CNN's GUT CHECK for January 16, 2013
January 16th, 2013
05:37 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for January 16, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for January 16, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING: OBAMA ANNOUNCES 23 EXECUTIVE “ACTIONS,” ASKS CONGRESS TO PASS GUN LAWS… President Barack Obama announced 23 executive actions on gun policy at a White House event today and urged Congress to pass gun laws that would require background checks on all gun sales, restore a ban on “military-style assault weapons,” ban gun magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds and toughen penalties on people who sell guns to those who can't have them.

CAPITAL WATCH: CNN POLL: OBAMA AND BIDEN APPROVAL RISING The president's approval rating stands at 55% in the poll, which was released Wednesday, with 43% saying they disapprove of the job Obama is doing in the White House. According to the survey, nearly six in ten approve of the job Vice President Joe Biden is doing, slightly higher than the number who approve of his boss.

INTERESTING ANALYSIS ON GUN POLLING: According to the CNN/Time poll, 55% favor stricter gun control laws, with 37% saying that they strongly support such laws. Forty-four percent oppose such measures, including 27% who say they strongly oppose stricter gun control laws. “Those numbers suggest that the change in public opinion in the wake of Newtown may come mostly in the intensity of feelings for and against gun control,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Gun control opponents in the past have developed a reputation for holding stronger views on the issue than supporters of gun control. But in the current poll, about two-thirds of those who favor stricter gun control laws feel strongly about that. That's a bit higher than the six in ten gun control opponents who strongly oppose stricter gun control. How strongly Americans feel about gun control may matter more to the success or failure of legislation than the overall numbers.

(Answer below)
What president issued the most executive orders per term?

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

Whether it was the halls of Congress, Tremont Street in Boston, intersection of Main and Gervais in Columbia, South Carolina, or Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the political battle over gun rights took center stage today.

Despite the unified focus of the news cycle on President Barack Obama’s comprehensive plan to address guns and his opponents campaigns to discredit it, two things jumped out at us:

1.) The span of polarization on this issue as illustrated by the American Civil Liberties Union’s statement about the president’s plan;
2.) An NRA advertisement that reminds us of the political punch a message campaign can make, even if it doesn’t have a lot of money behind it.

Up first, the ACLU and its opposition to one of Obama’s proposals - encouraging more police in schools. It is a political position that is likely to raise eyebrows from conservative and liberals alike even as the organization encouraged that the money spent on police be used to help prevent violence in other ways.

“We have several concerns about the administration incentivizing police departments and school districts to put more police officers in schools,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. “We fear that neutral sounding safety policies, such as putting more cops in school will lead to the over-incarceration of school-age children, especially students of color and students with disabilities, who are disproportionately arrested and prosecuted for issues that would normally be handled by school administrators when law enforcement is introduced into schools.”

The ACLU urges both Congress and the administration to put in place active measures to insure non-discrimination and to protect the civil rights of young people, otherwise the results could be devastating. Schools should be encouraged to use funding for efforts that proactively improve learning opportunities and school climate for all students, such as training for teachers, additional counselors and health professionals, and more evidence-based programs to support students.

“Teachers and administrators should have the ability to teach and to retain primary control over the punishment of students,” Murphy stated. “Despite the president’s best intentions, funding more police officers in schools will turn sanctuaries for education into armed fortresses.”

Then there is the National Rifle Association’s television commercial, which is likely to be seen more by people who view it on the NRA’s web site than on the Sportsman Channel. The ad accuses Obama of hypocrisy for being "skeptical" about placing armed guards at schools, while his own two daughters are protected by the U.S. Secret Service and attend a private school with a security department.

The ad has caused a tremendous uproar because it invokes the president’s daughters – which the media and political opponents have traditionally afforded privacy. The commercial is running on a specialized cable network and it is unclear how much the NRA is paying to run it, but after reviewing ad rates for the Sportsman Channel we suspect it is a very small buy.

But the NRA is not alone in seeking “earned media” for a television ad on this issue. The high profile pro-gun regulation group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, hyped a television ad earlier this month to coincide with the second anniversary of the murder of six people and wounding of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona. Mayors Against Illegal Guns spent about $20,000 total to run the ad, according to data collected by Campaign Media Analysis Group. Yet, the ad received many “free runs” and views online by people sharing and discussing its contents on cable and website alike.

As we have learned from the campaign operatives from this most recent election cycle, a strategically targeted viral campaign is just as effective, and sometimes more valuable, than a highly priced 30 second television ad.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNN Politics: Senate Democrats hold key to passage of gun legislation
Unlike most issues these days that divide along party lines, the immediate fate of President Obama's new gun proposals will depend not as much on Republicans as his fellow Democrats in the Senate. Senate Democratic leadership sources tell CNN that passing any new legislation will be extremely difficult because more than a dozen vulnerable Democrats from conservative states will probably resist much of what the president is pushing. – Dana Bash

Gut Check Full Service: President Barack Obama signed 23 executive actions on gun violence. Here are the highlights…
1.) Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
4.) Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
9.) Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
11.) Nominate an ATF director.
13.) Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14.) Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
16.) Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
22.) Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

Leading Drudge: War On Crazy: Obama Deputizes Doctors
According to a background briefer provided by the White House, President Barack Obama is asking doctors to help deal with guns. – Daniel Halper for the Weekly Standard

Leading HuffPo: Bold
In a bold and potentially historic attempt to stem the increase in mass gun violence, President Barack Obama unveiled on Wednesday the most sweeping effort at gun control policy reform in a generation. The proposal, which comes at the end of a month-long review process spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, is broken down into four key subsections: law enforcement, the availability of dangerous firearms and ammunition, school safety and mental health. – Sam Stein and John Rudolf

Leading Politico: Obama guns plan meets fast resistance
President Barack Obama didn’t even get an hour before the hopes of passing his expansive gun control package seemed to get bounced back by Capitol Hill. Almost immediately after the president finished announcing a plan that centered on a universal background check system and new bans on assault weapons ban and high capacity magazines, Senate Democrats indicated that they may not even hold a vote on any of the proposals — and House Speaker John Boehner, whose Republican conference opposes new restrictions, punted to the Senate, saying the House wouldn’t act before the Senate did. – Reid J. Epstein and Jennifer Epstein

Leading The New York Times: Obama Calls for Broad Action on Guns
President Obama called upon Congress on Wednesday to toughen America’s gun laws to confront mass shootings and everyday gun violence, betting that public opinion has shifted enough to support the broadest push for gun control in a generation. At a White House event at noon, Mr. Obama announced plans to introduce legislation by next week that includes a ban on assault weapons, limits on high-capacity magazines, expanded background checks for gun purchases and new gun trafficking laws to crack down on the spread of weapons across the country. – Michael D. Shear and Peter Baker

Leading CNN Money: Gun industry thrives in face of Obama ban proposal
Gun stocks rose Wednesday, even as President Obama called on Congress to pass an assault weapon ban. The stock prices for Smith & Wesson Holding Co. and Sturm, Ruger & Co. rose about 4%. The stock for Sturm, Ruger has risen 13% in the month since the shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 20 children and six educators dead. – Aaron Smith

The political bites of the day

- Repugnant and cowardly -
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight. But to go so far as to make the safety of the President's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”

- Republicans quickly meet Obama with disapproval on guns -
SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM OF SOUTH CAROLINA IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “The gun control plans brought forward by President Obama fail to address the real issues and I’m confident there will be bipartisan opposition to his proposal. One bullet in the hands of a homicidal maniac is one too many. But in the case of a young mother defending her children against a home invader - a real-life event which recently occurred near Atlanta - six bullets may not be enough. Criminals aren’t going to follow legislation limiting magazine capacity. However, a limit could put law-abiding citizens at a distinct disadvantage when confronting a criminal.”
TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “The vice president’s committee was appointed in response to the tragedy at Newtown, but very few of his recommendations have anything to do with what happened there. Guns require a finger to pull the trigger. The sad young man who did that in Newtown was clearly haunted by demons and no gun law could have saved the children in Sandy Hook Elementary from his terror.”
SEN. MARCO RUBIO OF FLORIDA IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “Nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook. President Obama is targeting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence. Rolling back responsible citizens' rights is not the proper response to tragedies committed by criminals and the mentally ill. Making matters worse is that President Obama is again abusing his power by imposing his policies via executive fiat instead of allowing them to be debated in Congress. President Obama's frustration with our republic and the way it works doesn't give him license to ignore the Constitution.”

- Keeping an eye on moderate Democrats -
SEN. MARK UDALL OF COLORADO IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “President Obama's comprehensive plan to curb gun violence is exactly the type of multi-faceted approach we need to drive the debate on how to prevent future tragedies from occurring. I plan to study his proposal in detail and to work with Colorado gun owners, hunters, sportsmen, mental health professionals and law enforcement, among others, to plan a collaborative way forward. However, in the wake of the Aurora and Newtown shootings, one thing is clear: We need comprehensive solutions that protect our children, prevent criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining guns, and ensure responsible gun ownership consistent with the Second Amendment.”

- Conservative media draws comparison between gun violence actions and Obamacare -
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “It's all an exploitation of a very tragic and sad event. In this case, it's Sandy Hook. It could be a hurricane, but Sandy Hook, this is the starting point for this, and it's simply the excuse for the left to do everything they can to implement more and more of their nirvana or utopian agenda, like health care was, Obamacare was. … The truth of the matter is that these elitist leftists who want to control every aspect or as much of life as they can do so precisely because they have no faith in you.”
DRUDGE HEADLINE: “Obama using gun issue to advance health law”
THE WEEKLY STANDARD: “Obama Asks Doctors to Help Deal With Guns”
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: “Obamacare Dragged Into Gun Control”

- Home, home on the range -
SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR KEN SALAZAR ANNOUNCED HE IS STEPPING DOWN IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “I look forward to returning to my family and Colorado after eight years in Washington, D.C.”

Gut Check Full Service Part Deux: Who is staying, who is going? Hillary Clinton is leaving State (Sen. John Kerry nominated), Leon Panetta is leaving Defense (Chuck Hagel nominated), Timothy Geithner is leaving Treasury (Jack Lew nominated), Hilda Solis is leaving Labor, Lisa Jackson is leaving the Environmental Protection Agency and Ken Salazar is leaving Interior. Eric Holder is staying at Justice, Janet Napolitano is staying at the Department of Homeland Security, Kathleen Sebelius will remain at Health and Human Services, Arne Duncan will stay on at Education, Tom Vilsack will stay on at Agriculture and Eric Shinseki is staying at Veteran Affairs. Play along at home.

- Watch the Press: Campaign 2012 review: “lackluster” campaign -
THE TYNDALL REPORT REVIEWS THE YEAR IN NEWS: The presidential campaign of 2012 was a lackluster affair, following the trend: contests involving an incumbent (2012, 2004, 1996, 1992) have always made less news than open races (2008, 2000, 1988). Barack Obama ran a no-drama bid, attracting only one-third of the coverage of his rival. First, Mitt Romney had to wage both a primary and a general campaign; second, as a relative unknown, he attracted more scrutiny. In all, coverage most resembled Bill Clinton’s easy victory in 1996. … The Most Newsworthy Man of the Year was the aforesaid Mitt Romney, for generating campaign headlines almost singlehandedly. The Woman was Amb Susan Rice, whose false Sunday morning talking points kept the Benghazi story alive.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Laurie Ure (@LaurieUreCNN)
Obama says "Let's do the right thing," signs 23 gun control executive orders that don't require Congress authorization

Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato)
Only package that might have a chance in Congress: Universal backgr. checks + mental health + violent film/video ratings.

John King (@JohnKingCNN)
Gore 2000 loss made many Dems v timid on guns. Now 2016 players biden, cuomo, o'malley out front; major shift or temporary? Regional? #cnn

Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny)
To his critics, Obama names one supporter of banning military-style assault weapons in 1994: Ronald Reagan.

Reince Priebus (@Reince)
My thoughts on President Obama’s power grab to please his political base - … #2A

Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring)
Dear Journos: The goal of the NRA is to represent & recruit more NRA members, not win NY/DC PR battles. View their actions thru that prism.

Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch)
Hopefully we'll get some real actions on guns tomorrow, not just some stage managed stunt. This is federal imperative, not for states.

John Weaver (@JWGOP)
The 1st over-the-top, out-of-touch ad by the NRA indicates just how nasty, but yet just how important, this fight for gun safety is.

jennifer bendery (@jbendery)
Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy says he expects to spend most of this spring pushing comprehensive immigration reform.

Joey Tranchina (@JoeyFotoFr)
"Hagel hearings set to begin January 31" @haymakers @CNNPolitics — Just another #FeedingDayAtTheZoo

Sam Stein (@samsteinhp)
What a tandem: When John Edwards biked with Lance Armstrong

Rick Klein (@rickklein)
Bill Clinton says Hillary healthy enough that "she's still got time to have three more husbands after me."


In recent decades, the executive order has become a politically charged tool at the disposal of the president, one that generally elicits cries of constitutional subversion from opposing parties. But that wasn’t always the case.

Presidents from the first half of the 20th century were very fond of its power and used it more often than almost all of their predecessors and successors, according to numbers compiled by the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

While Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued the most executive orders at 3,522, that number is skewed because FDR served four terms in the White House (meaning he averaged 880.5 per term).

The president with the highest number of executive orders issued per term was Calvin Coolidge, who in his one term in the Oval Office issued a whopping 1,203. These orders ranged from turning the Zion area of Utah into a national park to mandating the laws of managing the Panama Canal.

Other presidents who used a large number of executive orders include Woodrow Wilson (1,803 in total, 901.5 by term), Herbert Hoover (968 total and by term) and William Howard Taft (724 total and by term).

William Henry Harrison issued no executive orders, while John Adams, James Madison and James Monroe all issued one.

In terms of recent presidents, Ronald Reagan issued the most executive orders with 381, while Bill Clinton issued 364, George W. Bush issued 291 and Barack Obama issued 144 in his first term.

As for today, President Obama signed 23 “executive actions” on guns this afternoon, not “executive orders.” The White House says the president isn't “ordering” these measures, but the difference between actions and orders seems to have more to do with messaging than with the law.

(why aren’t you in it)

Though Peter Ubertaccio (@ProfessorU) guessed two names, we will give him the win today because he did correctly tweet that Coolidge issued the most executive orders.

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Filed under: 2012
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Lunaeros

    Some extra protection against guns getting in the wrong hands such as better background checks are good but it shouldn't go too far.
    And as far as this little girl Julia's letter and Obama's response to it is from what I have heard is a blatant ploy by her extreme left wing father to try and influence the president by using his kid.


    January 16, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |