CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 18, 2012
September 18th, 2012
05:09 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 18, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for September 18, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: ROMNEY STANDS BY HIS COMMENTS... In an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News moments ago, Romney said, “I recognize that those people who are not paying income tax are going to say, ‘Gosh, this provision that Mitt keeps talking about, lowering income taxes,’ that is not going to be really attractive to them and those that are dependent on government and those that think the government’s job is to redistribute, I am not going to get them. I know there is a divide in the country about that view. I know some believe government should take from some to give to the others. I think the President makes it clear in the tape that was released today that that is what he believes. I think that is an entirely foreign concept. I believe America was built on the principle of government caring for those in need but getting out of the way and allowing free people to pursue their dreams. Free people pursuing free enterprises is the only way we will create and strong and growing middle class and the only way we will help people out of poverty.”

SOCIAL WATCH: ROMNEY’s “47%” COMMENTS REGISTER HIGHER THAN HIS RNC SPEECH ON FACEBOOK… Facebook tells CNN that “The Mitt Romney 47% quote ranked a 5.1 on the Facebook Talk Meter on Monday. This is a touch higher than he had scored the night of his speech at the RNC (a 5.04 on 8/30); also a touch higher than Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC (5.06, 9/4). It falls below Hurricane Isaac (5.24); NFL Kickoff (6.41); the VMAs (6.67); Bill Clinton’s speech at the DNC (7.08, 9/5); and Obama’s speech (7.28, 9/6). The comment seems to have resonated the most with men over the age of 35. Women between 55-64 also seem to be buzzing about this.”

Top 10 places buzzing about this–
1. DC
2. Oregon
3. Washington
4. Massachusetts
5. California
6. Virginia
7. Vermont
8. Idaho
9. Nevada
10. Maryland

For more CNN-Facebook Election Insights, click here.

THE FACTS: “The main reason so many Americans end up with no federal income tax liability is Congress' addiction to tax breaks - tax breaks both Democrats and Republicans have supported.”

AND THE IRONY: "Nobody's really talking about this slice of the pie, but Mitt Romney's "47%" who pay no federal income tax include several thousand of the highest-income households in the country. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 4,000 households with incomes of more than $1 million ended up with zero federal income tax liability in 2011. Another 14,000 made between $500,000 and $1 million." – Jeanne Sahadi

(Answer below)
When the British set fire to the U.S. Capitol in 1814, what saved the entire building from burning to the ground?

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

It has been 24 hours since the first video of Mitt Romney making politically unsavvy comments at a closed-door fundraiser appeared on the website of the liberal magazine Mother Jones.

The videos continue to be the dominant issue on the campaign trail, and by the close of business today, it will be difficult to find someone who has not heard about the Republican presidential nominee’s remarks on the “47% who are with him, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.” The 47% to whom Romney is referring are President Barack Obama supporters.

It is hard to say if this video will result in long-term damage to Romney’s bid for the White House. But there are only 49 days remaining in this race for the White House, and with time running short this is not what Romney wants defining his message.

Nonetheless, we can’t help but notice how this story is playing out in the opinion media where the right and left formulate opinions based on their interpretation of the facts.

Mother Jones, which received the video from a source, went big with their “get.” Early this afternoon, three separate stories were linked high on the magazine’s website: “SECRET VIDEO: On Israel, Romney Trashes Two-State Solution”; “SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters”; and “Romney ‘47 Percent’ Fundraiser Host: Hedge Fund Manager Who Likes Sex Parties.”

There are many different takes on Romney’s comments at The National Review website, but the lead column by Jonah Goldberg is less than flattering. The headline on the main page to take readers to the article is titled: “Inorganic Mitt.”

What immediately caught our attention earlier today was a large photo of a child holding a gun with this caption: “Romney: Palestinians have no interest in peace.” It was posted on the Drudge Report and linked to a Jerusalem Post story about comments Romney made at the same fundraiser where he said that “Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish."

In the Drudge context, the picture sought to advance the idea that Palestinians would never agree to peace with Israel in a pejorative way.

No surprise, The Huffington Post also went big with the story “HE ISN'T SORRY!... Comments Were Wildly Incorrect... 'The 47%' Includes Thousands Of Millionaires... DAMAGE CONTROL: Mitt To Hit Fox”

And the most popular story on Breitbart took aim at the coverage of the video coverage: “**SHOCK** 'Mother Jones' Unearths Video of Romney Talking Like a Conservative.”

In this hyper-partisan environment where a story like this can energize the political base, planting the flag early and often can be a successful strategy to control the message, especially as we head into the homestretch of this very long, very expensive, very divisive presidential race. And while we only cite a handful of examples above, supporters of Romney and Obama are planting flags all over the Web on this story – even as we speak.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Secretly taped comments put Romney back on defense
In one ill-fated fundraiser, Mitt Romney managed to offend Palestinians, Latinos and some of the same people he's counting on for support if he wants to unseat President Barack Obama. It isn't the first time Romney's oratory fumbles have put his campaign on its heels, handed opponents material to push the stereotype of him as an out-of-touch businessman and provoked members of the party's conservative base to question his worthiness as their standard-bearer. – Halimah Abdullah

Leading Drudge: 'I Actually Believe In Redistribution'
At an October 19, 1998 conference at Loyola University, Barack Obama spoke against "propaganda" that said government doesn't work and the need to "pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution."

Leading HuffPo: 'My Job Is Not To Worry About Those People'
Just hours after Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign attempted an image reboot on Monday, it found itself under attack over a clandestinely recorded video of the candidate describing nearly half the electorate as "dependent on government" because they don't pay federal income taxes, remarks first reported by The Huffington Post and Mother Jones. The Obama team immediately pounced on Romney's claim about "the 47 percent," with campaign manager Jim Messina saying the former Massachusetts governor had "disdainfully written off half the nation." – Ryan Grim and Matt Sledge

Leading Politico: Obama, Hill Dems differ on taxes
President Barack Obama has made his tax position abundantly clear: Let the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans expire at year’s end. But on Capitol Hill, some in his own party are ready to make a deal. – Manu Raju and Steven Sloan

Leading The New York Times: Criticism Follows Romney’s Blunt Comments Captured on Video
Mitt Romney faced an escalating torrent of criticism on Tuesday from Democrats and Republicans for characterizing 47 percent of the country as government-dependent people who believe they are “victims,” even as new video clips emerged of his blunt comments on other subjects during a fund-raiser in May. – Michael Shear

The political bites of the day

- In light of videos, Romney campaign says they are focused -
KEVIN MADDEN, A ROMNEY SENIOR ADVISER, IN A QUICK NEWS CONFERENCE: “We always ask ourselves as a campaign what maters to voters. What matters to voters is whether or not we’re going to have the answers they need about putting the economy back on track, put the country going back in the right direction, so I think that’s where our focus remains.”

- Carney says POTUS is aware of Romney tapes, takes shot at GOP candidate -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “When you are president of the United States, you are president of all the people, not just the people who voted for you. You have heard the president saying so many times, because he deeply believes it, that we are in this together - all of us. … I can boldly say that I am confident he (President Obama) is aware of it (the Romney video).”

- ‘That’s not the way I view the world,’ says Brown -
REPUBLICAN SEN. SCOTT BROWN IN AN EMAIL WITH THE HILL’S ALEXANDRA JAFFE: “That’s not the way I view the world. As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs.”

- Kristol jokes about Romney stepping down, calls comments stupid -
WILLIAM KRISTOL IN A WEEKLY STANDARD OPINION EDITORIAL: “It's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47% who don't pay income taxes are Romney supporters… So Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him. It remains important for the country that Romney wins in November (unless he chooses to step down and we get the Ryan-Rubio ticket we deserve!). But that shouldn't blind us to the fact that Romney's comments, like those of Obama four years ago, are stupid and arrogant.”

- Utah’s Democratic Senate candidate: Hatch may ‘die before his term is through’ -
SCOTT HOWELL IN A FUNDRAISING E-MAIL TO SUPPORTERS OBTAINED BY KTVX: “I’m going to be frank. … Orrin Hatch is not a bad guy. But he is an old guy. … Orrin Hatch is old enough to be my father, and I don't want my father running the United States Senate Finance Committee. … We cannot risk the possibility of an 80-year-old man taking office, only to retire or die before his term is through.”

- Eastwood on RNC speech: ‘If somebody is dumb enough to ask me…’ -
CLINT EASTWOOD REFLECTS ON HIS RNC SPEECH IN AN INTERVIEW WITH “EXTRA”: “If somebody is dumb enough to ask me to go to political convention and say something, they're going to have to take what they get. … People loved it or hated it and that's fine. That's what it was supposed to be. ... I was just having fun.” – Dana Davidsen

What stopped us in 140 characters or less









Today is a historic day for the U.S. Capitol building. On this day in 1793, President George Washington laid the first cornerstone for the future home of the county’s legislative branch. Before moving into the building in 1800, the Congress had met in eight cities up and down the East Coast.

When Washington signed the Residence Act in 1790, he was given the power to select where the capital of the nascent country would be located. In 1791, the District of Columbia was created using land given to the federal government by Maryland.

It took years for the Capitol to be completed – plagued by setbacks ranging from a revolving door of architects to an increasingly growing Congress, from the War of 1812 to the Civil War.

During the War of 1812, the British marched on Washington and burned much of the city to the ground on August 24,1814. Though much of the U.S. Capitol was destroyed, a torrential rain blanketing Washington extinguished much of the fire, thereby preserving some of the original building.

(why aren’t you in it)

The professor is back. Congratulations to Peter Ubertaccio (‏@ProfessorU) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. David Daniel (@CNNLADavid) and Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) were a close second and third.

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 (17 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Gut check: yep, Mittens makes us nauseous.

    September 18, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    And hey, CNN, why was Mittens talking about 4 minutes into that video about the potential for a hostage crises a la 1980 when it really harmed Carter's re-election chances? Why did he say that if something like that were to happen he would try to take full advantage of it?


    September 18, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    This idiot is a cult-leader, not fit to reign....

    September 18, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Sorensen

    Romney has no guts. And he is on his way down and out very fast.

    September 18, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. granny

    I work in a small minimum wage factory employing 15 employees. 10 get some kind of assistance, heap, food stamps ,medical cards, wic, day care, and some get all of abouve. They all feel they deserve it, depend on it and are in your face with all their frrebies then get 7 to 8 thousand back from irs for unearned income. YOU GO ROMNEY.

    September 18, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. DumbasRocks [R]s

    I luv it when a guy steps in a bunch of crap and then, instead of saying 'too bad' and trying to clean his shoe, he kneels down and takes a big bite from the fetid mess. God luv the stupidity of [R]s and the foresight of our forefathers who gave them the right to advertise it to all of us.

    September 18, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. wgf


    He stands by his statement that 47% of the population do not accept personal responsibility ? He's telling single working mothers with no alimony payments (some of whom are in that situation because they chose not to have abortions) that they don't accept personal responsibility ? He's telling seniors who paid into social security and medicare for 45 years that they don't accept personal responsibility ?

    How about telling super-rich business men who are under-taxed, live on investment income, have never actually produced anything in their lives other than a corporate takeover, receive special tax breaks such as carried interest, and hide their money in foreign banks, that they don't accept personal responsibility ?

    As an undertaxed quarter billionaire the handouts that Romney receives are far greater than those received by the people he so clearly despises.

    The fact is almost all of us (Romney included !!) get handouts from the government. Mortgage dedutions, non-taxable health insurance benefits, state tax deductions, charitable deductions, social security payment, medicare payment, unemployment benefits, tuition payments and deductions, child care credits, write-offs for capital loses, etc. etc. - THESE ARE ALL GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS. So Romney's Class Of Depency is just about everyone, and includes Romney himself.

    And this is why we need to see 10 years of Romney's tax returns.

    September 18, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "get 7 to 8 thousand back from irs for unearned income."

    Thank Reagan for the EITC, not Dems. It took Dems a while to get on board with that one.

    September 18, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "A law should only exist if there is a definite need for it, and the widespread votor fraud this is supposed to prevent does not and has not existed"

    Rest assured, "widespread voter fraud" is only the reason they publicly claim we need voter ID laws. The REAL reason they believe we need them is because they're terrified that white people are finally getting outnumbered by minorities that vote Dem. I guess 50+ years of alienating minorities is coming home to roost and they'er pretty upset about the taste of that Crow, Jim.

    September 18, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  10. black paridise

    He has said this all campaign. Independence from government.

    September 18, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Sbaker

    Facts: We are 16 Trillion Dollars in debt, we do not have a budget, our embassey was completely blown up, Ambassodor and four others killed, 21 countries burning our flag, troops being trained to not offend our islamic partners and yet they are being shot in their own areas of what is suppose to be safe ground, Syria totally distroying their country and literally killing 70 to 100 people a day and our president has time to be on David Leterman, go to Vegas for a politiacl conference the day after our Ambassodor was killed, go to Ohio and Colorado Last week. Not one address to the nation of any substance about these events other than apologizing for a film and no stance whatsoever about the relationship with Isreal. One of the most humble heroes of our nation was laid to rest and he did not even mention let alone attend the memorial of Neil Armstrong. What is he President of?? Instead we are hearing about why we should elect him over Romney, right now anyone would be a choice over him in my books, I have yet to see anything but change come from him and it is to destroy our definition of what a President looks like. Romney is right, 47% are not paying our taxes and now they want more from the ones who are! You know what give us a budget first and then we will look at who else might need to pay more! As for me I am tired of being taxed on the money I make, the things I buy, the money I save and the money I give away!

    September 18, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    Romney/Ryan make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

    Talk about an autocracy if they get in.

    We will be serfs that are euthanized as soon as no longer productive.

    I don't trust either one. The have lied too many times about too many things. NO CoRE

    September 18, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. kimberly

    This TOOL, is saying that people who are at this MOMENT in time, NOT paying taxes plan to NEVER be in a better position. This man is so out of touch with the real world its SICK! How anyone with a brain or heart for that matter should be ashamed of themselves!

    September 18, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. luke,az

    The Republican ship is on fire. Captain Thurston Howell Robme IV has ordered all the life boats lowered into the water. The Republican Party is about to explode. Is Captain Robme going to go down with the ship or not? Stay tuned until next weeks episode of GOP's Island.

    September 18, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    His talking puppet somebody with the last name of senor (is that mister in Spanish sort of?) can't make up his mind whether what the President is doing with foreign policy is good because when the shrub #43 was doing worse he was for it. Can anyone on this campaign take a stand and stick with it?
    BTW – I take it that in the rush to try to explain to the country about the 47% comments he didn't have time to gel his hair. He looks disheveled and like he hasn't slept in days, maybe three weeks? Maybe he needs to sit down on that chair eastwood made more famous than. him.

    September 18, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  16. Larry L

    Romney always double-downs on his foolish comments. He's detached from the working folks he can't open that fat-cat pie-hole without showing his dislike for anybody who isn't rich. What a spoiled rich boy.

    September 18, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  17. Emy Sanchez

    Romney is the gift that keeps on giving.... at least to the Obama campaign! LOL

    September 19, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |