CNN's GUT CHECK for May 24, 2013
May 24th, 2013
04:06 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 24, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 24, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

2016 WATCH: First on CNN: Cruz invited to key 2016 presidential state An influential social conservative organization in New Hampshire has invited Sen. Ted Cruz to speak to its members, an offer that would present the Texas Republican an opportunity to begin meeting primary voters if he decides to run for president.

RIP: Haynes Johnson, the Pulitzer Prize winning longtime correspondent of The Washington Post and a veteran member of the Mighty Gridiron Chorus, died Friday morning of a heart attack at Suburban Hospital. He was 81.

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end the week lower for the first time in a month on fears of Fed policy changes and global slowdown.

(Answer below)

The first telegraph conversation was between a train station in Baltimore and the U.S. Capitol. What was the message?

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

For the 2012 Republican presidential field, the primary campaign was a roller coaster ride.

Rep. Michele Bachmann had her moment as did Herman Cain. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich saw his campaign collapse early in the summer of 2011 and then come back to life in the fall. Former Sen. Rick Santorum ground it out, a strategy that helped him become one of the last candidates standing. And Rep. Ron Paul ignored the GOP establishment and campaigned on his libertarian philosophy.

The races only constant was former Gov. Mitt Romney, who was the best funded and most organized of any of his competitors. Despite some scares (South Carolina), Romney eventually won the GOP nomination and formally accepted it on August 30.

But what if Romney had never run? What if, dissuaded by his loss for the GOP nomination in 2008, he decided to sit out 2012?

Who would have filled Romney’s front-runner shoes? Would it have been Gingrich, the wonky, confrontational former lawmaker? Or would Rick Santorum, the unabashedly socially conservative former senator from Pennsylvania? How about Ron Paul, the libertarian hero with a devout following? Or would have we seen someone else throw a hat in the ring?

Who would have won the Republican nomination if Romney had not run?

We reached out to our followers on Twitter, Facebook and via e-mail – and like most questions posed on the Internet about 2012, Ron Paul followers answered in droves.

Micheil Wiegand: Of course Paul would have cleaned house, beat Obama while redefining the word "landslide", and begin to apply the necessary medicine this country needs. Of course it would've been painful, and they'd probably blame him for it... but we'd be in a MUCH better position today for future generations.

Martha Esther: Obviously Ron Paul.

Caryn Gleason: The one that actually made sense- Ron Paul!

Milan Kolundzija: Ron Paul. He would have made the best candidate. He is truly an inspiration and a true statesman.

But Gingrich and Santorum were not shut out. A number of people highlighted Gingrich’s blunt nature:

Raymond Starkey: Newt, tells it like it is

Camille Hurley: I think Gingrich would have eventually prevailed. He has a way of shredding his opponent and speaks clearly giving a message that is understood....not likeable sometimes and has issues with his past but also has much success to brag about and his wit and knowledge wins people over.

Samuel Bassett: Without Rombot smearing Newt, Gingrich had the easiest path to the nomination (and presidency).

Brandon Burkhardt: Gingrich would win and would have been the president if not for lies and Romneys money.

And there was some support for Santorum:

Jill Comfort: Rick Santorum!!!!

And then there were a number of people who suggested Republicans other than Paul, Gingrich and Santorum.

Marcus Damm: Well if Romney was not in I think you would saw Condi Rice, Mike Huckabee and John Thune

Roger Tracey: Condolesa Rice should have.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Sex assaults threaten military trust, Obama tells Naval graduates
A rash of sexual assaults in the armed forces undermines Americans' confidence in the military, President Barack Obama told newly commissioned officers at the U.S. Naval Academy on Friday. “Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that makes our military strong,” Obama told the graduates, who were commissioned as Naval ensigns and Marine Corps second lieutenants. – Kevin Liptak

Leading Drudge: UK Air Scares
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of endangering an aircraft after a plane was escorted to the ground by fighter jets. The Pakistan International Airlines flight from Lahore was diverted to Stansted Airport after a disturbance on board.

Leading HuffPo: Fault Lines
A tea party rebellion by several U.S. senators blocking progress on the federal budget may be working for them, but not for their fellow Republican lawmakers - even ones who mostly agree with them. – Sabrina Siddiqui and Michael McAuliff

Leading Politico: The Sharyl Attkisson approach
Sharyl Attkisson has problems. The Obama administration won’t answer the CBS News correspondent’s questions because her investigations — into Benghazi, “Fast and Furious,” Solyndra — often reflect negatively on it. Some colleagues at CBS News, where she has worked for two decades and earned multiple Emmy awards, dismiss her work because they perceive a political agenda. And now, she says, someone may have hacked into her computers. – Dylan Byers

Leading The New York Times: Obama Speaks to Naval Graduates About Sexual Assault Issue
President Obama used a commencement speech before Naval Academy graduates on Friday to urge them to follow an “inner compass” and to warn that rising numbers of sexual assaults in the military threatened to erode America’s faith in the armed forces. – Michael Shear

The political bites of the day

- The newest link in a storied chain -
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN HIS COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS TO THE U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY: “Class of 2013, I cannot promise you a life of comfort and ease for you have chosen an ancient path, the profession of arms, which carries all the perils of our modern war. And just as classes before you could not know that they would find themselves at Coral Sea or Midway or Fallujah or Helmand, we cannot know sitting here today where your service will carry you. But I do know this, as you say farewell to Bancroft Hall, as you make your way down Stribling Walk one last time, you're becoming the newest link in a storied chain.”

- Please don’t call my heckling, heckling -
CODE PINK FOUNDER MEDEA BENJAMIN, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “I don't call it heckling. I call it speaking out because the president is not implementing policies that we need to see changed. … The time for words is over. It's time for action. He is the commander-in-chief. He can do this on his own.”

Gut Check Fact Check: Mrs. Benjamin, please see the definition of heckling here: heck-ling: to harass and try to disconcert with questions, challenges, or gibes : badger.

- Obama's woes flow out of big government philosophy -
BOBBY JINDAL, THE REPUBLICAN GOVENOR OF LOUISIANA, IN A CNN OPINION PIECE: “The latest problems with the IRS witch hunt, the seizure of phone records from The Associated Press, the conflicting Benghazi stories and disastrous attempts to enforce Obamacare may all seem unrelated, but they are not. Each of these events is the direct byproduct of two central philosophies of the Obama administration - the massive expansion of the size and power of the federal government and a lack of trust in the American people.”

- ‘Guantanamo is a model prison’ -
REPUBLICAN REP. PETER KING OF NEW YORK, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “I don't think we have any reason to be apologetic at all. Guantanamo is a model prison. Is it ideal? No, but we don't live in an ideal world. That attack from September 11th is poised to not happen again. … I don't know why he's so apologetic. And I think he's just somehow wants to pander to ‘The New York Times’ or somebody else. To me, we have to do what we have to do.”

- Why do you help veterans? -
GARY SINISE, FOUNDER OF THE GARY SINISE FOUNDATION, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S JAKE TAPPER: “I know there's a lot of people in my industry that support our men and women, maybe not as excessively as I do, but I'll tell you why it's important. Over the years, it's just snowballed. I've been to so many places and met so many people that I can see that it makes a difference if you walk into an amputee’s room, or a family is standing over someone in a coma, and they don't know if they'll wake up, and somebody comes in to show they care. That can mean something. And the more you do that, for me, I just want to do it some more.”

Gut Check DVR: Sunday on State of the Union, as residents in Moore, Oklahoma recover from Monday’s deadly twister, we’ll ask Governor Mary Fallin (R-OK) about the urgent needs of survivors and why there aren’t more storm shelters there. Plus, insight from two lawmakers who have rebuilt after major disasters: Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm and Joplin, Missouri Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean. Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley on Sunday at 9a / 12p ET.

What stopped us in 140 characters or less


Invented by Samuel Morse and completed in 1844, the first telegraph conversation took place on May 24, 1844, between representatives in the Capitol Building and a train station in Baltimore.

The words of the first message: “What hath God wrought?”

The line, a biblical verse from Numbers 23:23, was selected by Annie Ellsworth, a family friend of Samuel Morse’s. It was transmitted using Morse Code and recorded on paper tape.

After displaying the telegraph for Congress, the invention took off. The first permanent telegraph line was built between Philadelphia and New York. After that, in 1851, lines were built in the East, South and Midwest. Western Union built the first transcontinental line in 1861.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to David Daniel (@CNNLADavid) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Have a good weekend, all.

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Aaaah, the Teatrolls. The sun really does rise in the west and set in the east for them. Every time they open their mouths, I feel like I have to look around to see if Khal Drogo has returned.

    May 24, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Sooo, has CNN decided not to report on Graham and McCain praising Obama for nominating Nuland to be Asst. Secretary for European and Eurasian affairs?

    Know who Nuland is? She's the woman who authored the email about Benghazi talking points that the GOP/Teatrolls misrepresented to John Karl, who then reported that he has seen the email, which he hadn't (he only saw GOP notes), and characterized it all as being specifically and solely concerned with protecting the State Dept. and manipulating the talking points to "cover it up." Arguably, she is the ONE person above all who the GOP/Teatrolls would claim is responsible for all of the "cover up."

    Go hold up a picture of her next to a picture of Susan Rice, the person who merely repeated the talking points Nuland supposedly devised, and then tell me why McCain and Graham praised her nomination. Go ahead. Go on...

    May 24, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |