CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 17, 2012
September 17th, 2012
05:30 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 17, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for September 17, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING: OBAMA VS. ROMNEY ON CHINA... President Barack Obama campaigned in America's car country on Monday after his administration filed a trade complaint against China's auto industry subsidies, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney complained the move was "too little, too late." – Tom Cohen

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN OHIO: “He has been running around Ohio claiming he is going to roll up his sleeves and he is going to take the fight to China. Here, here’s the thing – his experience has been owning companies that have been called pioneers in outsourcing jobs to countries like China. He, he, he made money investing in companies that uprooted from here and went to China. Pioneers. Now Ohio, you can’t stand up to China when all you have done is sent them our jobs. You can talk a good game, but I like to walk the walk not just talk the talk.”

MITT ROMNEY AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN LOS ANGELES: “The president may think that announcing new trade lawsuits less than two months from the election will distract from his record, but American businesses and workers struggling on an uneven playing field know better. If I had known that all it took to get him to take action was to run an ad citing his inaction on China’s cheating, I would have run one a long time ago.”

(Answer below)
Why did former President George Washington date his farewell address on September 17, 1796?

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

“Resolute” - That was the one word Mitt Romney used during the Arizona Republican Presidential Debate in February when asked by John King: “Describe yourself using one word and one word only.”

So, how did the man who wanted to be known for constancy suddenly become seen managing a campaign that Politico describes in detail as stumbling, with “few lines of authority or accountability."

Over the past three weeks, Republican conversation about the Romney campaign switched from curiosity over how the Clint Eastwood convention fiasco happened to concern over the Romney campaign’s command of issues after their rapid response to President Barack Obama’s handling of the deadly anti-American protests in Libya and other protests in other parts of the Middle East.

A new Pew poll shows that the concern is not unwarranted: 48% - nearly half - of people who followed last week’s news developments in the Middle East disapproved of Romney’s comments on the situation.

Adding to the concern, a slew of new swing state polls over the weekend revealed Romney losing ground in an otherwise tight presidential race.

With this backdrop in the media cycle, it comes as no surprise that the Romney campaign unveiled a new strategy today, in which it promises specifics on a wide range of policies to contrast his plans with Obama’s policy-by-policy.

And on an interesting note, the strategy includes a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, so perhaps Republicans will aim to get a Bill Clinton-bump in the polls of their own.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Windy City's teachers' strike a local uproar politically
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's showdown with the city's teachers' union is making waves in the Windy City but the standoff involving President Barack Obama's former chief of staff will cause few ripples with voters nationally, political experts say. The labor battle intensified on Monday as a Cook County judge refused to immediately hear a school system request to force members of the Chicago Teachers Union to return to the classroom and end the walkout affecting more than 350,000 students since last week. – Halimah Abdullah

Leading Drudge: GM Wants Out Of Gov't; Obama Says No
The Treasury Department is resisting General Motors' push for the government to sell off its stake in the auto maker, The Wall Street Journal reports. After a $50 billion bailout in 2009, the U.S. taxpayers now own almost 27% of the company. But the newspaper said GM executives are now chafing at that, saying it hurts the company's reputation and its ability to attract top talent due to pay restrictions. – William Spain

Leading HuffPo: Romney Leak: Obama Voters 'Dependent On Government'… Caught Off The Record In Secret Fundraiser Footage... Campaign Mum...
The overwhelming majority of voters who back President Barack Obama do so because they are "dependent on government" and "believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing," Mitt Romney told a closed-door gathering of about 30 major donors earlier this year, according to video of the event that has surfaced on the Internet. – Ryan Grim and Matt Sledge

Gut Check Full Service: The Romney campaign would not comment by press time on the validity of the video posted by Mother Jones and the Huffington Post, they did institute a new policy allowing the press pool to cover campaign fundraisers. While the press has been able to cover fundraisers for months, the press is now allowed to videotape at least the speech portion of the same fundraisers.

Leading Politico: Inside the campaign: How Mitt Romney stumbled
Romney’s convention stumbles have provoked weeks of public griping and internal sniping about not only Romney but also his mercurial campaign muse, Stevens. Viewed warily by conservatives, known for his impulsiveness and described by a colleague as a “tortured artist,” Stevens has become the leading staff scapegoat for a campaign that suddenly is behind in a race that had been expected to stay neck and neck through Nov. 6. – Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei

Leading The New York Times: Looking, Very Closely, for Voter Fraud
True the Vote’s plan is to scrutinize the validity of voter registration rolls and voters who appear at the polls. Among those in their cross hairs: noncitizens who are registered to vote, those without proper identification, others who may be registered twice, and dead people. In Ohio and Indiana, True the Vote recently filed lawsuits to force officials to clean up voter rolls. – Stephanie Saul

The political bites of the day

- Romney campaign looking forward to renewed emphasis of contrast -
ED GILLESPIE, A ROMNEY ADVISER, ON A CONFERENCE CALL: “We are looking forward to this new emphasis and renewed emphasis on why it is that electing Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan would result in better, higher take home pay, more jobs in a better economy and you'll see that in a number of formats.”

- Citizenship ceremony marks Constitution’s anniversary -
CHIEF JUDGE ROYCE LAMBERTH, A U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, AT AN EVENT HONOR THE 225TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CONSTITUTION: “Two hundred and twenty-five years ago today, 39 delegates in Philadelphia signed the final version of the Constitution that was later adopted. And so we celebrate that as Constitution Day today. It's also Citizenship Day. We've recognized from the beginning that we all came from somewhere else. Except for a few Native Americans that were here, all of us came from somewhere else and we have become citizens of this great nation coming from somewhere else as you are doing today. We're delighted to have you as our newest citizens today.”

- Guarding the change vs. changing the guard -
ROD SMITH, CHAIRMAN OF THE FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY, RILES THE BASE AT A MICHELLE OBAMA CAMPAIGN EVENT: “Now is the time. This is the place. You're the generation that can help us win this race. Today, I ask you to join this first lady. Welcome this first lady and the president. Fight with the president as they continue. For as it has been said, four years ago, folks, it was about changing the guard. Now it's about guarding the change! Thank you, Gators!”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Taegan Goddard (@politicalwire)
Nearly half of all presidential campaign ads have been paid for by outside groups...

Paul Dietzel (@pauld2)
Castellanos: Obama missed chance to seal victory

Robert Yoon (@yoonCNN)
9 yrs ago today, retired 4-star Gen. Wesley Clark launched his prez campaign in Little Rock. He won 1 primary (Okla.); dropped out 2/10/2004

Mike O'Brien (@mpoindc)
POTUS evidently has lunch on his mind. Jokes in Cincy about having a picnic with some chicken, potato salad, green beans, etc.

Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato)
Stuart Stevens, the Romney campaign's scapegoat, has done pretty much all that there is to do in life.

Eddie Scarry (@eScarry)
The always sunny Drudge.


In 1796, the idea of a world leader offering a voluntary farewell address was remarkable and rare. In a time of despotic European leaders fighting to stay in power, the thought that President George Washington would cede power willingly was seen as extraordinary.

But that is exactly what Washington did on September 19, 1796, when he published his “farewell address,” as it came to be known, in the American Daily Advertiser, a Philadelphia publication.

The letter, which was dated September 17, 1796, to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the Constitution’s publication, was in effect a call to arms to preserve the American idea. Both in content and in symbolism, Washington’s letter validated American democracy.

In it, Washington outlined what the country should do to be successful and what he had learned over his 45 years in politics and public service. In particular, the first president warned Americans about the perils of political parties.

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism,” Washington wrote about political parties. “But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.”

(why aren’t you in it)

Congratulations for Greg Dean (@gregdean11) – he correctly tweeted that Washington dated his farewell address on September 17, 1796, the ninth anniversary to the publication of the Constitution.

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Filed under: 2012 • CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Barry J. Jordan

    I thought is was real helpful that you supplied an Obama fundraising link on your tweets. Not real balanced, but helpful.

    September 17, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    The only thing Romney is resolute on is lies and flip-flopping. No one can make him stop either. ha ha ha haha

    September 17, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. Just a thought

    Doesn't this putz look like he's sayin' "...please, please anyone, throw me a rope so I can pull myself in from planet Kolob"

    September 17, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |