CNN's GUT CHECK for August 21, 2013
August 21st, 2013
04:54 PM ET
8 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for August 21, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 21, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING… IN IOWA, HOWARD DEAN SAYS “AT THIS POINT, I’M SUPPORTING HILLARY CLINTON”: Dean, a former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate, talked to The Des Moines Register today. Asked if he’s definitively ruling out a White House bid, Dean climbed into a waiting car and said with a grin, “Ahhgh, we’re done here. Thank you.” – Jennifer Jacobs

CAUGHT: GOVERNMENT IMPROPERLY COLLECTED THOUSANDS OF DOMESTIC COMMUNICATIONS Declassified opinions from a secret court that oversees government surveillance shows the National Security Agency was broadly collecting domestic Internet communications of Americans and misrepresenting the scope of that effort to the court. The three opinions include one from October 2011 by U.S. District Judge John Bates, who scolded government lawyers that the NSA had, for the third time in less than three years, belatedly acknowledged it was collecting more data than it was legally allowed to. . – Evan Perez

JUST IN: Vice President Joe Biden issues a statement on Beau Biden, his son and the attorney general of Delaware… “Yesterday our son Beau underwent a successful procedure. He is in great shape and is going to be discharged tomorrow and heading home to Delaware. He will follow up with his local physicians in the coming weeks.”

MANNING GETS 35 YEARS: A military judge sentenced Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison - less than the 60 years prosecutors sought, as well as the 90 years he could have received - minus credit for the about three and a half years he's already been behind bars. – Paul Courson

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks finish volatile day lower after Fed minutes worry investors. Dow falls 106 points.

(Answer below)
Who was the last president to visit Syria?

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

For former Sen. Jim DeMint, the desire to defund Obamacare trumps party.

On Tuesday, DeMint said any Republicans who are “afraid” to defund Obamacare “need to be replaced.”

No longer in Congress, DeMint has a powerful perch at the high profile Heritage foundation. The conservative group commands a great deal of attention from Republicans and its political arm, Heritage Action, launched an online ad campaign this week against 100 House Republicans who have not signed on to an effort to defund Obamacare.

Democrats – like Americans United for Change – have welcomed the ad campaign, primarily because it targets DeMint’s own party, including one of its most public leaders, House Speaker John Boehner.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Mistrust between U.S., Syrian rebels hinders military aid
A key problem between the Obama administration and Syria rebels still persists: trust. The White House is uncertain about the rebel composition and whether arming them further would simply be helping militants, while the rebels are unsure of whether the Obama administration plans to help at all. – Dan Merica

Leading Drudge: 35 Years
A military judge on Wednesday morning sentenced Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. – Julie Tate

Leading HuffPo: Let's Make A Deal: Perry's Obamacare Hypocrisy Exposed
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), a longstanding Obamacare critic, is negotiating a $100 million health care deal with the Obama administration, Politico reported on Tuesday. The Community First Choice Program, aimed at improving the quality of health services for the elderly and disabled, was approved by the Texas legislature earlier this year. Perry health aides are now looking to the Obama administration for funding. – Ashley Alman

Leading Politico: Advanced Placement classes failing students
Taxpayers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to nudge more students into Advanced Placement classes — but a close look at test scores suggests much of the investment has been wasted. – Stephanie Simon

Leading The New York Times: Newest Spy Court Pick Is a Democrat but Not a Liberal
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. named Judge José A. Cabranes, a Democratic appointee, to a panel that hears appeals of a secret surveillance court’s rulings. – Charlie Savage

The political bites of the day

- Has Sanjay Gupta swayed the president on pot? No. -
JESSICA YELLIN: The U.S. government classifies marijuana in the category of most dangerous drugs with no medical benefit, the same category as heroin and more harmful than cocaine or meth. Gupta...
YELLIN: Yes, my distinguished colleague, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has called for a reconsideration by the government. So given the reported medical benefits of marijuana, does the president believe the government should reconsider its classification?
EARNEST: I can tell you that the administration’s position on this has been clear and consistent for some time now that while the prosecution of drug traffickers remains an important priority, the president and the administration believe that targeting individual marijuana users especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers is not the best allocation of federal law enforcement resources.

- CA GOP: stop debating ourselves -
JIM BRULTE, CHAIRMAN OF THE CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID DRUCKER: “I don't believe parties should be a debating society, we ought to be about the business of electing Republicans, and it's too easy to default into that mode. I've been critical of some of the party leaders in California because they were really good at doing media interviews, but they didn't walk precincts, and they didn't raise money and they didn't recruit volunteers.”

- Facebook’s Zuckerberg doubts polarization claims -
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF FACEBOOK, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “NEW DAY”: “When we were first talking about doing this, a lot of people actually were worried that it was going to be a problem for Facebook, and I just decided I think that this is too important of an issue for the country. There are 11 million undocumented people who came here to work hard and contribute to the country and I don't think it's quite as polarized as people always say.”

- A classic: Newt Gingrich’s assumption about Hillary Clinton -
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, ON CROSSFIRE IN 1992: “If Hillary Clinton has a public life, if she is a professional woman who gave up baking cookies to have a full-time profession, if she goes to the bar association luncheon to praise Anita Hill, if she is the head of the Children’s Defense Fund at one point, if she’s on the legal services board, as a full professional, I would assume she’d want to be in the fray.”

Gut Check DVR: Crossfire returns to CNN on September 16, airing weekdays at 6:30pm ET.

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins)
The NRA has secretly compiled information on "tens of millions" of gun owners without their consent or knowledge.

Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly)
I'm a gun owner & wondering...What kind of #BigData do they have on me & millions of others? Via @buzzfeed

Jim Clancy (@clancycnn)
Court orders Hosni Mubarak freed #Egypt prosecutors have 48 hours to appeal

Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt)
Last of the Nixon tapes released, signaling the final chapter of an amazing moment in presidential history.

Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone)
Al Jazeera English has received thousands of complaints since livestream cut off:


Two Americans presidents have visited Syria.

President Bill Clinton was the last president to do so, visiting on October 27, 1994.

President Richard Nixon was the first to spend the night in Damascus on June 15 and 16 in 1974.

On Wednesday, opposition groups in Syria posted videos online purportedly showing the government has used chemical weapons outside Damascus. CNN could not immediately verify where or when the videos were recorded, and could not authenticate the number killed or injured. The Obama administration also said it could not immediately verify that the images demonstrated the use of chemical weapons. Civil war there has claimed 100,000 lives, according to the United Nations.

(why aren’t you in it)

No winners today – better luck tomorrow.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    I don't like to see this male Sarah failings, I.e, Jim Demints,

    August 21, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. coderjones

    doesn't matter who runs or who gets elected
    the american citizens are screwed anyways

    August 21, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  3. Susan

    Great he wants to support this idiot - the one who couldn't handle the pressure of being Secretary of State, got Americans killed when it could have possibly been prevented and then lied about it......YEAH ANOTHER FREAKING GREAT CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT......perhaps while she's in office an intern can stain her blue dress.

    August 21, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  4. nik green

    Enough of the dynastic, aristocratic politics. Mo more Bushes, Clintons etc. Élitist disasters all round...enough already.

    August 21, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Jim Demint , lobby me to death !

    August 22, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  6. Marie MD

    Great picture of the dimwit. Was he pretending to work?
    As far as the NSA you don't have to work there to find out on facebook what people are doing, when, with whom and why.
    CNN, any word of UPS (is the owner a friend of the papa johns twit friend of the ex ceo of mcdonald's) dropping spousal insurance because of Obamacare? At least FedEx, Costco and other companies are not falling into the repug trap
    Every ill in the country is now being blame on Obamacare. Is it sunny today? Yes, but Obamacare will bring in the storm clouds. Are you going to lunch? No, Obamacare won't allow me.
    Do the rethugs/teatrolls really believe that we don't see through these rich/corporations' lies?

    August 22, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |