CNN's GUT CHECK for December 5, 2012
December 5th, 2012
05:27 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for December 5, 2012

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

THEY'RE LEAVING: LAWMAKERS' LONG WEEKEND With the nation heading full steam toward the $7 trillion fiscal cliff, the House of Representatives is taking a break without a deal in place yet to avert the mix of steep spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in a matter of weeks. House GOP leaders said they sent their members home because there is nothing that requires a vote. "I'll be here and I'll be available at any moment to sit down with (President Barack Obama) to get serious about solving this problem," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio said during a news conference on Wednesday. The move also sends a message to the White House: It's your move Mr. President. – Halimah Abdullah

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID IN A SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “I believe there are 26 reasonable Republicans willing to put their promise to serve their constituents ahead of their pledge to serve Grover Norquist. So, I say to my friend John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, you control matters on the House floor. No one else does. You have the ability, and no one else has the ability, to put this on the floor for a vote. You should do that. That would be the American way.”
SPEAKER BOEHNER AT A PRESS CONFERENCE AFTER THE WEEKLY REPUBLICAN MEETING ON CAPITOL HILL: “This week, we made a good faith offer to avert the fiscal crisis and that offer included significant spending cuts and reforms and it included additional revenue and frankly, it was the balanced approach that the president's been asking for. Now we need a response from the White House. We can't sit here and negotiate with ourselves.”

(Answer below)

Prohibition ended on this day in history. What state became the decider when they ratified the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933?

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

By Ashley Killough, CNN

As you’re reading Gut Check, we’re wrapping up an afternoon panel with some of the most respected leaders in the political social media space. They’re gathered here in Washington at “Exploring the 2012 Digital Election,” an event sponsored by Google and CNN.

Mark just finished talking with Andrew Bleeker, senior strategist for Obama for America, and Zac Moffatt, digital director for Romney for President, about using the rapidly evolving tools of the Internet to persuade voters and get the message out beyond traditional television ads and direct mail.

With online outreach becoming an increasingly sizable part of campaign budgets, digital directors now play a key role in campaign strategy. Bleeker and Moffatt, two pioneers in the field, provided their unique, insider perspectives on how to put the campaign trail into the digital realm and what may change in the future.

Here are our five takeaways:

1.) It’s all about investing early: Both practitioners acknowledged that Obama’s campaign had a huge advantage, given that the digital team already had an infrastructure in place from the previous election. Moffatt said it would have been helpful to build their digital team further ahead of the time before Romney won the GOP nomination. When they “ramped,” as he called it, and went from a primary to general election campaign, Moffatt had to expand staff and resources at an exponential rate. But it wasn’t just Moffatt who realized the benefit of investing early. Even though Bleeker was on the winning team, he said if they had to do it all over again, “we’d spend twice as much” early on.

2.) You have to persuade, not just organize: In 2008, Bleeker said social media was a convenient platform to mobilize supporters. The “biggest change” this cycle, he said, was realizing that persuasion had to be “front and center” in social media, not just in advertising but in convincing the electorate who to vote for. In other words, a candidate may be able to show popularity on a Facebook or Twitter page through the number of “likes,” but if those “likes” don’t translate into votes, online campaigns will only go so far.

3.) Social media has become more efficient: Moffatt and Bleeker agreed that social media platforms have made it possible for campaigns to be more persuasive. By building applications that allow for fundraising and more interaction between the campaigns and voters, social media has become more “meaningful,” Bleeker said.

4.) It’s about quality, not quantity: Part of what makes the interaction more meaningful is the ability to microtarget, the two rival digital strategists said. Moffatt said the Romney campaign was able to use geo-location on Facebook, where it could post relevant messages in respective areas. “We were doing 40 to 50 posts a day that most people didn’t see” because they were showing up in targeted areas, he said.

5.) Online has a longer life cycle than TV messaging: With television ads, a commercial may run for only a few days, but those same ads can live online indefinitely. After tallying up the number of times people played Romney ads online, people collectively spent 417 years watching their commercials online, Moffatt said. And according to Charles Scrase, Google’s head of elections, viewers are twice as likely to remember a message if they see it both online and on television.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: The rich will pay more taxes, Boehner says
Taxes on the wealthy are going up, House Speaker John Boehner conceded on Wednesday in challenging President Barack Obama to sit down with him to hammer out a deal for avoiding the fiscal cliff. Obama, however, continued to insist on Republicans first ensuring no tax hike for anyone but the top 2% of Americans as a first step toward a broader agreement on tackling the nation's chronic federal deficits and debt. – Dana Bash and Tom Cohen

Leading Drudge: Detroit: We Voted You In, Now Bail Us Out
The city of Detroit faces a major financial crisis and one member of city council thinks President Barack Obama should step in and help. City Council member JoAnn Watson said Tuesday the citizens support of Obama in last month's election was enough reason for the president to bailout the struggling the city.

Leading HuffPo: Secretary Of...Wait – Dems Fear Potential Gop Scheme
As President Barack Obama's presumed nomination of Susan Rice for secretary of state continues to face controversy over the administration's handling of the consulate attack in Benghazi, there is growing concern among top Democrats that Obama may turn to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as his fallback choice. The concerns have nothing to do with Kerry's ability to handle the Foggy Bottom post. … Instead, Democrats said they worry that Republicans may be using the secretary of state fight as a roundabout way to regain a Senate seat the GOP lost this fall, when Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) was defeated by Elizabeth Warren. The anti-Rice gambit, some Democrats said, has the feel of a Republican long con. – Sam Stein and Joshua Hersh

Leading Politico: Marco Rubio: Winning Hispanic voters a GOP ‘challenge’
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday morning that the Republican Party needs to move into the 21st century. “The challenge for the conservative movement, the challenge for every movement in America … is applying [our] principles to the 21st century,” he said to POLITICO’s Mike Allen at Wednesday’s Playbook Breakfast. “We applied them to the 20th century, but now we have to apply them to the 21st century.” – Emily Schultheis

Leading The New York Times: In Tax Fight, G.O.P. Seeks a Position to Fall Back On
With President Obama insisting on higher tax rates for affluent Americans and winning public support for the idea, Congressional Republicans find themselves in an increasingly difficult political spot and are quietly beginning to look for a way out. Senior Republican leadership aides say they are contemplating a fallback position since a standoff over expiring tax rates will be portrayed by Democrats as evidence that the opposition is willing to allow taxes to rise on the middle class to keep taxes from rising on the rich — and their intransigence could mean taxes go up on rich, poor and middle class alike. – Jonathan Weisman

The political bites of the day

- Republican senator: Just not enough money to go around -
INDIANA REPUBLICAN SEN. DAN COATS AT A HEARING ON FUNDING FOR STORM RELIEF: “Given our current budget situation there just isn’t simply enough money to go around to fund all the essential function of the federal government.”

- Senate Democrats herald Republican Rep. Tom Cole -
DEMOCRATIC SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “You really have to salute Congressman Tom Cole. He was the first one on the other side to dare speak the truth about what should be done on taxes. He's been on TV almost every day making the case to his party and public. The day after Congressman Cole went public, he was dismissed as having a minority opinion. Well, that's not true anymore. His comments sparked a trend. In addition to those Republicans who have spoken out publicly, there are probably dozens of other Tom Coles in the House who just don't feel free to speak their mind but certainly agree with him privately.”

- Avlon: Bush rebuked Romney in first postelection speech -
JOHN AVLON, A CNN CONTRIBUTOR, IN A STORY FOR THE DAILY BEAST: “President George W. Bush’s first post-election speech was a call for immigration reform — and an implicit rebuke of failed GOP nominee Mitt Romney. … The fact that Romney received just 27 percent of Hispanic vote, eight years after Bush got 44 percent, was not far from attendees’ minds, even though Romney’s name went unmentioned. … Bush is not a proud policy wonk. But over the past four years, we have consistently been reminded of what a steadying and centering impulse he was on the most conservative wing of his party. The GOP—hell, the country—missed his voice during the unhinged ground zero mosque debate. Bush was always an advocate of religious tolerance, especially toward Islam at the height of the war on terror.”

- Bush 41 remains in hospital, but making progress -
SPOKESMAN JIM MCGRATH IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT TO CNN: “President Bush's recovery has progressed to the point that he is increasing his physical therapy activities. While no date has been set, his doctors remain cautiously optimistic about his prospects for discharge in the not too distant future.”

- At Indian Nation event, Obama says future bright for Native Americans -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A WHITE HOUSE EVENT: “Throughout Indian country you've got a generation ready to build on what generations before them have built. They're our there stirring with hope and restless for change and ready to take ownership of their future. So, let's make sure our work here is worthy of their efforts. Let's do everything we can to make to get things in the best shape possible for when they're in charge, and over the next four years as long as I have the privilege of serving as your president we're going to keep working together to ensure that the promise of America is fully realized for every Native American.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less













When the 18th Amendment was ratified, the United States became a legally dry country – the sale of alcoholic beverages was outlawed. Prohibition became wildly unpopular in the United States, largely because it failed to eliminate alcohol and cost the government billions to enforce.

Thirteen years after it began, the 21st Amendment was ratified and Americans could drink again.

In order to ratify an amendment, three-fourths of the states must approve the change. On the morning of December 5, 1933, Pennsylvania and Ohio ratified the amendment, bringing the number of states to 35 – one off the necessary 36.

Later that night, however, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment.

There is plenty of irony in the fact that Utah was the deciding vote. Today, Utah has some of the most conservative alcohol laws in the country. The state controls all alcohol sales – one of 18 states to do so – and for many years home brewing beer and wine was illegal.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congratulations to Sean Evins (@Evins) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. After being beaten by Jonathan Kappler (@jonathankappler) on Monday, Evins was the fastest today.

Our inbox awaits:
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing
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 (3 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "The GOP—hell, the country—missed his voice during the unhinged ground zero mosque debate."

    Wow. Now that's really something special coming out of the mouth of an MSM bobblehead who consistently contributed to one of the MSM networks doing everything possible to sensationalize the idiocy coming out of the right wing bigot demagogues over that COMMUNITY CENTER. Still can't manage to call it a COMMUNITY CENTER though, eh King? Still gotta force-focus on only one of many uses intended for the project so it can remain a hot-button controversy, huh? Admit your own role in helping grow and perpetuate that controversy or you're just part of the problem. That entire episode should have been shot down in short order and instead the MSM did everything in its power to embolden and legitimize what really amounted to nothing more than a racist temper tantrum.

    December 5, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  2. Mark Goodman

    America is tired of all the partisan bickering. Regardless of party, we elected these people to work toward the betterment of America. Not the PACS. Not the rich. Not the "informed". America made a mistake re-electing the career politicians. But we must demand that they start working for us as a country. Spending must be kept in check and taxes must be fair for all. The so called entitlements have been paid for by the people. Short changing them now is a hard slap in the face of the middle class that every politician will pay for.

    December 5, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. M T Wallet

    America needs to start paying attention to what our representatives are doing or not doing in our name. Too often we vote along party lines without knowing the true story of the elected officials actions.

    December 5, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |