CNN's GUT CHECK for January 17, 2013
January 17th, 2013
05:28 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for January 17, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for January 17, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING: BIDEN CALLS ON MAYORS TO RESPOND TO 'CARNAGE'… Vice President Joe Biden urged 273 mayors to rally behind the Obama administration's new push for tough control laws on Thursday, saying government at all levels has an "urgent and immediate" call to trample the “epidemic of gun violence.” “I know we don't have absolute unanimity in this ballroom, nor do we in any ballroom,” he told the audience at the annual Conference of Mayors in Washington. “We all know...we have to do something, we have to act. I hope we agree there's a need to respond to the carnage on our streets and in our schools.” – Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak

BIDEN PLEDGES TO TAKE DEBATE TO AMERICAN PEOPLE: “This time will not be like times that have come before. We're going to take this fight to the halls of Congress. We're going to go beyond that. We're going to go around the country to the American people.”

GOING VIRAL: FIRST LADY GETS BANGS Check out Michelle Obama's new look, unveiled in a birthday tweet.

(Answer below)
Name three celebrities on Twitter who have more followers than President Barack Obama (@BarackObama)?

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

A coordinated push that we have been following caught our eye today as Obama’s grassroots army takes a step in a new direction: public policy.

Heralded for its ‘ground game’ and digital breadth, Obama’s campaign team headed by Jim Messina put a beacon in the water that they are going to put their energy and social network behind gun legislation. The (former) Obama campaign manager wrote today in an email to campaign supporters:

“The president will not wait. Yesterday, he signed 23 executive actions to start moving our country in the right direction. And he's calling on Congress to act on four legislative measures - closing background check loopholes, banning military-style assault weapons, making our schools safer, and increasing access to mental health services - right away.

Take a look at the president's plan to reduce gun violence, and stand with him in support.”

Then he later added on Twitter:

Jim Messina (@Messina2012)
Whoa. Early response to gun violence petition this morning very strong. Thousands of signers already

Messina’s message was tweeted by Obama digital guru Teddy Goff and thus the viral campaign began.

On top of Messina’s outreach, Obama’s campaign volunteer army is reuniting this weekend under the banner of the “Obama legacy project.” In an email invitation, the pitch is made for “what’s next in our movement”: “Empower and invest in our base for the future of our movement by educating conference attendees about the legislative issues at stake, building skills, and strengthening community.”

Perhaps the most interesting part of the various messages was the sign off to Messina’s e-mail sign off, as it marks the next-gen casual tone that is part of Obama social success as well as winks at the notion that they are simultaneously flirting at their political power:

“More soon, Messina, Campaign Manager, Obama for America.”

Welcome to the new era of the “permanent campaign” - now applicable to second-term presidents.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: The great reset: Will Obama's second inauguration let America turn the page?
On the eve of the inauguration, President Barack Obama's second term may also be America's second chance. The country, in the last four years, has been battered by a paralyzing economic earthquake while trying to reconcile a debt load threatening future generations. So, days before the swearing-in, the nation, too, is set to regroup. What it does differently this time around and the decisions people make, experts say, will speak to the kind of America that emerges during the next four years. – Halimah Abdullah

Leading Drudge: Where Are The Americans?!
Twenty-five foreign hostages escaped and six were killed on Thursday when Algerian forces launched an operation to free them at a remote desert gas plant, Algerian sources said, as one of the biggest international hostage crises in decades unfolded. – Jamine Chikhi

Leading HuffPo: Fury!
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is proposing legislation to nullify President Obama's executive actions on gun policy, claiming that the president's actions are a breach of constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. During a Wednesday appearance on Fox News' “Hannity,” the Republican senator outlined his plan to challenge Obama's anti-gun violence package. “Our founding fathers were very concerned about us having separation of powers. They didn't want to let the president become a king.” Paul said. “In this bill, we will nullify anything the president does that smacks of legislation.” – Mollie Reilly

Leading Politico: Dem hopefuls see political gain in gun fight
The “It” issue energizing the Democratic base heading into the 2012 election was gay marriage — whether President Barack Obama would ultimately support the concept, whether the first statewide ballot initiatives supporting it would pass and whether the party could channel the passion around this latest cultural barrier into electoral gains. With victories notched last November, the Democratic rank and file — and a number of prospective 2016 hopefuls — are channeling similar energy and expectations into gun control. The Newtown massacre is the impetus for proposals that governors, widely believed to be considering presidential campaigns, have pushed through quickly this week and the issue in general is becoming a mantra for party hopefuls trying to bottle the latest political zeitgeist. – Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns

Leading The New York Times: No Votes Disguise Yes Sympathies for Some in G.O.P.
House Republicans have their Tea Party Caucus. They have their G.O.P. Doctors Caucus. And, joining the list of varied special interest caucuses, they recently picked up another influential but much more unofficial group — the Vote No/Hope Yes Caucus. These are the small but significant number of Republican representatives who, on the recent legislation to head off the broad tax increases and spending cuts mandated by the so-called fiscal cliff, voted no while privately hoping — and at times even lobbying — in favor of the bill’s passage, given the potential harmful economic consequences otherwise. – Ashley Parker

The political bites of the day

- Limbaugh posits about undocumented gun owners -
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “I wonder, with all these new gun laws, you know what we're going to end up with? Let me make a prediction. … Such as, you know, we're going to have massive registration of gun owners. I mean, the objective here on the part of the regime is to have every gun owner documented. Which means, you know, nothing always works exactly as planned. We're going to end up with undocumented gun owners. … And my question is, will the undocumented gun owners get free health care and in-state tuition? Earned income tax credits? Maybe even some Fast and Furious guns, 'cause we are going to have undocumented gun owners. There's no question about it.”

- Clinton pledges to do everything to ‘disrupt’ al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb -
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON AT A MEETING WITH THE SOMALI PRESIDENT: “I think it is important that we put this latest incident into the broader context. This incident will be resolved – we hope – with a minimum loss of life. But when you deal with these relentless terrorists – life is not in any way precious to them. But when this incident is over we know we face a continuing and ongoing problem. And we are going to do everything we can to work together to confront and disrupt al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. We are going to be working with our friends and partners in North Africa. We are supporting the French operation in Mali with intelligence and airlift. We are working with a half a dozen African countries as we did with respect to Somalia over so many years to help them be prepared to send in African troops. … And we are prepared to fund airlift for those troops into Mali.”

- No negotiating, but the obligation is currently with Congress -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY DURING THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “The president has made clear he is not going to negotiate over the debt ceiling. It is an obligation the Congress retains for itself. If it feels it can’t handle it we would happily, as the president said, take that obligation on to the executive branch but we have to pay our bills. We are the United States of America. We are not a third tier economy that goes month to month or every half year and casting doubt on whether or not we are going to meet our obligations. That’s not who we are.”

- Kaine sees code in word ‘nullification’ -
SEN. TIM KAINE OF VIRGINIA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “There's the completely anti-government wing that will make that argument. I guess they made it against President Bush 41 when he banned the importation of certain kind of assault weapons and made it against executive order signed by President Clinton. Presidents have the power to do executive orders. That’s a power deferred to the president by congress and the constitution. There are those - as Rand Paul says, he wants to nullify. That’s code word. Nullification, look when it's been used. It’s kind of a state's rights argument that gets used in times of great controversy, but the president is acting by executive power, legally confer conferred on him these executive orders are basically common-sense things, basically geared around sharing information, sharing information to reduce gun violence.”

- Swearing-in vs. swearing-at -
JIMMY FALLON ON HIS LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW ON NBC: “On Sunday, the White House will hold a private swearing-in ceremony for President Obama. Not to be outdone, on Sunday, Republicans will hold a private swearing-at ceremony for President Obama.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Carroll Doherty (@CarrollDoherty)
What Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have in common: Neither is very popular with members of his own party.

Security Clearance (@natlsecuritycnn)
Clinton's #Benghazi hearing next Wed. The very next day Kerry gets his confirmation hearing. #Libya

Alex Pappas (@AlexPappasDC)
Ron Paul supporter runs for RNC chairman - faces questions about loyalty to Romney/Ryan ticket

Mike Allen (@mikeallen)
The white board is back: Fox News expected to announce renewing Karl Rove contract as contributor through 2016 election

Luke Russert (@LukeRussert)
At House #GOP retreat members will be taught how to have "successful communication w minorities & women."

lou_dubois (@lou_dubois)
Al Pacino to play Joe Paterno in upcoming biopic 'Happy Valley' (actor playing Jerry Sandusky TBD)

TOP TWEETS: The Manti Te’o Edition

The Fix (@TheFix)
If Lance Armstrong hasn't called Manti Teo to thank him, he should.

Alabama Crimson Tide (@RollTide)
Manti Te'o wasn't missing tackles in the National Championship, he was hugging his girlfriend.

Sara Ganim (@sganim)
Timothy Burke @bubbaprog tells CNN, ND had to stand behind Teo, that's what it's boosters would want.

Ryan Teague Beckwith (@ryanbeckwith)
For once, a sex scandal revolves around someone not having sex with a woman who doesn't exist.

Delvon Roe (@DelvonRoe10)
If you think AJ McCarrons girlfriend being miss Alabama in 2012 is impressive, Manti Teo's girlfriend was miss Narnia in 2010, 2011,and 2012 (@ballsdotie)
Brent Musberger hasn't seen Te'o's girlfriend either, but he is assured, real or fake, that she is smokin'.

Gut Check DVR: Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford will give CNN’s Piers Morgan a national exclusive interview regarding his recent announcement on running for Congress and how his former digressions might affect that race.


There are four celebrities who have more Twitter followers than President Barack Obama, according to the website Twitter Counter.

Lady Gaga (@ladygaga), Justin Bieber (@justinbieber), Katy Perry (@katyperry) and Rihanna (@rihanna) all have over 27 million followers, a number that far surpassed the 25.8 million followers that the president can boast about (and we are sure he does).

Gaga is the top tweep with 33.1 million followers. Bieber is second with 33.08 million and Perry is third with 31.3 million.

Time for a #humblebrag – @cnn crossed seven million followers last week and @cnnbrk now has over 10 million followers, the only news organization to reach the 8 digit level on Twitter.

So we may not have the reach of Mrs. Poker Face or the Biebs, but we are pretty proud.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Jacques Stambouli (@stambouli) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. Here is your question Jacques: Do you follow the three people ahead of Obama?

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