CNN's GUT CHECK for August 12, 2014
August 12th, 2014
04:54 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for August 12, 2014

CNN’s POLITICAL GUT CHECK | for August 12, 2014 | 5 p.m.
—  n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

OBAMA CAMP KNOCKS CLINTON IN FOREIGN POLICY SPAT …  David Axelrod, former adviser to President Barack Obama, hit back Tuesday against Hillary Clinton's recent criticism of Obama's foreign policy.

David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod)
Just to clarify: "Don't do stupid stuff" means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision.

In an interview with “The Atlantic” published over the weekend, Clinton argued the decision not to arm Syrian rebels early on had led to Islamic militants taking over swaths of territory in the region. The former secretary of state also took a swipe at an oft-repeated phrase Obama uses to sum up his foreign policy choices – “Don’t do stupid stuff.” "Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle," Clinton said.

In his tweet, Axelrod appears to be knocking Clinton's 2002 vote as U.S. senator in favor of the Iraq War.

[twitter-follow screen_name='GutCheckCNN'] [twitter-follow screen_name='sarafischer'] [twitter-follow screen_name='AlanSilverleib']

CLINTON CAMP TO OBAMA: LET’S HUG IT OUT … Hillary Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon: “Secretary Clinton was proud to serve with President Obama, she was proud to be his partner in the project of restoring American leadership and advancing America's interests and values in a fast changing world. She continues to share his deep commitment to a smart and principled foreign policy that uses all the tools at our disposal to achieve our goals. Earlier today, the Secretary called President Obama to make sure he knows that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him, his policies, or his leadership. Secretary Clinton has at every step of the way touted the significant achievements of his Presidency, which she is honored to have been part of as his Secretary of State. While they've had honest differences on some issues, including aspects of the wicked challenge Syria presents, she has explained those differences in her book and at many points since then. Some are now choosing to hype those differences but they do not eclipse their broad agreement on most issues. Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night.”

MENDING FENCES: CLINTON TO PARTY WITH PRESIDENT ON MARTHA’S VINEYARD… Only days after offering a stinging rebuke of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, Hillary Clinton plans to attend a party in Martha’s Vineyard alongside the President on Wednesday. The former top diplomat, on the tiny Massachusetts island to promote her book, will find herself at the same social gathering as Obama and his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, on Wednesday night. The party is at the island home of Vernon Jordan, who acted as an adviser to former President Bill Clinton during his White House years. He’s married to a cousin of Valerie Jarrett, a top Obama aide. – Jim Acosta

HORSESH*T: OBAMA SLAMS SYRIA CRITICISM … Josh Rogin reports for the Daily Beast: President Obama got angry at lawmakers who suggested in a private meeting that he should have armed the Syrian rebels, calling the criticism “horseshit.” The argument that America should have done more in Syria, made for years by foreign policy leaders in both parties and several members of Obama’s senior national security team, was brought back to the fore this past weekend … Just before the congressional recess, President Obama invited over a dozen Senate and House leaders from both parties to the White House to talk about foreign policy. According to two lawmakers inside the meeting, Obama became visibly agitated when confronted by bipartisan criticism of the White House’s policy of slow-rolling moderate Syrian rebels’ repeated requests for arms to fight the Assad regime and ISIS.

WHITE HOUSE DENIES OBAMA DROPPED SCOTUS HINT … President Barack Obama thinks he’ll have the chance to nominate at least one more Supreme Court justice before his term in the White House is up. Speaking to Democratic supporters at a fundraiser on Monday in Martha’s Vineyard, Obama used the potential decision to elicit support for Democrats, who he said needed to maintain control of the U.S. Senate in order for his picks to be confirmed … (But) his remarks “were not in reference to a specific vacancy,” a White House official said. – Jim Acosta and Kevin Liptak

HARF: YOU’RE NOT DOING BUSINESS WITH A HOTEL IF YOU STAY THERE … From CNN’s Laura Koran: State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf insisted Tuesday that the U.S. did not violate the law this week when Secretary John Kerry stayed at a hotel in Myanmar whose owner is on a U.S. sanctions list.

Despite the hotel's ownership, Harf said the sanctions rules "includes an exemption for activities related to travel, including hotel accommodations," which permitted the U.S. delegation to stay at the hotel. "You can stay at this hotel no matter who you are," said Harf. "You just can't do business with it. So if you wanted to sell them towels, you could not do that, but you could stay there."

FLORIDA LEGISLATURE APPROVES NEW CONGRESSIONAL MAP … Mary Ellen Klas and Michael Van Sickler report for the Tampa Bay Times: Florida legislators completed their hasty fix of a congressional redistricting map Monday, sending the plan on to Gov. Rick Scott for approval as they scramble to meet Friday's deadline set by a state court.

THE BUZZ: ROBIN WILLIAMS DEAD AT 63 … Robin Williams - who first made America laugh and eventually touched "every element of the human spirit" in a remarkable range of performances - died at his Northern California home Monday. Williams apparently died of asphyxia due to hanging, Marin County Sheriff's Lt. Keith Boyd said Tuesday. The final cause will not be certified for several weeks, said Boyd, who also is the county's Assistant Chief Deputy Coroner.– Josh Levs and Alan Duke

MARKET WATCH: Slow summer day on Wall Street. Dow dips 9 points, S&P 500 eases 0.16%, and NASDAQ falls 0.27%.

(Answer Below)
Which U.S. president coined the term 'Founding Fathers'?

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: Obama won't be pouring ice water on his head
President Obama is opting to stay dry. Ethel Kennedy, the matriarch of the Kennedy family, challenged the President to dump a bucket of ice water on his head as part of the increasingly popular Ice Bucket Challenge campaign to raise money for research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – or Lou Gehrig's disease. – Dan Merica

Leading CNNMoney: Uber's dirty tricks - 5,560 canceled rides
Uber is using a pattern of aggressive and questionable tactics in its effort to control the car-on-demand market, according to rivals. New data provided by Lyft, a competitor, shows that Uber employees have ordered and canceled more than 5,000 Lyft rides since last October. The data was provided to CNNMoney per a request made when reporting another story on the competition between the two companies. – Erica FInk

Leading The Hill: GOP gets hip with Uber
Uber, Lyft and Airbnb have become mascots for a Republican Party looking to promote a new brand of free market conservatism while making inroads with young voters. -Jesse Byrnes

Leading Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Sen. Dude for Montana
An effort to draft Hollywood star and Paradise Valley resident Jeff Bridges as the Democratic Party's replacement for Sen. John Walsh on the November ballot has grown like wildfire over the weekend. – Troy Carter

Gut Check Full Service: The Dude’ nixes Montana Senate bid

Leading HuffPo: Ouch: Top Dem Predicts Obama Impeachment If GOP Keeps House
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the third highest-ranking Democrat in the House, predicted Monday that Republicans will impeach President Barack Obama if, as expected, they hold onto the House of Representatives after the November elections. – Jennifer Bendery

Leading Politico: White House vs. K Street
Barack Obama promised to take on Washington’s revolving door culture. Washington won. A POLITICO review shows that the Obama administration has hired about 70 previously registered corporate, trade association and for-hire lobbyists. And many of these former lobbyists work at the highest levels of government. – Byron Tau

Leading New York Times: Dotty Lynch, Pollster Who Saw the Gender Gap, Is Dead at 69
Dotty Lynch, who was the first woman to be chief polltaker for a presidential campaign and one of the first to recognize the potential benefit of developing campaign themes aimed specifically at winning women’s votes, died on Sunday in Washington. She was 69. – Paul Vitello

The political bites of the day

- Dem lawmakers ask DOJ to expand investigation of 18-year-old Michael Brown -
JOHN CONYERS, D-MICHIGAN, REP. MARCIA FUDGE, D-OHIO, AND WILLIAM CLAY, D-MISSOURI, IN A LETTER TO ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: “We applaud the Department of Justice’s decision to investigate the shooting of Michael Brown but hope that you will consider expanding the scope of federal involvement and ask that the Department dedicate sufficient resources to investigate the legal and civil rights ramifications of the shooting and surrounding circumstances.”

- Rand Paul not ‘completely opposed’ to Iraq bombings -
RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY, AT A CAMPBELLSVILLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EVENT: “I have mixed feelings about it. I'm not saying I'm completely opposed to helping with arms or maybe even bombing, but I am concerned that ISIS is big and powerful because we protected them in Syria for a year. Do you know who also hates ISIS and who is bombing them? Assad, the Syrian government. So … the same people who want to bomb ISIS wanted to bomb Syria last year. Syria and ISIS are on opposite sides of the war. We're now bombing both sides of one war that has spread into another country.”

- Kerry urges formation of new Iraqi cabinet ‘as urgently as possible’ –
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY AT A NEWS CONFERENCE TUESDAY: The nomination of Haider al-Abadi to replace Nouri al-Maliki as Prime Minister “now offers him the opportunity to be able to form a new government over the next 30 days. We urge him to form a new cabinet as urgently as possible, and the U.S. does stand ready to fully support a new and inclusive Iraqi government, particularly in its fight against ISIL.”

What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Michelle Jaconi (@mjaconiCNN)
Every aspiring journalist should watch @IvanCNN report: Escape from Mount Sinjar … #Iraq

Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN)
A former campaign aide defends Hillary Clinton on breaking with Obama: "I don't think she is out there Monday morning quarterbacking."

Bill Scher ‏(@billscher)
Iowa conservatives say Rand Paul is "not ready for primetime" yet Rick Perry and Ted Cruz are, reports @thehill

Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh)
Sign of the times: Al Franken talks up his collaboration on an immigration markup with... Ted Cruz!

Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind)
.@RobAstorino: “This race isn't about polls. I'm never going to be winning in the polls, I'm never going to out-riase Andrew Cuomo. Period.”

Joseph Spector ‏(@GannettAlbany)
Cuomo's lead over Astorino drops 5 points, but he's still up: 58 percent to 26 percent

Rachel DePompa (‏@RachelDePompa)
#McDonnell Evidence: just released: Passing Range Rover also snaps a pic of Bob driving Jonnie Williams' Ferrari.

Elise Foley (‏@elisefoley)
Great/depressing mashup of politicians talking about working together, even though they mostly can't work together

Felicia Schwartz (@felschwartz)
Robin Williams traveled to 13 countries with the USO and performed for more than 89,400 service members

TRIVIA ANSWER from @sarafischer
President Warren G. Harding, then-Senator of Ohio, coined the term ‘Founding Fathers’ during his 1916 keynote speech at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.

“We ought to be as genuinely American today as when the Founding Fathers flung their immortal defiance in the face of old-world oppressions and dedicated a new republic to the principles of liberty and justice,” Harding said.

Harding used the terms several times afterwards, including during his 1921 presidential inaugural address.

(Why aren’t you in it?)

Congrats to Sean Evins (@Evins) and Matthew Gilbertson (@MattRGilbertson) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question.

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Again I emphasize, nothing wrong with Pres. Obama policies.

    August 12, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    On today's episode of "How Low Can They Go: A Study in GOP/Teatroll Political Limbo"....

    "The National Republican Campaign Committee has created fake news sites about House candidates, presumably to take advantage of readers who don't pay close attention to what news sources they read, National Journal reported.

    Earlier this year, the NRCC got in some trouble for creating deceptive fake campaign sites for Democrats that ask people to contribute in order to help "defeat" the candidate.

    According to National Journal, the NRCC is promoting more than 20 of these websites using google search ads. So when people search for candidates in for their district, these fake articles pop up.

    The stories appear on, and have site names like “Central Valley Update.” The fake new sites begin stories by explaining that they will analyze the candidate's position but take a critical tone.

    At the bottom of each story, the NRCC discloses that the site is paid for by the committee. Communications director Andrea Bozek told National Journal that it was a "new and effective way to disseminate information to voters."

    When DCCC spokesman Josh Schwerin bashed the approach as "deception," Bozek responded that Democrats are “just jealous.”

    The sites don’t appear to violate campaign finance laws."

    Source: TPM

    August 12, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. rick

    Robin Williams.. A very sad day for many from the one who made all laugh. We all will miss you..

    August 12, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Hillary has a tendency to flap her gums before she thinks. That being said, she is going to be our next President.

    August 12, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. anthony

    why the Democrats keep talking about Republicans will impeach the President? how stupid they are. They are the lawmakers, they suppose to know in order to impeach the President , the Republicans need 2/3 of the House and Senates.

    August 12, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Hillary needs to be more humble , I find her a little uptight . She's been around long enough to have made a brand of principles that bring not only integrity , but invention . It's been all politics for toooooo long $$$$$$$$$$$$

    It's so sad that money is the guiding force to become president , the world and America , my home has sold itself short .

    August 13, 2014 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  7. rick

    With all the problems of politics. Not only recintly. But for every term of all the presidents. Its realy no wonder that almost every single one has went grey haired in office. And a heart attack during the term. Thinking of how trying to balance words.. Views. Policies. And possible terrorist attacks. Do you wonder why sometimes the president blows a fuse and says what he REALY thinks? Its impossible to imagine unless been in the position.

    August 13, 2014 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  8. Marie MD

    As far as our Founding Fathers (another thing that AK screecher didn't know about-thanks TV McCain) they were NOT religious and wanted no part of government to be ruled by religion.
    What a different a few hundred years make.
    We need another supreme court judge who is not being paid off by the kochs (that's a stretch but . . . .) and their beliefs and who can put their religion aside when making legal decisions.

    August 13, 2014 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  9. jpmichigan

    As far as the statement by Hillary, she was right on the money. Now Obama wants to put the blame of leaving Iraq on Bush, well Mr. President dementia is settling in, all through your first campaign for election , YOU promised YOU would have the troops out and YOU gave the time table. Stupid is as stupid does!!!!

    August 13, 2014 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  10. Tony D

    Let the Democrat food fight and back stabbing begin!!! On the far, far, far left, we have the progressive/socialist/communist commune of the Democrat Party that is now in control. And to the far left, we have the Clintonistas, the closest resemblance to the former Democrat Party, that really doesn't exist any more.

    Gotta go get my popcorn. Round one is already under way as all Democrats running for office distance themselves from the 5.5 year failed President Obama. My, my, my how the Messiah has now transformed into the Pariah!

    August 13, 2014 07:46 am at 7:46 am |