CNN's GUT CHECK for November 15, 2012
November 15th, 2012
05:11 PM ET
7 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for November 15, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 15, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: HOLDER: No national security threat in Petraeus investigation: In his first comments on the investigation, Attorney General Eric Holder says because it was determined there was no threat to national security, he didn’t tell the White House. Holder said that if there had been a threat, he would have advised President Barack Obama immediately.

Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking to reporters in New Orleans: “We follow the facts. We do not share outside the Justice Department, outside the FBI, the facts and ongoing investigations. We made the determination as we were going through that there was not a threat to national security. Had we made a determination that a threat to national security existed, we would, of course, had made that known to the president and to the appropriate members on the Hill.”

DEVELOPING: CNN confirms that the CIA inspector general is opening an exploratory investigation on the “general conduct” of former CIA Director David Petraeus. – CNN’s Carol Cratty

(Answer below)
What presidential relative endorsed a beer by stating on every can that it was “Brewed expressly for and with the personal approval of one of America's all-time great beer drinkers”?

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

From Mitt Romney blaming his loss to President Obama on successfully wooing voters with “gifts from the government” to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal urging the GOP to “Reject identity politics”, it’s no wonder that former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says the GOP needs a “proctology exam.

Yet, the Republican navel-gazing that caught our eye today was Karl Rove’s post-election assessment in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. Rove writes a very detailed list of lessons that he learned – including that the Democrats were “more effective in communicating negative information.”

He points out something we have written about frequently, the GOP needs to learn to better identify and target potential Republican voters, from voter registration at the local level to getting out the vote on Election Day.

Rove also articulated some ideas that generated great debates between your Gut Check co-authors. Among them:

– “In a world of Twitter, YouTube and cable TV, the cliché that ‘if you're responding, you're losing’ is dead. Republican campaigns need to get better at responding, setting the record straight, and bending the argument back toward their narrative.”

– “The GOP must reduce the destructiveness of the presidential primaries.”

– “Holding the convention in late August made sense when candidates relied on public financing for the general election. That will never happen again. The Romney campaign had tens of millions it couldn't spend for months until he was officially nominated on Aug. 28. Future conventions should be held as early as late June.”

We hope you enjoy debating these as much as we did. Any insights? Email us at

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: House Democratic women's numbers don't yet add up to power
When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that she would seek to keep her leadership role, she stood flanked by a cheering phalanx of her female colleagues. But as even Democrats exalt an election which saw, for the first time in history, women and minorities net the majority of House seats as well as a record 16 Democratic seats in the Senate, political experts warn against premature celebration. – Halimah Abdullah

Leading Drudge: Dems Cannot Commit To Doing A Budget
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) confirmed Thursday that she will seek the chairmanship of the Senate Budget Committee next year but told The Hill that she cannot commit to doing a budget. This opens up the possibility that Senate Democrats will avoid passing a budget resolution for the fourth year in a row. – Erik Wasson for The Hill

Leading HuffPo: Why Bother?
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Thursday there isn't much point in raising tax rates on the wealthy, because they also have the money to hire people who will help them get out of paying taxes. "The billionaires and millionaires that are going to be impacted by higher rates, they can afford to hire the best lawyers, lobbyists and accountants in America to figure out how not to pay those higher rates," Rubio told National Journal’s Major Garrett at The Atlantic Washington Ideas Forum. "The people that are going to get stuck by that bill are the small businesses, the partnerships, the S corporations, that cannot hire the lawyers to get them out of it." – Elise Foley

Leading Politico: Once again, Barack Obama vs. John McCain
President Barack Obama just finished his second presidential campaign — but he’s not finished lashing out at his opponent from his first. Obama’s irritation at his 2008 rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain, flared Wednesday during the president’s first news conference since winning reelection. It was a startling moment in an otherwise unremarkable appearance — and hinted at lingering tensions with McCain.

Leading The New York Times: Obama Visits Storm-Ravaged Areas in New York
President Obama flew over areas of Queens that were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy and stopped on Staten Island on Thursday to meet with emergency workers and families whose lives were upended by the devastating storm. – James Barron

The political bites of the day

- Romney’s exit interview with donors -
On a call with donors yesterday, Mitt Romney says the president courted voters by offering “gifts from the government”: "What the president, president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote. … With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift. Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”

- Carney reacts to Romney comments, says they are ‘at odds with the truth’ -

QUESTION: “Jay, speaking of wealthier Americans, have you had occasion to speak to President Obama about Governor Romney's phone conversation with donors yesterday in which he described the "gifts" that President Obama offered certain constituencies in his campaign strategy?”
Carney: “I think that view of the American people, of the electorate and of the election is at odds with the truth of what happened last week. And as we talked about a lot and the president talked about a lot, making it easier for Americans to go to college, that's good for America. It's good for all Americans. It's good for the economy. Making health care available to young people who can stay on their parents’ plans - that's good for those families, it's good for those young people, so that they aren't bankrupted in their twenties by an illness. And it's good for the economy, and it's good for all of us. The president pursues policies that have at their core a desire to build the middle class, strengthen the middle class, make the middle class more secure, because that's what makes America more secure. So I think it's just not the view we take about the choices - the decision the American people made last week.”

- Jindal offers his vision for the GOP -
LOUISIANA GOV. BOBBY JINDAL IN A CNN.COM OP-ED: “In the aftermath of the presidential election, Republicans have been inundated with advice to moderate, equivocate, and even abandon their core principles as a necessary prerequisite for winning future elections. That is absurd. America already has one liberal political party; there is no need for another one. Make no mistake: Despite losing an election, conservative ideals still hold true. …The Republican Party does have a lot of work to do. But changing our principles is not a winning strategy. We need to modernize, not moderate.”

- McConnell says Republicans ready to step out of comfort zone on fiscal cliff -
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL IN A SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “Yesterday, the president said he had an open mind when it came to finding a solution to these things. He said he is happy to listen to other peoples’ ideas. I take that as a good sign. If the president has got an open mind, maybe he will see that Republicans are the ones who have expressed a willingness to step out of our comfort zone if it actually leads to a solution.”

- WH backs up Israel, calls Hamas’ rocket attacks ‘cowardly’ -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY IN A BRIEFING ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE: “We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence. There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately in order to allow the situation to deescalate. … Hamas claims to have the best interest of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza or to move the Palestinian people any close to achieving self-determination.”

- Obama lied, says Republican congressman -
REPUBLICAN REP. DANA ROHRABACHER OF CALIFORNIA AT A HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: “What is clear is that this administration, including the president himself, has intentionally misinformed – read that lied – to the American people in the aftermath of this tragedy. Now, President Obama has the gall to float the name as possible Secretary of State the name of the person who was the actual vehicle used to misinform the American people during this crisis. The arrogance and dishonesty reflected in all of this is a little bit breathtaking.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL WATCH: First Twitter War? As Israel and Hamas exchange deadly fire on the ground – They're also fighting a war online: live tweeting their actions, adding pictures and video; threatening each other on Twitter but at the same time trying to win over public opinion.

TRIVIA ANSWER from (@DanMericaCNN)

President Jimmy Carter – the 39th president, a teetotaler while in the White House is also a relative of “one of America’s all-time great beer drinkers.”

Billy Carter, Jimmy Carter’s brother, was the signature endorser of Billy Beer, a beer produced by Falls City Brewing Company. Each can of Billy Beer was emblazoned with Billy Carter’s signature and this endorsement: “Brewed expressly for and with the personal approval of one of America's all-time great beer drinkers – Billy Carter. I had this beer brewed up just for me. I think it's the best I ever tasted. And I've tasted a lot. I think you'll like it, too.”

Billy Carter was somewhat of a nuisance while his brother was in the White House. Billy Carter was accused of influence peddling when he received a substantial loan from the Libyan government, a charge that eventually led to a Senate sub-committee investigation.

In response to what the media was calling “Billygate,” Carter tried to distance himself from his brother, stating that he did not control his brother’s actions and his brother had no influence in the White House.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congratulations to Jonathan Kappler (@jonathankappler) and Daniel Holt (@dholt3566) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Yes, Daniel, Billy Carter was a “Southern good ol’ boy.”

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soundoff (One Response)
  1. CBP

    The Justice Department acted quite responsibly because they did not know who was really involved. However, Representative Eric Cantor was told about the the situation and he did not contact authorities. What was he waiting for? Why didn't he contact the Justice Department or the White House? Was he looking for the White House to be involved so that he could call for an investigation into the White involvement and perhaps bring down the Obama White House? Perhaps he would like to tell the American people why he did nothing.

    November 15, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |