CNN's GUT CHECK for January 18, 2013
January 18th, 2013
05:05 PM ET
7 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for January 18, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for January 18, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING: HOUSE REPUBLICANS ANNOUNCE VOTE ON THREE-MONTH EXTENSION OF DEBT CEILING While at a GOP retreat, House Republican leaders on Friday announced a vote next week on a three-month extension of the debt limit, with a requirement that both chambers pass a budget or go without pay. The added condition to the short term extension bill aims to force the Democratic-led Senate to pass a budget–something the upper chamber hasn't done in four years. “That is a shameful run that needs to end, this year,” House Speaker John Boehner said in his closing remarks at the retreat, according to excerpts provided by his office. “We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government’s spending problem.” – Deirdre Walsh

NO MENTION OF BUDGET DEMAND: White House spokesman Jay Carney in a written statement to the press… “The President has made clear that Congress has only two options: pay the bills they have racked up, or fail to do so and put our nation into default. We are encouraged that there are signs that Congressional Republicans may back off their insistence on holding our economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education and programs middle class families depend on. Congress must pay its bills and pass a clean debt limit increase without further delay. And as he has said, the President remains committed to further reducing the deficit in a balanced way.”

NO MENTION OF BUDGET DEMAND x 2: Adam Jentleson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in a written statement… “It is reassuring to see Republicans beginning to back off their threat to hold our economy hostage. If the House can pass a clean debt ceiling increase to avoid default and allow the United States to meet its existing obligations, we will be happy to consider it. As President Obama has said, this issue is too important to middle class families' economic security to use as a ploy for collecting a ransom. We have an obligation to pay the bills we have already incurred – bills for which many House Republicans voted.”

SECOND TERM AGENDA FOR THE GOP: ATTRACTING MINORITY VOTERS A KEY GOP GOAL AS OBAMA BEGINS SECOND TERM... Days after President Barack Obama is sworn-in for a second term, Republican leaders from across the country will assemble in the southern city where Obama accepted his party’s presidential nomination in September to strategize a path forward for the GOP in a nation experiencing major demographic shifts. It will be a three-day discussion focused primarily on how to grow the Republican Party by convincing black, Hispanic and Asian voters that the GOP better represents their values than the Democratic Party, according to a party official involved in the planning of the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

GOODBYE MUSTACHE: CNN contributor Alex Castellanos loses his mustache for a cause …

Alex Castellanos (@alexcast)
getting my stache slashed on cnn today at 5:15 for CUREpilepsy. clearly anti-hispanic discrimination from @davidaxelrod #cnn @wolfblitzer

(Answer below)
President Theodore Roosevelt wore a unique ring at his second inauguration. What was contained within the ring?

MORE TRIVIA: Bibles, oaths and parades: Inaugural trivia

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

Today's Fantasy Politics: What if the 2004 presidential race had been Howard Dean vs. George W. Bush?

Early on in the 2004 Democratic primary, the former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was considered a long shot candidate. This view was not only based on polling, but also on Dean’s self-portrayal as an outsider who was detached from the Democratic leadership.

Though Dean, who was one of the first presidential candidates to effectively use the Internet to engage young, exuberant voters, began his campaign by talking about fiscal issues, his vocal criticism of Democrats for supporting the Iraq War is the position that got him the most attention.

But Dean failed to capture mainline Democrats like his primary opponents, Sen. John Kerry and Sen. John Edwards, did. When Dean finished third in Iowa, after being in the lead for much of the contest, the momentum of the Dean campaign began to waver.

And if it wavered after the loss, it was his Iowa concession speech, at the Val-Air Ballroom in West Des Moines, Iowa, that really took the wind out of Dean’s sail.

In what has become known at the “Dean Scream,” the former governor let out raw emotion when he described his campaign’s next steps, leading voters and commentators to see the speech as un-presidential and out-of-control.

“Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York,” shrieked Dean. “And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeah!”

Did the speech end his campaign? No, but it certainly didn’t help the governor. Dean withdrew from the race less than a month later after poor performances in the Wisconsin primary.

Kerry went on to win the Democratic nomination and eventually lost to incumbent President George W. Bush.

But suppose Dean hadn’t finished third in Iowa? What if the “Dean Scream” hadn’t happened and his campaign could have recovered in New Hampshire? Could Dean has beaten Bush?

We got great answers today via email (, Twitter @GutCheckCNN and our Facebook page, here are some of our favorites:

On Facebook (LINK), the sentiment was overwhelmingly towards Bush…

Jonathan M. Williams: “Even as a Democrat, I say Bush would have won this race...and it wouldn't have even been close. In my opinion, Dean would have been labeled a modern day George McGovern.”

Corby Brester: “Bush, unfortunately. Dean would have been looked at as a New England liberal and would have been trounced.”

Jordon Wright: “Bush would of beat Dean. America was unhappy with W. but they were still uneasy about dropping him in the midst of the war and the war on terror.”

But support for Bush was not unanimous. Some commented that Dean would have faired better than Kerry…

Sean Bracken: “Howard Dean. The problem with the Kerry campaign was that they were pushovers when those Bush thugs personally attacked him. Dean was no pushover and wouldn't have took it standing down. Would have been close, but he was a fighter. Too bad he didn't win.”

Jesse Nutter: “Dean would have been the better candidate but he still would most likely have lost.”

Daniel Francis: “Sigh. I love Howard Dean.”

Even almost a decade removed, however, the scream still loomed large:

Kay Evans-Brown: “Are you kidding me? After that insane scream Saddam could have won!”

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Why Sunday? Obama's dual inauguration ceremonies honor tradition and law
President Barack Obama joins a rare collection of presidents on Monday. No, not the fraternity of 21 second-term presidents, but the even more exclusive group of seven presidents whose inaugurations have fallen on a Sunday. By holding a private ceremony–before live television cameras but without a public audience–just before noon on Sunday and a full ceremony on Monday, Obama is following with both the tradition established by his predecessors and the legal obligations the Constitution outlines for inaugurating U.S. leaders. – Dan Merica

Gut Check Full Service: CNN will cover both inaugural ceremonies this weekend, so tune in Sunday and Monday for in-depth coverage of Inaugural events.

Leading Drudge: ‘High On His Power’
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas said Thursday that Barack Obama is “high on his own power” with regard to the president's announced efforts on gun control. Speaking on Laura Ingraham's radio talk show, Cruz, who was just elected to the Senate last November, said “this is a president who has drunk the Kool-Aid.” “He is feeling right now high on his own power, and he is pushing on every front, on guns,” Cruz said. “And I think it's really sad to see the president of the United States exploiting the murder of children and using it to push his own extreme, anti-gun agenda. I think what the president is proposing and the gun control proposals that are coming from Democrats in the Senate are, number one, unconstitutional, and number two, they don't work. They're bad policy.” – Michael Warren for The Weekly Standard

Leading HuffPo: ‘Ridiculous’
House Republicans continue to spend millions of taxpayer dollars defending the federal ban on same-sex marriage in court, most recently committing to dish out up to $3 million. This decision, according to a former Republican congressman, is “ridiculous.” Former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) served in Congress from 1985 to 2007. In August 1996, after voting for the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, Kolbe came out as gay. He says he voted for DOMA because of his belief that the definition of marriage should be left to the states. But now, he believes the Republican Party needs to move on and accept the trend toward acceptance of marriage equality. “I think it's ridiculous, of course, that we're defending DOMA,” Kolbe said in an interview with The Huffington Post. – Amanda Terkel

Leading Politico: Up next for Obama: A looming Democratic divide
As President Barack Obama approaches his second inaugural on Monday, he presides over a party that has largely papered over its divisions for the past four years thanks to the president’s commanding popularity. But almost as soon as the echo of Obama’s inaugural address fades and he instantly becomes a lame duck, Democrats are going to have to face a central and unresolved question about their political identity: Will they become a center-left, DLC-by-a-different-name party or return to a populist, left-leaning approach that mirrors their electoral coalition? – Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman

Leading The New York Times: Democrats Are Split Over How to Shape Approach to Gun Bills
As Congressional Democrats shape their strategy for considering President Obama’s proposals to curb gun violence, sharp divisions are forming between lawmakers who believe the best path to success is through narrowly written bills and a meticulous legislative process, and those who advocate a more guerrilla approach. Many Democrats, and some Senate Republicans, believe the only legislation that has a whisper of a chance of passing would be bills that are tightly focused on more consensus elements like enhancing background checks or limits on magazines, subjected to debate in committee and then brought to a vote after building bipartisan support. – Jennifer Steinhauer

The political bites of the day

- No chance of default, says powerful Republican senator -
REPUBLICAN SENATE MINORITY WHIP JOHN CORNYN OF TEXAS IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE: “We will raise the debt ceiling. We're not going to default on our debt. … I will tell you unequivocally, we're not going to default.”

- On guns, there is no easy answer, says top cop -
NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT COMMISSIONER RAYMOND KELLY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “Universal background checks will make a difference. It will take time for that to have an effect. No easy answer here. We will have a gun problem in America, irrespective of what legislation is passed. The Supreme Court has made certain that the second amendment is alive and well.”

- Christie blasts NRA, calls ad ‘reprehensible’ -
NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE AT A NEW CONFERENCE: “My children had no choice realistically in what I've decided to do with my career and what affect that's had on their lives. The president doesn't have a choice and his children don't have a choice of whether they're going to be protected or not. The reality is our lives in American society don't lead to that, and I think it's awful to bring public figures' children into the political debate. They don't deserve to be there. And I think for any of us who are public figures, you see that kind of ad and you cringe. You cringe because it's just not appropriate in my view to do that. They've got real issues to debate on this topic. Get to the real issues. Don't be dragging peoples' children into this. It's wrong."

Instant Response: Rand Paul: Christie threw a 'tantrum' “I think he (Christie) may be solidifying his support with Democrats in New Jersey and maybe liberal Republicans. If he wishes to do something nationally, I think criticizing the Second Amendment movement and the over-the-top, 'give me my money' stuff, 'I want all sixty billion now or I'll throw a tantrum' – I don't think that's going to play well in the Republican primary.”

- House Republicans seek ‘path to a balanced budget’ -
REPUBLICAN HOUSE MINORITY WHIP KEVIN MCCARTHY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “What we're trying to do is put us on a path to a balanced budget. That's what the Pledge to America said. April 15th is the deadline for both houses to pass a budget. A budget is a roadmap to not only where you are but where you can go. Unfortunately the House has passed one the last two times, but the Senate has not, and what has that created? A $16 trillion debt. An idea of not knowing where our economy is going to go.”
Wishes Obama was a governor: “Normally, in a divided government, you achieve big things. Think about it. When Ronald Reagan was president, he had Tip O'Neill, a Democrat, and Rostenkowski, a Democrat chairman of Ways and Means. And they reformed the tax code. Bill Clinton becomes president, he loses the majority, he has Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole. Again, philosophical different positions. But they reformed welfare and the balanced the budget. The fundamental difference is both those presidents had been governors before, and they learned to work with both sides. Unfortunately, this president, I hope he learned in the first four years on how to come to an agreement.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick)
After years of lying to my face, Lance Armstrong apologizes in an email. He can keep it. My column:

David Hobby (@strobist)
There is so much unworthy attention being lavished upon Lance Armstrong that I almost feel as if Donald Trump should be involved somehow.

Brooke Baldwin (@BrookeBCNN)
BREAKING - "@WWLTV BREAKING: Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin indicted on federal corruption charges

Steve Scully (@SteveScully)
Sen. Leahy tells C-SPAN his own kids are not real 'impressed' with his new title – President Pro Temp – full intv Sunday on NEWSMAKERS 10 am

Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN)
Stephen Colbert's sister, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, will run as a Dem in SC-1. But source says she has voted in GOP primaries, including 2010

Gregory Wallace (@gregorywallace)
When Clinton started to birdie on the back nine, Obama said he had to scramble and bailed out on their game-

John Berman (@johnsberman)
Broadcasting from Mall all weekend for Inauguration. Dismayed to learn this mall apparently has no food court.

Heading to Inauguration Day events on foot? We have a pedestrian map with access points to the Mall and parade route

How are you watching the inauguration and why? We have partnered with Instagram to look at Obama's second inauguration from the people's perspective. If you're watching the inaugural events, we want to hear from you. Grab your phone and snap a photo of your view on the national mall, in your living room or at a watch party anywhere around the world. Upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #CNN. We will be showing the best on TV and online.


When President Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated for his second term on March 4, 1905, the Republican president wore a ring that contained a lock of President Abraham Lincoln’s hair.

According to the Senate historian, Roosevelt borrowed the ring from Secretary of State John Hay, a man who had served as Lincoln’s personal secretary some 40 years earlier.

After receiving the ring, Roosevelt wrote to Hay and thanked him for the memento. “Surely no other President, on the eve of his inauguration, has ever received such a gift from such a friend,” Roosevelt wrote. “I am wearing the ring now; I shall think of it and you as I take the oath tomorrow.”

In Roosevelt’s autobiography, he wrote “When I was inaugurated on March 4, 1905, I wore a ring he (John Hay) sent me the night before, containing the hair of Abraham Lincoln. This ring was on my finger when the Chief Justice administered to me the oath of allegiance to the United States.”

Roosevelt was a long time admirer of Lincoln’s and even watched his funeral procession as a kid in New York. In some ways, Roosevelt saw himself as Lincoln’s rightful successor – both were Republicans – and he regularly invoked the slain president in speeches.

Newspaper reports from the days after Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theater in 1865 noted that doctors clipped off pieces of the president’s hair and gave them to his wife and others. According to Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, clips of the president’s hair were given out while Lincoln was still living.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Peter Sonneveld on Facebook and Jacques Stambouli (@stambouli) on Twitter for correctly answering the last Gut Check Trivia question of the week. Happy Friday all.

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Filed under: 2012 • CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    House GOP/Teatrolls offer debt ceiling budget deal that violates 27th Amendment. MSM sweeps it under rug. Story at 11.

    BTW, haha...he looks like he's doing "jazz hands" above lol. Didn't anyone ever tell him that the only way to be taken seriously by the idiot Amurikan populace is to use a proper "speaking fist"?

    January 18, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "Broadcasting from Mall all weekend for Inauguration. Dismayed to learn this mall apparently has no food court."

    Have no fear. The GOP/Teatrolls will be serving up all the sh-t sammiches you can eat all weekend to distract from Obama's 2nd inauguration.

    January 18, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Name lynn

    Cut check what the different, cut or not obama is trying to work with the white house leaders but they dont want to work with him. What obama says goes its just his skin color, an obama want hurt the poor an middle class people.

    January 18, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. non gun owning citizen

    I want to know what the functional difference between a legal semi auto hunting rifle and an "assault weapon" is. There is none. Neither are automatics already banned already. Slippery slope.

    January 18, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  5. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    Now the gop bafoons from the house try and hold the senate hostage and blackmail them to get their way .gop lost the election in every way ,shape ,and forum ,get a brain ,nobody is buying your crap ,just pass the bill for the full year you gop losers and then pack your bags for your 2014 election beatdown !!!!!

    January 19, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  6. CBP

    The lack of a budget is a big problem. However, the GOP did not want to do anything which might have helped President Obama to get re-elected. Both John Boehner and Mitch McConnell made the remarks at the inauguration of President Obama. In the end the president was re-elected and the congressional members of the GOP were to blame. They did nothing for four years and then they wondered why the American people gave them failing grades. Now they want ot pass something for 3 months and put caveats on it as well. We need the debt ceiling raised so that the government bills can be paid. The GOP needs to stop playing games, pass the debt ceiling bill to cover the next year and then begin work on a new budget for 2914 -2015. This is not the time to hold this bill hostage to get the President to do what they want him to do. The 2014 budget should reflect new spending bills and every bill must contain an accounting of how each item will be paid for. No more Pork! Do what the American people want and stop trying to force the minority opinion on us. Work together to solve problems and to find ways to cut the budget. First things first> Cut the salaries of our representatives and of those working for them.

    January 19, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |