CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for April 4, 2013 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
President Barack Obama in a statement noted Ebert’s contribution to the cinema: “Michelle and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Roger Ebert. For a generation of Americans – and especially Chicagoans – Roger was the movies. When he didn't like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive – capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical.”
DEVELOPING: New Secret Service director’s personal information may have been compromised. The FBI and Secret Service are investigating another incident in which a website has posted the Social Security number and financial information of a government official. A website posted information allegedly belonging to Julia Pierson who was recently named the director of the Secret Service. The Secret Service would not comment beyond acknowledging it is looking into the matter.
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher. Dow gains 56 points. Nasdaq adds 0.2%, S&P rises 0.4%.
The shortest presidential term in history ended on this day in 1841. Whose was it and how did it end?
ALAN SILVERLEIB (@ASilverleibCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus went after two favorite targets of conservatives this week - Planned Parenthood and the media.
In an article published Wednesday on the conservative website RedState.com, Priebus ripped the press for not covering the recent testimony of a Planned Parenthood representative to state legislators in Florida. Asked what should happen to a baby born after a botched abortion, the representative said the “decision should be between the patient and the health care provider.”
“It might seem obvious that a newborn should be cared for — but not to Planned Parenthood,” Priebus wrote. “Whether the living, breathing child survives is up to the adults in the room because, as we now know, Planned Parenthood doesn't believe the baby has rights.”
Comparing coverage of the testimony – or lack thereof – to coverage of North Dakota’s recent enactment of tough new abortion restrictions, Priebus declared it yet another case of “blatant media bias — (a) cover-up really” that should be “cause for some thoughtful self-examination among journalists.”
What’s going on here?
“When conservatives see us holding the left accountable, it’s good,” RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told CNN’s Athena Jones. But “I don’t think this is a base issue. It’s a human issue.”
Maybe, but the GOP’s base needs some TLC. If social conservatives were despondent after last November’s crushing defeats, a lot of them were downright angry after Priebus’s recent electoral post-mortem concluded with a report laced with, in the opinion of many, code words calling for a leftward shift on certain hot button cultural issues.
One example: the report’s recommendation that when “it comes to social issues, the Party must in fact and deed be inclusive and welcoming. If we are not, we will limit our ability to attract young people and others, including many women, who agree with us on some but not all issues.”
Those are fighting words to a lot of activists who stuff the envelopes, knock on doors, and make the phone calls.
GOP leaders know they have work to do with young voters, women, and minorities. But they also know that conservatives gave Mitt Romney 60% of his total vote last November, and broke for the Republican ticket by a better than 4 to 1 margin.
Upset these voters at your own risk. Politicians don’t win by alienating their own base.
Priebus is walking a political tightrope. This week, it was time to remind social conservatives that they will continue to have a prominent place in a big tent GOP.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: U.S. reducing rhetoric that feeds North Korean belligerence
Recent announcements of American military deployments in response to belligerent statements by North Korea may have contributed to escalating tensions between the two countries, Pentagon officials told CNN Thursday in explaining an effort to reduce U.S. rhetoric about the reclusive state. - Barbara Starr and Tom Cohen
Leading Drudge: It's Starting: Cancer Clinics Turn Away Medicare Users
Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts. Oncologists say the reduced funding, which took effect for Medicare on April 1, makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially. Patients at these clinics would need to seek treatment elsewhere, such as at hospitals that might not have the capacity to accommodate them. - Sarah Kliff, The Washington Post
Leading HuffPo: Elizabeth Colbert Busch Has GOP Official Concerned Because She's 'Not A Bad-Looking Lady'
Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert now facing former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) in a race for the state's 1st Congressional District in May, has Republicans publicly expressing worries about losing the long-red seat. With her business record, a strong campaign apparatus and an ethically challenged opponent who, just years ago, was at the center of a nationally recognized sex scandal, Colbert Busch has been favored narrowly in early polling. But one Republican recently said there was another reason the party should be worried about the Democrat. - Nick Wing
Leading Politico: A viewer's guide to Hillary Clinton Fever
Will she run or won’t she? The obsessive speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans for 2016 promises to be the longest and most intense parlor game in the history of American politics. It is a consuming fixation already, not just among the operatives and reporters who always inhale this stuff but to an extraordinary degree among average Americans. - Maggie Haberman
Leading The New York Times: Upstart Group Pushes Harder Than the N.R.A.
When word surfaced in February that Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, was plotting with Democrats on a bill to expand background checks for gun buyers, Larry Pratt got really mad. Then, Mr. Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, got busy, mounting a lobbying blitz that helps explain why a bipartisan Senate deal on background checks remains elusive. - Jennifer Steinhauer
The political bites of the day
- Immigration easier than guns, Obama says -
THE PRESIDENT SPEAKS TO POLITICAL REALITY ON CAPITOL HILL AT A DNC FUNDRAISER IN ATHERTON, CALIFORNIA: "I am very optimistic that we get immigration reform done in the next few months. And the reason I'm optimistic is because people spoke out through the ballot box, and that's breaking gridlock. It's going to be tougher to get better gun legislation to reduce gun violence through the Senate and the House that so many of us I think want to see, particularly after the tragedy in Newtown. But I still think it can get done if people are activated and involved."
- Rubio says gun laws won’t stop tragedies –
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, WRITING FOR TOWNHALL.COM: “Current gun control proposals being discussed by Washington Democrats – by the admission of their own authors – would not have stopped the tragedies in Newtown or Aurora. The perpetrators of these actions were mentally disturbed monsters with a complete lack of interest in laws or ethics. For this reason, any effective plan to deal with future violence must focus on addressing mental illness and identifying those Americans who should be forbidden to own guns.
- Attack on U.S. ‘suicidal’ for North Korea –
FORMER NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON ON “STARTING POINT”: I think our response has been appropriate: cool, calm, but at the same time putting our military resources ready in case there's an emergency. But if they try anything with the United States, it's suicidal. That's not going to happen.”
- Carville is ‘ready for Hillary’ –
DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST JAMES CARVILLE IN A LETTER FOR THE READY FOR HILLARY SUPER PAC: “There hasn't been a presidential election in my lifetime when Democrats have been as united behind a potential candidate as we are today. The enthusiasm and hunger for a Hillary Clinton Presidency is unlike anything I've ever seen.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
After only a month in office, President William Henry Harrison died on this day in 1841 from pneumonia, becoming the first president to die in office. His term of 32 days still ranks as the shortest in American history.
Harrison developed the condition soon after delivering a marathon inauguration address in the bitter cold. He wasn’t wearing a hat or jacket, and afterwards went to a series of inauguration balls in wet clothing.
At age 68, Harrison was at the time the oldest president to assume office – a record not surpassed until Ronald Reagan was sworn in in 1981.
His death prompted a brief constitutional crisis – at the time, no presidential line of succession was included in the Constitution. The 25th Amendment spelling out the successors was ratified in 1967.
John Tyler, Harrison’s vice president, eventually assumed the presidency.
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