CNN's GUT CHECK for March 8, 2013
March 8th, 2013
04:01 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 8, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 8, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS: UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FALLS TO LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 2008 Hiring picked up in February, helping to bring the unemployment rate down to its lowest level since December 2008. The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February, according to a Labor Department report released Friday. That's much stronger growth than in January, when employers hired a revised 119,000 workers. The unemployment rate dipped to 7.7%, as 12 million workers were counted as unemployed. – Annalyn Kurtz

HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER IN A WRITTEN PRESS RELEASE: “Any job creation is positive news, but the fact is unemployment in America is still way above the levels the Obama White House projected when the trillion-dollar stimulus spending bill was enacted, and the federal government's ongoing spending binge has resulted in a debt that exceeds the size of our entire economy.”
DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST AT THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “The jobs numbers are, that came out today, are the latest data point to indicate that our economy is gaining traction as we recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

IMMIGRATION AND FAITH: OBAMA PUSHES EXPEDITED TIMETABLE ON IMMIGRATION REFORM IN MEETING WITH FAITH LEADERS President Barack Obama emphasized the need to get immigration reform accomplished this year in a meeting with a diverse group of faith leaders at the White House on Friday. During the discussion, these faith leaders said, Obama made it clear that he wanted to see a bill on immigration reform in the next 60 days. – Dan Merica

(Answer below)
When did President Ronald Reagan first use the term "Evil Empire" in reference to the Soviet Union?

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

Today’s Fantasy Politics:

A billionaire with a willingness to spend his own money, many people think that Ross Perot helped Bill Clinton defeat President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 race for the White House.

Perot, a folksy Texan, was ardently pro-choice, opposed to the legalization of drugs and obsessed with balancing the federal budget. As a political independent, Perot took policy positions from each political party and spent a whopping $60 million of his own money in an effort to win the presidency.

He was challenging a politically wounded incumbent, who was criticized by fellow Republicans for breaking a promise not to raise taxes, and a fresh faced Democratic governor from Arkansas. When the dust settled on Election Day, nearly 19.7 million people checked the box for Perot.

Sure, Perot didn't win, but he had an impact on the race. Clinton defeated Bush by capturing 43 percent of the popular vote and 370 votes in the Electoral College. Still, Bush was only five million votes behind the Democrat.

So, what if Perot had not run in 1992? What if the Texas billionaire had saved his $60 million and the presidential election only featured Bush v. Clinton? Would have the incumbent president won re-election?

As we expected, there were differing opinions about what would have happened and we have highlighted some of the answers below:

Charlie Black, senior advisor to Bush: Our polling in 1992 indicated that it would have been a very close two-way race. The demographics of the Perot vote were closer to those of the Bush voters, than to Clinton's. That's about as much as one can objectively say.

Jeffery Baxter: Clinton would've won either way. At the time, people were concerned about taxes. Bush said in his famous speech "read my new taxes", but unfortunately he did raise taxes on the middle class and poor. Ross Perot was there to enjoy the show.

Joshua Burdette: I think Clinton still would have won, though it would have been a closer race for sure. Bush-I had made some missteps during the general election, and by the Fall of 1992, he was running just behind Clinton. Clinton also had a lot more charisma, and was very politically savvy. Interesting question.

Corby Brester: I still think Clinton would have won. Bush had lost touch with the people, and Clinton had too good a campaign.

Jonathan M. Williams: In order to defeat a sitting president, a challenger must be able to sell a compelling vision to the American people. That's exactly what Bill Clinton did. However, it was Perot that opened the greatest wound to Bush's re-election hopes: the deficit! Without Perot steering voters attention toward economic issues, Clinton's campaign may have eventually sunk over the numerous scandals that dogged him during the primaries. So, a Perot-less 1992 campaign certainly would have benefited Bush.

Anthony Juanillo: I think that George Sr. would had won because he was gaining ground on Clinton after the '92 RNC & all the sudden Perot jumps back into the race to steal the momentum away from Bush. Plus, Perot took away more votes from Bush than he did from Clinton. Also, Perot received votes from some conservatives that were disappointed with Bush due to breaking his no new taxes pledge.

Jim McGowan: Bush would of won, Clinton never would of became president if Perot would of stayed out of the race. It would of changed our history forever! Although it is possible, Clinton could of won after Bush ended his second term.

And then there were the Perot devotees.

Christopher Hightower: I voted for Ross Perot, I wish one of the other two would have dropped out.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Clinton urges Supreme Court to overturn DOMA
Former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996, is now calling on the Supreme Court to rule the same law unconstitutional. The law, which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, denies federal benefits to same-sex couples in the nine states where same-sex couples can now legally wed. – Ashley Killough

Leading Drudge: 89,304,000 Not Working
The number of Americans designated as "not in the labor force" in February was 89,304,000, a record high, up from 89,008,000 in January, according to the Department of Labor. This means that the number of Americans not in the labor force increased 296,000 between January and February. – Elizabeth Harrington for Cybercast News Service

Leading HuffPo: Why Gallup Blew The Election
Gallup, which has long touted itself as the most trusted survey brand in the world, is facing a crisis. If Barack Obama's reelection in November was widely considered a win for data crunchers, who had predicted the president's victory in the face of skeptical pundits, it was a black mark for Gallup, whose polls leading up to Election Day had given the edge to Republican nominee Mitt Romney. – Mike Blumenthal

Leading Politico: Secret Supper: Obamas, Clintons dined at W.H. on March 1
President Barack Obama has been hosting a lot of high-profile dinner companions lately, but here's one guest list that didn't leak for a week: On March 1st, the president, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enjoyed a quiet, three-plus hour dinner in the private residence to celebrate Hillary's retirement from the administration, POLITICO has learned. – Glenn Thrush

Leading The New York Times: Latinos Gain Political Muscle, and Fund-Raisers Show How
A new generation of Latino leaders — highly educated, sophisticated and rich — is tapping into Hispanics as a fund-raising pool to influence elections and policy. – Sheryl Gay Stolberg

The political bites of the day

- The WH is not immune to forced spending cuts -
DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST AT THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: “The White House and the components of the White House are effected by the sequester in a way that's similar to other government agencies. I can tell you that we're making significant, that we're also faced with making some tough decisions when it comes to ongoing projects, when it comes to purchasing equipment and supplies, but we're also a pretty personnel heavy agency, if you will, so that means that there will be agencies, that there will be employees of components, who work here at the White House that will be facing pay cuts, that will be facing furloughs.”

- The difference between Rand and Ron Paul -
A SOURCE CLOSE TO RAND PAUL’S THINKING ABOUT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2016 TO CNN’S DANA BASH: “At the end of the day, Ron saw himself as a truth teller but he hated politics. He didn’t want to think about how to message things. He wanted to travel around and speak truth and let chips fall where they may. Rand wants to be honest and truthful and principled, but he is very conscious of his messaging and language. He wants to make a winning political argument.”

- Wyden sees a new political movement around civil liberties -
DEMOCRATIC SEN. RON WYDEN OF OREGON IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “I think there is a sense that there is a new political movement emerging in our country, and it crosses party lines and it is all about Americans who want to see policymakers strike a better balance between protecting our security and protecting our liberty. And certainly over the last few weeks, Americans have seen there is a sharp difference between protecting secret intelligence operations and not keeping our laws which are public secret, and that's the information we've gotten out.”

- Thanks for dinner, you spendthrift -
CONAN OBRIEN ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “President Obama, this is nice, he took a group of Republicans to dinner at a restaurant last night. And at the end of the meal, the president personally picked up the tab. Isn't that nice? Afterwards, Republicans said - typical Democrat, spend, spend, spend.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less










It is one of the most iconic phrases of the Reagan presidency. But when did he first use the term “Evil Empire” in reference to the Soviet Union?

Reagan first used the phrase "Evil Empire" on this day in 1983 in a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals.

"In your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride - the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil," Reagan said to loud applause.

Many believe this was Reagan's second use of the term "Evil Empire," but that assumption is false. Although Reagan delivered a speech in 1982 called "The Evil Empire" speech, the Republican president never actually used the term evil empire. It wasn't until the 1983 speech that Reagan actually used the phrase.

Reagan had long been a hardliner on communism and the USSR. He campaigned on it, governed by it and many say his presidency led to the downfall of the superpower.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Daniel Francis on Facebook for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia Question. First time winner, long time reader.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Hey CNN...Gonna report on all the GOP/Teatrolls who voted against the VAWA but are now running around taking credit for it passing? No? Thought not.

    March 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Does the Obama Administration get any credit? Where are the haters today? Very quiet out there.
    As far as the weeper. Go have a drink. The economy, in spite of what your rethugs and tea baggers are doing, seems to be improving.
    Your rethugs ran on creating jobs in 2010. What happened to YOUR promises?

    March 8, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. cbr

    Does Speaker Boehner ever look at the glass and state it is half full instead of half empty? He is negative most of the time. We need leaders who can find the good and find ways to solve the problems which make up the bad news. The Speaker cannot do that. He is so angry at the Democrats and the President that he cannot move forward. Obviously something made him feel marginalized and caused him pain..

    The country needs to know that good news has been announced today. We ned to be positive and them move ahead. He has people around him that should be able to help him to be accepting and open. I do hope they have the courage to help him or to look to another leader who can do so. Enough is enough and the country really needs our leaders to work together now. We must call on the leaders we have right now..Speaker Boehner needs to show leadership skills or get some help to become a better leader.

    March 8, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |

    Bohner said that the jobs the president promised haven't happened. i wonder why when the republicans voted against every job bill that came up. they even voted against a jobs bill for returning veterans. real nice people the back stabbing republcans.

    March 8, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. norma jean

    cbr...... Don't fret about Boehner...he's on his way out,anyway!!!!!

    March 8, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. Ancient Texan

    There are also fewer people in the workforce than at any time since 1981., 53.8% of Americans are working. Millions have just quit looking for work.

    March 8, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |