CNN's GUT CHECK for October 12, 2012
October 12th, 2012
04:55 PM ET
8 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for October 12, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for October 12, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: White House clarifies Biden on Libya security... Aides to President Barack Obama on Friday attempted to clean up comments made by Vice President Joe Biden regarding security requests in Libya during Thursday night's vice presidential debate. … Those comments contradict congressional testimony by State Department officials who told the House Oversight Committee requests for security staffing in Libya were made and denied prior to the attacks in Benghazi. – Jessica Yellin

Gut Check Rewind… Vice President Biden at Thursday night’s debate: “We weren't told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again."

- Carney defends Biden, deflects blame to State Department -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “He was speaking directly for himself and for the president, he meant the White House. In over four hours of testimony, the testimony that you just referenced, the other day no one who testified about this matter suggested that requests for additional security were made to the president or the White House. These are issues appropriately that are handled by security professionals at the State Department. That's what he was talking about.”

- The Romney campaign seizes on the comment -
MITT ROMNEY AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN VIRGINIA: “The vice president directly contradicted the sworn testimony of State Department officials. He’s doubling down on denial, and we need to understand exactly what happened, as opposed to have people just brush this aside.”

(Answer below)
Former first couple Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary this week. How did they meet?

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

The biggest night for Joe Biden and Paul Ryan of this presidential campaign is now in the past, but now what? There are still 25 days until Election Day and all of the attention shifts back to the principals: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Each Friday, we reach out to the political experts who have a sharp understanding and key insight into a current situation. Today, we turn to a well known political mind who was in this position 12 years ago as a top staffer to then-Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman.

Kiki McLean, senior partner/managing director of Porter Novelli, served as vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman’s campaign communications director in 2000.

Q. Once the biggest night of a vice presidential candidate is over, what is the strategy in the immediate days after the debate? How do you capitalize on the candidate’s performance?

A. “The vice presidential debate is simply one event in the overall strategy for the ticket’s No. 2. It just happens to come with a live national audience. Ultimately, the vice presidential nominee’s role is the same in the debate as it is in the day-to-day campaign combat: further the campaign’s overall message, correct the record when attacked by the opposition and shine the light on the weaknesses of the opposition. Capitalizing on the debate performance simply means using the new content the debate created and executing it against those three strategic needs. In these last weeks, each candidate for vice president can use the declarations made in the debate and refute them or drive them into the media space depending on how helpful it is to the overall strategy. Lastly, the vice presidential candidates will play the role of deflector. Rather than take the presidential nominees off message to answer an attack, the vice presidential candidates will do that job.”

Q. With the spotlight moving off of the vice presidential candidate, how does the VP candidate stay relevant and help the campaign without taking the spotlight away the presidential nominee?

A. “The vice presidential candidate drives the ground game for message. The only time a vice presidential candidate takes the spotlight from their senior partner is when they’ve made a serious mistake – a la Sarah Palin in the 2008 Katie Couric interview. Otherwise, the only time the vice presidential candidate should see national media coverage and attention is when they are defending the ticket against an attack or launching a substantial attack on the opposition. Otherwise, they move a positive message on the ground in local markets. Successful vice presidential nominees do hundreds of local interviews on television and radio. And it is their job to get to strategic locations that may represent quality rather than quantity. Second- and third-tier markets make a huge difference in presidential elections. A vice presidential campaign can move in and lock a base vote and/or drive up enthusiasm for turn-out in a local market. And depending on their specific profile, vice presidential candidates are used with specific swing targets. Lastly, vice presidential candidates play an important role in moving in those secondary markets to support early vote program.”

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: A glimpse into the campaign life of Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney doesn't have a lot of free time. That's certainly no surprise as the 2012 race heads into its final stretch, but a copy of Romney's internal campaign schedule obtained by CNN offers a small glimpse into how tightly managed the Republican's long days on the campaign trail have become. – Peter Hamby

Leading Drudge: Campaign Freakout! Obama Lock Under 10 States

Leading HuffPo: A Tale Of Two Ryans – Hypocrisy Called Out
Vice President Joe Biden laughed at Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan Thursday for his attacks on the stimulus, reminding him that he requested stimulus funding for his Wisconsin district. – Elise Foley

Leading Politico: Joe Biden, Paul Ryan clear the bar - barely
Vice President Joe Biden gave Democrats what they needed most from the debate here Thursday night — a jolt of energy that came from hitting Republicans in all the places they are presumed to be most vulnerable and chasing away memories of President Barack Obama’s flaccid debate performance the week before. – Jonathan Martin and John F. Harris

Leading The New York Times: Showing His Teeth, Biden Spurs Debate on His Performance
Thursday’s vice-presidential slugfest has quickly become a debate about Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s grin. Mr. Biden’s smirking, emotional and aggressively sharp approach toward his rival, Representative Paul D. Ryan, prompted cheers from Democrats who had been desperate for the kind of in-your-face political rumble that President Obama did not deliver during his debate with Mitt Romney a week ago. – Michael Shear

The political bites of the day

- Brevity is sometimes a virtue -

- Clinton on Benghazi: Administration only motivated by understanding what happened -
SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON DEFENDS ADMINISTRATION AT PRESS AVAILABILITY: “I think that it is very important to recognize that we have an investigation going on. We have an Accountability Review Board that is just beginning its work. There is much we still don't know and I am, you know, the first to say that. But as someone who has been at the center of this tragedy from the beginning, I do know this: There is nobody in the administration motivated by anything other than trying to understand what happened.”

- The Rorschach test that was Thursday’s debate -
SEN. RON JOHNSON IN AN INTERVIEW ON CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “I think Paul did very well. He was measured. He was dignified. He was calm. He was cool, collected, basically coming under assault by Vice President Biden.”
RICHARD SOCARIDES, A FORMER CLINTON ADVISER, IN AN INTERVIEW ON CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “I think that Joe Biden gets an A-plus, from Democrats certainly for last night. He did everything he had to do. All that face smiling, all that facial expression is everything he needed to do after we saw a relatively flat President Obama last week.”

SOCIAL WATCH: On Facebook, VP Debate beats Oscars, falls short of Pres. Debate The vice presidential debate "out-buzzed" Hollywood's biggest nights on Facebook, but wasn't nearly as popular as the presidential debate last week. According to Facebook's "Talk Meter" analysis, Thursday's debate gained more momentum on Facebook than the 2012 Academy Awards and the MTV Video Music Awards, but when comparing it to three political events – the first presidential debate and both parties' political conventions – Thursday night's debate paled in comparison. – Eric Weisbrod

Facebook "Talk Meter Scores
1. Super Bowl 2012 – 8.62
2. First presidential debate – 8.18
3. NFL Ref Issue – 7.04
4. Democratic National Convention – 7.09
5. Republican National Convention – 6.82
6. Vice Presidential Debate – 6.79
7. 2012 Academy Awards – 6.74
8. 2012 MTV Video Music Awards – 6.67
9. 2012 NFL Kick-Off game – 6.1
10. Paul Ryan VP Announcement 5.21

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill)
From a strategic perspective, Ryan did some very good things. Specifically, he started to poke holes in Obama's foreign policy.

Jonathan Cohn (@CitizenCohn)
My favorite Biden line: "Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something. Show me a policy."

Mike Hayes (@michaelhayes)
Note: Paul Ryan's son sat in Biden's chair post-debate

Laura Chapin (‏@LauraChapin)
#FNL creator to #Romney "Your politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series"

Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune)
Gov. Pat Quinn's job approval rating just 26%, according to Tribune/WGN-TV poll


According to Hillary Clinton’s memoir “Living History,” her relationship with Bill Clinton started after she caught him staring at her.

“I noticed that he kept looking over at me. He had been doing a lot of that,” writes the secretary of State. “So I stood up from the desk, walked over to him and said, ‘If you're going to keep looking at me, and I'm going to keep looking back, we might as well be introduced. I'm Hillary Rodham.’ That was it. The way Bill tells the story, he couldn't remember his own name.”

Even though it took Bill asking for Hillary’s hand in marriage a number of times, the couple were married on October 11, 1975.

(why aren’t you in it)

No correct answers to today’s Gut Check trivia question – guess everyone forgot that passage in the book that was an international best-seller in 2004.

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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
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Borderless

    Racist Joe: It's all a big joke to Obama's Numer 2. But laughing boy was caught lying again and again throughout the debate. Ryan was presidential, Biden was a joke. Ryan brought facts. Racist Joe brought lies. It is past time to get rid of that buffoon. Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 12, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Borderless

    Five things we learned at the debate:
    –Obama and Biden couldn't care less about the death of Ambassador Stevens, as long as it doesn't interfere with their ambition for re-election
    –Racist Joe "is always honest" when he makes gaffes. Considering the extreme racist nature of some of them, that's very disturbing for a vice president.
    –Racist Joe is in no way suitable to take over the presidency.
    –Ryan is bright, articulate and professional.
    –Ryan has a better grasp of international affairs than the more experienced Racist Joe.

    October 12, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Lyin Ryan made a fool of himself in the debate. He lied so much I laughed.

    October 13, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  4. Winston5

    Biden schooled the boy. 😉

    October 13, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |