CNN's GUT CHECK for January 7, 2014
January 7th, 2014
06:42 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for January 7, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for January 7, 2014 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle


Bob Woodward reports: Robert Gates, former defense secretary, offers harsh critique of Obama’s leadership in ‘Duty’
In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obama’s leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president “doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.” – Washington Post

GATES SEES SIMILARITIES BETWEEN G.W. BUSH & OBAMA, In an excerpt for the Wall Street Journal, Gates writes: “Stylistically, Bush and Obama had much more in common than I expected. Both were most comfortable around a coterie of close aides and friends (like most presidents) and largely shunned the Washington social scene. Both, I believe, detested Congress and resented having to deal with it, including members of their own party. They both had the worst of both worlds on the Hill: They were neither particularly liked nor feared. Nor did either work much at establishing close personal relationships with other world leaders. Both presidents, in short, seemed aloof from two constituencies important to their success.”

GATES QUESTIONS VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S JUDGMENT: "I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”


A $6.4 billion plan to extend unemployment insurance benefits to eligible workers for another three months cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday. Sixty senators voted to move ahead with debate on the measure – the exact number required for debate to go forward. Democrats got help from six Republicans: Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire; Dan Coats of Indiana; Susan Collins of Maine; Dean Heller of Nevada; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; and Rob Portman of Ohio.

11:51 a.m. PRESIDENT OBAMA PRESSES FOR FINAL PASSAGE FROM THE EAST WING: "We've got to make sure that this recovery leaves nobody behind," said Obama, who called unemployment insurance "a vital economic lifeline" for many.

RUSH LIMBAUGH REACTS:Surrounded by Victims of His Own Economic Destruction, the President Says Paying People Not to Work Creates Jobs

11:53 AM: BIDEN, CUOMO TEAM UP TO PROMOTE NEW YORK'S SANDY RECOVERY: Sitting side by side, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden sought to highlight the Empire State's continued recovery efforts Tuesday. Cuomo–a potential rival for Biden if they both run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016–hailed New York's rebuilding efforts as innovative, and Biden labeled the state a model for the rest of the country in how to prepare for extreme weather in the future. – Ashley Killough

12:00 PM: CHRISTIE HERALDS DREAM ACT AS MESSAGE TO WASHINGTON: Flanked by Hispanic leaders, students, and immigration reform advocates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie celebrated the signing of his state's so-called DREAM Act on Tuesday, hailing the new law a sound economic choice and an object lesson in bipartisan cooperation: "When we work together despite some of our differences, that we also set an example of optimism for every one of the 8.9 million people who live here … Unlike what happens in Washington, that government can actually work for you … That things can actually get done, that agreements can be reached, and that commitments can be kept."

THE INVESTIGATION: SOME COLLEGE ATHLETES PLAY LIKE ADULTS, READ LIKE FIFTH-GRADERS: A CNN investigation found public universities across the country where many students in the basketball and football programs could read only up to an eighth-grade level. The data obtained through open records requests also showed a staggering achievement gap between college athletes and their peers at the same institution. – Sara Ganim

MARKET WATCH: S&P 500 and NASDAQ notch first gain of 2014. Dow adds 105 points, first triple-digit gain of the year.

(Answer below)
Which person in the news today organized his high school class reunions for 30 years after he graduated in 1980?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Christie heralds DREAM Act as message to Washington
Flanked by Hispanic leaders, students, and immigration reform advocates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie celebrated the signing of his state's so-called DREAM Act on Tuesday, hailing the new law a sound economic choice and an object lesson in bipartisan cooperation. – Peter Hamby

Leading Roll Call: House GOP Women Gamble in Florida Special
Several junior House Republican women are backing the underdog in next week’s primary for Florida’s 13th District in an effort to grow their shrinking ranks. The special election will serve as a test case for the cadre, which sees the GOP’s aversion to playing in primaries as an impediment to electing women to the House. – Abby Livingston

Leading Richmond Times-Dispatch: Deeds proposes mental health legislation after family tragedy
Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, has joined the legislative policy debate over fixing Virginia's fragmented mental health system less than two months after he was stabbed by his own son, who then killed himself 13 hours after being released from emergency custody for a mental evaluation. – Michael Martz

Leading Drudge: 90% OF USA FROZEN
The Polar Vortex has dropped unusually far south, keeping the Contiguous United States below freezing overnight, and 90-percent of the country below freezing Tuesday! – Kathy Orr

Leading New York Times: Obama Lost Faith in His Afghan Strategy, Memoir Asserts
Robert M. Gates, the former defense secretary, describes the president as a rigorous thinker who nevertheless was hampered by a “controlling” national security staff. – Thom Shanker

The political bites of the day

- Rodman explodes to CNN’s Chris Cuomo -
FORMER NBA STAR DENNIS RODMAN ON CNN’S “NEW DAY” DEFENDING HIS BASKETBALL DIPLOMACY: “I don't give a rat's a!@ what the hell you think. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here, look at them ... they dared to do one thing, they came here."

- Royce: Rodman trip to North Korea is a ‘propaganda trip’ -
CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS ED ROYCE, R-CALIFORNIA, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH BREIBART: “The trip comes at the worst possible time - after Kim Jong-un brutally solidified his grip on power – and with no progress towards denuclearization … This basketball game will do nothing to improve the abysmal human rights conditions in North Korea. It's a propaganda win for the regime."

- Boehner seeking answers on offset for unemployment benefits -
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER ON THE HOUSE FLOOR AFTER THE SENATE VOTE: “One month ago I personally told the White House that another extension of temporary emergency unemployment benefits should not only be paid for but include something to help put people back to work … To date, the president has offered no such plan. If he does, I’ll be happy to discuss it.”

- GOP “yes” vote: we care just as much as Democrats -
SEN. DEAN HELLER, R-NEVADA, TO CNN’S JAKE TAPPER ON “THE LEAD:” “If the pay-for is not there, I'm going to vote for it anyway, because I think there's a lot of people out there that are hurting. ... I do support the pay-for. I think our deficit is getting out of control, and so I understand where the speaker is coming from. … I will tell you, I was hoping that every Republican senator would have voted for the discussion. This wasn't the vote for the bill itself. … I want to send the message out that, for example, as Republicans, we're not anti-government. We're for reasonable government. We're not anti-taxes. We're for reasonable taxes. We're not anti-regulation. We're for reasonable regulations that doesn't hurt small businesses. We can send that message out and send the right message to the American people that we care just as much about creating jobs, and, of course, helping those that need help and having a safety net out there as any Democrat.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Tom Udall ‏(@SenatorTomUdall)
Glad we were able 2 get 60 votes to debate extending #unemployment insurance-we must #RenewUI so >5k #NM ppl don't lose this lifeline

Erick Erickson ‏(@EWErickson)
I remember when the GOP said it’d hold the line on unemployment insurance. Let’s see.

Ed O'Keefe ‏(@edatpost)
"There may be a way forward" on #UI benefits, @McConnellPress says, but adds D's have to permit voted on GOP amendments.

Jennifer Epstein (‏@jeneps)
Biden to Cuomo: "As they say in the House and Senate, I associate myself with the gentleman from New York"

Reid Wilson (‏@PostReid)
RNC radio ads targeting Dem Sens/candidates in AK, AR, CO, LA, NC, NH, OR, VA, IA, MI, NY and WV, all focused on ObamaCare.

Peter Hamby (‏@PeterHambyCNN)
Happy New Year, Marco. RT @learyreports Sarasota GOP to honor @tedcruz as 'Statesman of the Year'

Toby Harnden ‏(@tobyharnden)
Liz Cheney move due to youngest daughter’s diabetes & "a more acute event involving 1 of her children at college"

Jeff Zillgitt ‏(@JeffZillgitt)
National Basketball Retired Players Association denounces Dennis Rodman's exhibition game in North Korea.

NW Exec (‏@NWExec)
Mulally will not be the next Microsoft CEO, will remain at Ford through 2014: Alan Mulally will remain CEO of ...

lindsey vonn ‏(@lindseyvonn)
I am devastated to announce that I will not be competing in Sochi. My FB page has the whole story.

Jake Tapper ‏(@jaketapper)
i guess NBC's going to have to re-assign the "Tiger Woods reaction shot" cameraman. #Bummer


TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was responsible for organizing his class reunions for thirty years after he graduated from Livingston High School in New Jersey in 1980. The Governor stopped organizing the reunions when he became Governor in 2010.

Christie was president of his high school class his sophomore, junior and senior years. He was also a varsity catcher on his school’s baseball team and later became captain of the team.

Christie exhibited his political skills at an early age. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, when his baseball team suffered a losing season, Christie wrote a letter in his local paper to publicly thank his coaches.

Click here to see a picture of Christie’s yearbook photo and comments as class president from 1980.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Serge Eygenson (@serge_e) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "but once the democrats (reid and pelosi) got control of congress, it all went to hell in a hand basket. those are the facts."

    Sorry, but Chronology Fail. Economic problems as deep and widespread as those that caused the recession do not pop up overnight just because one party took over congress. Economists were predicting the bubble bursting, etc., well before it happened in 2007.

    January 7, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain: If you want government to actually do something FOR our country, then vote out the GOP/tea bag majority in the House

    Nothing like stabbing your bosses in the back ...

    January 7, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    ""There may be a way forward" on #UI benefits, @McConnellPress says, but adds D's have to permit voted on GOP amendments."

    In other words, while the House GOP/Teatrolls prevent votes on the UI benefits and things like the immigration reform package passed in a bi0partisan manner by the Senate, their GOP/Teatroll counterparts in the Senate are demanding that they must be allowed to have votes on amendments to the UI package or they'll just vote against it no matter what it says. Real parity, that.

    January 7, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  4. Scott

    Gates is simply telling it like it is.

    January 7, 2014 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |