CNN's GUT CHECK for November 20, 2012
November 20th, 2012
05:05 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for November 20, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 20, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: SEN. WARNER SAYS NO TO BID FOR VIRGINIA GOVERNOR Mark Warner is sticking with Congress. The first term Democratic senator from Virginia announced Tuesday that he won't make a bid next year for his old job as the state's governor. “I loved being governor, but I have a different job now – and it's here, in the United States Senate,” Warner said in a statement. – Paul Steinhauser

DEVELOPING: SECRETARY CLINTON IN ISRAEL “President Obama asked me to come to Israel with a very clear message: America's commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering. That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza. The rocket attacks from terrorist organizations inside Gaza on Israeli cities and towns must end and a broader calm restored.”

(Answer below)
This week in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. What future senator was assistant counsel on the Warren Commission, the group that investigated the assassination?

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

When Allen West conceded his failure to hold onto his seat in Congress this morning, we were struck with how the tea party movement had a shellacking of its own this cycle.

From Richard Mourdock to Joe Walsh to Roscoe Bartlett, to Ann Marie Buerkle, to David Rivera to Quico Canseco to Todd Akin, the losses of Tea Party-backed candidates spanned the map and the movement.

Yes, Ted Cruz, incoming senator from Texas bucked the trend. But he was the anomaly.

We reached out to Billie Tucker, co-founder of the First Coast Tea Party in Florida, to ask her if the Tea Party movement was fizzling. Simply put: she was defiant: “Every year since the Tea Party began in 2009, various detractors of the Tea Party have declared the movement dying, dead, weak or without influence, the list goes on. And, every time those charges are leveled, the Tea Party consistently proves those detractors wrong. The Tea Party is here to stay.”

Amy Kremer, Chairman of, struck a similar tone, telling us plainly, “moderate candidates in the party lost this cycle as well. The losses this cycle cannot be blamed on the tea party movement.”

Tucker does concede however that the movement will adopt new tactics and messaging in the next cycle. “Our focus will be on ACCOUNTABILITY … The liberals sold a different set of principles and values to the electorate – basically ‘The Government Is the Solution,’” Tucker told Gut Check via email. “Now it’s time to see just how accountable those liberals who succeeded in this election will be when they have to deliver to that same electorate on all of their ‘government solutions’ that just will not work to solve America’s problems.”

Tucker also turned her blame to the “mainstream media” charging that they “did not do their job in the 2012 Election” and says media criticism will be part of the movement’s accountability project going forward. “We intend to hold the media accountable, once and for all, for their bias failure to deliver the full and unadulterated truth to the public. It's the job of journalists to tell the whole truth...basically to report the news. They have turned it into media entertainment and the people are tired of it.”

As for Kremer, she sees the future in new recruits. “Since the beginning of the movement, there have been two times where I have seen people reach out to get involved more than ever before,” Kremer tell Gut Check, “after the SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare, and after the 2012 election.”

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Detour at beginning of Hillary Clinton’s farewell tour
Before breaking off her trip to Asia to fly to the Middle East to address the crisis in Gaza, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the midst of what in many ways was the start of her world farewell as America's top diplomat. – Jamie Crawford

Leading Drudge: Senate Bill Lets Feds Read Your Email
A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law. CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week. – Dean McCullagh for CNET

Leading HuffPo: Blah Blah Blah – Republicans Explain Remarkable Defeat
Republican losses in the 2012 elections were not a progressive leap for America or a repudiation of conservatives and the Tea Party - it was just proof the right ran bad candidates, according to two Republican senators with ties to some of races where their side fell short. The most remarkable losses were in Indiana and Missouri, where the GOP had been looking at near-certain wins until their right-leaning standard bearers both took controversial positions on abortion. Missouri Rep. Todd Akin declared women don't get pregnant from "legitimate rape." Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock proclaimed that pregnancy from rape is "something God intended to happen." – Michael McAuliff

Leading Politico: Gay marriage takes next steps
Gay activists are preparing to quickly use the momentum from this year’s election to try to legalize marriage in at least seven new states and force Congress and the president to make major changes in discrimination laws. Advocates have identified Oregon, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii and New Jersey as states where they believe that as early as 2014 they’ll see gay marriage legalized through ballot measures, court decisions or state legislative action. – Edward-Isaac Dovere, Emily Schultheis and Juana Summers

Leading The New York Times: For Tax Pledge and Its Author, a Test of Time
Next to the oath of office, it has been perhaps the most important commitment that Republicans in Congress can make. It is called simply “the Pledge,” and its enforcer is such a fixture in the party that he is known simply by his first name, Grover. Signing it means a promise never, ever to vote for a tax increase. – Jeremy Peters

The political bites of the day

- Rush on Allen West Defeat: Dems aren’t for Diversity’ -
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW, TALKING ABOUT HOW THE DNC CHAIR BRAGGED ABOUT BEING THE PARTY OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES: “All fine and good until you realize that this woman's party moved heaven and earth to defeat African-American Mia Love, African-American Allen West, and replace them with white men. So the hypocrisy is rich. I don't want to offend any of you Independents or moderates by being critical here, but (Debbie) Wasserman Schultz runs around talking about ‘look at how diverse we are.’ And they're not about diversity. They are about liberalism.”

- Obama’s ten year-old pen pal -
SOPHIA BAILEY-KLUGH’S LETTER TO POTUS: “Dear Barack Obama. It's Sophia Bailey Klugh your friend who invited you to dinner. You don't remember, okay that's fine. But I just wanted to tell you that I am so glad you agree that two men can love each other because I have two dads and they love each other. … I hope you win on being the president. You would totally make the world a better place. Please tell your daughters hi for me!”
OBAMA’S RESPONSE: “Thank you for writing me such a thoughtful letter about your family. Reading it made me proud to be your president and even more hopeful about the future of our nation. In America, no two families look the same. We celebrate this diversity. And we recognize that whether you have two dads or one mom what matters above all is the love we show one another. You are very fortunate to have two parents who care deeply for you. They are lucky to have such an exceptional daughter in you.”

- Clyburn insinuates race a factor in Rice criticism -
SEN. JIM CLYBURN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “These are code words. We heard them during the campaign. During this recent campaign we heard Senator Sununu calling our president lazy, incompetent, these kinds of terms that those of us, especially those of us who were grown and raised in the South, we would hear these little words and phrases all of our lives and we'd get insulted by them. Susan rice is as competent as anybody you will find. And just to paste that word on her causes problems with people like Marcia Fudge and certainly caused a big problem with me.”

- … and he hits back at McCain’s judgment -
SEN. JIM CLYBURN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “Senator McCain called her incompetent as well, but he told us that Sarah Palin was a very competent person to be vice president of the United States. That ought to tell us a little something about his judgment.”

- Jeb Bush’s son hopes his dad runs in 2016 -
JEB BUSH JR. IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S Soledad O’Brien, John Berman and Dana Bash:
O'BRIEN: Is your dad going to run for president?
BUSH: I don't know. No comment. I certainly hope so - but -
BERMAN: Which is it? Is it I don't know or no comment?
BUSH: You never know.
BUSH: I think it's the "I hope so".
O'BRIEN: You said, wait a minute. You said "I don't know,” "no comment,” and "I hope so" - which are all kind of contradictory.
BUSH: Exactly. Give me the full loaf of bread right there.

What stopped us in 140 characters or less










Not only was the late-Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania associate counsel on the Warren Commission – the group that investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy – but Specter was also widely credited with the single-bullet theory that suggested one bullet struck both President Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally.

Specter served on the Warren Commission after Rep. Gerald Ford, later president, recommended that he do it. Though Specter’s single-bullet theory was critical in deciding that assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, it has also been ridiculed as implausible and criticized by conspiracy theorists.

Specter, who embodied a vanishing breed of liberal Republicanism before switching to the Democratic Party at the twilight of his political career, died earlier this year after a long battle with cancer.

He represented Pennsylvania for 30 years in the Senate – longer than anyone in the state’s history.

(why aren’t you in it)

A few correct answers today. Congrats to Greg Dean (@gregdean11), Jonathan Gormley (@JonathanGormley) and Patrick Millsaps (@PatrickMillsaps).

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 (10 Responses)
  1. just askin

    when is hillary clinton going to testify in front of congress on her role in denying our ambassador in benghazi adequate security to protect his life? that was her employee and she is responsible for this fiasco. did obama know of all the previous attacks? if so, did he act in any way? no way those 4 americans should be dead if there were competent people in charge.

    November 20, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "The losses this cycle cannot be blamed on the tea party movement.”"

    Indeed. It's their ideology, policy positions and behavior IN GENERAL that lost conservatives the election. What? Suddenly social darwinism isn't good enough for the GOP/Teatrolls when it's their turn to face natural selection? CRY ABOUT IT. My Schadenfruede Flakes stay crunchy in conservative tears.

    November 20, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. Larry in Houston

    one thing I can say for CNN news – it has to be the most respected, in addition to the most informational News Station in the world – A friend contacted me, saying that he was watching the "Five" on the other channel, saying bob beckel made a very horrid quote – and much embarrasing , I might add. IF any of the CNN people had made that remark, they would have been fired in a heartbeat. I can see why CNN is the most Trusted & Respected.

    November 20, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. GuyinVA

    Congressman West was right to concede. The votes have been counted and he lost. That's how elections work. The only sad part is the over 166,000 racists that didn't vote for this upstanding African-American man simply because of the color of his skin. Right?

    November 20, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. CBP

    When will we get off the subject of Libya and realize that attacks on embassies and consulates are not something new. Our Ambassador wanted to be out and about and with the Libyan people. He received such kudos for all he did to get the Libyan people to respect the USA. Unfortunately, the extremists knew that killing him would stop the movement toward the USA.

    If Congress uses the information it received to bolster security and to punish those who committed the crime then we will have shown the Libyans just how much we value the lives of our citizens who serve us as diplomats all over the world. The blame game does nothing for anyone. There is much blame to go around including blaming Congress for denying millions of dollars for security for our diplomats.

    November 20, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. Becky

    When will someone complain about the stores opening on Thanksgiving Day. Where are the family values now. Instead some people have to work so that people can shop on Thanksgiving which was once a very family-driven holiday. Other employees cannot spend the whole day with their families because they have to be at work in Thanksgiving evening.

    Anyone notice that some of the companies behind the idea to open on Thanksgiving Day or Thanksgiving evening gave lots of money to Republicans who tell us they are the party for family values. I guess they are until businesses are involved.

    November 20, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. Larry L

    @just askin

    when is hillary clinton going to testify in front of congress on her role in denying our ambassador in benghazi adequate security to protect his life?
    You're mouthing distorted, dishonest and unpatriotic Fox News sound bites again. The tragedy in Libya was one of dozens of operational crisis scenarios faced by the State Department every week. Our Marines are spread thin but still do a magnificent job of providing security at a level designed to match the threat. Intelligence is never timely enough or accurate enough to be 100% reliable. You might recall the time when President Bush started the Mid-East wars with intelligence data later proved to be completely false and cherry-picked by Cheney and Rumsfeld. Over 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals died as result of that "oops!". I'm sure your protested that debacle... Did you ask for Bush to testify in court?

    November 20, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  8. Yonni

    @just askin
    Your question is about Benghazi? You seem to know about Benghazi a lot but I am not sure. for the sec of understanding your point well let me ask you what is Benghazi? Please, don't refer to Rush or Sean talk radio show you will not find it you only hear the word. Hint, look world map and answer me and I will validate your question.

    November 20, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  9. Thomas

    @just askin
    when is hillary clinton going to testify in front of congress on her role in denying our ambassador in benghazi adequate security to protect his life? that was her employee and she is responsible for this fiasco. did obama know of all the previous attacks? if so, did he act in any way? no way those 4 americans should be dead if there were competent people in charge.

    If it was up to you , we would have invaded Libya , hundreds , maybe thousands would have died.

    If it was GW Bush you would have said it was a justifiable victory , since it was Obama , you blame him..

    We will get to the facts , not the speculations. A kangaroo court of angry GOP grandstanders dosn't help.

    November 20, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Wonder if the Commission investigating Benghazi will ever get around to the real culprits - the Republican House that voted against funding security for embassies (they cut it $549 Billion). Probably not, since they are the ones that did it.

    November 21, 2012 05:28 am at 5:28 am |