CNN's GUT CHECK for January 13, 2014
January 13th, 2014
07:09 PM ET
6 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for January 13, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for January 13, 2014 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

CNN EXCLUSIVE: FEDS EYE CHRISTIE’S USE OF SANDY AID … CNN has learned that federal officials are investigating whether Christie improperly used Superstorm Sandy relief funds to produce tourism ads that starred him and his family. In the new probe, federal auditors will examine New Jersey's use of $25 million in Sandy relief funds for a marketing campaign to promote tourism at the Jersey Shore, New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone told CNN – Chris Frates (Follow the @frates)

CHRISTIE SPOKESMAN COLIN REED DEFENDS SANDY COMMERCIAL IN A STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “Federal agency reviews are routine and standard operating procedure with all federally allocated resources to ensure that funds are distributed fairly. We're confident that any review will show that the ads were a key part in helping New Jersey get back on its feet after being struck by the worst storm in state history.”
JERSEY SHORE MAYORS SUPPORT CHRISTIE’S AD CAMPAIGN: Though New Jersey’s use of federal Hurricane Sandy relief aid to fund a marketing campaign that included television commercials featuring Gov. Chris Christie and his family is under federal investigation, at least three Jersey Shore mayors say they had no problem with the governor appearing in the ads.

NEW JERSEY DEMOCRATS RAMP UP BRIDGE CONTROVERSY INVESTIGATION… New Jersey Democratic legislative leaders are forming a special new committee to investigate the George Washington Bridge gridlock scandal that has rocked Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration. – Paul Steinhauser

JERSEY CITY MAYOR SUGGESTS MEETINGS WERE CANCELLED OVER POLITICS ... A series of emails obtained by CNN prompted Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop – a Democrat who considered endorsing Chris Christie for governor in 2013, but declined to do so – to question whether important meetings with state officials were cancelled because of his political decision. – Gloria Borger

The public paid far more attention to last week’s cold snap than to the controversy swirling around New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to a new national survey from the Pew Research Center. There also has been little short-term change in opinions about Christie: 60% say their opinion of Christie has not changed in recent days, while 16% now view him less favorably and 6% more favorably.

THE STORY SO FAR: Christie scandals: What you need to know

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks suffer biggest loss of new year on concern about Fed policy. Dow tumbles 178 points.

(Answer below)
What is the signature dish served at the annual Gillett Coon Supper in Arkansas?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Top Pelosi ally retiring from the House after 40 years
Rep. George Miller of California, a top ally of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the dean of the state's congressional delegation, announced Monday he will not run for re-election this fall, marking the end of a 40 year career on Capitol Hill. – Deirdre Walsh

Leading CNNMoney: The truth behind Obamacare 6 million figure
The Obama administration is trumpeting that 6 million people have health coverage thanks to Obamacare. A report by CNN shows that the numbers are somewhat misleading. – Tami Luhby

Leading Bergen Country Record: Bad Data Behind GWB Study
For months, top Port Authority officials, Republican lawmakers and Chris Christie himself said the root cause of the nightmare traffic jams in Fort Lee was a needed traffic study that involved the shutdown of two access lanes from the borough onto the George Washington Bridge. A Record analysis of Port Authority data calls into question the (traffic) study’s justification. – John Reitmeyer and Shawn Boburg

Leading Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Cotton sends second mailer on farm bill, Democrats cry foul
For the second time in as many months, Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, has sent 4th District constituents a glossy mailer highlighting his support for a stand-alone farm bill, a move Sen. Mark Pryor’s campaign said exploits congressional franking privileges for political purposes. – Peter Urban

Just days after dismissing two top advisers for their roles in the George Washington Bridge scandal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faced questions over the use of Superstorm Sandy relief funds. – Chris Frates

Leading Roll Call: Democratic Super PAC Funnels More Funds Into Louisiana
Senate Majority PAC has put more money behind an attack ad against Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy, the top Republican running against vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in one of this cycle’s most competitive races. – Emily Cahn

Leading Politico and The Hill: Hillary’s Hit List
The Clintons keep a favor file of saints and sinners, according to this excerpt from HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton. – Jonathan Allen and Aime Parnes

Leading New York Times: Justices Voice Doubts on Obama Recess Appointments
In an extended argument that contained large doses of history and practical politics, the Supreme Court on Monday seemed skeptical of the Obama administration’s contention that it had acted properly in bypassing the Senate to appoint several officials during a break in the Senate’s work. – Adam Liptak

The political bites of the day

- Boehner applauds longtime colleague despite differences -
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER ON THE RETIREMENT OF REP. GEORGE MILLER, D-CALIFORNIA: “No one would confuse me and George Miller for ideological soul mates, but we got things done on behalf of the American people thanks in no small part to his dedication and willingness to work for the greater good.”

- Gates says his book is being taken out of context -
FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES ON NBC’S TODAY SHOW: “In a way (I’m) disappointed that the book has sort of been hijacked by people along the political spectrum to serve their own purposes, taking quotes out of context. That’s sort of part of the political warfare in Washington that I decry in the book … I think the book is very even-handed. I don’t vilify anybody and I make clear that I have a lot of respect for both President Bush and President Obama.”

- Obama: Gates is ‘a good friend of mine’ -
PRESIDENT OBAMA IN A STATEMENT: “Secretary Gates did an outstanding job for me as secretary of defense … War is never easy and I think that all of us who have been involved in that process understand that. But I want to emphasize that during his tenure here Secretary Gates was an outstanding Secretary of Defense, a good friend of mine and I will always be grateful for his service. “

- Shamed politician resigns: ‘Politics can be a toxic business’ -
ARKANSAS LT. GOV. MARK DARR IN HIS RESIGNATION STATEMENT THREE WEEKS AFTER AN ETHICS PANEL FOUND HIM GUILTY OF MISSPENT TAXPAYER FUNDS AND VIOLATING STATE LAWS: “Politics can be a toxic business. I will no longer subject my family to its hard lessons. All my forgiveness to those who play the games and all my respect and appreciation to those who serve with class and humility.”

- Gray formally apologizes for 2010 campaign scandals –
D.C. MAYOR VINCENT GRAY AT SOUTHEAST WASHINGTON COMMUNITY CENTER ON SUNDAY: “I know that our city suffered embarrassment …I want to apologize for the pain that my campaign caused and I want to ask you for your forgiveness.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Sam Feist (‏@SamFeistCNN)
CNN's Chris @frates breaks story of fed investigation into Christie improperly using #Sandy $ for tourism ads.

The Colbert Report ‏(@ColbertReport)
.@CNN: All of this makes #ChrisChristie look small. Stephen: And that is the first time anyone has ever said that about Chris Christie.

Jim Acosta (@JimAcostaCNN)
WH official: POTUS to meet with Senate Dem Caucus at White House Wednesday evening "to talk about their shared priorities for 2014.”

James Hohmann (@jameshohmann)
Paul Teller, fired RSC Executive Director, has been hired as Ted Cruz's deputy chief of staff.

Nancy Pelosi ‏(@NancyPelosi)
For 40 years, @askgeorge has served America as a model legislator. Thanks, my friend, for your inspired leadership. You'll be dearly missed.

carl hulse (‏@hillhulse)
There will be considerably less Alpha in the real 'Alpha House' with Rep. Miller gone. And a real loss of a consigliere to Rep Pelosi.

Chuck Schumer (SenSchumer)
Seeking roommate. 20 terms in the House & unmatched legislative record preferred. Lover of cold cereal a

Taegan Goddard ( @politicalwire)
Robert Gates says he was approached about being Barack Obama's running mate in 2008: "I never told anyone."

Chris Cuomo ‏(@ChrisCuomo)
.@JosephTacopina says 90% of #ARod case wouldn't make it in court. But "no evidence" is different than "didn't do it"

Clint_Bowyer ‏(@Clint_Bowyer)
A-Rod sues MLB, union in fight to overturn ban(CNN)

David Plouffe ‏(@davidplouffe)
Only way ARod could get less popular is to announce run for Congress.

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

Raccoon is the signature dish served at the annual Gillett Coon Supper in Arkansas. This year’s dinner occurred Saturday evening and hosted many 2014 political hopefuls from both sides of the aisle.

Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor and his Republican opponent, GOP Rep. Tom Cotton both chatted with voters at the event, as well as Republican and Democratic candidates for governor, Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson and the current Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe.

The dinner, a tradition sparked from a high school fundraiser in the 1940s, has become an important event for politicians looking to win in the key races within the state. GOP Rep. Rick Crawford calls it the “unofficial kickoff of campaign season.” Former Rep. Marion Berry told News Channel 7 in Arkansas that the dinner is so important that, “It's better to be here than to not be here."

In the late 1980s, when he was governor, Bill Clinton ordered a judge to have a local airport runway plowed so his plane could land and he could attend the dinner.

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Gut Check favorites Steve Liguori (@SteveL3877) and RobertBialeVineyards (@BialeVineyards) 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 (6 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Rudy NYC

    Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Fair is Fair
    It's the beer he drinks... brewed in NY with the purest Hudson River water.

    Wrong again. NY drinking water is from protected reservoirs located in upstate NY and is considered among the finest drinking water in the world.
    Yeah, but, most of the region's Budweiser comes from Newark, New Jersey. You can see the brewery from the NJ Turnpike, and it sits right next to, the ah, the Port of New Jersey. Amazingly, you cannot smell the brewery as you drive by a quarter mile away from it. I assume that you know why. It ain't the prevailing winds.

    The Newark water supply is provided by the Pequannock and Wanaque watersheds far north of Newark and away from industry and pollution. The water is pure.

    January 13, 2014 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Did Gov. Chris Christie lobby for Bernard Madoff.
    Chris Christie's client at the time was an organization fronted by blatant predatory con man Bernie Madoff.
    Lobbyist Chris Christie worked to remove securities fraud from a consumer fraud act on behalf of an organization run by Bernie Madoff.

    January 13, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. ja

    Chickens eventually come home to roost,and they have landed, bridge gate/domestic terrorism, if anybody's name would have been Of Muslim descent, that what the tea party would declare

    January 13, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  4. bassman

    Online studies are showing ABC, NBC, and CBS News devoted 17 times more coverage, air time, 17 times more than they devoted are in the past six months to the IRS scandal. In addition, we also know Obama's White House OK'd New Jersey’s use of federal Hurricane Sandy relief aid to fund the marketing campaign.

    January 14, 2014 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  5. Thomas

    Christie had insisted he and his staff had nothing to do with the lane closings, ...he said it was the result of a last-minute traffic study. ... sarcastically replied that he personally had put out the traffic cones himself.

    January 14, 2014 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  6. Marie MD

    Let's not forget he had a meeting with the transportation chief days before the bridge gate scandal. I wonder what they were talking about . . . . . . we need not wonder anymore.

    January 14, 2014 06:32 am at 6:32 am |