CNN's GUT CHECK for March 5, 2013
March 5th, 2013
05:14 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 5, 2013

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

BREAKING: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday. He was 58. More at

DEVELOPING: JOHN BRENNAN ONE STEP CLOSER TO LANGLEY The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12-3 Tuesday to send John Brennan's nomination to be the next CIA director to the full Senate. The vote was delayed twice as members received and processed classified documents relating to the White House's targeted killing program, which includes the use of unmanned drones to kill suspected terrorists. – Kevin Liptak and Ashley Killough

FAA CLOSING CONTROL TOWERS: The federal government will close 173 air traffic control towers at small- and medium-size airports on April 7 because of forced spending cuts, the Federal Aviation Administration told tower operators Tuesday. It will close another 16 towers on Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. – Mike Ahlers
FIRST FURLOUGH NOTICES GO OUT: The Army sent letters on Feb. 28 and March 1 to unions warning that employees at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Gunpowder, Md., as well as the Corps of Engineers in Walla Walla, Wash., will be forced to stay at home without pay one day each week from April 22 through Sept. 21. – Jennifer Liberto for CNN Money

MARKET WATCH: Dow posts triple-digit gains to close at a record high of 14,254. Nasdaq climbs 1.3%, S&P rises 1%.

(Answer below)
What president participated in "dial-a-president," where the leader fielded phone calls from everyday Americans?

MARK (@PrestonCNN) & DAN (@DanMericaCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

For many Republicans, the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination begins and ends on what Jeb Bush decides to do.

The former Florida governor acknowledged it is something he is going to consider, but do not expect it to happen anytime soon. Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and anchor of the upcoming weekday program “The Lead,” asked Bush in an interview Tuesday his thoughts on following his father and brother into the White House. It is what caught our eye today.

Tapper: What kind of factors will you be weighing in the next year in making this decision?

Bush: Well I’m not going to factor anything in a year. That’s the only thing I’ve decided, which I think I have enough self restraint to be able to pull off … And the factors would be the same that anybody should think about. First, is it the right thing to do for family? Second, do I think that somehow I have a unique perspective that might be different, that the skills I have might be useful going forward in terms of leadership … And then third, is it, you know, is it practical? Is it something that I could see going forward that I could be successful if I if I set my mind to it.

Tapper: As your father once said to you, ‘What if you win?’

Bush: It’s a great question. I use it all the time when young, aspiring people come to say ‘What should I do? I’ve really thought about this.’ … You’ve got to be able to answer that effectively. … And I’m not going to be able to answer that question. You’ve got to do it in the right context. This is not that time. The world will go through a ton of iterations just this year alone. … It’s really not a relevant time to be thinking about something that’s four years out.

Tapper: But there are other Republicans who are frozen in place waiting to see what you do.

Bush: Oh, I don’t know about that. … I think people have different perspectives on this and they’ll pursue them as they see fit.

Tapper: But you’ll make a decision sometime in 2014, is that a fair assessment?

Bush: I don’t know. The only thing I’ve decided is that I’m not going to think about it for 2013. It’s just too far out for me personally. That’s not to say that others won’t have a different view. … I think that there’s a lot of talent in the Republican Party and you know we’ll see how it plays out. I do think there’s a lot of work that all of us can do to change the path that the Republican Party is on to make it less reacting to what the president is proposing and more proactive about a positive agenda to deal with structural problems that people in Washington haven’t addressed.

Bush also addressed his controversial immigration proposals in his interview with Tapper. VIDEO

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Spending cuts rile Christie, who blasts lack of 'leadership'
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wasn't kidding when he said last year that “when the president does things that deserve scorn, I'll give him scorn.” … On Monday, that criticism came during a press conference, when Christie described a lack of “real leadership” in Washington as massive forced spending cuts take effect. “Real leadership would get this fixed,” Christie said during the event. “You get everybody in the room and you fix it, and you don't let them leave until you fix it.” – Kevin Liptak

Leading Drudge: Closed!
The White House announced Tuesday that it was canceling all public tours of the president’s home because of the sequester spending cuts. “Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House Tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice. Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours,” the White House said in an email. – Stephen Dinan for The Washington Times

Leading HuffPo: Enough Already
President Barack Obama, unable to persuade Republicans to accept higher taxes, is attempting to cobble together what he calls a "common-sense caucus" among lawmakers to help resolve U.S. budget woes and push his legislative agenda. On Monday and in recent days, Obama has made individual phone calls to a number of senators in a search for common ground on $85 billion in budget cuts that went into effect last week, as well as his top priorities like deficit reduction, gun control and an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws. – Richard Cowan and Steve Holland for Reuters

Leading Politico: 2012 blame game: Will it ever end?
Four months after taking an electoral pounding, Republicans can’t agree on what went wrong in 2012 — let alone on a path to recovery. Each week brings a new diagnosis of the party’s woes. Karl Rove says it’s candidate quality. Mitt Romney chief strategist Stuart Stevens argues Democrats have won over minority voters through government programs like Obamacare. Some Bush White House vets say it’s the GOP’s trouble understanding how to approach a changing electorate. Techy conservatives blame the party’s inferior social media presence and outdated voter targeting and data-mining. – Maggie Haberman

Leading The New York Times: Obama Shares Data on Drones and Libya as Brennan Vote Nears
On the eve of Tuesday afternoon’s vote by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the confirmation of John O. Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the White House agreed to provide more information both on the legal basis for targeted killings and on the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans last September. – Scott Shane

The political bites of the day

- The little boy who cried wolf -
REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN CORNYN OF TEXAS IN A STATEMENT TO REPORTERS: “President Obama reminds me of the little boy who cried wolf. And his credibility has been strained by claims in his administration of pink slips for teachers that we find out weren’t going to issue as a result of the sequester. Cuts to the cleaning staff pay here and also furloughs at agencies that no longer exist.”

- Boehner: Spending the most serious threat to county’s future -
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER IN A PRESS CONFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL: “I think it's the biggest threat to the future of our country. That's why there's so much focus on it. That's why I'm hopeful that the President, Senate Democrats will get serious about moving a bill that solves, begins to solve our long term spending problem.”

- Carney flatly has ‘no reaction’ to expulsion of U.S. diplomat from Venezuela -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “I have no reaction to the charge that you just repeated. I can tell you that we continue to seek a functional and productive relationship with Venezuela and we remain open to a dialogue with Venezuela on a range of issues of mutual understanding including counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism and a commercial relationship between the two countries including energy.”

Gut Check Full Service: A senior administration tells CNN’s Elise Labott that the U.S. “denies the charge that the air attaché (or anyone else in our embassy or the US government) was plotting against the Venezuelan govt.” That said, U.S. Air Force Col David Delmonico is now en route back to the United States, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale told CNN’s Barbara Starr. Delmonico is the air attaché to the embassy in Caracas. Venezuela’s vice president announced that the attaché had been expelled by the government for plotting against it.

- In light of affidavit, Menendez reiterates prostitute allegations are ‘false smears’ -
DEMOCRATIC SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ OF NEW JERSEY IN A PRESS CONFERENCE AT AIPAC: “I do know from the very beginning I have said that nameless, faceless, anonymous sources from the right wing blogs took this story which was just false smears right before an election cycle, attempted to do it then, and ultimately drove it into the mainstream press. But they were never anything other than false smears.”

Gut Check Full Service: Dominican woman says she was paid to say she had sex with U.S. senator… After asserting in a video that U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez had paid her for sex, a Dominican woman now says she was paid to make those claims and has never met the New Jersey Democrat, a court document states. According to a notarized document, Nexis de los Santos Santana said she was filmed without her knowledge when she claimed to have had sex with Menendez. “I am the person in the video, that is me, and those are my words, but this statement is not true,” Santana said. “I never agreed to be recorded.”

- Intriguing Opinion: Obama better at passing the buck than passing a budget -
NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST BILL KELLER: “Our feckless leaders may be incapable of passing a budget, but, boy, can they pass the buck. The White House spent last week in full campaign hysteria, blitzing online followers with the message that heartless Republicans are prepared to transform America into “Les Misérables” in order to protect “millionaires and billionaires, oil companies, vacation homes, and private jet owners.” Republicans retort that the budget-cutting Doomsday device called sequester was actually invented by the White House.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less









It was quintessential Carter – informal, wide-ranging and a little odd.

On this day in 1977, President Jimmy Carter joined CBS and Walter Cronkite for "dial-a-president," where people from all over America were able to call in and ask the president a question.

The questions ranged from the in-depth to the mundane, from whether the Yankees would go to Cuba again to play or whether the president would increase support for Vietnam veterans.

An example of the conversation:

Phyllis Dupere of Rehoboth, Massachusetts: I'm a recent graduate from college and I majored in science. And my question is about the space shuttle program. If you had the opportunity to go on one of the missions, would you go, and why or why not?

Carter: I'm probably too old to do that. I don't know if I could start now and train and get ready to go. When I was a younger person I was always very eager to do the most advanced and sometimes quite dangerous things. As soon as our country had the idea of having atomic power to propel submarines, I was one of the first ones to volunteer and was one of the very earliest submarine officers to go into the atomic power program.

After the event, Carter said that he enjoyed talking to the American people in that sort of informal setting and his White House indicated that they would like to do more ‘dial-a-president’ events.

"Ask President Carter," as the Carter White House called it, also turned into a bit for Saturday Night Live, with Dan Aykroyd playing the president.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Peter Ubertaccio (@ProfessorU) for correctly answering today’s trivia question. Question for the professor: did you call in?

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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    We've now reached the part of the show where Obama, obeying the law as written, will start cutting spending and programs in an arbitrary manner...again, as written into the law...and the GOP/Teatrolls throw a hissy fit about each and every spending cut, claiming that he's demagoguing and cherry picking what to cut so that it's as painful as possible. This is what they planned when they decided they would rather go with the sequester than close tax loopholes for rich people and corporations. It's not honest, it's entirely disingenuous, it completely ignores the nature of the sequester and qhat it absolutely requires Obama to do, but they're not terribly concerned with reality and never have been.

    March 5, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, submitted an amendment to the continuing resolution that would prohibit the president from using federal funds to transport to or from a golf course until the White House resumes public tours"

    This is the guy who brought us "terror babies" as a concept for furthering the GOP/Teatroll demonization of muslims. I hardly think he deserves any credit for anything other than proving my first post to be right on the money. They'll throw a tantrum over every single cut made, claiming it's somehow a conspiractrial plot to get at teh GOP/Teatrlls...all the while ignoring that the seqauester requires it across the board and allows almost no discrection to be exercised by the executive branch.

    Dubya closed the WH for almost 2 years after 9/11 and nobody pooped their pants. If you think that "made sense" because the WH was somehow unprepared for "those sneaky muslims to attack it," then yuo've been huffing Glade from a plastic CVS bag for waaaay too long.

    March 5, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Bush #3 , third time's the charm .

    Hugo Chavez has died.

    Jeb Bush / Tom Brokaw 2016

    March 5, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. wiseup

    wiseup: An idea for significant spending cuts. In stead of congressmen Drawing salaries they should have to punch a time clock. You don't work you don't get paid. The repubs refused to negotiate on seqestor and now gripe about any decisions the president makes. Gomert is always sponsoring some petty resolution just to hear himself talk. McCain is always trying to obtruct any nomination. He is still bitter that he had his hat handed to him in 2008 election. Boehner regrets the repubs sold their souls to the devil to support the t trolls for short term goal of gaining control of House

    March 5, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. wiseup

    Another Flip Flopper J. Bush in White House? God help us. Rove and his pac shunned Chris Cristie. The Repubs and Rove would shoot a chimney should Cristie decide to become a Democratic candidate. Instead of furloughing air traffic controllersand customs agents at airports congressmen could layoff aids and pages. This would force conressmen to get out of their comfy chairs and do their own legwork. some of them could use the excercise. Everyone should make sacrifices,except for the wealthy.

    March 5, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. g

    but -but-they said romney would win and fix it on day one but -but

    March 5, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    No Bush....

    March 5, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. wiseup

    republicans have no problems furloughing air traffic controllers and customs agents nationwide fewer airtraffic controllers mean the remaining ones will be working more and longer hours risking fatigue ad health issues due to more stress, possibily endangering airline passengers. With fewer customs agents and security there will be longer delays getting through airports. Instead all repubs are worried about is a stoppage in white house tours.

    March 5, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  9. Ancient Texan

    Obama intends to inflict as much pain as possible in order to be able to say "I told you so" and point at the GOP as the culprits in the hardship. The public has seen his disengenious rhetoric for what it is; lying bluster for political gain and his approval rating has dropped 7 points in a week.

    March 5, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  10. wiseup

    John McCain, Saxby Chambliss, Lindsey Graham, and Rand Paul are all the gang of 4 trying to obstuct any appointment Obama makes to press for their agenda. It is obvious. Their goal is to deny Obama a third term.

    March 5, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  11. cbr

    The immaturity of our leaders is front and center. They cannot work together and perhaps won't work together and the American people are the ones who have to put up with this mess. It is time we started to email, write and call our Representatives, Senators, and even the President to let them know we have had enough. The only way these people will move forward is if they are bombarded with messages from all of us.

    If they cannot find a way to work together then they should go home and let someone else serve int eh House or Senate who will get us moving forward once again.

    March 5, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. The Left Wing

    Why has Jeb Bush decided to follow the Romney model of how to run a presidential campaign? Romney recently partially blamed his loss on how good ObamaCare is for Americans which caused people to vote for Obama. Of course, Romney could have run on his health care record in MA but rather chose to run away from it. Republicans are now all saying they need to do better with Hispanics. Bush was posed to be able to run on this issue, but like Romney he decided to run away from a potentially winning issue. As long as these guys put their tails between their legs at the mere thought of seeing a Tea Party type, Republicans are going to have a hard time winning a general election.

    March 5, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |