CNN's GUT CHECK for September 17, 2013
September 17th, 2013
04:53 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for September 17, 2013

CNN's GUT CHECK | for September 17, 2013 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

HOW DID THE NAVY YARD GUNMAN GET IN? Aaron Alexis had a "pattern of misconduct" as a Navy reservist, had sporadic run-ins with the law, and had contacted two Veterans Administration hospitals for apparent psychological issues, sources have told CNN. Somehow, none of that prevented him from getting clearance to the Washington Navy Yard as a subcontractor. – Josh Levs

QUESTIONS ABOUT MILITARY CONTRACTS: Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says the case of Aaron Alexis – combined with that of Edward Snowden –“really makes me question the kind of vetting military contractors do.”

SNOOPING DERAILS STATE VISIT: BRAZIL'S PRESIDENT CANCELS U.S. VISIT because of National Security Agency intelligence activities in the South American country, the White House said Tuesday. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had planned to come to Washington on Oct. 23, but she and Obama "agreed to postpone" the visit.

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher as investors await Wednesday Fed news. Dow adds 35 points. NASDAQ gains 0.8%, S&P up 0.4%.

(Answer below)
How many Nobel laureates is Lawrence Summers related to?

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

The Wall Street Journal caught our eye today with this quote, “Paying less than $3 per gallon for gasoline may be automotive history for most Americans, like using 8-track tapes or going to a drive-in movie,” AAA president and chief executive Bob Darbelnet told Jonathan Welch.

The article even sparked office grumbling with the stark realization about this day in history marking the “1,000th day of national average gas prices of $3 or more per gallon – the longest such streak ever, according to AAA.”

The price of gas is a particularly interesting political issue, because it hits consumers’ spending habits and is a frequent topic around the dinner table.

So, whether the price of gas is tied to the issues of foreign policy or taxes, it is sure to be a visual we shall see in a campaign ad coming soon to a television near you….

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: First on CNN: Perry to tour gun facility near Washington
With guns back in the national spotlight after a mass shooting at Washington's Navy Yard, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will tour Maryland's largest gun manufacturer on Wednesday as part of his ongoing effort to lure businesses to his home state. A Perry aide told CNN that the Republican governor will tour the Beretta USA facility in Accokeek, Maryland, just over the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. – Peter Hamby

Leading Drudge: Navy Yard Shooter 'Obsessed With Violent Video Games'
The Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis played violent video games including Call of Duty for up to 16 hours at a time and friends believe it could have pushed him towards becoming a mass murderer. Alexis, 34, who was shot dead on Monday after killing 13 people at Washington's Navy Yard, also carried a .45 handgun tucked in his trousers with no holster "everywhere he went" because he believed people would try to steal his belongings. – Nick Allen for The Telegraph

Leading HuffPo: A Wage Of Their Own
Women still earned only 77 cents for every dollar that men earned in 2012, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2012, the median earnings of American women working full time year-round were $37,791. American men earned a median income of $49,398. The gender wage gap has hovered at about 77 cents on the dollar since 2007. – Laura Bassett

Leading Politico: After shooting, talk turns to gun control
President Barack Obama on Monday stepped onto a podium and lamented the deaths of a senseless mass shooting — just as he did after Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn. This time, his remarks came as office workers scrambled for cover and police searched for suspects at the Washington Navy Yard, just a few miles from the White House. – Josh Gerstein

Leading The New York Times: Congressional Budget Office Predicts Unsustainable Debt
The nonpartisan office says that lawmakers are focused on the wrong kind of spending and that annual deficits will begin rising in 2016 as baby boomers age. – Jackie Calmes

The political bites of the day

- Navy Yard shooting reignites mental health and guns debate -
DEMOCRATIC SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL OF CONNECTICUT IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “The mental health aspect of this senseless horrific tragedy ought to be front and center and a basis for action.”
DEMOCRATIC SEN. JOE MANCHIN OF WEST VIRGINIA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH REPORTERS ON CAPITOL HILL: “It makes all the sense in the world. … I don’t want some knee jerk reaction thinking everyone who owns a gun acts this way. We don’t. .. . I’ll support anything I can to rehabilitate people but also making sure people who are not rehabilitated should not be able to, because of their past and their record, not be able to purchase a gun.”

- Rush: Media hopes shooter is a ‘white Tea Party members’ –
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW: “The first thing they hope is it's a white Tea Party conservative. When that isn't the case they hope it's just white. Then they hope it's not Muslim. Then if all those are met, coast is clear. It's the problem of guns. And that's where we are, and that's why it's not terrorism. It's guns.”

- White House directs gun control questions to GOP senators -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “The problem here is not Democrats. The problem here is senators overwhelmingly from one party who refuse to do something very simple which is expand the background check system that everyone believes functions well but need to function better. And it's their choice. Those questions should be addressed to those senators.”

- Clinton on Syria -
FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “Now, there are some who say well, you know, this gives the initiative to Putin. And, who cares how it came up? John Kerry got asked, well, ‘What can we do to stop you from bombing.’ And he said ‘Make the problem go away.’ So Putin says, ‘OK, I’ll do that’ – and so they say well this puts Russia in a position of leverage and it guarantees that Assad is going to be in power for a while longer. That’s a separate issue. But there is inherent and enduring benefit in taking a step that has the potential to rid the world of these chemical weapons.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Jay Newton-Small (@JNSmall)
Nancy Gibbs named editor of @TIME. Hurray for the first female editor of @TIME!!!

The @Nationals honor the victims of Monday's Navy Yards tragedy.

Chris Dachille (@WBALDash)
So, Nationals allowed to wear Navy caps in BP and on field for ceremonies, but must change to MLB mandated hats for game. All about the $$$.

Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP)
Russian official says #NavyYard shootings are a "clear confirmation of 'American exceptionalism.'"

Deirdre Walsh (@deirdrewalshcnn)
Number 2 House Dem says #NavyYardShooting renews debate, but gun lobby likely to block new laws –

Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein)
New #Census report underscores racial dimensions of #healthcare debate: 29% of Hispanics +19% of AA lack insurance-compared to 11% of whites

Justin Wolfers (@justinwolfers)
Amazingly, "21% of all married-couple households in America in 2011, had at least one spouse born in another country"

Stuart Stevens (@stuartpstevens)
Day after POTUS boasts of his record:@BreakingNews Census: US poverty rate basically unchanged at 15% in 2012; record numbers persist – @AP

Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN)
if you like khakis, you'll love the Kansas governor's race

Jeff Smith (@JeffSmithMO)
Julian Castro promotes HRC's "excellent credentials" at IA Steak Fry, the pol equivalent of a guy promoting a gal's "excellent personality."

Daniel Sieradski (@selfagency)
Happy birthday, @OccupyWallSt. May your “terrible twos” be terrible for bankers and great for everyone else.


Lawrence Summers, an economist, was born into a family of economists.

Although both of his parents – Robert and Anita – were economists and professors at University of Pennsylvania, that is just the tip of his family's proverbial economist iceberg. Two of Summer’s uncles – Paul A. Samuelson and Kenneth J. Arrow – were Nobel laureates in the field of economics.

Samuelson won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1970 and Arrow won the prize in 1972.

Summers, an accomplished economist himself, served as Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001 and led the United States National Economic Council under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2010.

Yesterday, however, Summers withdrew his name from consideration as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) for correctly answering today's Gut Check trivia question.

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 (7 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    You can thank the useless GOP controlled Congress for abdicating it's responsibility. If they agreed to a sensible budget when they had the chance, the Navy would have the funds to protect their yards and bases. GOP Congressional "leadership" should be tried for treason!

    September 17, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama:

    I have a very vivid first memory of what an American was and that was in the shape of Marines doing their morning run around my neighborhood. They were big, disciplined men, singing one of those Marine running songs, know which ones I mean?! They represented the end to the shootings. The restoration of law and order to me.
    I loved them.
    I love them still.

    Oh, yes. The morning runs and the marching songs. Having lived on Army posts for 8 years, I know those cadences well. I still love to watch our men and women in military uniform march in formation. No doubt I'll be getting snotty comments for stating such thoughts, but, oh well. Our military is after all the most powerful in the world, notwithstanding the required marching in formation. If only this was all that was required of our men and women in uniform ... the marching.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on what had to have been a difficult time in your young life ... regardless of what age you were at the time!

    September 17, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Aaron Alexis had a "pattern of misconduct" as a Navy reservist, had sporadic run-ins with the law, and had contacted two Veterans Administration hospitals for apparent psychological issues, sources have told CNN. Somehow, none of that prevented him from getting clearance to the Washington Navy Yard as a subcontractor"

    1. CNN is diverting attention from the fact that the background check for purchasing the guns he used FAILED TO IDENTIFY ALL OF THOSE PROBLEMS AND PREVENT HIM FROM PURCHASING A GUN. Broken gun background checks are broken. The security clearance issue is a freekin sideshow.

    2. The quote above tells you exactly why we should be mandating that people who wish to own a gun insure their gun or suffer extreme penalties: everything listed is a "pre-existing condition" that would have every insurance company on the planet...with their extremely careful application and background check processes to protect their narrow financial interests...telling him that he was "uninsurable." Failure to require insurance on the single most deadly private property we're allowed to own is an obscenity and a crime against rational thought.

    September 17, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Shameful. How dare you use the deaths of others to promote your agenda. No legislation would have prevented Sandy Hook. But what do you care? You will use any means necessary to promote your gun restriction laws. For the record, I don't own a gun and have never even held one in my hand."

    *bloop....blop....blooOop* Hear that? That's the sound of your tears accumulating in my tearbucket. *bloop...bloOoOp...bloop*

    September 17, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. otlset

    Well now, whodathunkit? Alexis was an Obama supporter!

    September 17, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. Thomas


    Can we put giant speakers around Syria , Iran and North Korea . Then blast them with Rush Limbaugh 24 hours a day , 365 day's a year like the good old day's of Radio Free America ?

    September 18, 2013 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  7. Catmandew

    Gas has stayed over $3 a gallon for the longest stretch ever and along with Obamacare stifles economic recovery for our country. They never mention the price of diesel the fuel that moves our economy in the trucks. We move over 70% of US goods and our government chooses to over regulate and burden us.
    Navy yard shootings the back ground checks wouldn't have taken the guns away from the shooter so that is another dead end.
    Obama calls this tepid at best economy a recovery? I've never seen such a weak economy in all of my days. But hey Obama hasn't even put any effort into a budget or any of the things normal folks would do to fix these problems.
    Bill Clinton says it really doesn't matter that Russia took the lead on Syria. Really when the world stops looking to US for leadership we'll see what happens.

    September 18, 2013 06:11 am at 6:11 am |