CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 24, 2012
September 24th, 2012
06:26 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN’s GUT CHECK for September 24, 2012

CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for September 24, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: OBAMA UP BY FIVE IN OHIO. One day before Mitt Romney's campaign starts a three day bus tour in Ohio, a new poll indicates the Republican nominee is behind President Barack Obama by five percentage points in the Buckeye State. Just over half – 51% – of likely voters back the president, while 46% support Romney, according to a new survey released Sunday and conducted by the University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research. The survey was taken September 13-18, mostly before video emerged of controversial comments Romney made at a May fundraiser, in which he argued nearly half of Americans are "victims" who are "dependent" on the government because they don't pay federal income taxes. – Ashley Killough LINK

(Answer below)

World leaders are convening in New York this week for addresses, bi-lateral meetings, and events associated with a gathering of the United Nations General Assembly. Which of the 193 members was the most recent to join the body?

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

Nine days until the first presidential debate, the battle to define goals and expectations caught our eye.

With this in mind, we reached out to Republican debate/communications strategist Brett O’Donnell (BIO) to ask him his thoughts.

Question: You worked with the Romney campaign for what many considered his best debate performance. What do you think Mitt Romney has to do to “win” the debates?

O’DONNELL: Thank you. First, I try and fight against the idea of winning and losing debates since it minimizes what voters learn about the candidates. That said, in order for Romney to perform well in the debates and convince voters to vote for him, he has to do two fundamental things. First, he has to make the debates about the president's policies. So far he has not been able to completely connect the president to the cause of the continued economic downturn we're experiencing. So while voters agree the economy is bad, they're not completely sold it's the president's fault. Second, he has to cast an alternative vision that voters think is a superior path to the one we are on right now. In other words, he has to have a way out. Much like 1980, voters know the economy is bad, but he has to convince them it’s the president's fault and that he has a plan to lead the country in a better direction, for ALL Americans. Governor Romney has to stay on offense - meaning, he has to stay on his message and not take the bait and get defensive.

Question: A recent CNN/ORC poll (LINK) shows that Americans think Barack Obama will win the debates. There is now a very active game among campaign strategists to downplay their own candidate’s expectations. How important are expectations? Would you rather go in as the underdog?

O’DONNELL: The expectations game is enormous for the candidates because voter perception before the debates influences how they think they did in the debates. That said lowering expectations isn't always the best idea. You don't want the bar too low so that you can never convince the public you actually won. I would rather be the underdog because if you over perform you get significantly more credit since the audience wasn't expecting you to win.

Question: What are Mitt Romney’s greatest strengths as a debater? Do you think the primary practice (and a whopping 20 debates) will give him a leg up on the president?

O’DONNELL: Governor Romney is an extremely competent debater. He managed to navigate 20 of these successfully and most often was viewed as the winner in each. He is a skilled orator. Has nimble command of the facts, and has been seasoned through not just this series of primary debates, but also through the last set of primary debates and very aggressive senate and gubernatorial debates. Governor Romney is a skilled technician and knows how the economy works. If he keeps the debate focused on economic issues, then he has an advantage in the debates. The president is very competent as well. We should expect some of the best presidential debates we've had, and the chance to see the two spar over policy directly rather than through the airwaves or the press.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: In the final days of 2012 campaign, it’s all about slivers of voters
Undecided voters represent a narrow sliver in swing states. Many, political experts say, are either politically clueless or have waffled for months on their choice for the Oval Office. Both campaigns realize they have to secure their base of supporters while, at the same time, pursue and win over that dwindling, fickle slice of persuadable voters who have yet to make up their minds. – Halimah Abdullah LINK

Leading Drudge: Two Americas: Football Tops Emmys In Ratings
Emmys slide from 2011, Sunday night football still dominates night. – Amanda Kondolojy LINK

Leading HuffPo: Some Friends You Are!
GOP vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hit back against conservative critics of the GOP ticket in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Saturday night. "A, we still have a ways to go. We still have a lot left that we're planning on doing," he said. "B, I think that's just what conservatives do by nature. I think that's just the nature of conservative punditry is to do that - to kind of complain - about any imperfection they might see." – Luke Johnson LINK

Leading Politico: Mitt Romney's transition efforts intensifying
Mitt Romney’s campaign may be struggling, but his transition operation is moving full steam ahead. – Anna Palmer LINK

Leading The New York Times: Running as Outsiders, With a Catch: They’re In
Members of Congress would prefer not to advertise it — they are doctors and cowboys and anything else, while their opponents are Washington insiders. – Jennifer Steinhauer LINK

The political bites of the day

- Romney responds to Obama's 'bumps in the road' comment -
2:23 P.M. ET… AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN PUEBLO, COLORADO MONDAY MORNING: “Bumps in the road? We had an ambassador assassinated. We had a Muslim Brotherhood member elected to the presidency of Egypt. Twenty thousand people have been killed in Syria. We have tumult in Pakistan. And, of course, Iran is that much closer to having the capacity to build a nuclear weapon.These are not bumps in the road, these are human lives. These are developments we do not want to see.”

- Romney is ‘purposely misinterpreting’ Obama, OFA spokeswoman counters -
2:50 P.M. ET… OBAMA CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN EMAILS REPORTERS: “Today, we saw what Mitt Romney meant when he told a closed door group of high-dollar donors that he would ‘take advantage of the opportunity’ to politicize an international crisis to help his campaign. He’s purposely misinterpreting the President’s words and making reckless statements about the death of four Americans in Libya, apparently for the sole purpose of his own political gain. Using this incident to launch political attacks should be beneath someone seeking to be our nation’s Commander-in-Chief.”

- GOP senate candidate: Libya attack being used politically -
2:54 P.M. ET… THE REPUBLICAN SEEKING TO UNSEAT SEN. SHERROD BROWN IN OHIO, JOSH MANDEL, SAYS AT A PAUL RYAN CAMPAIGN EVENT IN LIMA, OHIO: “You know a lot of politicians in Washington try to tiptoe around what’s happening in the Middle East and they want to be politically correct. Governor Romney understands. We are in a fight right now. We are in a fight against radical Islam. There are radical Muslims in the Middle East who are over-running our embassy in Egypt, killing our own ambassador in Libya and, in my mind, we need a commander in chief like Mitt Romney who understands what that fight means and will take it to the enemy.”

- The email exchange everyone is talking about –
THE STATE DEPARTMENT’S PHILIPPE REINES EMAILS JOURNALIST MICHAEL HASTINGS: “How's that for a non-bull**** response? Now that we've gotten that out of our systems, have a good day. And by good day, I mean F*** Off.” LINK

- ‘Should Israel be wiped off the face of map?’ Piers Morgan asks -
IRANIAN PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD RESPONDS: “If a group comes and occupies the United States of America, destroys homes while women and children are in those homes, incarcerate the youth of America, impose five different wars on many neighbors, and always threaten others, what would you do? What would you say? Would you help it? Would you help that entity? Or would you help the people of the United States? So when we say ‘ to be wiped,’ we say for occupation to be wiped off from this world. For war-seeking to wiped off and eradicated, the killing of women and children to be eradicated. And we propose the way. We propose the path. The path is to recognize the right of the Palestinians to self-governance. Allow the people of Palestine to make decisions regarding their own future. Imagine one day in Palestine there is no longer occupation, occupation no longer exists in Palestine.” MORGAN: “Do you believe in a two-state solution?” AHMADINEJAD: About the decision of the people of Palestine, I cannot express an opinion. That is their prerogative.”

GUT CHECK DVR: Piers Morgan’s exclusive interview with Ahmadinejad runs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.

What stopped us in 140 characters or less







The African nation of South Sudan was admitted to the United Nations on July 14, 2011, days after it declared sovereignty from Sudan.

In recognizing the new country, President Barack Obama said at the time, “Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible. A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn.”

Nearly two decades of civil war along religious and tribal lines in what had been Africa’s largest country has resulted in millions dead or displaced. Peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan continued this week over, among other issues, the two countries’ border.

The country is home to 10 million people, the U.S. estimated in July 2012. It’s population is largely rural and illiterate. The country’s flag is one of the world’s most colorful: It is one of two with a basic design including six colors.

Preceding South Sudan in admission to the United Nations was Montenegro, admitted on June 28, 2006.

(why aren’t you in it?)

Congratulations to Dave Stroup (@davestroup), who lived up to his billing as "your relentlessly idealistic rapid response team" with his correct answer.

Our inbox awaits:
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. Sniffit

    Nothing says "journalism" like burying a Congressional Research Service study of the past 65 years of tax policy and economic trends that concluded that ZERO EVIDENCE exists that tax cuts for the wealthy encourage saving or investment behavior or spur economic growth and job creation.

    September 24, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Love that photo above. On the mittwalk, on the mittwalk, yeah he do his little turn on the mittwalk....

    September 24, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Why did @MittRomney give his tax returns without demanding that Obama release his college records & applications in return?"

    So that plutocrat jackholes like Tramp would ask that very same question, dogwhistling their racist nonsense about affirmative action and thereby make the GOP/Teatrolls look just as stupid and racist as they are.

    How's that bait, Tramp? Need salt?

    September 24, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  4. Pete

    I see Romney jumping on the Obama phrase "bump in the road" and the killing of the ambassador and three staffers in Libya.That 60 Minute interview by two different people,Romney after the September 12 event in Libya and president Obama before.But see that's how desperate candidates work,rewording comments,taking certain things out of contexts and blantantly lying,Romneys campaign has done all and more...Pres.Obama in no way said that phrase" bump in the road" to hurt anyone because when he said it the assault on the Libyan embassy hadn't even occured yet,but Romney and his staff much like FOX news knows how to put a twist on anything,that's desperation and totally untrue.Romney will have to face up to this recent twist and more at the debates,he can't hide from the presidents rath and his lies will come back to defeat him,see they're working already with his steady decline in recent polls.Mormons are taught at a very young age to lie for their lord and their protection as well so its not uncommon for the Mormon moron to lie ,he's done it all his life,exemployees at Bain were taught to lie for the company as well,that was the common complaint after they quit,the incessant lying just to keep a job.Google ,"Lying for the Lord" you'll see how the Mormons as a cult works, even their creator John Smith lied about his wives so why not for the presidency right!!

    September 24, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Thomas

    That photo of Romney says a lot .

    He looks like lost luggage on a conveyer belt .

    September 24, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  6. DENNA

    Romney does not believe in America. He just believes he has a right to be president. Warmonger.

    September 24, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. Thurston Howell and Lovie Howell

    Can't wait to see results of polls taken after Romney said 47% of Americans want handouts and are irresponsible.

    September 24, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    Mittler is total Nonsense to USA and world.... 47% comment, 47/50 job creation......

    September 24, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. John Oboho

    No!We won't expect one of the best presidential debates;with Romney's outright lies.

    September 24, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  10. 1608

    Mitt dose the windows open on your aircraft

    September 24, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Only idiots will end up voting for romney the failures as govenor of mass and failures as senate canadate and presidential canadate twice in Nov. Vote for him if you want to prove how stupid you are !!!

    September 24, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    He [ Romney] is a skilled orator. Has nimble command of the facts,
    Not quite the way I would've put it.
    Romney is a skilled liar, who gingerly glosses over, spins, or completely ignores the facts.
    That would be a more apt assessment of his oratory and debating skills.
    Either way, he's going to get his rear end handed to him by President Obama during the debates.
    The President has been chomping at the bit.

    September 25, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  13. McShannon

    Who wants to be held up to the scrutiny of a delving press that misses nothing going back to things you did in high school. I’m not a Republican but certainly understand why good candidates don’t come forward to run for public office. Newt Gingrich got stomped, Palin did and Mitt isn’t doing too well either. Also the religious right now has set a lower standard for who they accept to be holy and godly by their own faith. This could be confusing for the church goers in Southern Baptist churches that actually have political rallies sometimes from the pulpit and always favoring a Republican candidate.

    September 25, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Romney's plane is abundantly decorated with stars and stripes, red, white and blue, and in case you're stil not getting it a big ole' Believe In America banner. It reminds me of the saying "The man doth protest too much" somehow.
    Why is it that Republicans like to publicize for all to see their love of country, and God, and all that is Amerikun but in actuality and in deed act against the very principles and values that they like to pay so much public lip-service to?

    Flag pin on or off President Obama works assiduous and relentlessly to better the lot of all Americans, and he doesn't need the flag-waving fanfare to do it. He's like Nike, he just does it.
    Obama 2012.

    September 25, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. GI Joe

    Romney went to the U.N. and bashed President Obama.

    Was that in Karl Rove's playbook?

    How unprofessional of him. The world doesn't vote for our President - Except BiBi is voting for Mitt to send our kids and our money to fight HIS wars for him.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 25, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |