CNN's GUT CHECK for December 3, 2012
December 3rd, 2012
04:59 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for December 3, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for December 3, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: WHITE HOUSE SLAMS GOP OFFER ON FISCAL CLIFF… Statement from White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer: “The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve. Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded that middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires. While the President is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates. President Obama believes – and the American people agree – that the economy works best when it is grown from the middle out, not from the top down. Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won’t be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs.”

EARLIER: HOUSE GOP OFFERS FISCAL CLIFF COUNTERPROPOSAL The new proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff would bring $2.2 trillion in savings over the next decade. These would include $800 billion from tax reform, $600 billion from Medicare reforms and other health savings, and $600 billion in other spending cuts, House GOP leadership aides said Monday. – Dana Bash

RETURNING: MITT ROMNEY TO REJOIN THE MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL BOARD Romney in a press release: “It is an honor to once again be able to serve in the company of leaders like Bill Marriott and Arne Sorenson and to support the work of the tens of thousands of Marriott associates who make Marriott International the renowned success that it is.” J.W. Marriott, Jr., the company’s executive chairman in a press release: “We are delighted that Gov. Romney has agreed to rejoin our board, on which he has served with distinction twice before. We will benefit from his tremendous energy and capability to guide long-term success in an increasingly complex business environment. We look forward to working closely with him again as a member of our strong, talented and diverse board.”

Gut Check Full Service: From CNNMoney's Chris Isidore, "Marriot directors received a base pay of $60,000 in 2011, the most recent year for which pay has been disclosed, along with $110,000 in Marriot stock. In addition they received $1,250 for every meeting they attended."

(Answer below)
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the SMS text message. What was the first text?

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

Less than 24 hours after Bob Costas advocated for stricter gun control laws on national television, the head of the NRA said his organization expects an “unprecedented” attack on Second Amendment rights in the new Congress.

“I think it is going to come hard, I think it is going to come fast, and I think it is going to come soon,” Wayne LaPierre, NRA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, said in an interview with Gut Check.

Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher’s killing of his girlfriend and subsequent suicide Saturday pushed the issue of gun control back into the national conversation – a discussion that was greatly overshadowed by the economy and foreign policy in the 2012 election.

Gun control did make a high profile, yet brief appearance during the October 16th presidential debate when an audience member asked President Barack Obama about assault weapons. Obama emphasized he was a supporter of the Second Amendment, but noted he was interested in trying to pass a new law outlawing assault weapons, which were banned from 1994 to 2004. Obama’s declaration further enflamed the NRA, which had already been working to try and defeat him.

Still, except for a handful of instances such the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater massacre in July and the killings at then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords constituent meet-and-greet in Tucson, Arizona, in January 2011, gun control did not become an issue. A CNN/ORC International Poll from this summer showed that the nation was divided on the gun control issue and only 22 percent of Americans said it was “extremely important” to how they would vote.

Even though gun control was not an issue in the 2012 election, LaPierre said he is convinced that Obama is the “biggest threat to the Second Amendment … in our lifetime.” Other than Obama’s talk about trying to outlaw assault weapons, LaPierre did not offer specific legislative examples of what he thinks is going to happen next year, but added the NRA has good sources in Washington, DC who said it is coming.

“We are going to stand and fight,” he said. “We are prepared to do what we have always done. Our strength isn’t the [NRA] building, it is not money … our strength is the individual people all over the country who value their ability to own a gun.”

LaPierre also charged that Costas was using the Belcher murder-suicide to “piggyback his social agenda on the back of a tragedy,” and later added that “people just think it is reprehensible.”

Costas did take some heat on social media right after he made his remarks, but he had supporters as well including the organization “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.” This group, headed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, sent an email asking people to thank Costas for his comments.

“It’s a tragedy,” the mayors wrote in the email. “And when so many gun murders go unnoticed by our media and ignored by our leaders in Washington, it’s important to recognize public figures like Costas who have the courage to tell it like it is.”

We wait and see if Obama tries to ban assault weapons next year, which could lead to an epic legislative battle that LaPierre predicts will happen.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: J.C. Watts as RNC Chairman? Republicans say no way
The prospect of former congressman J.C. Watts leading the Republican National Committee was met with chuckles by members of the organization Monday, who said that current chairman Reince Priebus is all-but-guaranteed to be re-elected to his post next month. Watts, a former Oklahoma congressman who for a time in the 1990s was the only African-American Republican serving in the U.S. House, told Politico over the weekend that he is being "encouraged" by Republicans to seek the RNC chairmanship. – Peter Hamby

Leading Drudge: 54 Trees
Amazing how a re-election can reshape an incumbent's thinking about many things. Now safely ensconced in the White House for 49 more months, the Obamas have decorated the place with 54 Christmas trees this year. Even allowing for the usual Washington excesses with taxpayer money, that's a whole grove of Christmas trees. – Andrew Malcolm for

Leading HuffPo: In A Bind
When Susan Rice's potential nomination to the post of secretary of state hit another snag this past week, the White House found itself in a quandary. On Wednesday, a publication affiliated with the Natural Resources Defense Council dug into the ambassador to the United Nations' financial disclosures, and discovered that she and her husband were heavily invested in several oil companies in western Canada including one, Transcanada, that currently has a project under review at the State Department. – Joshue Hersh and Sam Stein

Leading Politico: 2016 contenders court mega-donors
A week after Election Day, three Republican governors mentioned as 2016 presidential candidates — Bobby Jindal, John Kasich and Bob McDonnell — each stopped by the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino to meet privately with its owner Sheldon Adelson, a man who could single-handedly underwrite their White House ambitions. Planning a presidential campaign used to mean having coffee with county party chairs in their Iowa or New Hampshire living rooms. The courting of Adelson, a full four years out from 2016, demonstrates how super PAC sugar daddies have become the new must-have feature for White House wannabes. – Kenneth P. Vogel

Leading The New York Times: Criticized as Weak in Past Talks, Obama Takes Harder Line
Amid demands from Republicans that President Obama propose detailed new spending cuts to avert the year-end fiscal crisis, his answer boils down to this: you first. Mr. Obama, scarred by failed negotiations in his first term and emboldened by a clear if close election to a second, has emerged as a different kind of negotiator in the past week or two, sticking to the liberal line and frustrating Republicans on the other side of the bargaining table. – Peter Baker

The political bites of the day

- Team Obama says they are looking for specifics -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY IN THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “What we hope for is some specificity from Republicans. We can't, if they need something different, if their ideas are different from ours, we can't guess what they are. They need to tell us and we look forward to the time when they are specific with ideas in the way that we have been.”

- Stop playing poker with the debt, says GOP’s Gutierrez -
FORMER COMMERCE SECRETARY CARLOS GUTIERREZ IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “The big picture is more than just the fiscal cliff. And a lot bigger than ‘do we raise taxes on people who are there to make more than $250,000 a year.’ This is about the debt. It’s about the fiscal deficit. It’s about our economy. It’s about our future. It’s about our children and President Obama is playing a very risky game because in the end, this is his presidency and you're going to look back and have a bar chart of deficits and debt and there's not going to be an asterisk that says it was the Republicans' fault. I think we've got to stop playing poker, work together and understand we're working to save the country.”

- Defeated Allen West compares himself to Lincoln -
FORMER REP. ALLEN WEST IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NPR: “Look, you know, God closes a door so that he can open up greater doors. I will continue to, you know, stand up and fight for this country. That's my goal. I have two daughters, 19 and 16, and I want to make sure that they grow up in a great America that provides them all the opportunities that it provided to their mother and father. … And always remember, Abraham Lincoln only served one term in Congress, too.” LINK

- With Norquist on the ropes, it is time to break with him -
CNN CONTRIBUTOR DONNA BRAZILE IN A CNN OPINION PIECE: “In the 113th Congress, the one just elected that will begin in January, 219 of 234 Republicans in the House signed his tax pledge; in the Senate, nine of 41 Republican senators signed it. By contrast, before the 112th Congress, which is still in session, 248 representatives and 41 senators signed it. The drop in support has brought the pledge into the media limelight. … More Republicans must put their country before someone else's agenda, and their Pledge of Allegiance before "The Pledge" to Norquist.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less









On December 3, 1992, Neil Papworth, a 22-year old engineer in the United Kingdom used a computer to send an SMS text message to Richard Jarvis’ Vodafone.

The text: “Merry Christmas.”

Now 20 years after that average message, more than 80 percent of mobile phone users send SMS texts. The practice has become a standard in American culture and has led to countless changes in jargon and lexicon.

Here are some other facts about texting from CNN’s Heather Kelly:

– In the United States, 75% of teenagers text, sending an average of 60 texts a day. According to Pew Internet research, texting is teens' most common form of communication, beating out phone conversations, social networks and old-fashioned face-to-face conversations.

– Women are twice as likely to use emoticons in text messages, but men use a wider variety of emoticons, according to a recent study by Rice University. 🙂

– The practice of exchanging sexual messages or photos (yes, "sexting") isn't just for single people and politicians. It's also popular among committed couples. According to a study by psychology professor Michelle Drouin, 80% of young adults in relationships sent or received naughty texts, and 60% upped the ante by exchanging photos or videos.

(why aren’t you in it)

O-M-G, in what was possibly the fastest response for Gut Check Trivia, it took Jonathan Kappler (@jonathankappler) seven seconds to correctly tweet “Merry Christmas” – the correct answer. Sean Evins (@Evins) was a close second, but not quite as fast as Kappler.

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 (21 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Hmmm...speaking of annoying oranges....

    December 3, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve.
    No more hemming and hawing. No more pussy-footing around. Times, they have changed. We're calling a spade a spade. The administration is wasting NO TIME in letting the American people know EXACTLY what is going on, what is being proposed, and why it is being summarily rejected.
    Four years. Four years I waited to have THIS President send these checker-playing wannabes to hell.
    If you don't have the wit you really should quit because it is more than evident that you're not equipped.
    The time for clowning around at the expense of America, and her middle class is OVER.
    The people have spoken and we've issued a very clear mandate that the President is hellbent on keeping.
    Forward America.

    December 3, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Larry L

    Boner and his Tea Party Republicans are bought and paid for by the fat cats. I hope all of the Fox News drones thank them as they sacrifice the middle-class for the good of the ultra-rich.

    December 3, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Yonni

    We the American people should have a privilege to directly negotiate with Norquist without the middle man Boehner we could save time and energy

    December 3, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    .....RAISE TAX ON WHOEVER MAKES 250k or more. Hand off of SS, MEDICARE, these are poor man'S DIRE NEEDS.

    December 3, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. ELH

    Enough is enough. The only way the GOP was able to by-pass the Pay-Go rules in 2001 and 2003 and enact the GW Bush tax cuts without identifying spending cuts to offset the reduction in revenue is because they made the tax cuts TEMPORARY! Time for them to go away for everyone. Let the Bush era tax cuts expire across the board. We can talk about "cutting rates" when the national debt is $0.00

    December 3, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Bruning von Stauffen

    Let all of the spending cuts & tax increases occur as scheduled next month, just as Obama signed into law. He's the one who signed the previous federal spending bill into law that contained all of the tax increases & spending cuts. Time to own up to what he put his signature on. If he didn't seriously intend for it to happen, he shouldn't have signed it.

    December 3, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. Bruning von Stauffen

    Levy an 18% income tax on EVERYONE, regardless of income level. I'm tired of paying income tax each year while almost half the people in this country pay nothing ANG get a check from the government.

    December 3, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. luckjoe

    Obama initially wanted $800 billion in additional spending, now he wants $1.6 trillion in additional spending. More stimulus spending and also cuts to medicare. (Obamacare already takes $715 billion from medicare) Also, the authority to raise the debt ceiling at his whim. Main stream media is not interested in reporting Bammy's plan to bankrupt the country.

    December 3, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. James

    The American people should not be afraid of the fiscal cliff. The economy is improving all the time and will be able to weather the short term effects until the President retro-actively pass tax cuts for the Middle Class. I cannot see the GOP refusing to pass tax cuts for the middle class as it would mean that they will be severely punished in the Mid-term election and in the next presidential election. Hilary will be a formidable candidate and the GOP intransigence over middle class tax cuts and tax increase on the rich will only make her bid to succeed Obama that much easier.

    December 3, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. RandyF

    If make less than $250k a year and vote Repub you are brain dead.

    December 3, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Gurgyl

    These idiots want to raise "PAYROLL TAX", do they have BRAIN AT ALL????

    December 3, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  13. eviltaxpayer

    Why doesnt the media ask why were going on 3 years without a budget thanks to harry reid?

    December 3, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |

    LMAO! How fitting that the only voting bloc the GOP won (elderly people) is now under attack by the GOP!!! It just keeps getting better each day. Pretty soon, even the GOP's own dogs won't want to see them walk through the front door!!!! LOL Nice job, crying man! Keep up the good work!

    December 3, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. Sorensen

    Poor, old Boehner. He can't win, ever. He is now caught by the extreme right of his sick party and the immense fear
    that he might never be reelected as speaker. What a pathetic "leader". Just right for the GOP. Old, tired, irrelevant.

    December 3, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. CBR

    Just saw Speaker Boehner on television decrying the President's stand on this fiscal cliff. Clearly he does not understand that President Obama will serve another term and that they MUST work together. Speaker Boehner continues to make this difficult just as he and Minority Leader McConnell did for the last four years. It is time that the American people spoke up. Send your cards and letters to the Speaker to let him know how you feel. Somehow he has the mistaken idea that his party won the presidency and if he stalls long enough someone knew will be in the White House. Perhaps CNN can let him know who won the election, what the Americans stated when asked about taxes for the rich, and why this all is very urgent.

    The Republicans spent and spent on the war without budgeting to do so. They were not the least bit interested in balancing the budget or keeping the balanced budget. Do not come forward now and make these statements. IT just does not work.

    December 3, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  17. Flyboy7588

    And the wealth redistribution, class warfare BS continues with the Leftist in the White House. Good for the GOP to stand up to this radical idealoque. Half the country knows the man is a moron. The other half doesn't have a clue that they are being flushed down the toilet with the rest of us. Boehner should tell Obama, the former community agitator and his buddy "tax cheat" Geitner to shove their tax increases where the sun don't shine.

    December 3, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. Jack29

    The public is behind Obama, and If I were him, I'd continue to give republicans nothing.

    Tax cuts for the working class & middle class, and NONE for the already piggishly bloated upper class....they would STILL have it easier here than in every other first world nation on earth, so full steam ahead!

    December 3, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. rob

    From the Whitehouse reacction:

    "Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded that middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires."

    They continue to use this "independant analysis" when during the campaign it was COMPLETELY DEBUNKED. It is a manufactured conclusion that middle class taxes will have to rise CNN and the other liberal media will allow this kind of misleading propaganda to be used by the Dems over and over again. The whole Fiscal Cliff issue is and has always been a cynical political ploy by the Democrats and their allies at CNN etc. to try to fundamentally transform America into a country of DEPENDANTS where the benevolent Government will provide all our needs at the expense of those evil "RICH PEOPLE" who dare to make more than $200000 a year without giving most of it to that same Government.

    This form of Socialized Democracy has never worked anywhere in history and it will not work now.

    December 3, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  20. rob

    Even with the 9/11 attacks and the Wars, Bush's tax cuts, which lowered taxes on the middle class and took most lower income people off the rolls completely, was a success. Tax revenues rose dramatically giving us as low as 167 Billion deficit in fiscal 2007 before the financial crisis. (BTW, the crisis exposed a faulty system that was a product of 15 years of bad Govt policies brought to us by both political parties)

    The Republicans should hold firm on their positions as amatter of principal and force the Dems to negotiate hell with what the liberal media says, they will always support Obama. The House should pass its plan and send it to the Senate over and over again untill they come to the table face to face and make a deal.

    December 3, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. Rick

    The money made from raising taxes on the wealthiest is chump change. A good way to keep everyone's eyes off the fact that federal outlays are HUGE compared to the balanced budget final years of Clinton. Spending is the problem. Until this president is willing to address that at all, I'm willing to ride over the cliff rather than bend to his BS plan that will do nothing to stem spending. ----middle class guy who will get screwed but we gotta start decreasing this government.

    December 3, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |