CNN's GUT CHECK for May 30, 2013
May 30th, 2013
04:47 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for May 30, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 30, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

SUSPICIOUS LETTERS: LETTER TO OBAMA INTERCEPTED; SIMILAR TO RICIN-LACED LETTER TO BLOOMBERG Officials intercepted a letter on Thursday addressed to the White House that was similar to threatening letters sent to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a group he founded. The off-site facility that screens mail addressed to the White House turned the letter over to the FBI for testing and investigation, U.S. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said.

FIRST ON CNN: HOUSE INVESTIGATORS QUESTIONING IRS CINCINNATI WORKERS House investigators are interviewing two front-line Internal Revenue Service employees from the Cincinnati tax exempt office this week and plan to interview two others next week, two congressional sources familiar with the investigation tell CNN. – Dana Bash

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher on mixed economic data. Dow adds 22 points. NASDAQ gains 0.7%, S&P rises 0.4%.

(Answer below)
Who is the only president to kill someone in a duel?

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

After months of historic hearings, June is set to be a month that could profoundly change legal precedent in the United States.

“Four weeks. Four major legal rulings,” writes CNN’s Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears. “The justices will meet in at least five public sessions to release opinions in its remaining 30 cases, among them some the most strongly-contested legal and social issues they have confronted in decades.”

Haven’t been keeping up with the Supreme Court this term? Don’t worry, here is Mears’ vital summary for two of the groundbreaking cases:

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

AT ISSUE: A challenge to the school's race-conscious admissions policies.
THE CASE: Abigail Fisher individually sued the university after her college application was rejected in 2008.
THE ARGUMENTS: Fisher claims she was turned away in part because she is white, despite being more qualified than some minority applicants.
THE IMPACT: The appeal raises anew thorny, unresolved questions over race and remedies.

VOTING RIGHTS: Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder; Nix v. Holder

AT ISSUE: The continued use by the federal government of the key enforcement provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.
THE CASE: Section 5 gives federal authorities open-ended oversight of states and localities with a history of voter discrimination. Any changes in voting laws and procedures in the covered states must be "pre-cleared" with Washington.
THE ARGUMENTS: The provision was reauthorized in 2006 for another 25 years and counties in Alabama and North Carolina subsequently filed suit, saying the monitoring was overly burdensome and unwarranted.
THE IMPACT: The high court's decision to accept these appeals for a full review came in a presidential election year that incorporated newly redrawn voting boundaries, based on the updated census. This ruling would likely impact next year's mid-term elections.

For the rest of three other cases Mears features in his summary – including the two most anticipated decisions regarding same sex marriage – read his story.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Republican senators hit Sebelius on Obamacare fundraising
Several Republican senators are calling for an investigation of whether the head of the Health and Human Services Department violated appropriations and ethics rules when she reportedly tried to raise funds for a group that is working to help put Obamacare in place. – Halimah Abdullah

Leading Drudge: 'Godfather' On The Move
In this week's cover story, TIME's David Von Drehle interviews Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the enduring problems facing Chicago – school reform, gun violence, unemployment and budget shortfalls. Von Drehle also outlines how Emanuel's aggressive efforts – often at odds with his Democratic base – could prove to be a proxy for a broader fight nationwide over the identity of the Democratic Party.

Leading HuffPo: On Edge: Rubio Moves Leave Backers Uneasy
Republican Senator Marco Rubio's repeated criticism of parts of the sweeping U.S. immigration bill he helped craft has unsettled immigration reform advocates and others who support its passage. – Caren Bohan

Leading Politico: The new Anthony Weiner, same as the old
In the week since he took the New York City mayoral race by storm, Anthony Weiner has delighted in the media circus he single-handedly created. He has mixed it up with reporters and taunted longtime adversaries in the same manner that made him a liberal lightning rod in Congress. – Maggie Haberman

Leading The New York Times: Travels of the President Under a Microscope in an Era of Belt Tightening
For a leader presiding over automatic budget cuts and a muted economic recovery, there are growing political costs to President Obama’s travel itinerary. – Michael Shear and Peter Baker

The political bites of the day

- McCain responds to Syria photo controversy -
BRIAN ROGERS, SEN. JOHN MCCAIN’S COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “None of the individuals the senator planned to meet with was named Mohamad Nour or Abu Ibrahim. A number of other Syrian commanders joined the meeting, but none of them identified himself as Mohamad Nour or Abu Ibrahim.” LINK

- With campaign in rearview, Ann Romney says there were mistakes -
ANN ROMNEY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CBS: “You'd always love to turn the page back and go back and say, 'Boy, if we had the crystal ball, wouldn't it have been nice to have done things a little differently.' But I still think, you know, every campaign makes mistakes. Both sides make mistakes.” LINK

- Brother v. Brother -
JEFF NUGENT, WHO IS GUN ACTIVIST TED NUGENT’S BROTHER, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “In excess of 80% of Americans are in strong support of enhanced background checks, now, it boggles my mind how our elected officials and the NRA are not paying attention to the majority of the people that they represent. I don’t get it.”

- Russia’s role in Syria -
SPOKESPERSON JEN PSAKI AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING: “They have an important role to play, We could have continued meetings with the London 11 and talk about areas where we agree and how we are going to agree to continue with the opposition but the point here is working with countries like Russia who have supported the regime, they have ties to the regime, to see if we can get both sides back to the table and that's the special role that they can play in this process and why we feel it's important to continue partnering with them.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less


After Charles Dickinson published a statement in the Nashville Review that labeled Andrew Jackson a "worthless scoundrel, a poltroon and a coward," the Tennessee lawyer and future president challenged Dickinson to a duel.

Because dueling was illegal in Tennessee, the duo headed to Harrison's Mills in Logan, Kentucky, and on May 30, 1806, Jackson and Dickinson took their places and prepared to fire on one another.

Dickinson was the first to fire, hitting Jackson two inches from his heart but only breaking two ribs. Jackson, who was reportedly clutching his chest at the time, raised his gun and shot Dickinson fatally. Because Dickinson had fired first, he was forced to stand there as he was killed.

Although the wound caused by Dickinson's bullet didn't kill the future president, it did cause Jackson a lifetime of pain.

To this day, Jackson, who went on to have a storied military career after the duel, is the only president to have killed someone in a duel.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Adam Sharp (@AdamS) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Has Adam ever been in a duel? How else do you think they settle things at Twitter?

Tips or comments? Our inbox awaits:
Anyone can sign up for Gut Check by emailing

Do you have a friend who wants to sign up for GUT CHECK or our new CNNPolitics Breaking News Alerts? Click here, log on and scroll down.

Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. just sayin

    gotta love the con game being played by the leftists. single payer system??? you mean government paid for and run healthcare. government doctors, government hospitals, government inefficiency, government incompetence. and when their incompetence kills you, or your kid, or parents? well, can't sue the government now can you? hey it's part of the price you pay, right?

    and about that pay thing... let's see, last i looked about half weren't paying anything anyways. so now all of the costs of healthcare for the entire country will fall on the backs of who? well certainly not on those poor 47% that are getting a free ride! be prepared for 60-70% tax rates suckers. but it will all be worth it as your family will be much thinner since they won't be able to afford so much food, or education, or will that be "free" too?

    May 30, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "For a leader presiding over automatic budget cuts and a muted economic recovery, there are growing political costs to President Obama’s travel itinerary. – Michael Shear and Peter Baker"

    What an asinine smear piece. Seriously. Quoting GOPers/Teatrolls complaining about him being on the road or on vacation too much, when he's clearly done so far less than the last 4 Presidents? Quoting GOPers, of all people, complaining that Obama is the one asking people to sacrifice but won't sacrifice himself?

    I'm filing that article under "MSM Hissy Fit re: AP Subpoena."

    May 30, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "and when their incompetence kills you, or your kid, or parents? well, can't sue the government now can you? "

    Gripes someone who no doubt yells and screams about the supposed need for tort reform and "those durned trial attorneys derpa derpa!!!!" You win today's gold star for most disingenuous post.

    May 30, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Who is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? Most Americans don't know. Even on a multiple choice question."

    And that's precisely how the MSM likes it.

    May 30, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    " well certainly not on those poor 47% that are getting a free ride!"

    Yeah, working 2 jobs, 60-80 hours per week, to earn just enough to survive on yet still fall into the "poverty" bracket is some sweet sweet sauce. But don't let me discourage you...that 47% line of argument worked so well for Mittens...please proceed.

    May 30, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Because dueling was illegal in Tennessee, the duo headed to Harrison's Mills in Logan, Kentucky, and on May 30, 1806, Jackson and Dickinson took their places and prepared to fire on one another."

    Wait...dueling was illegal in TN? But but but OMG SECOND AMENDMENT CONSTIMATOOSHUN!!!!!!!!

    May 30, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. Gilbert - Jacksonville,FL

    Let's see if we can push down the costs for medical treatment in this country. $150 for one Aspirin? $9000 for 6 hours in a Hospital ER with no medications or exams performed? We are in a loop, we pay more for the Insurance companies every year without any raise to our salaries. The pharmaceuticals companies lobby doctors to prescribe the Medicine of the month. We need better moral values than that, where the greedy ones should see the end of this era. We must decided where we want to be. We need to break this cycle, and President Obama saw this an opportunity.

    May 30, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    @just sprayin: The 47% who are "getting a free ride" are retired and active duty military, seniors, the disabled and students. Oh, and kids who happened to be born into poor families.

    Given that you'll at least fall into one of the above categories in your life (actually, you could die before you become a senior), I'm assuming you won't be accepting any public money, being the self-reliant, non-moocher that you are. And that you've written your refund check to the government for all public assistance you have received in your life (education, police/fire/EMT assistance, public roads, public airports, public libraries, hydroelectric power, etc., etc., etc.).


    May 30, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    @just sprayin: Under our current for-profit health insurance system, those with coverage are paying for those who don't have it (many of whom are working, but their employers can't afford the premiums that have skyrocketed the past 20 years).

    And if you don't like Obamacare, go complain to the Heritage Foundation, who came up with the individual mandate plan – which was championed by Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and myriad GOPers who wanted folks to have "skin in the game" when it came to healthcare.

    May 30, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ ThinkAgain
    "just sprayin".
    Good one! LOL!

    May 30, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. Jim

    Now they got you where they want you.
    First, some forced health care BS. Next, they will tell you where you can work, where you can live, and what you can eat.
    You better watch out what you are wishing for.
    Lets hope this whole things goes away, along with that power driven lunatic in office.

    May 30, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  12. Norma jean

    "JUST SAYING".........Where do you get the "free ride" business....As a senior who worked years and years and now collects S. S. I pay out of every check for part of my health care..."Free Ride"... WHERE/????...We do also have co-pays on a lot of services!!!......A number of things we pay for ourselves or do without......"Free Ride" better .learn to read!!!

    May 30, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  13. geggyg

    @just sayin
    Are all the doctors who treat patients govt doctors, no most are private doctors who get paid fee for service ,the Fed and State govts already run hospitals ( most of the problems in public hospitals are because they are underfunded and generally don't have enough staff) taxpayers already pay for people at public hospitals if the patients don't have enough assets to be seized to pay unpaid bills.
    Here in Australia we have a universal health system ( Medicare Aust – paid for in part by 1.5% tax and we also have complimenting private health and insurance scheme – $ 300 a month would give a family a gold plated policy) . We also have a subsidised prescription scheme for everyone . Yet with all this our healthcare system cost about half per head and as a percentage of GDP than the US system costs. We don't have income or business tax rates of 60-70% . Obamacare didn't go far enough it should have been a universal health system , take the best bits from different schemes around the world , don't use the bad bits that's what Australia did when we first implemented Medibank then Medicare

    May 30, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    @just saying, you are writing and putting yourself down because you are most certainly part of that 47% but, as any rethug or anyone living in southern red state, you just don't get it! Sad, so sad.

    May 30, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |