CNN's GUT CHECK for March 19, 2014
March 19th, 2014
04:56 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 19, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 19, 2014 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

RAND PAUL BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT: IN BERKELEY TO TALK PRIVACY … Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, rips the intel community in prepared remarks Wednesday at the liberal hotbed of UC Berkeley.

In his speech, Paul mentions the recent controversy surrounding claims that the CIA has been spying on computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee. "I don't know about you, but I'm worried. If the CIA is spying on Congress, who exactly can or will stop them? I look into the eyes of senators and I think I see real fear," Paul says, according to a prepared text confirmed by CNN and first reported by Politico. – Ashley Killough

CIA Director John Brennan has denied any wrongdoing.

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Watch Rand Paul big Berkeley speech via livestream on at 6:00 p.m. ET .

PAUL PUTS PERSONAL PRESSURE ON OBAMA: Shortly before his Berkeley speech, Paul said President Obama in particular should be concerned about the NSA overreaching:

“The first African-American president ought to be a little more conscious of the fact of what has happened with the abuses of domestic spying,” Mr. Paul said.

“Martin Luther King was spied upon, civil rights leaders were spied upon, Muhammad Ali was spied upon, antiwar protesters were spied upon,” he said. “The possibility for abuse in this is incredible. So I don’t care if there’s never been any evidence of abuse with the N.S.A., they should not be collecting the data.”

POTENTIAL RELIEF FOR RAND: Legislation allowing Paul to simultaneously run for re-election to the Senate in 2016 while also running for the White House passed the Republican-run Kentucky Senate on Tuesday. The bill’s prospects in Kentucky’s Democratic-controlled House, however, are far less certain.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, according to a spokesman who talked to CNN, said, “There doesn't appear to be much of an appetite for that bill in the House right now."

SOUTHERN COMFORT: FIRST ON CNN: CHRISTIE HEADING TO TENNESSEE FOR GOP FUNDRAISER … CNN’s Peter Hamby reports: Chris Christie is southbound. The New Jersey governor will headline a banquet for the Tennessee Republican Party in May, a GOP source told CNN, a trip that gives Christie a chance to road-test his message in the South as he prepares for a possible 2016 presidential bid. Christie is booked as the headline speaker for the Tennessee GOP's annual Statesman's Dinner on May 30. The fundraiser is being held in Nashville, a major donor hub for the Republican Party.

CONGRATS TO CNN’S DANA BASH… Elle magazine names CNN’s Chief Congressional Correspondent one of Washington’s ten most powerful women.

Why does Dana still love Congress? She tells Elle, “I definitely have had the sense of disgust about the process. But I love the characters I cover because, pretty much to a person, even though they may seem partisan in sound bites, they are good people.”

Read the full interview here:

THE BUZZ … CLINTON JOKINGLY MULLS BOOK TITLES, MAYBE 'BOSSY PANTSUIT'? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made light-hearted comments Wednesday about the process of writing her upcoming book during a short speech at the Association of American Publishers annual meeting in New York.

“Now I'm still mulling over various titles … About a year ago, the Washington Post asked readers to send in suggestions. For example one possibility was ‘It Takes a World,’ a fitting sequel to ‘It Takes a Village.’ Another plays off my love of all things Tina Fey, ‘Bossy Pantsuit,’ although we can no longer say one of those words. ‘The Scrunchie Chronicles,’ 112 countries and it is still all about my hair. That actually is a keeper. It's on the short list.”

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks dropped after Fed says it will keep reducing stimulus. Dow ends 114 points lower. S&P 500 dips 0.6%.

(Answer below)
What medical device does Sen. Rand Paul wear daily?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading Cruz, Paul not on same page on social issues
As Cruz and Paul consider presidential bids for 2016 and fight for the conservative base, the two have made comments that further distinguish themselves in recent weeks, particularly over foreign policy and ways to broaden the Republican Party. – Ashley Killough

Leading Chicago Tribune: Rauner vs. Quinn: The Brawl is on
The fall campaign for Illinois governor between Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner will feature dueling brands of populism, campaign bankrolls in the tens of millions of dollars and plenty of scorched-earth attacks from groups with a vested interest in the high-stakes race.- Monique Garcia and Rick Pearson

Gut Check Full Service: Gov. Pat Quinn released a new ad Wednesday morning titled, “Who is the real Bruce Rauner?” The ad attacks Rauner for shifting positions on raising Illinois' minimum wage.

Leading Drudge: Russian Forces Seize Ukraine Naval Base
Russian troops and unarmed men stormed Ukraine's naval headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Wednesday and raised the Russian flag in a tense but peaceful takeover that signals Moscow's intent to neutralize any armed opposition. – Aleksandar Vasovic and Gabriela Baczynska

Leading HuffPo: ‘Out of Touch’
In the new poll, 53 percent of likely Michigan voters called Governor Rick Snyder "out of touch," including 59 percent of respondents who identified themselves as independent. That should be worrisome for Snyder, whose stands against union workers and in favor of Detroit's bankruptcy angered many Democrats, said T.J. Bucholz, public affairs senior director of Lambert, Edwards & Associates. – Ashley Woods

Leading Politico: The Barbour Gang rides to Thad Cochran’s rescue
The focal point of Cochran’s reelection effort might be more accurately placed in…a building in downtown Jackson — 210 E. Capitol St. is the address — where a pair of brothers, in suites separated by just one floor, work overtime to defend Mississippi’s elder statesman. They are Henry and Austin Barbour, the nephews of Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor who is himself an integral part of the sophisticated political operation seeking to quash Cochran’s primary opponent from the GOP’s right flank. – Alexander Burns

Gut Check Full Service: COCHRAN CHALLENGER RECEIVES THIRD STRAIGHT TEA-PARTY ENDORSEMENT… The Tea Party Patriots Citizen’s Fund announced today that it is endorsing Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the GOP primary against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. McDaniel now has the backing of three of the most important national tea party groups - the Tea Party Patriots, the Tea Party Express and FreedomWorks.

Leading New York Times: White House to Introduce Climate Data Website
As part of its effort to make the public see global warming as a tangible, immediate and urgent problem, the White House on Wednesday will inaugurate a website aimed at turning scientific data about projected droughts and wildfires and the rise in sea levels into eye-catching digital presentations that can be mapped using an app. – Coral Davenport

Leading The Hill: O-Care premiums to skyrocket
Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration. The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015. – Elise Viebeck

The political bites of the day

- Toyota agrees to pay $1.2 billion fine to feds after admitting to misleading regulators–
U.S. ATTORNEY OF N.Y. SOUTHERN DISTRICT PREET BHARARA AT A DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TOYOTA PRESSER ANNOUNCING THE SETTLEMENT: “In many ways, this was a tale of two companies. To the unsuspecting public, Toyota said one thing. But internally and in secret, Toyota said something different altogether.”

- Obama: You don’t have to be a citizen to qualify for health care–
PRESIDENT OBAMA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH UNIVISION TUESDAY: “You can qualify if you’re a legal resident, if you are…legally present in the United States. You know, if you have a family where some people are citizens or legally here and others are not documented, the immigration people will never get that information. But you know, you will qualify…regardless of what your family’s status is. So, you know, people should not hold back just because they’re in a mixed family status.”

- Obama: More of a tequila guy–
President Obama: “Friendly matches…aren’t worth betting on. But if we see Mexico in the World Cup then I’ll definitely make the bet.”
Univision’s Jose Luis Lopez Salido: “What would you bet? Beer or tequila”
President Obama: “Tequila would be even better.”

- Paul: CPAC win makes me a target -
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY, ON WINNING THE CPAC STRAW POLL EARLIER THIS MONTH IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NATIONAL JOURNAL: "I don't know whether it's good luck or it's bad luck … It makes you more of a target, I guess … I tell people it's better than being last … It's better than not being noticed."

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Peter Baker ‏(@peterbakernyT)
Why did Ukrainians not fire? “We had no order and no weapons.” “We met them empty-handed.” @herszenhorn @cowellcnd

Max Fisher (‏@Max_Fisher)
The “sorry you got invaded by Russia, here’s some money” school of post-Cold War foreign policy

U.S. News (‏@usnews)
. @NatGeo to show Crimea as part of Russia on maps: “We map the world as it is, not as people would like it to be.”

ErikWemple (‏@ErikWemple)
AP is changing terminology: Before: SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP); now, SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (AP):

Dan Merica (‏@danmericaCNN)
Hillary Clinton: It's up to Putin whether there's 'another Cold War' – My story from Montreal:

Jennifer Duffy (@jennifereduffy)
As the political environment gains more clarity, it is time for some Senate Rating changes. #AKsen, #LASEN & #NCSEN to Toss Up from Lean D.

Jake Tapper (@jaketapper)
former SNLer @VictoriaJackson running for county commissioner in Tennessee cc: @DennisDMZ @kevin_nealon @JonLovitz…

Jonathan Capehart (‏@CapehartJ)
GOP says it wants black votes, but it’s still trying to make it difficult for blacks to vote.

Zach Hanover (@zhanover)
SPOILER ALERT: The Left will always deride @GOP for "not doing enough" to attract minority voters. It's part of their favorite narrative.

Tom Foreman ‏(@tomforemancnn)
Ok. I'll take it. Do you need an address? RT “@CNNMoney: Missing money? IRS has $760 million in unclaimed refunds

Michael Toner ‏(@michaeletoner)
Entering the lexicon: Merriam-Webster adds "Super PAC" to its dictionary entries:

Josh Kraushaar ‏(@HotlineJosh)
As crisis in Eastern Europe worsens... "Obama to Make First Appearance on 'Ellen' as President"

Fearing a major constitutional crisis if Obama dances on Ellen.

ESPN (@espn)
Barack-etology is back. Find out who POTUS is picking to win the National Championship ->

Ed Sherman ‏(@Sherman_Report)
ESPN certainly gets ton of mileage with the Obama brackets. Looking forward to Hilary's brackets in 2017.

House Republicans (‏@HouseGOP)
Happy Anniversary to Pope Francis (Pontifex), who was inaugurated one year ago. #FrancisFactor

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, wears a hearing aid in both ears. According the Wall Street Journal, Paul wears the hearing aids daily and has occasionally experienced trouble hearing questions at gatherings.

(why aren’t you in it)

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    "I look into the eyes of senators and I think I see real fear," Paul says"

    Rand Paul embodies fear; sells fear; campaigns on fear; highlighting to the world a tinfoil hat upbringing in all its glory readily surfacing to convert the easily converted cult mentality of the equally fearful among us. What the hell he ever became a United States senator for is perhaps the most baffling anecdote surrounding Rand Paul and as yet to be answered fully by this man who hates, literally hates, the very same American government he receives his taxpayer funded expenses and paid vacation expenses of a do nothing congress while traveling from one end to another promising an uprising of libertarian values he no longer adheres to himself - if he ever did adhere to those values.

    March 19, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Every three or four days, the media brings out the comedy relief portion of their weekly show. Guess they feel they have to compete with other networks for your attention. The real bad thing about our news becoming so corporate owned and advertisement conscience is that we, the people, needing to make decisions on our own and for our own well being, are whipsawed into a frenzy. This used to happen every month or so. Now it happens whenever some C.E.O. wants it to happen. After all, he has to line his/her pockets first. To hell with what you have to endure. Think about it.

    March 19, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    Neither Rand Paul nor Ted Cruz is worth even for "COOK JOB IN WHITE-HOUSE", next....
    If this guy, Rand Paul, knows how to flip Hamburger then, I will consider in McDonald's on Pensilvania Ave.

    March 19, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. B.

    The Republicans continue to attempt to satisfy the extreme right takeover of the party and will never get the White House with people like Rand Paul and his ilk. If the GOP can’t open-up enough to allow more centrist policies that is where most Americans are, they will never win the presidency.

    March 19, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. rs

    "I don't know about you, but I'm worried. If the CIA is spying on Congress, who exactly can or will stop them? I look into the eyes of senators and I think I see real fear,"
    It was predictable that a member of the GOP (in this case Mr. Paul) would use the fear angle. What is it the GOP kept saying after 9/11? Oh, yeah, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about. After a couple of government shutdowns, not funding critical government operations (so that the rich could get tax cuts), and blocking most legislation for 5 years, not to mention bashing the government and the President at every turn I guess I might worry if I were a GOP Senator too.

    March 19, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. georgestefan

    I used to think it was more of a sport for one party to bash another, but lately I've become actually scared. I remember in 2008 someone said, "yeah I know Obama doesn't have a lot of experience, but he'll have plenty of advisors". Problem is the advisors aren't so good and/or have strange agendas. The mistakes of the Obama admin have been getting worse and worse - economy crippled with debt, Russia possibly having a resurgence and taking back Estonia, Iran getting nuclear weapons and possibly attacking Israel or US via a non-state proxy, gigantic secret government spy agency spying on citizens, branches/office of government being used to harass the opposition party, people merging into class envy/warfare and race baiting innuendos, zero CNN articles on Obama and his handling of world crisis-but top stories on his basketball picks? - and those are just some of the worse one 🙁

    March 19, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Randy Paul is all look see show.

    March 19, 2014 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  8. Marie MD

    I look at your eyes and I am afraid for our country because of your racist ideas and your party's continued war on women, gays, seniors, veterans, the poor, poor children.
    You have our government so much RESIGN!!! and take your rafaelitos, lees, McCain,s gomers with you.

    March 20, 2014 06:27 am at 6:27 am |