CNN's GUT CHECK for January 8, 2014
January 8th, 2014
05:43 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for January 8, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for January 8, 2014| 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie today issued the following written statement: “What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.

E-mails emerged on Wednesday purportedly from top aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bolstering the case that lane closures to the George Washington Bridge were borne from a political vendetta against opponents of the governor, and were not the result of an incompetent traffic study as his administration claimed. – Jake Tapper

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” – Gov. Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Bridget Anne Kelly in an email to Christie ally David Wildstein. Read the full email exchange here:

REACTION FROM THE LEFT: Jonathan Chait: “The e-mails prove that Christie’s loyalists closed the bridge deliberately as political retribution, not as a ‘traffic study’ as claimed. They display an almost comical venality bordering on outright sociopathy. And they will probably destroy Christie’s chances in 2016.”

REACTION FROM THE RIGHT: Rush Limbaugh: “The point of the story is that Christie will do payback. If you don't give him what he wants, he'll pay you back. …Whatever the truth of it, I don't care. That's not my point. The point is the media has just glommed onto that like bees in a honeycomb so that they don't have to talk about the Gates book.”

REACTION FROM THE STAR-LEDGER EDITORIAL BOARD: Christie’s “attempts to laugh this off now appear to be dishonest, though we can't yet be sure that he personally knew about the correspondence of one of his top aides. Still, Christie bears responsibility either way. If it turns out he did know, he is obviously lying and unfit for office - let alone a 2016 presidential run.” – Star-Ledger Editorial Board

Gut Check Full Service: The Star-Ledger endorsement: Christie for governor published October 20, 2013
“Our own view is that Christie is overrated. His spin is way ahead of his substance … But our endorsement goes to Christie, despite the deep reservations.”

THE MIDDLE RISES: A record 42% of Americans Identify as Independents – the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008. – Jeffrey M. Jones

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end mixed. Dow dips 71 points. NASDAQ gains 0.3%. S&P 500 little changed.

(Answer below)
Which former U.S. congresswoman is a second cousin to Gwyneth Paltrow?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Prospects worsen in Senate for passage of unemployment benefits
The prospects for passing an extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed got significantly worse Wednesday after two Republican senators who voted with Democrats earlier this week said they will pull their much-needed support unless Democrats come up with a way to pay for the $6.4 billion bill. Without the votes of Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who voted on Tuesday to begin debate on the bill, Democrats won’t be able to get over a 60 vote threshold needed to break a GOP filibuster and end debate on the measure, which would extend the benefits for the next three months. – Ted Barrett

Leading Boston Globe: Senate Democrats hit Scott Brown in New Hampshire television ad
Senate Democrats, facing mounting worries they could lose their majority, are trying to get ahead of a possible Scott Brown bid for a New Hampshire seat, targeting the former senator from Massachusetts with a new television ad. – Jim O’Sullivan

Leading Arizona Republic: 3 years after Giffords shooting near Tucson, horrific shots still resonate
As Giffords lay in a bed at University of Arizona Medical Center struggling to recover from the bullet that pierced her brain, Arizona and the country struggled to create meaning from the mass shooting, to glean from the gore something to hope or to work for. – Megan Finnerty

Leading Drudge: AILES 2014
Roger Ailes, like his Fox News Channel, is as divisive as he is successful. The chairman and CEO of the de facto victor in cable news' ratings war, whose colorful professional past includes a tenure as a talk-show producer (The Mike Douglas Show) and decades as a political consultant (presidential campaigns for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush), built his 21st Century Fox network into Rupert Murdoch's most profitable property.- Michael O'Connell

Leading HuffPo: Democratic Representatives Mike McIntyre And Carolyn McCarthy Retiring
Representatives Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) are retiring, according to Democratic party sources. McIntyre would have been a top target of Republicans in 2014, despite his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and more conservative voting record. – Samantha Lachman

Leading Politico: Mitch McConnell: ‘Senate can be better than it is’
Calling the Senate a “permanent sort of shirts-against-skins contest,” McConnell outlined his three main Senate prescriptions if the GOP wins the majority: allowing a “more robust” committee process, permitting more amendments on the floor, and holding a longer Washington work week. – Seung Min Kim

The political bites of the day

- Carney pokes fun at Robert Gates book controversy -

- White House defends Biden amidst Gates accusations –
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “I would reiterate that the President and the rest of us here simply disagree with that assessment. As a senator and as a vice president, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time and he has been an excellent counselor and adviser to the president for the past five years. He has played a key role in every major national security and foreign policy debate and policy discussion in this administration in this White House.”

- Rubio: Leave poverty legislation to the states -
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLORIDA, IN AN ADDRESS ON THE SENATE FLOOR: “Washington is too bureaucratic and resistant to change. And its one-size-fits-all approach to policy is not conducive to solving a problem as diverse as this one … I am proposing that we turn Washington’s anti-poverty programs – and the trillions spent on them – over to the states.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

PolitiFactNJ ‏(@PolitiFactNJ)
NJ's 'Bridgegate' scandal earned .@GovChristie a Pants on Fire last month: . Read more now at

Jim Antle ‏(@jimantle)
Christie only found out about this when Obama read it in the newspaper.

Robert Costa ‏(@costareports)
Buzz in R cloakroom this aft is that Boehner's remarks this AM on immig doesn't mean anything coming to floor soon

Simon Marks ‏(@SimonMarksFSN)
White House: Obama spoke to Merkel "to wish her a speedy recovery" and – drumroll – to invite her to visit DC "at a mutually agreeable time"

Jim Puzzanghera ‏(@JimPuzzanghera)
An odd couple pushes for more disclosure in gov't settlements w/companies - Elizabeth Warren and Tom Coburn.,0,5705459.story

John Barrow ‏(@repjohnbarrow)
No question. I'm running for re-election. MT @JessicaTaylor Can you hear Dems running to John Barrow to make sure he's running again? #GA12

Abby D. Phillip (‏@abbydphillip)
Rubio's proposal of a "wage enhancement" –giving ppl checks each month not a tax credit is actually a big deal. May not go anywhere though.

Matt Viser ‏(@mviser)
Discovered while sifting through old files in @BostonGlobe DC bureau: Monica Lewinsky’s resume, faxed over in 1998.

John Kasich ‏(@JohnKasich)
Cool to see 3 Ohio cities in top 10 most affordable in USA. Great news for attracting people looking for opportunity.

Los Angeles Times ‏(@latimes)
Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords is skydiving today, the third anniversary of the Tucson shooting

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is the second cousin of actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

Today marks the 3-year anniversary of the shooting in Tucson, Arizona that left six dead, over a dozen injured, and Rep. Gabby Giffords partially paralyzed.

In response to the shooting in 2011, Paltrow’s representatives submitted a statement to Entertainment Tonight saying, "Although I have never had the pleasure of meeting congresswoman Giffords, my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family as well as the other victims of this horrible act of senseless violence."

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) James Gray (@RealJamesGray) and Hannah42Gkpm (@goopfan) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.

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Filed under: CNN's Gut Check
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations – including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious – due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, according to the head of the borough’s EMS department.

    The woman later died, borough records show........"

    January 8, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "Star-Ledger Editorial Board"

    These people endorsed Christie last year. They must be beside themselves right now to have excoriated him as noted above.

    January 8, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "people will be held responsible for their actions.”

    Starting with your closest top aide, Ms. Kelly, who said all those outrageous things in the email? I feel bad for you, man. There's one huge glaring problem with hiring a spiteful, vindictive jackhole and then having their spiteful, vindictive behavior blow up in your face such that you have to then fire them and throw them under the bus to save yourself. Guess what that is?

    Let the name game begin....

    January 8, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "people will be held responsible for their actions.”

    Starting with your closest top aide, Ms. Kelly, who said all those outrageous things in the email? I feel bad for you, man. There's one huge glaring problem with hiring a spiteful, vindictive jackhole and then having their spiteful, vindictive behavior blow up in your face such that you have to then fire them and throw them under the bus to save yourself whle they face potential prosecution. Guess what that is?

    Let the name game begin....

    January 8, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "That's not my point. The point is the media has just glommed onto that like bees in a honeycomb so that they don't have to talk about the Gates book.”"

    Ah yes, clearly...

    Gates' personal opinions about where he didn't happen to agree with Biden and Obama about some things is obviously far more important and newsworthy than documentary evidence strongly suggesting corruption that reaches at least to a newly re-elected governor's closest advisor/aide, his pick for running the Port Authority and 4 days of traffic jams that endangered hundreds of thousands of people. Truly, our priorities are all screwed up.

    January 8, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    Even without this allegation, he never wins primary, nor be even close to be POTUS. This guy is a silly guy. He has no charisma. It is wind he won second term because of illegals from India too.

    January 8, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    "This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way"

    Uh, isn't Ms Kelly part of your Administration? Hope she has something in writing or on tape to prove he knew
    what they were doing. If you are getting thrown under the bus, time to defend yourself. Not that any of this
    is defensible.

    January 8, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    So Democrats. How does it feel to literally be slapped in the face by the administration of the man you all touted as "the best thing that happened to New Jersey in years"?

    Yeah. I know: he didn't know a thing about the major pile up of cars on the GW bridge. Gosh. It's not as if the delays lasted for days.

    Christie must have been out of the state at the time improving his national presidential image ... yes?

    January 8, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. Katie

    Same old song.. The Butler did it.. Somebody get me an Advil!!!! What a dishonest guy. T

    January 9, 2014 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  10. Marie MD

    A woman died because the bully "stood his ground"? That's gross negligence for a pay back.
    What kind of governor is he? What kind of president will he be? I can think of North Korea (our "ally") for starters.

    January 9, 2014 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  11. Name fed up

    This is for rush the fact of the matter is all of you guys the left and the right fail to report what gates said about the great g w bush, no caps for a small man! I find that very interesting how the left and the right media omits that section of the story. Hmm?

    January 9, 2014 06:57 am at 6:57 am |