CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 29, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: 'NO SUBSTANTIVE PROGRESS' IN FISCAL CLIFF TALKS… After meeting Thursday with President Barack Obama's point man on fiscal cliff talks, House Speaker John Boehner said he was disappointed that "no substantive progress" has occurred due to what he called the failure of the White House to propose serious spending cuts. – Tom Cohen
SPEAKER BOEHNER AT A HIS WEEKLY CAPITOL HILL NEWS CONFERENCE: “The president has warned us about the dangers of going over the fiscal cliff but his actions have not matched his public statements. … Based on where we stand today, I would say two things. First, despite the claims that the president supports a balanced approach, Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts. And secondly, no substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks.”
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT A BRIEFING: “In the summer of 2011, there was the possibility of reaching what was then called a grand bargain and the obstacle that prevented that was, in the end, the refusal of Republicans to go along with the fundamental principle that a deficit reduction plan needed to be balanced and it needed to include real, tangible revenues that the wealthy ought to pay a little bit more. Since that time, and I think in an accelerated sense in the last several weeks, we have seen progress. We have seen that obstacle partly overcome because Republicans have acknowledged that revenue must be part of a balanced approach to deficit reduction and that that revenue must come from those who can afford it most. We're not there yet.”
IT’S JUST LUNCH: WHITE HOUSE READOUT OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S LUNCH WITH GOV. MITT ROMNEY… “This afternoon, President Obama and Governor Romney visited for an hour over lunch in the Private Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office. Governor Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years. The focus of their discussion was on America's leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future. They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future. Their lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.”
Official White House photo by Pete Souza
If the federal government had won the Powerball lottery last night – with a whopping estimated jackpot of $579 million – how long could that money be used to run the government?
MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics
With Mitt Romney breaking bread with President Barack Obama today and the two candidates’ senior advisers swapping war stories tonight at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, we decided to look back at the Republican presidential primary, specifically who ruled the television airwaves.
The final numbers surprised us and will likely surprise you.
Of course, the well funded Romney aired more TV ads than his rivals, but it was the pro-Romney Super PAC, Restore Our Future, that spent more than any candidate or entity during the GOP primary. In fact, data compiled by Kantar Media’s CMAG shows that Super PACs spent more to run TV ads than the three top candidates for the GOP nomination did themselves. And the drop-off from the top two spenders on TV ads to number three was steep, very steep.
Only an estimated $51 million was spent on broadcast TV advertising in the Republican primary that effectively ended on April 10, 2012, when Gov. Romney became the de facto nominee. This is a conservative estimate, according CMAG, given the difficulties in ascertaining exactly how much Super PACs were charged by local television stations that were able to hold bidding wars for popular commercial slots at their discretion. This estimate also does not include local cable TV advertising, which CMAG does not track.
Elizabeth Wilner, vice president of CMAG, points to a handful of reasons as to why spending on TV ads did not exceed the $51 million estimate.
“There were a couple of factors that held down primary ad spending,” Wilner says. “The fact that there was only a couple of candidates and supporting groups who were really well financed, the fact that there wasn’t really a New Hampshire primary, because Romney was presumed to be the winner, and the fact that Rick Perry, although he was well resourced, got into the race late and got out relatively early. And when it ended in early April, there was only one candidate, Romney, who had the resources.”
While Romney aired about $13.8 million of TV ads during the primary, Restore Our Future spent $17.2 million on TV during this time period. Newt Gingrich only spent $1.9 million on commercials, but the pro-Gingrich Super PAC, Winning Our Future, put $3.7 million of ads on TV. Rick Santorum aired about $1.6 million of TV ads, but the Super PAC that supported him, Red, White, and Blue Fund, dedicated $2.8 million to television.
As for the other candidates, Ron Paul spent $2.9 million, Rick Perry spent more than $2.7 million, Michele Bachmann spent $31,470, Jon Huntsman spent $18,300 and Herman Cain spent only $520 on TV ads, according to CMAG.
With wide open presidential primaries, it is safe to assume that TV ad spending is going to skyrocket in 2016.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: White House personnel shuffle: Who's on the list
Staff and Cabinet reshuffles are one of the many unknowns in Washington as impending departures leave question marks about who will fill the roles of treasury secretary, chief of staff, secretary of state and secretary of defense. – Jessica Yellin
Leading Drudge: 'Fiscal Cliff' Could Put Millions of Taxpayers Into 'AMT Shock'
One of the key questions lurking in the "fiscal cliff" talks — though well below the public's radar — is what happens to the alternative minimum tax — or AMT. Implemented in 1969 to make sure upper-income Americans pay their share of taxes, the AMT has increasingly snared more middle-income Americans over the years because it was never indexed for inflation. During the 2011 tax year, for example, the higher tax hit single taxpayers with incomes as low as $48,450 and joint filers making only $74,450. – Mark Koba for CNBC
Leading HuffPo: Unlikely Allies
A bipartisan group of senators made a bid Wednesday to end the indefinite military detention of Americans in the United States. Declaring that a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 put the country on a path to repeat the shame of World War II's internment camps, they argued the offending language should be stricken in this year's defense bill. – Michael McAuliff
Leading Politico: Inside the talks: Fiscal framework emerges
Listen to top Democrats and Republicans talk on camera, and it sounds like they could not be further apart on a year-end tax-and-spending deal — a down payment on a $4 trillion grand bargain. But behind the scenes, top officials who have been involved in the talks for many months say the contours of a deal — including the size of tax hikes and spending cuts it will most likely contain — are starting to take shape. – Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen
Leading The New York Times: Big Issues Are Lost in Focus on Libya Talking Points
Three days after the lethal attack on the American Mission in Benghazi, Libya, Representative C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, asked intelligence agencies to write up some unclassified talking points on the episode. Reporters were besieging him and other legislators for comment, and he did not want to misstate facts or disclose classified information. – Scott Shane
The political bites of the day
- Rice’s Sunday show performance disqualified her for State, says Republican senator -
REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN BARRASSO OF WYOMING IN AN INTERVIEW ON CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “I believe she disqualified herself as secretary of State by going on five Sunday shows five days after the attacks in Benghazi and giving bad information to the American people. As secretary of State, we need somebody who has sound judgment - she just parroted information she was given. A secretary of State needs to have sound judgment, ask tough questions, and should not be willing to just read talking points. You need to be thoughtful and ask the tough questions before speaking. She just didn't do that and, to me, that disqualified her.”
- After first post-election in-person meeting, Ryan reaffirms appreciation for Romney -
REPUBLICAN REP. PAUL RYAN OF WISCONSIN IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “I remain grateful to Gov. Romney for the honor of joining his ticket this fall, and I cherish our friendship. I'm proud of the principles and ideas we advanced during the campaign and the commitment we share to expanding opportunity and promoting economic security for American families.”
- President George H.W. Bush hospitalized -
A WRITTEN STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: “President Bush has been in and out of Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center being treated for complications related to his bronchitis. He is in stable condition, and is expected to be released within the next 72 hours.”
- Steny Hoyer doesn’t want to be lame -
DEMOCRATIC REP. STENY HOYER OF MARYLAND AT A CAPITOL HILL NEWS CONFERENCE: “If we come together, we will meet this (budget) challenge and make this session of the Congress not a lame duck Congress but a flying duck Congress.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Dan Lothian (@DanLothianCNN)
Source tells @yellinCNN Pres.told Boehner rates were going up on the wealthy and there was no deal without that.
West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport)
GOP says it wants details on entitlement cuts. President has already put $340B in Medicare cuts in table; Repubs want more
Jonathan Weisman (@jonathanweisman)
If Republicans spent 2012 campaign saying Dems slashed Medicare by $700 billion, how do they now ask for Dem plan to cut Medicare?
Jake Tapper (@jaketapper)
"Last year, the 301 known military suicides accounted for 20 percent of U.S. military deaths." (McClatchy) http://bit.ly/Sw9E9l
Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin)
Turnout increased by 2 in New Hampshire from 2008 to 2012. Not 2 percent, 2 people. http://bit.ly/Tv5EIq
Kim Segal CNN Miami (@CNNkimsegal)
CNN NEWS: It's official Jeff Zucker new President of CNN Worldwide
MAKING MILLIONS ON “HEY”: Now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected, the Obama campaign is spilling the beans on the science behind those incessant fundraising emails, which helped the president raise a whopping $690 million. Subject lines like “Join me for dinner?” and “Wow” were “the product of rigorous experimentation by a large team of analysts,” reports Businessweek’s Joshua Green. “It quickly became clear that a casual tone was usually most effective,” says Obama campaign email director Toby Fallsgraff. “”Hey’ was probably the best one we had over the duration.”
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
The fiscal year 2012 budget was a whopping $3.33 trillion, so if the federal government had won the $579 million Powerball jackpot, it unfortunately would do little to help pay for it.
It would take about one hour and twenty minutes – yes, just 80 total minutes – for the government to blow through the historic Powerball winnings, according to HLN.
Will the winners in Arizona and Missouri donate the money to the federal government? Doubtful.
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Poor Obambi-Poo – not a very good day for the POTUS. Gov. Romney was not invited to the W.H. for an hour of turkey chili and general domestic/foreign chit-chat. Whatever the Devious One (and possibly Deval Patrick) had in mind, a thousand tipped-off Republican eyes were on guard like hawks. The Democrats were prepared to steam roll their version of the budget over the GOP – nice try fools, no matter how you spin it. Last, it is a happy day for the Palestinians. The United States is on record as opposing the U.N. upgrade. A good day for Romney – as Obama's grasp on power slowly continues to deteriorate. Romney does not need whatever Obama had to offer, and can move on with his private life. Take care sir 🙂