CNN's GUT CHECK | for January 22, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: WHITE HOUSE ‘WOULD NOT OPPOSE’ HOUSE REPUBLICANS DEBT LIMIT PROPOSAL… OFFICIAL STATEMENT: “The administration supports a long-term increase in the debt limit that would increase certainty and economic stability. Although H.R. 325 is a short-term measure and introduces unnecessary complications, needlessly perpetuating uncertainty in the nation's fiscal system, the administration is encouraged that H.R. 325 lifts the immediate threat of default and indicates that congressional Republicans have backed off an insistence on holding the nation's economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education, and other programs that middle-class families depend on. For these reasons, the Administration would not oppose a short-term solution to the debt limit and looks forward to continuing to work with both the House and the Senate to increase certainty and stability for the economy.”
WHAT CLINTON SHOULD EXPECT: STATE DEPARTMENT ANTICIPATES POINTED QUESTIONING ON CAPITOL HILL… The presence on the House Foreign Relations Committee of several new members and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of at least two possible GOP presidential hopefuls – Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky – has some State Department officials anticipating some aggressive questions to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday about whether recent events involving Islamic extremists in Mali and Algeria are in any way related to decisions by the Obama administration to keep U.S. combat troops - “boots on the ground” - out of Libya. Most of the questioning is expected to re-visit well-worn lines of inquiry about why requests by officials on the ground in Libya for additional security personnel were not heeded, and faulty talking points about whether an anti-Islam video played a role in the September 11, 2012, attack. But sources tell CNN that congressional staffers have also been shown new State Department e-mails and cables indicating that in November 2011, Ambassador Stevens, concerned about the safety of the compound in Benghazi, proposed two options to the State Department: in one, the compound would be moved back into a hotel. In the other, the compound would be moved to an unoccupied villa adjacent the CIA Annex. CIA officials agreed with U.S. diplomatic personnel on the ground that the latter option would be safer – not to mention less expensive than the compound. But Foggy Bottom rejected the idea. – Jake Tapper
2016 WATCH: BIDEN TO CNN: ‘I HAVEN’T MADE THAT DECISION’… As he ran through the inaugural parade Monday shaking hands and hugging bystanders, Vice President Joe Biden looked just like a candidate on the stump. Will he be one come 2016? Biden told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger “I haven’t made that decision. And I don’t have to make that decision for a while.”
SOCIAL WATCH: The United States was abuzz yesterday over President Barack Obama’s inauguration. But so was the rest of the world. According to data collected by Facebook, the top ten countries outside the United States that were buzzing about the inauguration were: Kenya, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Spain and Singapore.
On this day in 2009, President Barack Obama signed an executive order aimed at doing what?
With so many challenges facing the nation in this time of political divide, we can’t help but stop to look at how a contentious debate in Washington is resonating with people beyond the Beltway.
Today, our focus turns to Florida for a story based on a parent’s fear that demonstrates how raw emotion will play a key role in the debate over the Second Amendment.
The murder of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, last month has placed a sense of urgency on how, if at all, do lawmakers place restrictions on guns while weighing the impact it might have on one of the country’s founding principles.
It is an issue that President Barack Obama addressed Monday in his inaugural address.
“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm,” Obama said.
And it is a subject the House and Senate will wrestle with in this new Congress.
Since the Newtown murders, we have seen educators become trained in shooting, and the headline grabbing Arizona Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio empowering a "posse" of armed volunteers to patrol school perimeters.
Now, a mother in Flagler County Florida has donated more than $11,000 so that armed deputies can patrol the elementary school where her child attends.
"We were very pleased because of the safety of our children and employees," Principal Nancy Willis of Old Kings Elementary School told CNN in an interview. So far, the parent, Laura Lauria, has declined to be interviewed.
This topic will be the main course served at many dinner tables tonight and be the topic of discussion around water coolers tomorrow. It is an issue that’s not going to go away anytime soon.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: CNN Poll: Do Americans agree with Obama on climate change and immigration?
Saying "we will respond to the threat of climate change," President Barack Obama used his second inaugural address to put the divisive issue back on the front burner. But according to a new national survey, Americans are divided over whether global warming is a man-made phenomenon. The president also used his speech to highlight the controversial issue of illegal immigration, and a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday also indicates that a bare majority of the public says the main focus of the federal government should be on developing a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants to become legal residents, rather than deporting them. – Paul Steinhauser
Leading Drudge: Faked It!
Beyoncé did not sing the national anthem live at President Obama’s inauguration. Millions of viewers around the world were stunned by the singer’s spectacular rendition of the anthem but The Times has learnt that she was lip-syncing to a pre-recorded backing track. – Nico Hines for The Times of London
Leading HuffPo: Still Fired Up
Four years ago, as the United States inaugurated its first black president amidst the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, an estimated 1.8 million swarmed the National Mall to savor the historical moment and looked to incoming President Barack Obama for his message of hope and change. On Monday, that hallowed affair was altogether routine. Jobs continue to grow - albeit not fast enough for those under- or unemployed - and the housing and financial markets appear stable. – Luke Johnson and Sabrina Siddiqui
Leading Politico: Paul Ryan slams Obama ‘straw man’ speech
Rep. Paul Ryan on Tuesday blasted President Barack Obama’s “straw man” attack on the Republican Party over entitlement programs. The Wisconsin Republican told “The Laura Ingraham Show” that Obama’s second inaugural address demonstrated the president does not understand the Republican position on entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security. Ryan responded to Obama’s line that these programs “do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great,” telling guest host Raymond Arroyo that the president’s take on the issue entirely missed the mark. – Mackenzie Weinger
Leading The New York Times: First Test of New Term Comes in Cabinet Hearings
For President Obama, the first test of his second term will come quickly this week when Chuck Hagel and John Kerry, his nominees for the two biggest national-security posts, take critical steps toward winning Senate confirmation. They are likely to get very different receptions. Senator Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat whom Mr. Obama selected to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, is expected to breeze through his hearing on Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he still leads. – Mark Landler
The political bites of the day
- Republicans see an era of liberalism in inaugural speech -
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL IN A SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “One thing that is pretty clear from the president’s speech yesterday – the era of liberalism is back. An unabashedly, far left of center inauguration speech certainly brings back memories of the Democratic Party of ages past. If the president pursues that kind of agenda obviously it is not designed to bring us together and certainly not designed to deal with the transcendent issue of our era which is deficit and debt. Until we fix that problem we can’t fix America.”
REPUBLICAN REP. PETER KING OF NEW YORK IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “The president won the election so he's certainly entitled to pursue his agenda. I thought it would have been more effective though if he had spoken more in thematic terms. By being as precise as he was is laying out a liberal agenda which is what's usually done in a State of the Union. In going back to Ronald Regan's address, he was saying that government is not the solution, it's the problem. Those are general statements. I thought the way he got specific yesterday made it more of a, again, almost campaign type address.”
- Congress is back: Democrats echo Obama, Republicans look to focus on debt -
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID IN A SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “Democrats will hold fast to the guiding principle that a strong middle class and an opportunity for every American to enter the middle class is the key to this nation’s success. Democrats will stand strong, strong for that standard of balance. And we will remain resolute, resolute in the pursuit of fairness for all Americans regardless of where they were born or the color of their skin, regardless of the size of their bank accounts, regardless of their religion or their sexual orientation.”
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL IN A SPEECH ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “We should start with spending and debt because if we don’t get a handle on that nothing else matters. If we don’t work together to strengthen our entitlement programs they will go bankrupt. Automatic cuts will be forced on seniors that are already receiving benefits rendering worthless the promises that they have built their retirements around. It is nice to say as the president did yesterday that these programs free us to take the risks that make our country great, but if we don’t act to strengthen and protect them now, in a few years they simply won’t be there in their current form.”
- Carney reiterates president’s commitment to climate change -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “This is not only an issue of helping our climate and environment but a matter of our national security so when we pursue energy independence, we continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by increasing domestic production of fossil fuel energy and other forms of energy, we enhance our security and protect America's future in that way and we also contribute to the effort to deal with climate change and all the impacts of climate change.”
- Rev. Obama? -
REV. ADAM HAMILTON, SENIOR PASTOR OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION AT THE NATIONAL PRAYER SERVICE: “Without a vision, the people perish. They don't literally perish. They just bicker and fight and become so polarized they can't get anything done. We're in need of a new common national vision. Not one that is solely Democratic or solely Republican. We need at least one or two goals or dreams that Americans on both sides of the aisle can come together and say, yes, that's what it means to be American. That's where we need to go. God has given you a unique gift, Mr. President. Unlike any other president that we've had, you have the ability to cast vision and inspire people. You should have been a preacher.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
When President Barack Obama signed the executive order that pledged to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year, he said America was returning to the “moral high ground” in the war on terrorism and that the United States does not have “to continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals.”
The president said he was issuing the order to close the facility in order to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.”
The prison at Guantanamo Bay remains open, however, and many liberal activists believe Obama’s failure to close it is the biggest failure of his first term.
There were three executive orders signed that day. A second executive order formally bans torture by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terrorism interrogations. That essentially ends the Bush administration's CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods. A third executive order establishes an interagency task force to lead a systematic review of detention policies and procedures and a review of all individual cases.
During the second Bush term, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay became a lightning rod for critics who charged the Bush administration with torturing terrorist suspects. President George W. Bush and other senior officials repeatedly denied that the U.S. government had used torture to extract intelligence from terror suspects.
At the time, Obama's move highlighted a fierce struggle over where the prison's detainees will go next.
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