CNN’s GUT CHECK for August 31, 2012
August 31st, 2012
03:49 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for August 31, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 31, 2012 | 4 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle


MITT ROMNEY TOURS LAFITTE, LOUISIANA WITH STATE’S GOVERNOR AND U.S. SENATOR: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney arrived in Louisiana Friday afternoon to tour damage left in the wake of Hurricane Isaac with Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. David Vitter. Romney, who was accompanied by his wife, Ann, said that the trip was to “learn and obviously to draw some attention to what's going [on] here... so that people around the country know that people done here need help." – Gregory Wallace

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A SPEECH IN FORT BLISS, TEXAS: “Let me say that our hearts are obviously with all the folks who are down in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast who are dealing with aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. Our prayers are with those who lost loved ones and I have directed the federal government to do everything that it can to help our partners at the state and local level. As a country, we stand united with our fellow Americans in their hour of need.”

(Answer below)
In 2008, candidate Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination “by acclimation,” a process that forgoes the state-by-state reading process and nominates a candidate by voice vote. Before that, when was the last time the Democrats have nominated a presidential candidate by acclimation?

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

Not since Rob Lowe danced with Snow White at the Academy Awards has a celebrity behaving oddly so captivated water-cooler discussion and overshadowed an event internationally known for pomp instead of circumstance.

The Eastwood ad lib, received with laughter by the convention crowd, was befuddling on television and went viral in social media, disproving the notion that conventions are all scripted stagecraft and magnifying the headache that social media causes campaigns as a ridiculously trivial but deliciously entertaining gaffe overshadowed a much more important message.

This all serves as the perfect drum roll for our Gut Check and Google discussion on the uncontainable power of social media. We teamed up with Klout ( for the conventions to rank the top list of political journalists and strategists in social media. [Note: To avoid bias, we took out CNN employees, though many of our colleagues deserve props for leading the way in using social media to engage and inform.] Klout uses a metric of social indicators to come up with the score, which changes daily. If you are surprised or angry with the list, update your Facebook timeline, get your tweets in Gut Check and expand your Linked In database, and perhaps you could raise your Klout score (which is on a scale of 1-100).

The Top 5 Republican Consultants in Social Media, Ranked by Klout

1. Karl Rove, @karlrove 85
2. Patrick Ruffini, @patrickruffini 81
3. Richard Grenell, @richardgrenell 71
4. Andrea Saul, @andreamsaul 70
5. Mike Murphy, @murphymike 68

Watch Richard Grenell join your Political Gut Check co-authors in a discussion about this, as well as the tool and curse of social media in politics.

The Top 5 Political Journalists in Social Media, Ranked by Klout

1. Nate Silver, @fivethirtyeight 86
2. Judy Woodruff, @JudyWoodruff 85
3. Mark Knoller, @markknoller 84
3. Michael Scherer, @michaelscherer. 84
5. Neil King, Dave Weigel & Chuck Todd, 82

Watch CNN's Peter Hamby (@peterhambyCNN) lead a discussion with Scott Conroy (@RealClearScott) and Michael Scherer (@michaelscherer) about social media on the campaign trail.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Ryan doesn't back down on controversial comments from speech
Despite facing heated criticism over some comments from his convention speech, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan stood by his remarks Thursday. – Ashley Killough

Leading Drudge: Blink: Obama To New Orleans
President Obama will visit Louisiana after all. Obama campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told POLITICO earlier Friday that the president had no plans yet to visit the Gulf state and review damage from Hurricane Isaac, even though Mitt Romney announced plans to visit Friday. – Donovan Slack

Leading HuffPo: Eric Cantor 'Probably Can't Speak' To Why Paul Ryan Included Obama Medicare Cuts In His Budget
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) couldn't address why vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) attacked a $716 billion Medicare reduction from the Affordable Care Act during his acceptance speech after Ryan included the cuts in his own budget. – Luke Johnson

Leading Politico: No silver tongue, but Mitt Romney gets job done
Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech won’t find its way into any future pantheon of memorable convention addresses, but the Republican accepted his party’s nomination with remarks that will help him with swing voters in two important ways. – Jonathan Martin

Leading The New York Times: After a Gunslinger Cuts Loose, Romney Aides Take Cover
Clint Eastwood’s rambling and off-color endorsement of Mitt Romney on Thursday seemed to startle and unsettle even the candidate’s own top aides, several of whom made a point of distancing themselves from the decision to put him onstage without a polished script. – Michael Barbaro and Jeremy Peters

Leading Bloomberg: Exclusive: Inside Karl Rove's Billionaire Fundraiser
On the final morning of the Republican National Convention, Karl Rove took the stage at the Tampa Club to provide an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican party’s highest-earning and most powerful donors…. He also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, “We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!” Then Rove pleaded with his audience for more money—much more. – Sheelah Kolhatkar

Gut Check Full Service: Steve Taylor, District Director for Congressman Akin, responded to the Bloomberg report in a statement to CNN: “Given the current FBI investigation of threats against Congressman Akin and call for acts of violence and rape against his family and staff joking as to the potential murder of congressman Akin is deeply disturbing. I am certain he misspoke.”

The political bites of the day

- Ann: There's a juvenile in the White House? -
ANN ROMNEY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S CANDY CROWLEY: “I’m hearing from so many women that may not have considered voting for a Republican before that said it’s time for the grownup to come - the man that’s going to take this very seriously. And take the future of our children very, very seriously. I very much believe it’s going to be an economic election. And I think a lot of women may be voting this cycle around in a different way than they usually are. And that is thinking about the economy. Thinking about their own jobs, their husbands’ jobs, but also thinking about the future.”

- Not mincing words: DWS calls welfare attacks racist -
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ AT A BREAKFAST WITH U.S. NEWS REPORTERS THURSDAY MORNING: “Are there a lot of people that say, 'You know what, the number one issue that I want to hear about from either presidential candidate is about his policy on welfare reform'? I mean, why else — it's so shockingly transparent — why else would Mitt Romney make a supposedly casual joke about the president's place of birth, you know, juxtaposed against his own place of birth? Why else would he spend millions of dollars of Mitt Romney campaign money talking about — putting out a lie, and then repeating it over and over and over when there isn't a single fact checking organization that has said that it's accurate, that it has any accuracy — in fact, it's the opposite — except to be a dog whistle for voters who consider race when casting their ballot?”

- Alex Castellanos: Who won and who lost in Tampa -
ALEX CASTELLANOS IN AN OPINION PIECE ON CNN: “Ann Romney added dimension to Mitt Romney. We see more in him now, through her eyes, if not our own. Paul Ryan passed the first and most important test of a VP nominee, 'Do no harm.' Ryan did not say he could see the deficit from his porch. … Rand Paul's speech was chloroform via teleprompter. He lacks his father's wit and humor. The next lap of Paulites are in big trouble. … Marco Rubio is 'The Natural.' The most important part of his wonderful speech was its generosity. He toned his speech down to serve his primary purpose. Rubio set up the man he was nominating, Romney.”

- Reid charges Romney-Ryan would leave disaster victims stranded -
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID IN A STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “It is the height of hypocrisy for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to make a pretense of showing sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Isaac when their policies would leave those affected by this disaster stranded and on their own.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less















In a carefully staged moment, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Barack Obama’s former presidential challenger, told the Democratic National Convention in Denver to nominate candidate Obama using a voice vote.

“With eyes firmly fixed on the future, in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let’s declare together, in one voice, right here, right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president,” Clinton proclaimed.

With the nomination by acclamation called, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made it official.

This was the most recent use of the voice vote in a presidential nomination process. Although the Republicans have never used the voice vote for a presidential nominee, the Democrats have used the procedure four times.

Before 2008, the most recent use was in 1964 for Lyndon B. Johnson. Before that, Franklin Roosevelt was nominated using voice vote in 1936, and Woodrow Wilson was nominated the same way in 1916.

(why aren’t you in it)

After a week that saw a deluge of correct trivia answers, this question was clearly too difficult for our Gut Check loyalists. Too much fun on the last night in Tampa? On a plane to Charlotte?

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: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. NC

    I can understand President Obama visiting a a disaster area because he is our Commander In Chief. Natural disasters are not a political event. Shame on Romney and Jindal for doing so. They are using the people affected to score political points. We all care about our fellow citizens that lost their lives and everything they worked hard for. By going to a disaster area Romney is taking valuable time from tired Police Officers needed to help those affected. Romney has no idea the logistics involved and is not who we need for President.

    August 31, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Romney has no program for government assistance for national disasters, Ayn Rand has voted to eliminate all assistance to victims, as it would interfere with tax cuts for the wealthy.

    August 31, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |

    Wow, NC, you seriously have a problem with the governor of his own state to visit victims of the hurricane? Shame on you for not paying attention.

    August 31, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. manhandler

    And here I thought the Repulicans had doomed themselves with that clown show they called a Primary. I mean REALLY??? They're trying to spin the Eastwood catastropy as fast as they can....but the damage is done. They can't even get a Convention done right. How are they gonna run a Country?

    August 31, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. Gurgyl


    August 31, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    Mitt is Medicare Fraud and Tax fraud.

    August 31, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. lil

    They always say that the president is in the way when there is a disasters and is a distraction.Bobby Jental invited Romney down to show him off and Romney cant do a thing to help him While Ryan voted against disaster relief. This dont make sense to me.

    August 31, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  8. Jean Mullens

    The Demos are in trouble if LA's Mayor talks about tax cuts. While our house is underwater & Chase Mortgage has
    canceled our line of credit, our Mayor raises our property taxes. Is this how the Democrats are going to run the
    country and not raise taxes on the middle class.

    September 1, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  9. dm nash

    Agree w/NC....not the time for Romney to place himself in the midst of emergency efforts to score points. If his real reason was to bring attention to the needs of citizens in the recovery why did he did not mention at all during his speech? It seems to me that was the time most eyes & ears were tuned in – fail. I watched the convention all week and I really do not recall any of the Republicans mentioning the "people" in midst of hurricane & flooding in Lousiana or elsewhere – they only mentioned that Jindal couldn't be there due to the efforts. Just when I thought Jindal was actually a respectable Republican amongst all the loonies in his party this move changed my mind quick.

    September 1, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  10. dm nash

    I guess I shoulda clarified above, that Romney's NEVER had my respect, will NEVER have my vote and continues to prove what a lowlife he is. The entire RNC convention was an excercise to see who could lie the most & best with no substance about what Romney will do if elected. As for his claim that "he built it" regarding any of his endevors – the truth is he used an awful lot of government money to do it. Biggest hypocrite and has the nerve to attack welfare recipients when Bain Capital "did nothing" while pocketing FDIC money and paying back a fraction of what was loaned (
    btw – WPalladinSF is also correct – Ryan voted to cut emergency disaster funding and is part of his budget plan

    September 1, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  11. Willie Floyd

    FEMA and 1st responders don't need politicians in their way this soon after Isaac!!

    September 1, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  12. drsylve

    Romney is as delusional as Clint Eastwood. He is trying to act commander in chief that he is not. I was told that the republican goal is to win by any means but the truth will always triumph over lies.

    September 1, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  13. T'sah From Virginia

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward – And YES, We Know You BUILT THAT!!!"

    September 1, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  14. GI Joe

    Dd they get their feet wet? If not, it was a photo-op only. There's nothing romney's little soft hands can do in an emergency.

    September 1, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. Marie MD

    Did anybody answer his dumb question about where the water came from? The sky, the river or the ocean?
    He should have had to go to LA. He is just a regular citizen and will continue to be just a regular, well super rich, citizen after November.
    It didn't work bishop. We already know that your religion only takes care of its flock. I doubt you found many of them in LA.
    BTW – for you "christians" . The mormons believe in Jesus but they don't believe that Mary was a virgin. Just some facts that cnn will probably NOT publish because it ISa FACT.

    September 1, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |