, there were 35 million monthly active users.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Romney on stride in Florida
Fresh off a non-stop weekend of campaigning with his new running mate, Mitt Romney still seemed to be riding high at a free-wheeling rally Monday morning in Florida. – Rachel Streitfeld

Leading Drudge: Ryan vs Obama In Iowa
Paul Ryan will take on President Obama in the Iowa battleground Monday, splitting off on the campaign trail from Mitt Romney for his first solo swing as the newly minted Republican running mate.

Leading HuffPo: Paul Ryan Says He'll Only Release 2 Years Of Tax Returns In '60 Minutes' Interview
Presumptive vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said on Sunday that while he turned over "several years" of tax returns to the Romney campaign during his vetting process, he would only make two years of tax returns public for voters. – Sam Stein

Leading Politico: Mitt Romney’s chemistry experiment
Mitt Romney’s risky gamble in naming Paul Ryan as his running mate will hinge on whether the Republican nominee can use the choice to reshape voter attitudes about his own character and leadership style, and avoid becoming ensnared in a defensive debate about Medicare and other popular programs. – John F. Harris and Alexander Burns

Leading The New York Times: Casino Mogul’s Frontman in China Is Focus of Inquiries
When Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, needed something done in China, he often turned to his company’s “chief Beijing representative,” a mysterious businessman named Yang Saixin. – Michael Luo

The political bites of the day

- Axelrod: Enthusiasm for Ryan reminiscent of Palin... bless his heart -
OBAMA CAMPIAGN STRATEGIST DAVID AXELROD IN AN INTERVIEW ON CBS NEWS: “I saw that excitement four years ago when John McCain appointed Sarah Palin as well. There were huge crowds, much of the same kind of reaction. I don't think it worked out very well. When the reality catches up with the moment, it's not going to be a plus for Gov. Romney.”

- Romney goads the Chinese -
MITT ROMNEY AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN FLORIDA: “This is still the greatest nation on Earth. I know there are people around the world who are always critical of America, have something negative to say, say our greatest days are in the past. Baloney. We just won more Olympic medals than anyone other nation on Earth. We also just landed on Mars and took a look at what's going on up there. I know the Chinese are planning on going to the moon. I hope they have a good experience doing that. I hope they stop in and take a look at our flag that was put there 43 years ago.”

- Obama goes after Ryan over Farm Bill -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN IOWA: “I am told that Gov. Romney's new running mate Paul Ryan might be around Iowa in the next few days. He's one of those leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities. We've got to put politics aside when it comes to doing the right thing for rural America and for Iowa.”

- … and the newly minted Ryan team begins its defense -
BRENDAN BUCK, A RYAN SPOKESMAN, IN A STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “Paul Ryan hails from an agriculture state and supported disaster relief, and the truth is no one will work harder to defend farmers and ranchers than the Romney-Ryan ticket. After nearly four years of failure, it's no wonder that Barack Obama returns to the state that launched his presidential campaign with nothing more than broken promises and false attacks.”

- What’s gutsy? -
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN NORTH CAROLINA: “They are both good men, but they have fundamentally flawed judgment in my view. They call, when they talked about their plan not just their budget plan, but their plan across the board, they called it gutsy, gutsy. I'm serious. What's gutsy about giving a millionaire another tax break? What's gutsy about gutting Medicare, Medicaid, education? What’s gutsy?”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less








Who would have thought Fidel Castro would have made it this far? Today, the Cuban communist leader is celebrating his 86th birthday.

Castro, who came to power in 1959 after Gen. Fulgencio Batista fled to the Dominican Republic, has seen a lot in his 86 years. After the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Castro has outlasted nine U.S. presidents who have opposed his leadership in Cuba.

(why aren’t you in it)

No Gut Check Trivia winner today… better luck tomorrow to everyone who follows us on Twitter @GutCheckCNN.

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 (6 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    And in the end-game of who can define the other side first, Mittens and Lapdog are about to learn the hard way that painting yourselves into a corner only helps the other side.

    August 13, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. truth hurts

    >Who would have thought Fidel Castro would have made it this far?
    >Today, the Cuban communist leader is celebrating his 86th birthday.

    is obama throwing a hollywood gala event/campaign fund raiser for fidel? if not why not? they are soul mates.

    August 13, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. mario

    ryan worst for gop

    August 13, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. T'sah From Virginia

    Romney is now going to try and run away from Ryan's budget plan and make one of his own – DON'T BELIEVE IT – Why? Because he's a flip-flopper and a liar – If Romney was not a flip-flopping liar, then you can trust him. He chose Ryan because he wants the conservatives to believe he will embrace Ryan's Plan!


    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    August 13, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  5. Ashwin

    Gwen Ifil.. 2008 with a broken leg too.. though it was a VP debate, it was widely watched because of obvious reasons and I think she did a tremendous job. Love the format for the first debate.. candidates can talk to each oher..WOW wha a concept.

    August 13, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  6. hate from the left but mostly lies

    And still I see no reason to re-elect Obama. No economics, no leadership, no second term!

    August 14, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |