CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 29, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
FOOT MEET MOUTH: REPUBLICANS CHIDE YOUNG FOR HIS 'WETBACKS' COMMENT… With the GOP actively working to reshape its image, it didn't take long for top Republicans to blast one of their own, Rep. Don Young, for using the derogatory term "wetbacks" in describing migrant workers from Mexico.
YOUNG’S COMMENT: “My father had a ranch; we used to have 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” he said in an interview earlier this week. “It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It's all done by machine.”
FORCEFUL RESPONSE: “Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds,” House Speaker John Boehner in a written statement. “I don’t care why he said it – there’s no excuse and it warrants an immediate apology.”
APOLOGY: “I apologize for the insensitive term I used during an interview in Ketchikan, Alaska,” Young said in a written press statement. “There was no malice in my heart or intent to offend; it was a poor choice of words. That word, and the negative attitudes that come with it, should be left in the 20th century, and I’m sorry that this has shifted our focus away from comprehensive immigration reform.”
CLEAN GAS: The Obama administration is pushing ahead with a plan to require cleaner gasoline as a way to reduce smog, with the Environmental Protection Agency releasing preliminary rules on Friday to reduce sulfur in gas. The rules would take effect in 2017 and their full impact would be realized a decade later, according to the EPA. An agency study said the new rule could save 2,000 lives a year and reduce childhood asthma. – Paul Courson, Kevin Bohn and Jennifer Liberto
During which presidency was the first phone installed in the Oval Office?
Before President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, four of the previous five presidents served as governors before moving to the White House. With a number of high-profile Republican governors in the running for the 2016 nomination, it appears the party could continue the trend.
In that spirit, Gut Check’s Fantasy Politics looks at a past and a present state executive: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Not only were both men on many short lists for the nomination last time but they have been among the most highly touted in the lead up to 2016.
Christie, an upbeat, tough-talking Republican governor in a reliably blue state, has received a great deal of bipartisan praise for his leadership. Just take a look at these headlines: “New Jersey voters give Christie thumbs up” and “Christie's approval continues to soar, but with a few limits.”
With approval numbers in the 70s, it is no wonder Christie is considered a front-runner.
Then there’s Bush, the former two-term governor of Florida whose gravitas and “elder statesman” position make him a possible choice. With a focus on immigration, Bush has raised his profile in the last few months, particularly because of the release of his latest book. Bush also has a wealth of political connections - including the two members of his family who occupied the Oval Office – and a level of respect many Republicans envy.
So we reached out to our readers on Facebook, Twitter and via email to ask which is more likely – Christie or Bush - to become the party’s 2016 presidential nominee?
The response was overwhelmingly in favor of Christie:
Lynn Spach-Morton: Christie. If he can do for the country the way he's helped Jersey, we can get out of this mess
Kolby Duhon: Christie would win with his willingness to work across the aisle he'll capture the hearts of undecided and independent voters.
Neil Beresford: Christie would be the better candidate and would have a better chance of winning. But Hillary is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
And while Bush wasn’t shut out, his support was tepid:
Kim Janes: PLEASE let it be Jeb Bush. I'd love it if the Republicans ran him. Christie would be formidable.
Randy Thompson: I'd vote Jeb, but hoping it'll be someone much more conservative. Marco Rubio or Rand Paul perhaps
Mike Wishnowski: Bush. The money is going to dictate who gets in. I think the Bush family has a better pipeline than Christie as far as money. He won't win the election, (Christie might) but Bush will be the nominee in 2016, IMO as of today. Anything could happen to derail this in the meantime so I wouldn't place money on it.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: CNN 2016 GOP Poll: Who are these guys?
They may be familiar figures in political circles but a new survey suggests that many of the possible 2016 GOP White House contenders are not that well known among Republicans nationwide. A CNN/ORC International poll released Friday asked Republicans across the country about their opinions of seven people considering bids for party’s nomination next time around. At least a quarter of those surveyed said they didn't know enough about five of them to form an opinion. – Paul Steinhauser
Leading Drudge: Un-Hinged: Kim To Bomb Dc, La - And Austin?
North Korea has revealed its plans to strike targets in Hawaii and the continental United States in photos taken in Kim Jong-un's military command center. The photos appeared in the state-run Rodong newspaper and were apparently taken at an "emergency meeting" early on Friday morning. They show Kim signing the order for North Korea's strategic rocket forces to be on standby to fire at U.S. targets, the paper said, with large-scale maps and diagrams in the background. – Julian Ryall
Leading HuffPo: Ted Cruz Makes Slick Move
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has nixed a provision in a routine Senate resolution commemorating International Women's Day, reported Gail Collins of the New York Times in her Thursday column. A provision in the resolution, very similar to one passed in 2011, said women “are disproportionately affected by changes in climate because of their need to secure water, food and fuel for their livelihood.” – Luke Johnson
Leading Politico: Rick Perry gang rides into the sunset
Texas Gov. Rick Perry finds himself at a fork in the road as he ponders his electoral future — and he may have to find his way without the full gang of political knife fighters who have had his back for over a decade. – Alexander Burns
Leading The New York Times: Talk of Medicare Changes Could Open Way to Budget Pact
Recent statements from both Democrats and Republicans show a possible way forward in curbing Medicare costs, suggesting a lingering, if slight, chance for a budget bargain. – Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear
The political bites of the day
- SCOTUS Lawyer: ‘The problem is getting people to think about’ gay marriage -
DAVID BOIES, ONE OF THE TWO LAWYERS WHO PRESSED THE SUPREME COURT TO RULE AGAINST PROP 8, TALKS ABOUT TEAMING UP WITH TED OLSON IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S GLORIA BORGER: “I think that in the beginning there was a curiosity factor. The odd couple getting together. Which I think served us well, because this is an issue where if you pay attention to the issue, if you think about the issue, you can only come out one way. The challenge is to get people to think about the issue. I think that one of the things that our kind of novelty odd couple status did, was that it attracted people to listen to us in the first place and again to think of this issue in ways that they haven’t thought about it before. I don’t think the arguments against us are really arguments at all. They’re really bumper, slogans. Some bumper sticker. Marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s not an answer, that’s a question. The question is whether it ought to be that way or not.”
Gut Check Full Service: Gloria Borger’s exclusive access as ‘superlawyers’ Theodore Olson and Boies prepare for the case – as well as actor, director, producer Rob Reiner – will air March 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The interview traces the unusual legal journey of the case for same-sex marriage before the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC, this week.
- Obama announces modernization plan -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT A WHITE HOUSE EVENT IN MIAMI, FLORIDA: “Today I'm expanding on a proposal I made in the State of the Union. I'm calling it A Partnership to Rebuild America. It's a partnership with the private sector that creates jobs upgrading what our businesses need the most. Modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children.”
- Pastor Joel Osteen against same-sex marriage, but is ‘for everybody’ -
MEGACHURCH PASTOR JOEL OSTEEN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S JAKE TAPPER: “We’re for everybody. But, of course, as a Christian pastor, you know, my - my base is - is off what, I believe, the Scripture says. And it's, it's between, you know, marriage is between a male and a female. But again, we're for everybody and, um, but that's - that's - that's where I - that's where I draw the line.”
- Biden meets Dora -
JIMMY FALLON ON HIS LATE-NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “The White House announced that people dressed up like Scooby-Doo, SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer will be at Monday’s Easter Egg Roll. Or as Biden put it, “What do you mean, people dressed up like? I just met Dora.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
Telephones were not new to the White House, but it wasn't until Herbert Hoover's presidency, during this week in 1929, that a telephone was installed on the Oval Office desk.
The first president to speak on the phone was Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877. He spoke with Alexander Graham Bell, the telephone's inventor. According to reports of the conversation, Hayes' first words: "Please speak more slowly."
Two years later, though, Hayes had his own telephone installed in the White House – but not in the Oval Office.
According to the White House History Association, "The invention was so new that very few homes or offices in Washington had phones, so Hayes had few people to talk to. In fact, the president’s telephone number was "1."
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congrats to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) and Marc Tomik (@marctomik) for their correct answers to today’s trivia question. Nice work.
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