CNN's GUT CHECK for July 19, 2013
July 19th, 2013
05:05 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for July 19, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for July 19, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

OBAMA: TRAYVON COULD HAVE BEEN ME: POTUS SPEAKS OUT ON THE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT President Barack Obama said Friday that "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago." It was his first live, public comment since a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman last weekend in the teenager's shooting death. Obama also said protests over the verdict should remain nonviolent. – Tom Cohen

On the verdict: “The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries (sic) were properly instructed that in a - in a case such as this, reasonable doubt was relevant. And they rendered a verdict. And once the jury's spoken, that's how our system works.”
On his own experience regarding profiling: “There are very few African-American men in this country who have not had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store. That includes me.”
On the chance of civil rights charges against George Zimmerman: “I think it's important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government. The criminal code and law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.”
On a national conversation on race relations: “You know, there's been talk about, should we convene a conversation on race? I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there's a possibility that people are a little bit more honest and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can?”
On progress: “When I talk to Malia and Sasha and I listen to their friends and I see them interact, they're better than we are. They're better than we were on these issues. And that's true in every community that I've visited all across the country.”


REMEMBER 2008? Obama discussed race in what Pew Research called “arguably the biggest political event of the campaign so far” on March 18, 2008: “This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. … But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.”

MARKET WATCH: S&P 500 ends at record high for second straight day. Major indexes finish fourth straight week of gains.

(Answer below)
What is the most populous state to never produce a president?

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

In the past 24 hours, the United States and one of its most historic cities received dramatically contradictory news.

Late on Thursday, Detroit filed for bankruptcy, becoming the nation's largest public sector to fail financially. The move could slash pension benefits to city workers and retirees, and leave bond holders with only pennies on the dollar.

For Detroit, the writing was on the wall. The city faces total liabilities of about $18 billion. Nearly 40% of the budget went to legacy costs: pensions and paying down debt. Nearly half of street lights in the city are turned off as a cost-saving measure.

But as Detroit crumbles, the nation as a whole is doing better.

On Friday, Moody's Investors Service rating agency said America is pulling out of its economic malaise, slowly but surely. Moody's raised its outlook on U.S. debt to stable, shedding the negative outlook that it has maintained for nearly two years.

Moody's also affirmed its top rating for the U.S. government, noting that the nation's “debt trajectory is on track to meet the criteria laid out in August 2011 for a return to stable outlook.”

In a weekly address last October, President Barack Obama said that America “refused to let Detroit go bankrupt” while touting his bailout of the auto industry – a staple of the city. For much of his presidency, he has also promised to get America back on a path to growth and economic stability.

Detroit declares bankruptcy and a credit agency gives the United States two thumbs up: a mixed bag for the Obama administration.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Cohen: Her mother told me she was my daughter
Dismayed to learn that a DNA test proved his long-lost daughter was not actually his long-lost daughter, Rep. Steve Cohen explained Friday in an interview with CNN why he had believed he was the father for several years: He had taken the word of the mother.

Leading Drudge: 'You May Be Able To Keep Your Current Doctor'
“Depending on the plan you choose in the Marketplace, you may be able to keep your current doctor.” The bottom line is that Obamacare guarantees neither. Doctors may be only available through certain networks, just as in the current system. – Jeryl Bier

Leading HuffPo: 'Ground' War: 'Rick Scott Has Awoken A Sleeping Giant'
Protesters who set up camp in the state Capitol building earlier this week finally got to meet with Gov. Rick Scott late Thursday, and they urged him to push for the repeal of Florida's “stand-your-ground” law and to take steps to combat racial profiling.

Leading Politico: Can Terry McAuliffe govern himself?
So far, almost every external event in the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial race — the federal investigation of a sitting governor and the selection of an over-the-top activist as the GOP lieutenant governor candidate, for starters — has helped Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe. This weekend, the trajectory of the race may hinge on a different question: Can Terry McAuliffe help himself? – Alexander Burns

Leading The New York Times: Discussing Furlough Concerns at Military Bases, Hagel Has ‘No Good News’
Over three days visiting military bases across the southeastern United States this week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told everyone that compromise in Washington was unlikely. – Thom Shanker

Leading CNN Opinion: Ex-CIA chief: What Edward Snowden did
Edward Snowden will likely prove to be the most costly leaker of American secrets in the history of the Republic. Snowden fled to China with several computers' worth of data from NSANET, one of the most highly classified and sensitive networks in American intelligence. The damage is potentially so great that NSA has taken one of its most respected senior operations officers off mission tasks to lead the damage assessment effort. – Michael Hayden

The political bites of the day

- Why address Trayvon Martin now? -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “When it comes to issues like this, obviously he has conversations with a lot of people as he does on every issue, but I don't think there's any question, and you can judge by what he just said, and how he said it, that he knows what he thinks and he knows what he feels and he has, not just in the past week, but for a good portion of his life, given a lot of thought to these issues.”

- From the heart -
NEWARK MAYOR AND U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE CORY BOOKER IN AN INTERVIEW ON THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER: “I'm really happy he said it. And sometimes you break through the noise and the sound bites by getting personal, helping people to understand your own experiences and sharing that heart and that spirit with the country. So I was grateful that he came forward, not with some practiced speech, not reading from a teleprompter, but speaking from the heart in a way that could touch other hearts.”

- Is terrorism still a threat to American families? –
PHILLIP MUDD, AN AUTHOR AND EXPERT ON TERRORISM, IN A PANEL AT THE ASPEN SECURITY FORUM: “I have 10 nieces and nephews, I don't think I have ever talked to them about terrorism. … The gang problems in the city that I live in, Memphis, Tennessee, are outrageous. People in this country, partly because there is a racial divide in this country, don’t care. But four people die in an attack (The Boston Marathon bombing) and this is a national disaster, I don’t get it.”
FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT: “I think one of the most dangerous things we can do is to say that it (terrorism) is not a threat. … There were some families in Boston that found it a threat.”

- NSA head on listening to phone calls: ‘That’s flat not true’ -
GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, AT A PANEL AT THE ASPEN SECURITY FORUM: “One of the key misunderstandings is you are listening to our phone calls, you are reading our e-mails … That's flat not true. What we are doing is we are collecting metadata to go after bad guys who use the same devices and the same equipment that we do. They hide amongst us to kill our people. Our job is to stop them without impacting you civil liberties and privacy.”

- Another lazy royal -
CONAN O’BRIEN ON HIS LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW: “The Royal Baby is past due. It was supposed to be born like two days ago. So ladies and gentleman, once again a member of the British Royal family is avoiding labor.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

David Roberts (@drgrist)
Obama spent a long time trying not to define himself as black. This seems like his biggest step away from that: "It has happened to me."

katierosman (@katierosman)
Obama was mistaken for a waiter at a book party at Tina Brown's in 2003. I was there.

Rep. Steve Stockman (@ReElectStockman)
Detroit didn't "go bankrupt." Democrats looted it to pump cash into their single biggest political campaign donor – government unions.

Lachlan Markay (@lachlan)
Yes, Detroit is run by Democrats. So is virtually every other major American city. Can folks please stop celebrating its financial ruin?

Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin)
Israeli president Shimon Peres met Amare Stoudemire, wants to recruit him for Israeli national team (great photo)

Chandler Epp (@chandlerepp)
Another victory for Hobby Lobby: Federal judge grants injunction on #HHSmandate

Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman)
BOEHNER tells his inner circle: I'm running for re-election. Ignore the rumors.


The three most populous states – California, Texas and New York – have all had presidents call them home.

It is the nation's fourth most populous state – Florida – that cannot claim a president.

A number of much smaller states – Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire and others – have produced presidents.

Two Floridians – Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush – have been rumored as possible 2016 Republican presidential contenders, so maybe the Florida shutout will come to an end in the near future.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Matt C-Roy (@Seeroy) for correctly answering today’s trivia question. Go Miller!

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 (11 Responses)
  1. Sniffit


    You're conflating things by taking it out of context and selectively quoting from the testimony. The context of what you quoted was that they were simply establishing that the abrasions were consistent with having hit his head on concrete. When questioned more extensively about "slamming", medical examiner Valerie Rao testified that "The injuries are so minor...and to me, slamming implies great force." She also testified that the cuts on Zimmerman's head are consistent with "one impact" and that the injuries were not life-threatening. This completely and utterly contradicts Zimmerman's story, and the popular go-to excuse from the RWNJs, that Martin was "slamming" Zimmerman's head on the curb or sidewalk repeatedly, such that he would have reason to fear for his life from it.

    July 19, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. I certainly hope so

    Biden says U.S. looking at Detroit situation closely

    Yes, I hope you do. Because that is what you are setting this whole country up for with your trillions of dollars of debt every year. $17 trillion and counting. So who is going to bail the USA out? Nobody.

    July 19, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    There's nothing a racist hates more than a mirror.

    July 19, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Detroit didn't "go bankrupt." Democrats looted it to pump cash into their single biggest political campaign donor – government unions."

    Too bad for you that a judge just tossed it out and ordered it to be withdrawn because the filing and Snyder's forced city manager scheme are unconstitutional.

    July 19, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Yes, Detroit is run by Democrats. So is virtually every other major American city. Can folks please stop celebrating its financial ruin?"

    I'm sorry, but in teatrollville, nothing proves the rule like an exception to it. Meanwhile, almost every major city in America is run by a Dem AND the blue states are subsidizing the taker red states that can't function without the federal gov't providing more aid than its citizenry generates....i.e., those huge Dem-run major cities are paying for entire red states to not go bankrupt.

    July 19, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. tom l.

    You still choose to ignore the fact that the forensic scientist testified, with proof, that Martin was on top. I'm still trying to figure out why you choose to ignore that testimony.

    Bottom line, bad decision by Zimmerman to get out of the car. No doubt. It just clearly appears that there were 2 people that were in fear. That seems to be obvious. We have no proof who started the actual fight, but we know that it was a horrible situation with the worst outcome possible. We just don't know what happened but there is no doubt that Martin was on top when he was shot and it also appears that the evidence proves that it was Zimmerman who was screaming.

    What is also very true, in this incident, is that Zimmerman identified himself as hispanic, voted for Obama, was a mentor to African American kids and was a democrat. Those are all true statements. Not sure how this has evolved into a black-white, repub-demo issue. It's a tragedy. But there have been more African American kids that have been killed since then and there hasn't really been a word about any of them.

    July 19, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. tom l.

    As far as Detroit is concerned, this is a city run by democrats with no repub obstruction since 1962 – not one repub mayor since then. Plus, you have an all democrat city council. They are the ones that have run the city into the ground.

    July 19, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. tom l.

    I should also mention that no matter how "insignificant" the injuries to his head were, I suggest that you bang your head as lightly as you want against the sidewalk while having someone else do it to you. I don't know why you would know how that would feel and how you would react. You weren't there. Stop making assumptions. And remember, Zimmerman is hispanic, not white.

    July 19, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. Tommy G

    the blue states are subsidizing the taker red states that can't function without the federal gov't providing more aid than its citizenry generates....i.e., those huge Dem-run major cities are paying for entire red states to not go bankrupt.

    As usual you throw out this malarkey without providing a shred of evidence to back it up. But let's humor you for a second and pretend it is true. Where do you think all the food (wheat, corn, beef, pork, chicken, fruits and vegetables) comes from to feed those large cities? It comes primarily from red states and that is not to mention all the oil, gas, coal.

    If it would help calm your nerves, the red states could quadruple the price of all food and enhergy they ship to blue states in order to eliminate this alleged imbalance. I'm sure you smart city folk would have no problem scrapping together that extra money. On second thought let's jack it up to ten times current cost just to make sure we never have to hear you complain about this again.

    July 20, 2013 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  10. Flamespeak

    "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. If he were living Hawaii, was well off financially, lived in a quiet community with low crime rates, didn't embrace the concepts of thug culture, and was not punching someone in the face repeated who happened to be armed.' – President Obama (fixed for truth)

    July 20, 2013 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  11. jpmichigan

    There are several other questions that need answering. #1 What are parents teaching their children to do if being followed? Age doesn't matter. To confront the follower, call friends ( who urge confrontation), or to call parents or police (if they have a phone) run to the nears house and bang on the door. #2 choices have consequences. #3 the media also shown the racial side of their reporting, which also has consequences.

    July 20, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |