CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 28, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
OBAMA LAYS THE SHAME: President Barack Obama tried to shame the nation and Congress into action against gun violence Thursday, saying it was time for action after the tears and grief of tragedies like the Newtown massacre in December. His voice both somber and angry, Obama told the audience – which included family members of Newtown victims - that “we've cried enough,” and now it is time for Americans to pressure their elected leaders to pass a package of laws proposed by Senate Democrats.
“There are some powerful voices on the other side who are interested in running out the clock or changing the subject,” the president said, adding that “their assumption is that people will just forget about it.” If that happens, Obama said, then “shame on us if we've forgotten.”
NRA RESPONDS VIA TWITTER:
ONE BILLION, PLEASE: Facebook's stock market debut left founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg with a paper fortune currently valued at $13 billion - and a 2012 tax bill of about $1.1 billion. Zuckerberg's whopping tax hit stems from his move in May to increase his stake in Facebook. – Stacy Cowley
MARKET WATCH: The S&P gained 0.4% for the day, closing at a record high of 1,569. The Dow rose 51 points to cap the best first quarter since 1998, adding 11%.
Who is the only president to be censured by the Senate?
What caught our eye today in politics
The Obama administration has defended drone strikes as “legal,” “ethical” and “wise.”
Religious leaders from a number of different faiths, however, have their own label for the program: unholy.
In a recently released Web video titled “What Religious Leaders Want to Tell Obama on Easter,” a group of rabbis, reverends and priests describes the use of drones as "assassination by remote control," which violates religious principles.
“From a New Testament point of view, drones are completely appalling,” said the Rev. Paul F.M. Zahl, the retired rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland. “The whole idea of killing a guy without giving the guy a chance to surrender is preemptive. That for me was completely contrary to the teachings of Christ.”
In addition to questioning the program on moral grounds, the leaders use biblical principles, like the protection of life and the story of David and Goliath, to discredit the war practice.
“The Obama administration is playing God,” said Joe Nangle, a Franciscan friar at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, Virginia, in the video. “Instead of a culture of life, we are dealing death.”
“We are Goliath, and David is about the size of a mouse,” Zahl said in the video, alluding to the biblical story of David defeating the giant Goliath in a one-on-one fight. “It is about that evenly matched.”
The drone program has been a gift and a curse for the Obama administration. Long considered a powerful tool, it has also been a thorn in the administration's side, as evidenced by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky’s 13-hour filibuster on the subject.
Attacking drones because they violate religious principles, however, is a new thorn.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Massive turnover changing face of Senate
With South Dakota Democrat Tim Johnson's announcement this week that he will not seek re-election this year, the recent string of Senate retirements has the political class debating whether Republicans have a real shot at taking control of the upper chamber. – Erin McPike
Leading Drudge: 'Speeches Aren't Enough'
President Obama called for action to be taken on gun control measures in a speech today at the White House, and said that “speeches aren't enough.” – Daniel Halper
Leading HuffPo: Really Roberts?
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday reacted incredulously to the notion that members of the Senate or the U.S. president may have been motivated to pass the Defense of Marriage Act by animus or moral objection to gay and lesbian couples. It was a window into his apparent belief that the U.S. is simply not a place burdened by such things as bigotry or racism. – Ryan Grim
Leading Politico: Buzzkill? Cash-strapped states eye pot tax
Now that voters in Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana use, dope smokers there can light up without the usual paranoid fear that the cops are at the door. The taxman is another matter. Cash-starved legislators are seeing dollar signs in dime bags — with talk that a tax on marijuana could pump hundreds of millions or even billions into budgets still reeling from the recession. – Rachel Bade
Leading The New York Times: Success on Political Front Can Be Setback in Gay Rights
The Supreme Court justices signaled this week that they might limit their intervention on same-sex marriage, since the democratic process seems to be playing out on its own. – Peter Baker
The political bites of the day
- Obama’s budget coming April 10 -
PRINCIPLE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “About the day that the budget would come out, I know so many of you are planning your social lives and professional lives around this, the budget will be released on April 10 of this year. So let's get the countdown clocks started on the appropriate networks.”
- Momentum is with same-sex marriage advocates, Limbaugh says -
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “A lot of people have no personal animus against gay people at all. It's instead, you know, a genuine, I don't know, love/respect for the things they believe define this country as great. They get up every day, and they see all this stuff under attack. They see it all under assault. And I think they're just worried about the survivability of the country. And to which the opponents say, 'Well, the country's changing, and you better get with it and understand it, because this genie's not getting put back in the bottle.' And I think that's right. I don't care what this court does with this particular ruling, Proposition 8. I think the inertia is clearly moving in the direction that there is going to be gay marriage at some point nationwide.”
- The Pentagon will reduce impact of furloughs, says Hagel -
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHUCK HAGEL AT A PENTAGON EVENT: “We are going to be able to reduce and delay these furloughs but not eliminate furloughs, and that right now looks as though we'll be able to go from an original estimate of 22 days to 14. That, we think, will save the department anywhere from, I think the original estimates were around $4 billion, and we can probably plan on about $2.5 billion, and these numbers are floating, as you all know, but it is good news.”
- Fallon jokes about the late night shift -
JIMMY FALLON ON HIS LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW ON NBC: “This is interesting. A new survey found that the average American stays at their job for about 4 1/2 years. That is, unless they're a late-night host on NBC.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
When President Andrew Jackson decided to defund the Bank of the United States, his administration knew it would be controversial.
And it was.
On this day in 1834, Jackson became the first president to be censured by the Senate because he failed to turn over documents relating to the dismantling of the bank. The future of the bank was a campaign issue in 1832 and drew a distinct line between Jackson, a Democrat, and Henry Clay, a Whig. When Jackson lived up to his campaign promise, the Whig party was appalled and forced a censure through the legislative body.
“After a ten-week debate, the Senate voted 26 to 20 to censure the president for assuming power not conferred by the Constitution,” writes the Senate’s historian. “Jackson responded with a lengthy protest denying the validity of the Senate's action. In another unprecedented move, the Senate responded by refusing to print the president's message in its journal.”
To this day, even though impeachment trials have been held in the Senate and other articles of impeachment have been introduced, Jackson is the only president to ever have a censure pass in the Senate.
That said, after the Senate fell into Democratic control in 1837, the censure was expunged and no longer hangs on Jackson's official record.
After the vote, “Henry Clay lamented: ‘The Senate is no longer a place for any decent man,’ ” according to the Senate historian.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Simon (@SimonKnowz) for an very speedy answer to today’s trivia question and for beating Christopher J. Hale (@chrisjollyhale) by a whopping two seconds. Larry Shaughnessy on Facebook also answered correctly.
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