CNN's GUT CHECK for March 10, 2014
March 10th, 2014
04:49 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 10, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 10, 2014 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING: QUESTIONS ARISE OVER STOLEN PASSPORTS ON MISSING MALAYSIAN FLIGHT… It is perplexing enough that a jetliner seemed to have vanished without a trace. Adding to the mystery is the news that at least two people on board were traveling on passports stolen from an Austrian and an Italian. According to Thai police officials, an Iranian man by the name of Kazem Ali purchased the tickets for two friends who he said wanted to return home to Europe. While Ali made the initial booking by telephone, either Ali or someone acting on his behalf paid for the tickets in cash, according to police. – Saeed Ahmed


Round 1: Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas highlighted his foreign policy disagreement with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in an interview with ABC on Sunday. “I don't agree with him on foreign policy. I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force abroad," Cruz said. The Texas Republican went on to invoke Reagan's declaration of the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” and heralded the former president’s foreign policy views.

Round 2: Paul, who is known for his libertarian views, penned an op-ed on Monday that faulted Republicans for distorting Reagan's views on foreign policy. While the piece didn’t mention Cruz by name, it was a fairly obvious swipe. “I will remind anyone who thinks we will win elections by trashing previous Republican nominees or holding oneself out as some paragon in the mold of (Ronald) Reagan, that splintering the party is not the route to victory," the Kentucky Republican wrote in an opinion piece for – Ashley Killough

IF HE COULD, SNOWDEN WOULD DO IT AGAIN: In a rare public talk streamed at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden urged a tech conference audience Monday to help "fix" the U.S. government's surveillance of its citizens. In response to a question, Snowden said he had no regrets about his decision to leak the NSA documents. “Would I do it again? Absolutely. Regardless of what happens to me, this is something we had a right to,” he said. “I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. And I saw the Constitution was being violated on a massive scale.” The event marked the first time the former National Security Agency contractor has directly addressed people in the United States since he fled the country with thousands of secret documents last June. – Brandon Griggs, Josh Rubin and Doug Gross

AMERICANS ARE HOT AND COLD ON OBAMA’S UKRAINE RESPONSE: Poll: Americans back sanctions on Russia… Nearly six in 10 of those questioned in a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday say they support economic sanctions against Moscow by the U.S. and its allies in an attempt to force Russia to remove its forces from Ukraine's autonomous Crimean peninsula.

… but only tepid support exists for Obama’s handling of Ukraine: Slightly more Americans approve than disapprove of how President Barack Obama has so far handled the crisis in Ukraine, but that has not affected the President's overall job approval rating, according to a new national poll. Forty-eight percent of people questioned in the poll say they approve of how the President has so far handled the Ukraine crisis, with 43% giving Obama a thumbs down and 9% unsure. That is higher than Obama’s overall approval number.

GOOD NEWS ABOUT OBAMACARE… Survey finds number of uninsured has dropped… The percentage of Americans without healthcare insurance fell at the end of last year, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. In the fourth and final quarter of 2014, 15.9% of Americans were without healthcare. That number is down from the same time in 2013, when 17.1% of Americans were uninsured.

… But the law remains unpopular: … 44% of Americans said they were hopeful about the law, compared to 51% who said they were fearful at the prospect of higher costs and losing their coverage.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Hillary Clinton to appear at star-studded women’s summit… At the fifth annual Women in the World Summit next month in New York City, Clinton will sit down for a conversation with Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund. Also participating at the event: Actresses Meryl Streep, Mia Farrow, and Rashida Jones, former First Lady Barbara Bush, former President Jimmy Carter, designer Diane von Furstenberg and Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. – Dan Merica

THE BUZZ: Swimmer Michael Phelps proved his athleticism can transcend the swimming pool. Watch him sink an over 53-yard putt.

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end lower on international economic concerns. Dow slips 33 points. S&P and Nasdaq finish down slightly.

(Answer below)

What president took the most official trips to Ukraine?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: National parties test their pitches in Florida's 13th District special election
It's for just one congressional seat for about eight months, but Tuesday's special election in Florida has taken on huge political significance. National Republicans are framing Tuesday's special election as a referendum on Obamacare. But their message - plus a flood of outside spending by Democrats focused on the issue of Social Security - is drowning out other issues in the race, Republican candidate David Jolly says. His Democratic opponent, Alex Sink, isn't shying away from the health care debate, touting the law's benefits and saying she's open to improvements. – Deirdre Walsh

Leading Drudge: Without A Trace!
Teams trying to locate the Boeing Co. (BA) 777 that vanished over the sea three days ago will scour data for radar signatures while seeking to detect pinging from black boxes as the search for visible wreckage proves elusive. – Alan Levin and Andrea Rothman for Bloomberg News

Leading HuffPo: Big Drop
With just three weeks left to sign up under President Barack Obama's health care law, a major survey tracking the rollout finds that the uninsured rate keeps going down. – Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar for the Associated Press

Leading Politico: Big business takes on tea party, gently
Big Business swore this would be the year it would wrestle back the soul of the Republican Party from the grip of the tea party. No more Todd Akins. No more government shutdowns. And no more third-party groups running roughshod over the Washington agenda. But with primary season looming, the big threats from Big Business appear to be just that. – Anna Palmer

Leading The New York Times: Any Thoughts, Mrs. Clinton, on the Year After Next?
Hillary Rodham Clinton is accustomed to hearing The Question. So if you have a chance to ask it, make it count. … As speculation grows about whether Mrs. Clinton will run for president again, in 2016, so too has a political parlor game of coming up with creative variations on the same question. The standard will-you-run inquiry no longer suffices. They come up at almost all of Mrs. Clinton’s many paid talks to trade groups, events related to her charitable work and at galas and awards ceremonies.- Amy Chozick

The political bites of the day

- Why the Ukrainian PM is coming to the White House on Wednesday -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “We are making it clear to the new government of Ukraine that we support them; that we support the responsible way that Ukrainian officials, parliament and the new government have handled this crisis. And we are working to provide direct assistance to Ukraine in this difficult time so they can stabilize their economy and return to economic growth. That's the message we are sending. The president looks forward to the meeting.”

- Senators plan all night speech on climate change -
Democratic Sen. Bryan Schatz of Hawaii in a statement: “Climate change is real, it is caused by humans, and it is solvable. Congress must act. Tonight we’re going to show the growing number of Senators who are committed to working together to confront climate change.”
Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California said: “So many Senators coming together for an all-night session shows our commitment to wake up Congress to the dangers of climate change. All you have to do is look at China to see what happens to your country when you throw the environment under the bus.”

Gut Check Extra: No member of the Republican caucus in the Senate will be part of the all-nighter, according to the organizing senators.

- Shorter Paul: I’m different than my father -
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in a Time Magazine opinion editorial: “Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a gross violation of that nation’s sovereignty and an affront to the international community. His continuing occupation of Ukraine is completely unacceptable and Russia’s President should be isolated for his actions. … Putin must be punished for violating the Budapest Memorandum, and Russia must learn that the U.S. will isolate it if it insists on acting like a rogue nation.”

- ‘Terribly Surprising’ -
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “Are you surprised that three days now have passed and they haven't been able to find any wreckage at all in the waters over there in the pacific?”
Mary Schiavo, former U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General: “Yes, that is terribly surprising. And the debris field, if it was an in-flight, mid-air explosion, the debris would be scattered wide and far. And so much on the plane will float, the seat cushions, the life vests, the life rafts, the service carts and containers, parts of the wing, parts of the tail, all that will float and there is nothing. It is very, very surprising.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

John Dickerson (@jdickerson)
Don't be so mean to the Iowa straw poll. It has a pretty good record picking the person who will never be president.

Chris Stearns (@stearnsseattle)
Des Moines Register poll shows Iowa Dems really want Hillary for President & Iowa GOP likes Ryan, Huckabee in 2016.

Jason Seher (@jhseher)
In his first TV spot of the campaign, @senatorbegich targets the Koch brothers. | (via @psteinhauserCNN) #2014

John McCormack (@McCormackJohn)
Spokesmen for @Sen_JoeManchin won't say where he stands on the federal version of the late-term abortion bill

Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis)
Jeffrey E. Thompson is charged with felony conspiracy to break campaign finance laws. With @amarimow:

Tom Sherwood (@tomsherwood)
Mayor Gray tells NBC4 just now he did nothing wrong in 2014 campaign. his staff points to many campaigns in Thompson court documents.

Tasha Diakides (@TashaCNN)
ICYM: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on why you should stop using the word "bossy." #banbossy

Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa)
Demoing a new Microsoft dance game. #sxsw


During his eight years in the White House, former President Bill Clinton visited Ukraine three times, making him the commander-in-chief with the most official visits to the Eastern European nation.

Because Ukraine was controlled by the USSR for decades, Clinton became the first president to visit the country when he met with President Leonid Kravchuk in January 1994. A priority of Clinton’s trip was to secure nuclear weapons stored in Ukraine after the breakup of the USSR. At the time, Ukraine was the world’s three-largest nuclear power but gave up that arsenal in late 1994.

The next year, in 1995, Clinton was welcomed back to Kiev with a state visit. And the former president’s final trip came in 2000, when he met with then-President Leonid Kuchma.

Former President George W. Bush visited Ukraine once – for a meeting with then-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and then-President Viktor Yushchenko in 2008.

President Barack Obama has never visited the country.

Possibly the most famous presidential trip to an area that would become Ukraine came in 1945, when then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin in Yalta to discuss World War II and post-war Europe.

(why aren’t you in it)

No correct answers to today’s Gut Check question. Better luck tomorrow.

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. The right wing have lost their damned minds

    Typical Cruz salute..looks like he's in Germany in the 1930's..

    March 10, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Thank goodness for Rudy to let us all know exactly why conservatives do what they do. Without Rudy, we would have no understanding of conservatives. Apparently, conservatives only care about the rich and their nefarious ways. Oh, I long to be a liberal who is just so wonderful and cares so much about everyone. Those terrible conservatives..."

    Why do you concern yourself with those you perceive to be on the left of you to the point that your entire time is spent trying to snark them? I daresay no one can at this point completely understand conservatives notwithstanding what they produce on their websites. Conservatives have been all over the board for nearly two decades now. As a self professed Libertarian, I would think you could see how disjointed their words are in relation to their actions.

    March 10, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Thomas

    @The right wing have lost their damned minds
    Typical Cruz salute..looks like he's in Germany in the 1930's..


    Or Joe McCarthy hailing a taxi .

    March 10, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. tom l


    Why do you concern yourself with those you perceive to be on the left of you to the point that your entire time is spent trying to snark them? I daresay no one can at this point completely understand conservatives notwithstanding what they produce on their websites. Conservatives have been all over the board for nearly two decades now. As a self professed Libertarian, I would think you could see how disjointed their words are in relation to their actions.
    #1 – Everyone snarks everyone here (by the way, your "daresay" comment that followed – that was snarky and would elicit a defensive and snide remark back, just in case you are not aware of it). No one is immune to that. I have, on several occasions, tried to engage in conversation and understanding only to be met with incredible snark and anger and vitriol and, most commonly, condescension.
    #2 – I don't really know what a "conservative" website is. A repub politician, in most cases, is not really conservative any more because, as I have stated, they are just looking for money and power – just like dem politicians
    #3 – I answered your question in the post right below yours

    I think you are a very sweet person with a great heart. But if you can't recognize that conservatives don't understand liberals and liberals don't understand conservatives then I would respectfully say that you're just missing it and too caught up in your personal positions to recognize that. If repubs were truly conservative, then they wouldn't have enacted Medicare Part D without a method of paying for it. They are just looking for different ways to spend your money. And dems today aren't really liberal because if they were things like the NSA, the Patriot Act and our foreign follies would be of much more concern to them. But they're both too busy pitting one blue American against one red American. That's all they do now. Crips vs. Bloods.

    March 10, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    Why not USA deport this vicious guy. He is just an idiot.

    March 10, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Ol' Yeller

    "Paul, who is known for his libertarian views, penned an op-ed on Monday that faulted Republicans for distorting Reagan's views on foreign policy..."

    Though no fan of Paul I do agree with what he (probably plagiarized) wrote here. Problem being, I doubt he means it, because in the same article he talks about his not being negative or trying to bash others, when he just came off a nationwide tour of criticizing President Clinton (the past one, not the future one) for his liaisons with ms. lewinski... even talked about how the press gave hims 'a pass'. Oh really, a pass?! He either was hiding under a rock or oblivious to reality (I expect the latter) to say something as asinine as Clinton got 'a pass' from the media. Other than the WTC attacks, I cannot think of another story in modern times which got as much ink and air time as that BJ.
    But, I digress.... the point I wanted to make, is that paul is correct in his statement regarding republicants distorting Reagan's views on foreign policy, however he fell short in that republicants have completely and utterly re wrote history regarding regan's policy and administration. I could go into some of the egregious errors, but the people who would applaud this already know it, and the people who need to know this do not care, do not have the capacity to understand, or already know it and would try and twist it back into the reality they feel better about. Fact of the matter is, regan would not be welcome in the republicant party of today and I do not really believe he would want to be a part of this nonsense, so would probably revert back to being a Democrat... which he was before he switched parties (in 68' I believe it was).

    March 10, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ tom

    My daresay comment was not intended to be snark. I was simply stating that conservatism has changed to a point that it is hard for anyone to pin-point where it is headed policy wise.

    Please understand, tom I. I am not on these boards to change opinions, judge opinions, or push one person against another.

    I understand much more than you give me credit for ... including your own many comments.

    March 10, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Skeptacular

    With the current evolution of the two main political parties in the U.S., Ronald Reagan is actually left of Barack Obama in most substantive ways. Excepting trickle-down economics, it's hard not to see that the Left has gone a bit right and the Right has gone a bit left. GOP and TP folk….imagine a candidate actually ran on Reagan's platform as defined by what he did and attempted to do. It is YOU who would swift boat him. Liberals, alas, would find more in common.

    March 10, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  9. Winston Smith

    They call Justin Beiber a menace, but what about this creep. He makes Justin. look sane.

    March 10, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |

    No one wants war! BUT iran thinks that if they make the war world 3. that a maddi devil comes out of the well and gives them life .They want the bomb an are moments away d0 you want them have it ! Talks want work ! We could have done away with that worry with conventional warfair ! n0w you get a nuke show and it want be free. I hate war but you cant lay down an die can we? can we? Iran seldom has terror in their land eve wonder why? they make it ! everbod hates war allm0st . thx

    March 10, 2014 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. The right wing have lost their damned minds

    @The right wing have lost their damned minds
    Typical Cruz salute..looks like he's in Germany in the 1930's..


    Or Joe McCarthy hailing a taxi .

    March 10, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
    @ Thomas,

    That was good!!! Lmao!!

    March 10, 2014 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  12. HRC16

    Hillary will be great in 2016, but first we need to focus on 2014. If we want positive change in this country, we must hold the senate and swing the house. Vote democrats in across the board and move the country forward.

    March 10, 2014 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |

    When i went to class we never pulled a russian finger ? never ?

    March 10, 2014 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |