CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 8, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
IMMEDIATE THREAT: Worries about North Korean threat at all-time high… As North Korea increases its alarming threats against South Korea and the United States the past few weeks, a new national survey suggests that Americans are listening. According to the CNN/ORC International poll out today, 41% of Americans now characterize North Korea an immediate threat to the United States, an all-time high for that measure.
IRON LADY: Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first female PM, dead at 87… Thatcher, a towering figure in postwar British and world politics and the only woman to become British prime minister, suffered a stroke Monday, her spokeswoman said. A British government source said she died at the Ritz Hotel in London.
ANOTHER DEMOCRAT: Sen. Tim Johnson announced his support for same-sex marriage in a written statement on Monday. “After lengthy consideration, my views have evolved sufficiently to support marriage equality legislation,” Johnson said. “This position doesn't require any religious denomination to alter any of its tenets; it simply forbids government from discrimination regarding who can marry whom.”
AND THEN THERE WERE THREE: With his announcement, that leaves three Senate Democrats who have yet to come out in support for gay and lesbian couples to have the legal right to marry. All three come from conservative-leaning states. They include Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Both Pryor and Landrieu are up for re-election next year, while Manchin's term ends in 2018.
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher, rebounding from one of 2013's worst weeks. Dow adds 48 points. NASDAQ and S&P gain 0.6%.
President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had a notably close relationship. Over what historic event, however, was the relationship most challenged?
What caught our eye today in politics
Countless political reporters and pundits have had that name on the tip of their tongue for the last few months. Since leaving the State Department earlier this year, the white hot light of political speculation has followed everything she has done – from her first public speech to a new book.
But, so far, Clinton has been sheepish, at best, when asked about her aspiration for the presidency in 2016. “Look, I'm flattered. I am honored," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer last April, when asked about the chorus of Democrats who want Clinton to make another bid for her party's presidential nomination. “That is not in the future for me, but obviously I'm hoping that I'll get to cast my vote for a woman running for president of our country.”
Today, however, it became clear that Hillary Clinton is not the only member of her family rumored to have her eye on higher office.
Enter Chelsea Clinton, Hillary and former President Bill Clinton’s daughter.
In an interview with NBC on Monday, Chelsea left the door wide open to future political office.
“Right now I'm grateful to live in a city, in a state and a country where I strongly support my mayor, my governor, my president, my senators and my representative,” she said. “If at some point that weren't true and I thought I could make a meaningful and measurably greater impact, I'd have to ask and answer that question.”
Recently, Chelsea Clinton’s work as a special correspondent for NBC News and her father’s foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, has significantly elevated her profile. So much so that her mother, in an interview with CNN in January, said her daughter was naturally drawn to “public service.”
“She and Bill and I, we are we just have public service in our DNA,” Hillary Clinton said. “That doesn't have to be political service. It can be what we're doing now, and what Bill has been doing now. So I think we'll work all that out. It's going to be fun to talk it through and figure out what our next adventures might be.”
And political advisers who have followed the Clinton family say they have seen Chelsea’s political aspirations for years.
“I wouldn’t be surprised that Chelsea Clinton is feeling the pressure to consider running for public office,” said CNN contributor Donna Brazile. “She is a champion of young people getting involved in public service and I wouldn't be surprised if she might have some future ambitions to run for public office.”
It appears that any political aspirations for Chelsea Clinton are still a ways off. But the once gangly teen that occupied the White House with her parents has made strides in the last few years to become a bona fide political option for Democrats in the future.
And with an answer like she gave this morning, the door for Chelsea Clinton’s future political career may be more open than even her mothers.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Springtime for immigration reform?
Congress returns from spring break Monday, and immigration reform tops the agenda. The Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" is preparing to release its long-awaited plan for resolving the status of 11 million undocumented men, women, and children now living in America's shadows. Can a unique confluence of factors - a Democratic president trying to build his legacy, a Republican Party grappling with new demographic realities - overcome the usual strong bias for inaction in a sharply divided Congress? The answer remains unclear. – Alan Silverleib
Leading Drudge: Iron Lady Dies In London
Britain's first and only female prime minister Baroness Thatcher has died at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke. Lady Thatcher's children Mark and Carol said their mother, who suffered bouts of ill health in recent years, died peacefully on Monday morning. – Sky News
Leading HuffPo: Gun Control Package Gets Some Rare Good News
Gun legislation is still hanging by a few political threads. But prospects of passing something of substance began to improve, albeit gradually, over the weekend. The most important of those developments were reports that Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is now a prospective Republican co-sponsor for a bill to expand background checks for firearm purchases. Several gun control advocates said they were cautiously optimistic about the development. – Sam Stein
Leading Politico: Hill holds Obama's legacy in its hands
It’s now or never for the White House. President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda is in doubt as Congress returns to Washington this week for a spring and summer stretch that could go a long way to define the scope of Obama’s legacy. – Jonathan Allen
Leading The New York Times: Critical Week in Senate for Gun and Immigration Bills
Congress returns to Washington on Monday with two issues reaching critical stages – gun safety legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration system. Both issues face a hard road, and action could slip into next week. But negotiations, which for two weeks have largely been between staff members, will intensify as lawmakers return from their spring break. In both cases, breakthroughs are possible by midweek.- Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Steinhauer
The political bites of the day
- Tributes to the ‘Iron Lady’ stream in… -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend.”
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “The greatest peacetime prime minister in British history is dead. Margaret Thatcher, a grocer’s daughter, stared down elites, union bosses, and communists to win three consecutive elections, establish conservative principles in Western Europe, and bring down the Iron Curtain.”
FORMER SOVIET LEADER MIKHAIL GORBACHEV IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “Thatcher was a politician who had a strong voice. Our first meeting in 1984 marked the beginning of a relationship that was at times difficult, not always smooth, but on both sides serious and responsible. … Margaret Thatcher was a great politician and a bright person. She will remain in our memories and in history.”
- … but not all were positive -
SINN FÉIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British Prime Minister. … Here in Ireland her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering. … Margaret Thatcher will be especially remembered for her shameful role during the epic hunger strikes of 1980 and 81. Her Irish policy failed miserably.”
- Governor: We need more women governors -
DEMOCRATIC GOV. PETER SHUMLIN OF VERNMONT IN AN OPINION PIECE FOR THE HUFFINGTON POST: “Though women represent over half of the U.S. population, they still only make up 20 percent of the United States Senate and 17.7 percent of the House of Representatives. … Twenty-four states have never had a female governor and only five out of fifty governors are women - four Republicans and one Democrat. It's not a good track record for either side. Since we elected the first female governor (Ella Grasso, a Connecticut Democrat) 40 years ago, at most nine women have held governorships at the same time.”
- White House calls out senators threatening to filibuster gun bill -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “If there's a member of Congress who's contemplating filibustering some of this, it would be interesting to see if they stood and applauded at the State of the Union address when the President said that these victims deserve a vote and regardless. If they oppose this legislation, have the courage to say so on the floor and vote no. Don't block it. Don't hide behind a procedural action to prevent a vote. That's the wrong thing to do.”
- Christie labels fired Rutgers coach an ‘animal’ -
REPUBLICAN GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE OF NEW JERSEY AT A PRESS CONFERENCE: “You have lots of successful coaches in this country at the college level who don’t act this way. Lots and lots who have been successful… all who you could say have much higher pressure programs that they run with much greater expectations for wining than Rutgers yet they don’t conduct themselves like animals. One of my questions to folks was what parent would let this animal back into their living room to try to recruit their son after this video?”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
The 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada was a rough patch in the close relationship between President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Invasion of the small island nation off the coast of Venezuela in October 1983 was done to reinstall the constitutionally elected government that was displaced by a coup four years earlier. Though Grenada was considered independent at the time, it was still a member of the British Commonwealth.
Thatcher opposed the invasion and told Reagan by phone at 12:30 a.m. on October 25 that it could not happen. Little did she know, it was already under way. Reagan did not inform her on that call.
According to former Thatcher press secretary, Martin Ingham, “Mrs. Thatcher was heard to expostulate, not once, but many times ‘How could (Reagan) do it without telling the Queen, i.e. without telling me so that I could inform the head of the commonwealth.’”
They spoke again the next day.
"When word came of your concerns – by the time I got it – the zero hour had passed, and our forces were on their way," Reagan told her. "But I want you to know it was no feeling on our part of lack of confidence at your end."
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Congrats to Stewart Scott-Curran (@stewartsc) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question correctly. Nice work.
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