CNN's GUT CHECK for February 12, 2013
February 12th, 2013
06:14 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for February 12, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for February 12, 2013 | 6 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: OBAMA: READ MY LIPS, NO ADDING TO THE DEFICIT… President Barack Obama in pre-released excerpts of his State of the Union address: “Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.” WATCH THE STATE OF THE UNION TONIGHT ON CNN.

DEVELOPING: HAGEL APPROVED IN COMMITTEE… On a straight party line vote, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense. The vote was 14-11. The nomination will now go to the Senate floor for a confirmation likely later this week.

LAST CHANCE? CNN’S DAVID GERGEN SAYS TONIGHT IS BARACK OBAMA’S LAST CHANCE FOR A GRAND BARGAIN “The president continues to say he would like a grand bargain but mostly on his terms, and he has done virtually nothing to fight for it. Indeed, in his inaugural, he seemed to step back from overhauling entitlements, portraying himself as chief defender of Medicare and Social Security.” – David Gergen

On working with Obama: “I've tried repeatedly to come to agreement with the president. Every time I've gotten burned.”
On the next two years: “I think he'd love to have Nancy Pelosi as speaker and Harry Reid as majority leader for his last two years in office. Go back to the inaugural address. He knows that all of that liberal agenda he laid out, he knows none of that is going to happen as long as we have a majority in the House.”
On a path to citizenship: “Woah, woah slow down. How about a little foreplay.” – Dana Bash

TEA PARTY SOFTENS IMMIGRATION STANCE: FIRST ON CNN: IN TEA PARTY RESPONSE, PAUL WILL URGE GOP TO EMBRACE IMMIGRANTS, CUT SPENDING Sen. Rand Paul will call on his fellow Republicans to be more welcoming of immigrants Tuesday night in a speech where he will also sharply criticize President Barack Obama and his congressional colleagues for failing to reduce the nation’s debt. “We are the party that embraces hard work and ingenuity, therefore we must be the party that embraces the immigrant who wants to come to America for a better future,” the Kentucky Republican is expected to say in the “tea party response” to Obama’s State of the Union address, according to advanced text his remarks acquired by CNN. “We must be the party who sees immigrants as assets, not liabilities.’” – Mark Preston

PLAY ALONG AT HOME: Go to for your viewing companion tonight … so you can eavesdrop to the conversation from the House floor. Wondering how those Democrats in Red States are responding to tonight’s speech? You can follow along at home … even on your phone. Remember that the technology and culture of rapid response is a great story in it of itself: 1) It was only after 9/11 that members of Congress were allowed cell phones on the floor and 2) now there is no rule against it, as long as they don’t take pictures or video.

(Answer below)
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has been a member of the court for 18 years. In that time, how many State of the Union addresses has he attended?

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

The White House released a handful of excerpts from President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address tonight:

“It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.”

“It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.

“It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation of ours.”

“A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”

“Tonight, I’ll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: First on CNN: Obama to announce 34,000 troops to come home
In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, President Barack Obama will announce that by this time next year, 34,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will have returned home, according to sources with knowledge of the president's speech. The move will reduce the number of U.S. forces in the country by more than half. – Jake Tapper

Leading Drudge: Nuclear Snake: 'Serious Threat' To USA
North Korean military ambitions are a "serious threat" to the US, outgoing Pentagon chief Leon Panetta has said. In a speech made after Pyongyang carried out its third nuclear test, Mr Panetta likened the North to Iran, describing them as "rogue states". In New York, the UN Security Council "strongly condemned" the nuclear test. – BBC

Leading HuffPo: Another Flop
Hours before last year's State of the Union address, the Obama administration offered The Huffington Post an exclusive. During his speech, President Barack Obama would announce a new law enforcement unit aimed at exposing and prosecuting financial fraud behind the housing crisis. The unit would be co-chaired by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a progressive champion who'd been pressuring the White House to get tougher on banks. “This is a big achievement and something the entire progressive advocacy community wanted [with respect to] housing policy,” a White House official said back then. A year later, progressives said they consider the panel a disappointment and, possibly, a diversion to placate Schneiderman and homeowner advocates. The Justice Department said it doesn't know what the fuss is about. – Sam Stein and Ryan Grim

Leading Politico: 5 things to watch for in the State of the Union
President Barack Obama on Tuesday gets his second high-profile opportunity in less than a month to set the agenda for his second term. The president views the speech as finishing a thought that began with the Inauguration, aides say, with a deeper focus on job creation and the economy but no shortage of attention to the controversial social issues that top his to-do list. – Carrie Budoff Brown and Reid Epstein

Leading The New York Times: Watching Obama for Signs of Change
On Tuesday night, the president will address the nation and Congress on the state of the union. But many will watch as well for signs of the state of Barack Obama. Inside the White House and out, advisers and associates have noted subtle but palpable changes in Mr. Obama since his re-election. “He even carries himself a little bit differently,” said one confidant who, like others, asked not to be identified discussing the president. He is relaxed, more voluble and even more confident than usual, these people say, freer to drop profanities or dismiss others’ ideas — enough that even some supporters fear the potential for hubris. – Jackie Calmes

The political bites of the day

- Republicans talk SOTU wish list, bemoan ‘long day’ -
REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN CORNYN OF TEXAS AFTER THE SENATE REPUBLICAN’S POLICY LUNCH: “Every time he (Obama) uses the word 'investment' the American people will hear the word 'spending,’ 'government spending' and I also hope we hear him say how we are going to deal with unfunded liabilities to Medicare and Social Security somewhere around the order of $100 trillion, how we are going to get the private sector to create jobs.
SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL AFTER THE SENATE REPUBLICAN’S POLICY LUNCH: “We are having a tasting tonight in celebration of the longest day – every year.”

- Rush blasts Hoyer, labels him ‘intellectually incompetent’ -
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “Today, Steny Hoyer, No. 2 Democrat, "No, no, no, we don't have a spending problem; we have a paying-for problem." Now, folks, this is intellectually depraved. This is intellectually incompetent, in addition to being irrelevant and dishonest. Well, of course it's insulting, but these people, the foundation for everything they're doing is built on balsa wood. And at some point it's gonna collapse. This kind of stuff has no legitimacy. This is a totally illegitimate comment.”

- Republicans begin to question Lew’s background, nomination -
REPUBLICAN SEN. ORRIN HATCH OF UTAH IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “If taxpayers are going to prop up failed banks, they have a right to know what a key executive like Mr. Lew did at that time. The American people will want to know what his role was there and how that might have prepared him for this critical job after the most severe financial crisis and prolonged economic downturn in generations.”

- ‘You will be in my heart forever,’ Panetta says at farewell -
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LEON PANETTA IN HIS FAREWELL ADDRESS AT THE PENTAGON: “My friends, it has been the honor of my life to have served with you in this position as Secretary of Defense. It's been the greatest privilege I've had in my almost 50 years of public service to be able to represent the people of this department to our friends and to our partners around the world. … You will be in my heart forever.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Chris Golden (@chrisgolden)
Flashback: 1997- President Bill Clinton State of the Union Address at the same time as verdict in OJ Simpson Case

Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier)
My heart goes out to person sending Big Bear Resort press releases highlighting fresh snow, downplaying manhunt for triple-murder suspect

Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN)
Obama by the numbers: New CNN Poll of Polls has the president at 50% approval heading into SOTU

Conferencia GOP (@GOPespanol)
El presidente no puede dejar de gastar -> Por eso vamos a exigir un plan para que su presupuesto sea balanceado #RequireAPlan

jennifer bendery (@jbendery)
Rep. Steve King: The idea that diversity strengthens America has "never been backed up by logic."

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen)
Senate passes #VAWA reauthorization in vote of 78-22

Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN)
Obama won't announce regulations on carbon emissions for existing power plants Writers (@CNNWriters)
They're eligible, but @StephenAtHome, Bono & @JohnBoehner don't have prayer of being #pope, @DanMericaCNN writes:

FishbowlDC (@FishbowlDC)
WaPo issues correction for false report that Sarah Palin is joining Al Jazeera. No explanation of quoting parody site.

Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA)
Hey @washingtonpost, I'm having coffee with Elvis this week. He works at the Mocha Moose in Wasilla. #suziparkerscoops #idiotmedia

Brent Pliskow (@bpliskow)
#TweetOfTheUnion from @cnn … Follow your representative as he/she tweets about the #SOTU.


Stephen Breyer is – by far – the Supreme Court’s expert on State of the Union addresses. In his 18 years, Breyer has attended a whopping 17 speeches – far more than any other Supreme Court justice.

Breyer, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, is the only justice to attend each of President George W. Bush’s speeches and was the only justice to attend in 2001, 2003 and 2004.

The only speech he missed: 2000, when no member of the court could attend because of travel conflicts and illnesses.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who was appointed by Bush in 2005, is working on a fairly stellar record himself. Since his appointment, he has attended every State of the Union address. If Roberts attends tonight, he will have attended eight straight speeches.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congratulations to Peter Ubertaccio (@ProfessorU) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question. The professor just barely beat out another regular participant – Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877).

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Watching tonight’s speech and have your own, pithy take? Tweet your own State of the Union address using the hashtag #TweetoftheUnion and CNN will use the best responses.

Filed under: 2012
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. granny

    He can't be trusted to tell the truth. He has lost his creditability. He repeats the same ol same ol, and nothing is accurate. Not watching him read the telepromter that someone wrote for him. He is a disgrace.

    February 12, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Eight plane loads full of India guys are coming into this nation each day. Watch out. Send when their visa expires. Good luck.

    February 12, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. Name lynn

    Face it people you all is mad at obama, hes not cutting the budgets to hurt the people, but he will cut the budget so that the rich will pay their taxes, an of course the white house leaders is mad.

    February 12, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. cbr

    Mr. Gergen: There will be no Grand Bargain because the GOP has members in both the House and Senate who will not or can not work with those across the aisle. They do not know how to carve out the ideas that they have in common and use them as the basis for legislation. The media need to figure out how they can push both sides to make this country move ahead.

    February 12, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |