CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for June 12, 2014 | 5 p.m.
— n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
OBAMA WEIGHS OPTIONS AS MILITANTS THREATEN IRAQ...Iraq is going to need more help from the United States and the international community, President Obama said Thursday as a militant group gained control of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is threatening the takeover of more cities, including Baghdad.
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Speaking to reporters at the White House, Obama said the U.S. "will not rule anything out" with regard to the unrest in Iraq. "This is an area that we have been watching with a lot of concern," he said. A senior administration official, however, told CNN that sending troops into Iraq is not being considered. "No boots on the ground," the official said. – Laura Smith-Spark and Ashley Fantz
WAKE UP! BOEHNER SAYS OBAMA ‘TAKING A NAP’ ON IRAQ ... “It's not like we haven't seen this problem coming for over a year,” Speaker Boehner said at a news conference. “And it's not like we haven't seen over the last five or six months these terrorists moving in (and) taking control of western Iraq. Now they've taken control of Mosul, they're 100 miles from Baghdad, and what's the President doing? Taking a nap.”
STAFF UP! MCCAIN SAYS OBAMA NEEDS A NEW NAT SEC TEAM... “The president should get rid of his entire national security team (and) replace it, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and bring in General Petraeus, Gen. Keane, General Mattis and others who won the conflict in Iraq, and turn this whole situation around,” McCain said on the Senate floor. “But it will be extremely difficult to do so.”
POST-CANTOR HILL SCRAMBLE IS ON ... A day after Eric Cantor announced he would step down as majority leader, the race to replace him has become a high-profile fight within the Republican Party, pitting geographical and political factions against each other. Appealing directly to the conservative base of the GOP – Texas Republican Pete Sessions argues he should replace Cantor on the leadership roster because he is a red-state Republican who can bring that sensibility to the party hierarchy.
"I come from a red state and see things in terms of what is good for the country and modeling those things that are great for the country, and selling those attributes is what will help us to win the House, win the Senate, win the presidency," Sessions told reporters after meeting with GOP members of the Texas delegation. His chief competitor and considered frontrunner for the job, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, comes from the blue state of California. – Dana Bash and Deirdre Walsh
THE BUZZ: 41 HITS 90, JUMPS FROM PLANE (AGAIN) ... Former President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday on Thursday by skydiving near his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath told CNN that after the morning jump, the former president "is doing great." Bush jumped in tandem with Mike Elliott, the same man he has jumped with several times before. Bush had previously parachuted seven times – once when he was shot down as a Navy pilot during World War II and the other six voluntary, including jumps to celebrate his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays. – Kevin Bohn
The White House (@WhiteHouse)
.@GeorgeHWBush Hope you enjoyed the view, George. Wishing you a very #HappyBirthday41! -bo
Fun fact: Did you know Bush 41 and Taylor Swift are buddies? See more: 41 things about Bush 41
Gut Check DVR: CNN will air "41ON41," a film about President George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, based on interviews with 41 people who know him best, at 9 and 11 p.m. ET Sunday, June 15.
THE KICKER: POLL: BUSH 43 NOW ON PAR WITH OBAMA ... A new CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday indicates a milestone of sorts: Obama is now as unpopular as Bush. Fifty-one percent have an unfavorable view of Bush; 51% feel the same way about Obama. Obama's favorable rating is now at 47% – a new low for him, and virtually identical to Bush's 46% favorable rating, a significant improvement over the former president’s 2009 numbers. – Paul Steinhauser
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end lower as oil prices surge on Iraq conflict. Dow loses 110 points. Oil settles above $106 a barrel.
Which politician used money from lottery winnings to open up a deli as a teenager?
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Clinton defends change in same-sex marriage position
During a testy interview with NPR on Thursday, Hillary Clinton stood behind her role as secretary of state and her upbringing as a way to defend the fact that she was not publicly supportive of same-sex marriage until 2013. "I did not grow up even imagining gay marriage and I don't think you probably did either," Clinton told NPR's Terry Gross. "This was an incredibly new and important idea that people on the front lines of the gay rights movement began to talk about and slowly but surely convinced others of the rightness of that position. And when I was ready to say what I said, I said it." – Dan Merica
Justin Miller (@justinjm1)
Multimillionaire who thinks gay marriage should be left up to the states. Hillary Clinton should run as a Republican!
Leading CNNMoney: America's top-earning zip codes
What's the richest zip code in America? You'll find residents with the highest incomes on this exclusive island off the coast of Miami. Fisher Island offers a rare level of privacy - it's home to just a few hundred people and is reachable only by boat (or yacht). – Jillian Eugenios
Leading Drudge: Islamists Close In On Baghdad
Iraqi forces sought to check the rapid advance of Islamist militants who had seized major cities, as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki responded to the greatest threat to his government since taking power. – Glen Carey and Mahmoud Habboush
Leading HuffPo: Warren Devises Plan To Hit Back At McConnell
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) railed against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday for failing to support her student loan refinancing proposal, which the Senate killed in a 56-38 vote earlier in the day.- Ashley Alman
Leading Politico: Kevin McCarthy predicting leadership win
At a Wednesday night dinner with Washington donors, Kevin McCarthy all but declared victory in his race for majority leader. The California Republican confidently predicted that he had enough votes to win the race for majority leader, according to sources present. His office declined to comment. – Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
Leading New York Times: How Thad Cochran Is Trying to Avoid Eric Cantor’s Fate
In winning his state senate seat in 2007, Chris McDaniel drew just over 10,000 votes. In winning a sixth United States Senate term a year later, Thad Cochran drew 766,000. So it makes sense that, after an inconclusive initial primary in Mississippi, Mr. Cochran seeks to win their June 24 runoff by tapping that much-larger pool of past supporters. “He’s capped out, and we’re not,” argued Henry Barbour, who’s helping direct a pro-Cochran political action committee. – John Harwood
Leading Washington Post: Bergdahl’s writings reveal a fragile young man
Before he became a Taliban prisoner, before he wrote in his journal “I am the lone wolf of deadly nothingness,” before he joined the Army, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was discharged from the Coast Guard for psychological reasons, said close friends who were worried about his emotional health at the time. – Stephanie McCrummen
The political bites of the day
- Brat: It’s time to decompress -
VA-7 GOP NOMINEE DAVE BRAT TO CNN: “I need a few days to decompress after that election … I’m just so happy with the outcome of the election. I literally have a thousand e-mails, a thousand voicemails, so I'm just trying to catch up on everything.”
- Brat on immigration reform: ‘We need to close the border’ -
VA-7 GOP NOMINEE DAVE BRAT TO CNN: “The first thing we need to do, we have a disaster on the border right now, a humanitarian disaster with kids. And so we need to close down the border. And I'll just leave it at that for right now.”
- Johnson: It’s ‘hazardous’ for kids at border processing centers -
HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON IMMIGRATION: “Frankly, it is also hazardous to send a child into South Texas to a processing center … A number of us here have seen them ourselves, (and they) are no place for children. … It is not safe. It is not a desirable situation, and I would encourage no parent to send their child or send for their child through this process.”
- Rick Perry compares homosexuality to alcoholism –
TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY AT A SPEECH IN SAN FRANCISCO: “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that - and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."
- Human Rights Campaign questions Perry’s medical expertise -
HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS V.P. FRED SAINZ IN A STATEMENT: “Although he may not have the 'genetic coding' to think before he speaks, Rick Perry, M.D., should have a real conversation with actual doctors before voicing his expertise on these issues.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt)
Obama’s statement not ruling out anything in Iraq comes after report that US rebuffed Iraqi requests for airstrikes. http://nytimes.com/2014/06/12/wor …
Liz Mair (@LizMair)
Pretty sure the whole hook of the Obama campaign was "under me, we'll leave no matter what." And we did (like it or not). Right?
Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT)
The Rs in exurban Richmond who turned out Cantor have same profile as Rs in Memphis burbs who went big for McDaniel: transient, nationalized
Paul Steinhauser (@psteinhauserCNN)
Mitt Romney can still draw a crowd: His high-powered annual gathering in Park City-including 2016'ers-gets underway http://cnn.it/SDpun0
Alex Burns (@aburnspolitico)
Romney has done 17 campaign events this year, 15 of them private fundraisers > http://miamiherald.com/2014/06/12/417 …
Robert Costa (@costareports)
Since '13 coup attempt, tea party bloc has promised a battle, many mulling bids, Tortilla Coastin' w/ Cruz. But not ready for sudden race.
David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker)
@costareports Right. Why not now? The juice isn't there nor is a willing member – especially one who can win. More time wldnt make diff
Mike Memoli (@mikememoli)
POTUS "remains tobacco free," per his just-released physical, which also notes this: "Nicotine Gum. Occasional use."
Julian Hattem (@jmhattem)
former NSA head Gen. Hayden: "We don’t say Snowden at NSA. People use the phrase 'He who will not be named.'"
Ravi Somaiya (@ravisomaiya)
Jill Abramson will teach at Harvard this fall, the university announces.
Ravi Somaiya (@ravisomaiya)
She'll teach narrative non-fiction to undergraduates, as a visiting lecturer in the Department of English.
Megan Hess (@mhess4)
here’s a recreation of Mount Rushmore made with beef jerky sitting in Columbus Circle today pic.twitter.com/1mVisV9t51
TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
At 19, Kevin McCarthy got lucky, winning $5,000 in the California state lottery on the second day after it opened. An ambitious teen, McCarthy invested his winnings in the stock market, and then used that money to open up a deli called Kevin O’s.
McCarthy enlisted his father's help to build the deli's counter in his garage at home. The future House Majority Whip sold the deli a few years later, in 1987, and returned to school at California State University. While the business did well, McCarthy says he began to resent to government “overregulation” of his business.
McCarthy says that “the countless frivolous and redundant rules, as well as the taxes small businesses like his were burdened with” is what spurred his interest in public service.
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Congrats to Sean Evins (@Evins) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.
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