CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 13, 2012
September 13th, 2012
05:16 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 13, 2012

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

BREAKING: ARE YOU BETTER OFF THAN YOU WERE FOUR YEARS AGO? 44% OF AMERICANS SAY NO With regard to their own personal financial situation, 44% of Americans say that they are financially worse off than they were four years ago; 37% say they are financially better off and 19% volunteer that their financial situation has not changed. Since Barack Obama's first year in office, a majority of Americans have said that Bush's policies were more responsible for current economic problems than Obama's policies were. That figure is at 57% today; 35% believe Obama is mostly to blame for economic problems. – Keating Holland

(Answer below)
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, who did former President Jimmy Carter “blame” half of all the mistakes he made on?

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

An article by our colleague John Sutter caught our eye and sparked a Gut Check debate today about free speech and hate speech in the age of social media.

YouTube on Wednesday announced it was restricting access to a controversial video that has been blamed for inciting violence in Libya and protests in Egypt.

The video, a film trailer mocking the Muslim faith, will not be accessible via YouTube in Libya and Egypt, the company said in a statement issued to CNN.

"We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions," YouTube said by e-mail. "This can be a challenge because what's OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere.

"This video - which is widely available on the Web - is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt, we have temporarily restricted access in both countries.

The debate generated in our newsroom was twofold. First: Should there be a higher bar against hate speech in a medium that is meant to be shared widely?

Second, in social media, which social group gets to decide what is offensive?

In an interview with CNN’s Belief Blog, Peter Bergen explained the reaction in Libya and Egypt to the posted video: “They don’t regard perceived insults to the Prophet Mohammed or the Quran as being protected by free speech, they regard it as a capital offense.”

The stark difference in a flatter world adds to the sensitivity of the new frontiers of free speech. In a world that is increasingly global and fast, how would you have acted if you were in the executive chair at You Tube? Would you have bowed to diplomatic pressure and taken down the video in America as well as abroad? Would you have barred it on a country by country basis? Let us know via email at and we will use the best answers in tomorrow’s Gut Check.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Foreign policy dominates campaign for second day
A presidential campaign that has, until recently, focused almost exclusively on the nation's struggling economy entered a second day of forceful foreign policy debate Thursday, with GOP nominee Mitt Romney again criticizing President Barack Obama's strategy in dealing with attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts in Cairo, Egypt, and Benghazi, Libya. – Kevin Liptak

Leading Drudge: Obama Gaffe: WH Clarifies Egypt No 'Ally' Statement
President Barack Obama didn't intend to signal any change in the U.S.-Egypt relationship last night when he said Egypt is not an "ally," the White House told The Cable today. In an interview with Telemundo on Wednesday night, Obama said that the U.S. relationship with the new Egyptian government was a "work in progress" and emphasized that the United States is counting on the government of Egypt to better protect the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which was attacked by protesters on Sept. 11. – Josh Rogin

Leading HuffPo: Conservative Groups Seek GOP Senate Control With Tens Of Millions In Ads
All eyes are fixed on the money race between President Barack Obama, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and the outside groups cheering them on with attack ads. That attention may allow one of the biggest money stories in the 2012 election to fly under the radar. In the fight for control of the Senate, a coalition of conservative groups have pummelled Democratic senators and candidates in the nation's closest races for more than a year in an attempt to wrest control of the chamber and make Sen. Mitch McConnell the next Majority Leader. – Paul Blumenthal

Leading Politico: Mitt Romney tones down embassy critique in Va.
Mitt Romney didn’t repeat his strong criticism of President Barack Obama over the response to protests at the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya at a campaign rally here Thursday. He did note the death of four Americans, calling it “a tragedy to lose such a wonderful, wonderful ah, wonderful people,” as he was interrupted by protesters on site in this all-important swing state. – Ginger Gibson

Leading The New York Times: Obama Grows More Reliant on Big-Money Contributors
In the race for cash, Mr. Obama often praises his millions of grass-roots donors, those die-hards whose $3 or $10 or $75 contributions are as much a symbol of the president’s political identity as they are a source of ready cash. But his campaign’s big-dollar fund-raising has become more dependent than it was four years ago on a smaller number of large-dollar donors and fund-raisers. – Nicholas Confessore

The political bites of the day

- Clinton reiterates rejection of movie that inspired protests -
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON AT A STATE DEPARTMENT EVENT: “The video circulating on the Internet that has led to the protests in a number of countries - let me state very clearly and I hope it is obvious that the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message.”

- (Ann) Romney gets specific about platform -
ANN ROMNEY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH WISN IN MILWAUKEE: “You know, I think a lot of you viewers are aware that I suffer from multiple sclerosis and I also had to deal with breast cancer myself. So, I would love to bring awareness, more awareness to multiple sclerosis. Obviously, we always working to find a way to battle these diseases and to have people's lives richer.”

- ‘They are wrong. Dead wrong.’ -
JOE BIDEN AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN: “When I hear Romney and Ryan and the new Republican Party in Congress talk about this `culture of dependency', a new phrase I am hearing - you are hearing a lot about it at the convention, this culture of dependency, this notion that America is in decline. I don't recognize the country they are talking about. It is not a country I live in. It's not where I come from. They are wrong. Dead wrong.”

- Romney camp calls Fed’s monetary policy ‘artificial and ineffective’ -
LANHEE CHEN, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN POLICY DIRECTOR, IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “The Federal Reserve’s announcement of a third round of quantitative easing is further confirmation that President Obama’s policies have not worked. After four years of stagnant growth, falling incomes, rising costs, and persistently high unemployment, the American economy doesn’t need more artificial and ineffective measures. We should be creating wealth, not printing dollars. As president, Mitt Romney will enact bold, pro-growth policies that lead to robust job creation, higher take-home pay, and a true economic recovery.”

- The Clinton Speech Edits You Didn’t See -
CONAN O’BRIEN ON HIS LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW: “Yesterday, Bill Clinton said President Obama helped him edit his convention speech, the speech that did so well, he said President Obama helped him edit it. The biggest change was Obama had Clinton use the phrase ‘Americans’ instead of ‘all you fine honeys.’”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Al Shaw (@A_L)
Beyonce to me: “I don’t usually email you.” Yeah, we really gotta keep in touch more.

Molly Ball (@mollyesque)
Love this: at VA rally, Romney banner decorated w a white picket fence.

Ashley Parker (@AshleyRParker)
But the question remains: Will they vote for him? RT @JFKucinich: Every single speaker at this Fairfax Romney rally has been a woman.

John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz)
Serious ?: If the president of the United States says Egypt is not an ally, how long can annual multibillion aid package be sustained?

Tobin Harshaw (@tobinharshaw)
Why Obama can't continue to duck Chicago teachers strike. (Hint: it's Chicago, and union is wrong.) via

Matt Yglesias (‏@mattyglesias)
Teachers unions are much more popular with voters than with journalists:


Former President Jimmy Carter once told Rolling Stone magazine that “all the good things I did as president, all the mistakes I made - you can blame half of that on Willie.”

The Willie whom Carter is referring to is none other than Willie Nelson, the famed “outlaw” country singer known for his unique sound and his affinity for marijuana.

Although Carter was known as a buttoned-up president - during the 1976 campaign, he regularly highlighted his Southern Baptist roots and his role as a Sunday school teacher - the former governor of Georgia was also known to escape the pressures of the presidency by listening to Willie Nelson.

And on September 13, 1980, the president’s love for the music of the “redheaded stranger” was fulfilled when Nelson played for Carter at the White House.

The night was unique. Not only did first lady Rosalynn Carter sing a cover of Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother" with Nelson, but the country star claims that after the concert he smoked marijuana on the White House roof.

(why aren’t you in it)

Second place become first as Greg Dean (@gregdean11), a frequent Gut Check trivia competitor, correctly answers today’s question. Dean has won before but placed second yesterday.

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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: 2012 • CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Move over you supporters of Bush's 'Cowboy Diplomacy,' make room for Mittens' 'Yosemite Sam Cartoon Rootin' Tootin' Cartoon Diplomacy.'

    September 13, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. Iamnotfooled

    Let Romney in and get ready for World War III . This is no GAME.

    September 13, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. Dan B

    Obama's lead from behind strategy isn't working. He will leave office with 1 accomplishment, killing Bin Laden, which the intelligence of Bush helped him with.

    September 13, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. catie

    It is a crime the way the msm has trashed Romney. I understand you all want Obama for a second term. And he may be a great guy. But to do what you all have been doing to this Romney is a crime. He is a good and decent person. You do not have to like him, but, he is not a socialist and he is a businessman. He will do a lot more to bring us out of this crap than our current administration

    September 14, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  5. GI Joe

    Romney is a liar. He is suffering from early on-set dementia. He is unfit to be president.

    Shoot first and talk later is NOT THE WAY TO GO. Vote romney for WW 3.

    September 14, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |