March 20th, 2014
05:45 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for March 20, 2014

CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 20, 2014 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

DEVELOPING …. BARACK OBAMA TWEAKS SCOTT BROWN …. President Barack Obama's weighing in on what could turn into the hottest U.S. Senate battle this year. When asked during an interview Wednesday with New England Cable News whether former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown - who's taken an important step towards running for the Senate this year in neighboring New Hampshire - is the kind of moderate Republican needed on Capitol Hill, the President said he'll wait to comment until Brown formally announces his candidacy. – Paul Steinhauser

"I'd be happy if Scott Brown wants to move down to Texas. You know, we could always use some moderate Republicans in other parts of the country."

[twitter-follow screen_name='GutCheckCNN']

…AND BROWN JUMPS AT THE ATTENTION: “President Obama and Jeanne Shaheen are joined at the hip. If it wasn't for Jeanne Shaheen, Obamacare would not have become the law of the land. He is going to do everything he can to help Jeanne Shaheen in this election, and today I am inviting her to bring him to New Hampshire to defend their health care law. Nothing will stop me from continuing to tell the truth about this disastrous health care law and its negative effects on the people of New Hampshire.”

DEVELOPING …. RAND PAUL ASKS FOR A DIFFERENT REPUBLICAN PARTY … Rand Paul put a new spin on a familiar refrain that the Republican Party needs to broaden its base. In a speech at UC Berkeley on Wednesday, he compared the GOP's need for change to a recent Domino's Pizza's campaign to improve the taste of its crust.

“The Republican Party is, I’ve said, they have to either evolve, adapt, or die. You know it’s a pretty harsh thing. …I was telling someone the other day, remember Domino’s finally admitted they had bad crust. I think the Republican Party admitted, ‘OK, bad crust.’ We need a different kind of party.” – Dana Davidsen

John King’s Take: “HE’S THE ONE REPUBLICAN RIGHT NOW WHO’S PLAYING OUTSIDE THE BOX” … “He understands the demographic problem they have, maybe not in the primaries, but to win a presidential election. It’s pretty hard to see the Republicans winning a presidential election if they don’t do a little better among African-Americans, somewhat better among Latinos, among college students, among college-educated women.”

THE BUZZ … PRESIDENT OBAMA ZINGS ELLEN'S OSCAR SELFIE: 'IT WAS A PRETTY CHEAP STUNT' … In his first “Ellen Show” appearance as president, Barack Obama mocked host Ellen DeGeneres for her record-breaking Oscar selfie, calling it a “cheap stunt.” DeGeneres apologized to the President for breaking his record for the most re-tweeted picture in history. “I thought it was a pretty cheap stunt myself,” Obama joked, “Getting a bunch of celebrities in the background, feeding them pizza.” – Adam Aigner Treworgy

MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher in the wake of Fed comments. Dow gains 109 points. S&P 500 rises 0.6%. NASDAQ adds 0.3%.

(Answer below)
Today is the 117th anniversary of the first intercollegiate five-man basketball game. Which two teams competed in that game?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading First on CNN: Obama campaign group helps health insurance sign-up effort
The White House is getting some outside help in its final push to encourage enrollment in the Obamacare insurance exchanges before the sign-up period ends on March 31. Organizing for Action, the political action group that grew out of President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, is releasing a new video on Thursday to go along with a series of tweets by prominent Democrats encouraging enrollment. – Adam Aigner-Treworgy

Leading CNNMoney: Bill Clinton on Leadership
The former President tells Fortune: “Leadership means bringing people together in pursuit of a common cause, developing a plan to achieve it, and staying with it until the goal is achieved. If the leader holds a public or private position with other defined responsibilities, leadership also requires the ability to carry out those tasks and to respond to unforeseen problems and opportunities when they arise.”

Leading Tampa Bay Times: Obama's Florida agenda: Economic opportunity for women, and for Democrats
President Barack Obama will discuss women's economic issues during an event today at Valencia College in Orlando, then head to Miami for fundraising … In Miami, Obama will appear at fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Tickets for the DCCC dinner, at the home of former NBA star Alonzo Mourning, are $16,200 per person.- Alex Leary

Leading Drudge: Reporters Rehearse Questions With White House Press Sec
A CBS reporter from Arizona reveals that President Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, receives questions from the press in advance of his daily press briefing. In fact, she says, the reporters often receive the answers in advance of the briefing, too. According to the reporter, Jay Carney told her this yesterday at the White House: – Daniel Harper

Leading HuffPo: Dems smash big record
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reported a haul of $6.8 million for last month, making it the committee's most successful February ever. The DSCC has now raised $66 million this election cycle - more than any previous cycle. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, had raised $41.3 million as of January. The NRSC February total isn't yet available. – Ashley Alman

Leading Politico: Bernie Madoff speaks: Politics, remorse and Wall Street
When Madoff strolled in the visitation room for the interview with a guard through a green patio enclosed by a chain-linked fence and barbed wire — the sunshine bringing out a dark tint in his glasses — he looked at ease and comfortable. Security at the facility is relaxed — inmates sleep with their doors unlocked. Madoff fills out his khaki uniform and doesn’t appear to have lost weight. (This reporter walked through a metal detector and her cell phone and tape recorder were held at the front desk. No photographs were allowed.) – MJ Lee

Leading New York Times: Koch Group Seeks Lasting Voice for Small Government
As Americans for Prosperity emerges as a dominant force in the 2014 midterm elections, spending up to 10 times as much as any major outside Democratic group so far, officials of the organization say their effort is not confined to hammering away at President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. They are also trying to present the law as a case study in government ineptitude to change the way voters think about the role of government for years to come. – Carl Hulse and Ashley Parker

Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh)
It's not just Senate races anymore. Koch-backed AFP running TV ad against Gov Pat Quinn on taxes, from @HotlineScott…

The political bites of the day

- Pelosi: Obamacare a’ winning issue’ -

- Clinton distances herself from Obama’s Iran deal -
HILLARY AT AN EVENT WEDNESDAY FOR THE AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS IN NEW YORK: “Now the odds of reaching that comprehensive agreement are not good. I am also personally skeptical that the Iranians would follow through and deliver. I have seen their behavior over years.”

- Obama defends ‘Two Ferns’ appearance by citing Lincoln –
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH ESPN RADIO HOST COLIN COWHERD: Lincoln "loved telling the occasional bawdy joke and, you know, being out among regular folks."

- Sorry grandma, no cruisin’ down the 101 for you -
GOV. JERRY BROWN, D-CALIFORNIA, WHILE PROMOTING THE STATE'S HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT IN SACRAMENTO: “There's a lot of old people who shouldn't be driving. They should be sitting in a nice train car working on their iPad having a martini."

Neel Kashkari (@neelkashkari)
A Few of Brown's Bad Ideas: 1. Crazy Train 2. Record state spending 3. Raising taxes #BenchBrown Click here:

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Blake Hounshell (‏@blakehounshell)
So Treasury certainly proved today that it could put the hurt on Putin's cronies.

John Bolton ‏(@AmbJohnBolton)
Putin’s sanctions of US Senators show that he doesn’t fear Obama.

Senator Landrieu (@SenLandrieu)
Being sanctioned by President Putin is a badge of honor. #SanctionedByPutin

Sen. Robert Menendez (@SenatorMenendez)
If standing up for #democracy & sovereignty in #Ukraine means I'm #SanctionedByPutin, I'll take it.

Senator Dan Coats (@SenDanCoats)
While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honored to be on this list

Chris Moody (‏@moody)
You can't just steal Coats' joke, man. RT @jwpetersNYT: John McCain on being sanctioned by Russia: I guess my spring break to Siberia is off

David M. Drucker (‏@DavidMDrucker)
So, @SenJohnMcCain make's Putin's sanctions list & @SenTedCruz doesn't. Another slight by the GOP establishment...

Olivier Knox (‏@OKnox)
Putin is a uniter, not a divider. RT @BrendanBuck @pfeiffer44 congratulations

Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui)
I'm surprised Matt Bevin didn't put out a press release noting that Mitch McConnell wasn't sanctioned by Putin.

Jake Tapper (@jaketapper)
6 out of 9 Americans sanctioned by Russia today have been guests on #TheLead

Jim Acosta (@JimAcostaCNN)
POTUS at women and economy event in FL: "If men were having babies, we'd have different policies."

Matt Arco (‏@MatthewArco)
Row of Christie critics at town hall. Letters on tshirts spell #Bridgegate

Jenna Portnoy (@jennaportnoy)
"I'm meditating. I'm really getting Zen," @GovChristie says. A lesson from @CoryBooker perhaps?

Carlos Olin Montalvo ‏(@carlosolin)
Starbucks plans to sell alcohol in the evening at thousands of its stores as baristas will turn into bartenders … #cafe

Walt Mossberg (‏@waltmossberg)
Celebrate Twitter's 8th birthday by revisiting your embarrassing first tweet via @MikeIsaac

Nina Mandell (‏@ninamandell)
Joe Biden's call to the University of Delaware coach was ignored, because it was game day.

Andrew Kaczynski ‏(@BuzzFeedAndrew)
This Video Of Rep. John Lewis Dancing To “Happy” Is The Best Thing You Will See Today

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer

On March 20, 1897, 117 years ago today, Yale beat Penn 32-10 in New Haven, Conn., in the first five-on-five men's intercollegiate basketball game.

In the first game of 2014’s NCAA Tournament, Dayton upset Ohio State 60-59. President Barack Obama predicted Ohio State would beat Dayton in his March Madness bracket.

On Thursday Obama tweeted, "You can only pick one winning team—I have 63 colleges mad at me. — President Obama on #MarchMadness”

(why aren’t you in it)

Congrats to Melanie Parker (@parkerml) 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 (5 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Do you know these cable companies are looting out of TV. Why not we connect NetZero, Roku like device to pull TV channels through internet at nominal minimum price? Go to India, you see on Yupptv. While third world progresses we regress? Bickering, bickering by republicans–greed.

    March 20, 2014 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. it must be said

    Terri Durheim and her family now have health insurance, thanks to Obamacare. What they don't have are local doctors and hospitals who will take it.
    This worries the Enid, Okla., resident since she has a teenage son with a serious heart condition. They now have to find a pediatric cardiologist in Oklahoma City, more than an hour away.

    The SAD REALITY of Obamacare.... the train wreck of our healthcare system and scam of the American people continues. End it this November.

    March 20, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. Stuffitu

    So glad to see that CNN and MSNBC are following White House directives about not covering the wast of millions of taxpayer dollars by Michelle having such a grat time in China. It would depress those of us who have to get up early, work hard all day to pay our ever increasing taxes and health insurance premiums. I spent my 4 hour vacation in my backyard last Sunday.

    March 20, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ LEE ISSA RUBIO GOP conservatives the GARBAGE AND SEWAGE of AMERICA what have they accomplished in the lat five years??? They lost at least 50BILLIN DOLLARS and got nothing for it just this year.

    Why would an intelligent voter from the fine state of New Hampshire vote for a GOP failed RETREAD from mass???????these GOP anti healthcare FREEKS are going to lose BIG across the country in November no matter what the GOP clowns say, they DONT Know how any if us are going to vote?????? It won't be for the GOP!!!!!

    March 20, 2014 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. rightsforall

    Yes of course sign up. Be one of the first to put all your medical information out there for all the spy agencies to see. Don't miss out on increases in your premiums of 2, 3, 4+ times what they quote you now. And you really don't want to pass up the opportunity that should you get really sick, become a liability to the system or get old, they will decide if you live or die...euthenasia! And let's not forget the IRS...if you loose your job or get your hours cut back, no will still have to pay. If you can't, not to worry...IRS will take it out of your account, seize your account and/or property to pay your insurance. Isn't it wonderful all the things Obamacare will do for you? Then your part of the group & so trendy! Succers!

    March 21, 2014 06:40 am at 6:40 am |