CNN's GUT CHECK | for January 28, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: POSSIBLE COMPROMISE ON IMMIGRATION REFORM TAKES SHAPE… Undocumented immigrants would be able to seek legal status without first going home under a compromise framework floated Monday by a bipartisan group of senators, according to a source familiar with the plan. The outline for a possible immigration reform bill reflects a mainstream Republican willingness to compromise on what President Barack Obama calls a top priority of his second term. However, conservatives immediately voiced their opposition to providing undocumented immigrants a path to legal status, especially in the Republican-led House. – Dana Bash and Tom Cohen
INTRIGUING: THE PRESIDENT GOES SKEET SHOOTING… In an interview with the New Republic, President Obama said he goes shooting ‘all the time.’ OBAMA: “Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time. I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake. Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas.”
… BUT YOU CAN’T SEE IT: The White House says it will not release a photo of Obama skeet shooting. CNN’s Jessica Yellin asked Press Secretary Jay Carney why there are no photos during Monday’s White House briefing:
Yellin: How often does the President go Skeet shooting?
Carney: I would refer you simply to his comments. I don't know how often, he does go to Camp David with some regularity but I'm not sure how often he's done that.
Yellin: Are there any photos of him doing it?
Carney: Maybe but I have not seen it.
Yellin: Why not?
Carney: Because when he goes to Camp David he goes to spend time with family and friends and relax not to produce photographs.
Gut Check DVR: Chris Hughes, editor-in-chief of the New Republic, will talk with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Kate Bolduan in the six o’clock out of The Situation Room.
THE NRA RESPONDS: “The Second Amendment is not about shooting skeet and it's not a tradition,” Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association said. “It is a fundamental right upheld by the US Supreme Court.”
Gut Check Flashback: Mitt Romney talks about hunting varmints… At a town hall in Keane, New Hampshire on April 2007, Romney said: “I’m not a big-game hunter. I’ve made it very clear, I’ve always been a, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter all right? Small, small varmints, if you will. And I began when I was, oh, 15 or so, and have hunted those kinds of varmints since then - more than two times. I also hunted quail in Georgia, so I’ve - it’s not really big-game hunting, if you will, however. It’s not deer and large animals. But I’ve hunted a number of times of various types of small rodents.
On this day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis to become the first Jewish member of the Supreme Court. His confirmation was contentions but it ended up passing the Senate, even though 20 Republicans and one Democrat voted against him. Who was the one Democrat?
The stealth effort to craft a bipartisan immigration reform plan is what caught our eye today, a legislative endeavor negotiated behind closed doors without the White House’s input.
That’s right. President Barack Obama did not weigh in on the proposal as his fellow Democrats were writing it. In fact, as Dana Bash reports, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, did not call the president until yesterday to tell him about the plan.
This and several other nuggets from Bash and Jessica Yellin’s reporting from today made us think about the equally vilified-glorified image of Capitol Hill where deals are cut in smoky backrooms over shots of whiskey. We are pretty sure smoking, nor drinking was not part of the negotiations.
A few of the nuggets that stood out to us:
• … the process began right after the election with a call from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham to Democrat Chuck Schumer, proposing they re-start their work on a comprehensive immigration bill that had broken down in 2010.
• In their November phone call, Graham told Schumer that fellow Republican Sen. John McCain also wanted to be involved this time.
• Sources familiar with the bipartisan Senate framework … tell CNN one of the main reasons they chose to unveil their framework one day before the president's planned Tuesday speech on the subject, was to start the national dialogue on their bipartisan terrain. Politically, CNN is told the senators felt it was crucial for it to be known that there has been a real bipartisan process ongoing that is independent from the president.
• Advocates of a bipartisan approach - the only kind of immigration bill that could pass - tell CNN they are still concerned that the White House will unveil its bill. "It would be a sabotage of the process," said one immigration reform advocate familiar with internal discussions but not able to speak freely on the record.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Obama meets with police chiefs, sheriffs to talk guns
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with police chiefs and sheriffs from major cities about gun violence on Monday, keeping the issue in the spotlight as the administration pushes for stricter firearm regulations. “No group is more important for us to listen to than our law enforcement officials,” Obama said. “They're where our rubber hits the road.”
Leading Drudge: 'I Go Shooting All The Time'
Amid conservative anger over Mr Obama's proposals to ban assault weapons as part of a drastic overhaul of US gun control laws, the president said that he was a keen clay-pigeon shooter. Asked in a magazine interview whether he had ever fired a gun, Mr Obama said he did so with guests at the president's rural retreat. “Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” he said. “And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations.” – Jon Swaine for The Telegraph
Leading HuffPo: Hopes, Dreams – And Drones
The news of a deal came out late on Sunday, and the senators plan to unveil their framework more publicly later in the day on Monday. Four members from each party - Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado, plus Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain of Arizona and Jeff Flake of Arizona - worked together on the deal. They plan to come out with a bill sometime in March, after further negotiations on exact language. Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said, “The Speaker welcomes the work of leaders like Sen. Rubio on this issue, and is looking forward to learning more about the proposal in the coming days.” – Elise Foley
Leading Politico: Democrats, tea party unite vs. Mitch McConnell
Tea party activists looking to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a GOP primary may get some help from an unlikely source: Democrats.
Big Democratic donors, local liberal activists and a left-leaning super PAC in Kentucky are telling tea partiers that they are poised to throw financial and organizational support behind a right-wing candidate should one try to defeat the powerful GOP leader in a 2014 primary fight. – Manu Raju
Leading The New York Times: G.O.P.’s Cantor, Looking Past Politics of Debt
With House Republicans gathered behind closed doors this month at a resort in Williamsburg, Va., Representative Eric Cantor hushed the crowd with a long slide presentation on the prospects of a government default. The federal debt was climbing quickly. The Treasury Department was using “extraordinary measures” to keep paying the nation’s debts, even if, technically, the government had blown past its borrowing limit. President Obama, he said, would set the day the government would go into default, and Republicans balking at raising the debt limit had no real idea when that day would be. The Republican Party was not in control of the situation. – Jonathan Weisman
The political bites of the day
- McCain on why immigration reform now: election the impetus -
REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN MCCAIN OF ARIZONA AT A CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “Elections. Elections. The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens and we realize that there are many issues on which we think we are in agreement with our Hispanic citizens but this is a pre-eminent issue with those citizens. Also, I think over the years, Republicans in particular, but also Democrats and all of our citizens have realized the reality of what all of my colleagues have just stated – we cannot continue as a nation with 11 million people residing in the shadows and we have to address the issue and it has to be done in a bipartisan fashion.”
- Sarah Palin, McCain’s one time running mate, Tells GOP: Don’t let 2012 make you Skittish –
“The problem is that some on the Right are now skittish because of the lost 2012 election. They shouldn’t be. Conservatism didn’t lose. A moderate Republican candidate lost after he was perceived to alienate working class Reagan Democrat and Independent voters who didn’t turn out for him as much as they did for the McCain/Palin ticket in 2008.”
- Schumer says they have the momentum on immigration… -
DEMOCRATIC SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER OF NEW YORK AT A CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “We believe this will be the year Congress finally gets it done. The politics on this issue have been turned upside down. For the first time ever there is more political risk in opposing immigration reform than in supporting it.”
- … but opposition on immigration arises -
REPUBLICAN REP. LAMAR SMITH OF TEXAS IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “No one should be surprised that individuals who have supported amnesty in the past still support amnesty. When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs and encourages more illegal immigration. By granting amnesty, the Senate proposal actually compounds the problem by encouraging more illegal immigration.”
REPUBLICAN SEN. MIKE LEE OF UTAH IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “These guidelines contemplate a policy that will grant special benefits to illegal immigrants based on their unlawful presence in the country. Reforms to our complex and dysfunctional immigration system should not in any way favor those who came here illegally over the millions of applicants who seek to come here lawfully.”
- Look mom, I made it! -
BASKETBALL SUPERSTAR LEBRON JAMES AT A WHITE HOUSE EVENT HONORING THE MIAMI HEAT: “We're in the White House. And Coach said - and the Prez said this real casual. So I mean, we're kids from Chicago and Dallas, Texas and Michigan and Ohio and South Dakota - Miami. And we're in the White House right now. This is like, hey, mama, I made it.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
History remembers Associate Justice Louis Brandeis as one of the most influential and vocal members in the history of the Supreme Court. A liberal defender of privacy and the freedom of speech, Brandies – the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice – was nominated by President Woodrow Wilson on this day in 1916.
His nomination was contentious – many Republican saw him as a liberal crusader for social justice – but eventually, he was confirmed by a vote of 47 to 22 on June 1, 1916.
One Democrat, Francis Newlands of Nevada, voted against Brandeis.
According to a report from the Springfield Republican, “the negative vote of Senator Newlands was a complete surprise to the Senate.”
“I have a high admiration for Mr. Brandeis as a publicist and propagandist of distinction,” Newland said after his vote. “I do not regard him as a man of judicial temperament, and for that reason, I have voted against his confirmation.”
Four Democrats in the Senate did not vote for or against Brandies. There were James Clarke and Joseph Robinson from Arkansas, Nathan Bryan from Florida and Claude Swanson from Virginia.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congratulations to Peter Ubertaccio (@ProfessorU) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. Clearly this is an important issue for the professor, who tweeted that Newlands was a “deplorable person.”
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