CNN's GUT CHECK for October 17, 2012
October 17th, 2012
05:37 PM ET
8 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for October 17, 2012

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


- Obama: The choice is a ‘sketchy’ one -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN IOWA: “Let's recap what we learned last night. His tax plan doesn't add up. His jobs plan doesn't create jobs. His deficit reduction plan adds to the deficit. So Iowa – everybody here has heard of the New Deal, you've heard of the Fair Deal, you've heard of the square deal – Mitt Romney is trying to sell you a sketchy deal.”

- Romney: Obama has one more debate to find a Plan for the Next Four Years -
MITT ROMNEY AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN VIRGINIA: “I think it is interesting that the president still doesn't have an agenda for a second term. Don’t you think that it is time for him to finally put together a vision of what he would do over the next four years if he were elected? I mean he has got to come up with that over this weekend because there is only one debate left on Monday. I just think the American people had expected that the president of the United States would be able to describe what he is going to do in the next four years. But he can't. He can't even explain what he has done in the last four years.”

LESS TALK, MORE WORDS: Although Mitt Romney spoke 3 minutes and 14 seconds less than President Obama, he delivered 478 more words overall in Tuesday night’s debate:

Obama: 44:04 – 7506 words
Romney: 40:50 – 7984 words

This also happened in the first presidential debate – Obama spoke for a longer period of time, while Romney said more words:

Obama: 42:50 – 7294 words
Romney: 38:32 – 7802 words

(Answer below)
On this day in history, Jimmy Carter restored citizenship rights to which American?

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

The co-existent power and frivolity of social media has caught our eye and frustrated our news instincts, as a compelling debate over women’s pay turned into a comedy competition online.

The study of how Mitt Romney’s answer about equal pay turned into a social media bonanza reveals the simultaneous frustration and amusement with our current news environment.

The fact that this water cooler bonanza over “binders of women” originated from the question of a 24-year-old female pre-K teacher from Floral Park, New York, makes the resulting ricochet more staggering.

Katherine Fenton stood up last night to ask, “In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72% of what their male counterparts earn?”

When it was Romney’s turn to answer, he talked about his experience of having difficulty recruiting female candidates as governor of Massachusetts:

ROMNEY: “We took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.

“I went to a number of women's groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women. … Now one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort. But No. 2, because I recognized that if you're going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school.

“She said, I can't be here until 7 or 8 o'clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o'clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said fine. Let's have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.”

Romney’s answer touched on something more complex than equal pay: the struggle to get a diverse applicant pool interested in public service as well as providing flexible work arrangements for recruitment and retention. That answer was interesting not just because of public policy, but because it is a current, active debate in corporate – and suburban - America.

However, that debate, which was well-received by our CNN focus group, was overshadowed by the fact that Romney used the term “binders full of women” – a phrase that jumped 214,000% on Facebook within an hour of the debate. Instead of being frustrated – or intimidated - by the viral message shift, the Obama campaign and its allies jumped on the meme, creating hashtags, websites and videos around the theme; co-opting the humor to fit their political story line. This afternoon, the DNC organized a conference call with Lilly Ledbetter and Cecile Richards to discuss Romney’s “referring to women as resumes in binders.”

Just as Bill Clinton and his saxophone did with MTV and late-night talk shows in 1992, the Obama campaign has nurtured a different audience with its embrace of social media.

What is left to be seen is how the women voters like Katherine Fenton react. She told her local paper she didn’t get the answer to her question. Perhaps she has solace that two weeks ago, people looking for answers about the role and size of government were overwhelmed by Big Bird.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Analysis: Romney whiffs on some easy pitches
Ahead of Tuesday night's debate in Hempstead, New York, people wondered whether the town hall format, in which voters tend to place a premium on the appearance of civility, might limit the opportunity for attacks. But niceness isn't an attribute that tends to top the priority list for most New Yorkers; it was clear from the first moments of the debate that both men came ready to brawl. – Rebecca Sinderbrand

Leading Drudge: Gallup: R 51% O 45%

Leading HuffPo: Binder Brouhaha
Vice President Joe Biden and GOP vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) disagreed over Mitt Romney's remark in the presidential debate Tuesday that he asked women's groups to bring him "binders full of women" to fill cabinet positions as governor of Massachusetts. – Luke Johnson

Leading Politico: Obama fights back
He showed up. An animated and aggressive Barack Obama clawed back Tuesday from his somnambulant first debate — and an often defensive Mitt Romney battled moderator Candy Crowley of CNN nearly as often as he went after the president. – Glenn Thrush

Leading The New York Times: Debate Moves Women to Fore in Race for the White House
President Obama charged that Mitt Romney’s policies are economically threatening to women, as the candidates in their second presidential debate on Tuesday night clashed repeatedly over who would best serve the interests of the country’s largest and most critical constituency. – Michael Shear

The political bites of the day

- The running mates react to the second presidential debate -
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN ON NBC: “I think President Obama was absolutely at the top of his game last night, and I also think that he was able to clearly draw a picture between a future under Obama and a future under Romney. And the thing that amazed me the most was even after three debates, his two and my one, there is still not a single specific in the Romney $5 trillion tax plan. I mean, everything, everything is sketchy.”
REP. PAUL RYAN ON NBC: “Well, he clearly changed his tactic. They said that he would change his tactic but his answers didn't change. He didn't offer new idea about how the next four years would be any different than the last four years. The reason why I think Mitt Romney won this debate is because he gave the country a very clear choice and a very clear vision for about how we have a leader that will create jobs, grow the economy and get people back to work.”

- Candy: ‘I was trying to move this along because the question was Benghazi’ -
CNN’s CANDY CROWLEY, MIODERATOR OF THE SECOND PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, IN AN INTERVIEW ON CNN: “I was trying to move this along because the question was Benghazi. There is no question that the administration is quite vulnerable on this topic. That they did take weeks to go ‘Well actually there really wasn’t a protest and actually didn’t have anything to do with the tape.’ That took a long time. That’s where he was going. That was [Romney’s] first answer. … Then we got hung up on this: ‘Yes he said - no I didn’t - I said terror - you didn’t say terror.’

“And there was this point where they both kind of looked at me. … And what I wanted to do was move this along. … So I said, (Obama) did say ‘acts of terror.’ … But Gov. Romney, you are perfectly right, that it took weeks for them to get past the tape.”

- Portman stresses early voting in Ohio -
SEN. ROB PORTMAN AT A CAMPAIGN RALLY IN OHIO: “You can actually go down to the Board of Elections and you can vote right after this rally. They're open eight to five every day this week including today. Will you vote early? We want to bank those votes. If you vote early, you know what happens? You're then free on Election Day to get other people to the polls.”

- Biden references Binders in campaign speech -
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN COLORADO: “You heard the debate last night. When Gov. Romney was asked a direct question about equal pay he started talking about binders. Oh!! The idea that he had to ask where a qualified woman was - he just should have come to my house. He didn’t need a binder. He didn’t need a binder! And I mean it.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less


One hundred and thirteen years after the civil war ended, then-President Jimmy Carter posthumously restored “the full rights of citizenship to Jefferson Davis,” the former president of the Confederate State of America.

With the establishment of the confederacy, Davis’ citizenship in the United States (he was born in Kentucky) was revoked. After being captured on May 10, 1865, Davis was tried for treason and his rights to run for office were revoked.

“Our Nation needs to clear away the guilts and enmities and recriminations of the past, to finally set at rest the divisions that threatened to destroy our Nation and to discredit the principles on which it was founded,” the bill restoring Davis’ citizenship said. “Our people need to turn their attention to the important tasks that still lie before us in establishing those principles for all people.”

All confederate generals were stripped of their citizenship following the Civil War. Robert E. Lee’s citizenship was posthumously restored two years earlier – in 1976.

(why aren’t you in it)

Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) tweeted the first answer, but boxer Muhammad Ali was not correct. Congratulations to Matthew Gilbertson (@MattRGilbertson) for being the first to correctly answer Gut Check Trivia.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Obama12. Period. I stand on single word.

    October 17, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    In Romneyworld, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are the new and old testament, The Great Gatsby described a utopian society and 1984 is an instruction manual.

    October 17, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Binder full of women = Mittens taking credit for something women did when answering a question about how his administration would ensure women get fair credit for their contributions to the workplace and society.

    Binder full of shame = Mittens built that.

    October 17, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  4. Keith

    The REAL problem with today is not OBAMA and ROMNEY. It's Congress and the Republicans not passing IMPORTANT laws like the JOB acts law. They're too busy trying to deny OBAMA everything and anything in his first term that his presidency since the last four years has been nothing but HELL. Now he has to prove his LOVE all over again to become the first BLACK President trying to pass laws in his second term. NOW, will Congress and the Republicans let him be successful or will we have a stallmate like now? This hate brings down the country and separates the NATION. No one has said anything about how many times the Republicans held back with passing laws or CONGRESS leaving and coming back to pass laws. This should be be an issue...

    October 17, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    – Obama: The choice is a ‘sketchy’ one –
    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT IN IOWA: “Let's recap what we learned last night. His tax plan doesn't add up.
    Obama's first 4 years didn't add up. Well, it added $5 trillion of new national debt. And no plan to do better going forward. We owe it to the future of our nation and those Americans coming after us. Romney/ Ryan 2012.

    October 17, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. becky

    Libya should be Mr. Romney's waterloo. Once again he is in over his head when he tries to talk about foreign policy. It is not a matter of being right or wrong it is how he expresses himself. He showed us in London that the does not do well with competition. His comments about the London Olympics were not diplomatic at all. As he moved on to Israel and Poland he remarks did not get much better. He cannot bully foreign leaders if he wishes to have cooperation. Other leaders have found that out but I am not sure Mr. Romney learns from the mistakes of others.

    October 17, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  7. NC

    Thank you Candy Crowley for your professionalism during the debate. You took control of situations and never raised your voice. I knew when you were selected as one of the moderators what to expect and you did not disappoint us.

    October 17, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. Marie MD

    SENSATA!!! Yes, of course the twit is going to get tough on China. Just as soon as he closess the Sensata plant in Illinois and sends more American jobs to China. Lying hypocrite anyone? What was he saying just last night during the debate?
    He might not be at the helm of bain because what else does a person who doesn't work but still makes $20M a year have to do but he still owns 51% of bain.
    Six workers were jailed as they did a sit in to try to keep their jobs and the plant from closing. Yes, the twit does have a heart. It's hard as a rock but a heart nevertheless because it beats just like any real human being.

    October 17, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    We know what the President's agenda is you are the one who still won't tell US what you are going to do. You can't expect to be elected and then s c r e w the country!

    October 17, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  10. christina

    i find it so hard to believe that a canidate like mitt romney can come out and say where he stands on so many issues,an the next day say the completely oppisite and totally get away with it .people in this country do not realize that romney does not care about the average person but only to win the game and that seems to be all it is a game to be won for one has even mention all the positions that he was once for then changed his mind on because he realized that by saying right wing views will never win it for him so he's changing his positions on just about everything...and we do disgusted...

    October 17, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  11. Former Republican, now an Independent

    I think it is very clear what President Obama has done in the last 4 years. He has pulled us most of the way out of the worst republican debacle since the Great Depression. From what few sketchy details Romney has provided about his plans, it looks like he wants to drive the nation into a worse debacle than George W. Bush did.

    October 17, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. Thomas

    President Obama has never called Romney a “liar," but Lumaye asked Tagg: "What is it like for you to hear the President of the United States call your dad a liar?”

    Tagg Romney answered: “You want to jump out of your seat, and you wanna rush down to the debate stage and take a swing at him, but you know you can’t do that, because, well, first because there’s a lot of Secret Service between you and him

    October 18, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    Gov Romney,
    President Obama has laid out his policies for the future which regrettably the Republicans keep voting down, even though independent organisations like the CB0 say they work.
    1) Is the American Jobs Act which the CBO validated as job creating 1- to 1.6m jobs debt neutral and deficit neutral even with its much needed infrastructure spending element. problem over $200k tax rate increase.
    2) The real whammy was it would increase GDP and that means economic growth at a higher rate than now.
    Something about Obama being a one term president and pledges to a Pac leader by elected politicians on taxes seemed to get in the way. I do not want my Rep or Senator pledging anything to any PAC leader irrespective of party.
    He has other ideas on energy, education, foreign policy.. ( and other topics like health care and Financial regulation/ reform.) The fact you dont like like them or disagree does not mean he has no future policies or plan for me they do far better than the sketchy ideas you have outlined and that's all you have done. Your five point plan would not even get you a saw buck in the business investment world.
    Your china currency manipulator threat is not something that works in the international and WTO and other global agreements... you think you can change China's policies re- currency without retaliation that would hurt our economy more than thiers.... if so you just tout your international political naiveity.

    October 18, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |