Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - MAY 4, 2010

Posted: Updated:

Tennessee remains underwater, but the oil pouring into the Gulf Coast is still "Obama's Katrina." That guy who tried to blow up Times Square? He was a banker -- so at least one is locked up. Now if we can only connect Faisal Shahzad to floods, oil spills, contaminated Chinese toys and Heidi Montag, the fusion of evil in all its manifestations will be complete. This is HUFFPOST HILL for May 4th, 2010:

BREAKING

EXCLUSIVE: A source with knowledge of the conversation says POTUS and VPOTUS both met separately with potential Supreme Court nominee Dianne Wood today, HuffPost's Sam Stein reports. Likelihood remains that the pick isn't named until early next week. http://huff.to/bZ1CAg

WaPo ALERT: "Under a worst-case scenario, the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from a damaged offshore rig could rise to 40,000 barrels a day -- eight times the current estimated leakage -- oil-industry executives told members of Congress on Tuesday..."

Jeanne Shaheen, Maria Cantwell, MoveOn and Americans for Limited Government all got behind the Fed audit amendment Tuesday afternoon, as the vote was pushed to later this week. Bernie Sanders isn't counting his coin just yet. "I think we've got a real shot at this," he said. "Am I concerned that some of the most powerful and wealthiest people in the world are in opposition to my amendment? People who have run the United States Congress for decades? Do I have any worry about that? Yeah, I do." Before the world's most powerful forces can be battled, however, Chris Dodd wants the Senate to vote on some "non-controversial amendments." Trying to find out what the Fed does with its money, and who it gives it to is, apparently, controversial.

WILL IT BE 50 VOTES OR 60 FOR WALL STREET AMENDMENTS? - The Majority Leader will aim for fifty-plus-one on financial reform amendments, though no decision has been reached. Saxby Chambliss guessed that some amendments might get a 50-vote threshold while others might need 60. "Let's just have a 50-vote margin. Why do we need to have 60 votes on everything we do around here?" Reid wondered.

This as his number two Dick Durbin called for breaking up the megabanks: "I am supportive of this [Brown/Kaufman] amendment, even though I know that some of my friends in the banking -- some of my friends in the banking industry won't be happy with that. What they're talking is about dealing with the concentration of wealth and the concentration of economic power to a level which can literally bring the economy down. That's what we went through leading into this recession. That's what led to the massive taxpayer bailout. And that's what the Brown-Kaufman amendment addresses foursquare."

House votes at 6:30 tonight on a bunch of suspensions.

EXCLUSIVE: BLOOMBERG TO BLAST CONGRESS OVER 'TERROR GAP' TOMORROW - "With his city still on edge over this weekend's attempted truck-bombing in Times Square, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg heads to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to give Congress a piece of his mind on a closely related issue," HuffPost's Dan Froomkin reports. "Bloomberg is upset about a federal loophole that, amazingly enough, allows people on the FBI's Terrorist Watchlist to legally buy guns and explosives... Despite what would appear to be an easy vote, members of Congress, at least in part due to fear of the gun lobby, have consistently bucked requests from both the Bush and Obama administrations to close what Bloomberg calls the 'terror gap.' 'We need Congress to have our back on this issue, it's upsetting that, so far, they haven't,'" Bloomberg told HuffPost. http://huff.to/9uO8u3

BOMBING SUSPECT ADMITS ROLE - Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that Faisal Shahzad, the alleged Times Square bomber, has confessed and is providing investigators with useful information about his plans and network of contacts. "It is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country," Holder said. "We believe that this suspected terrorist fashioned a bomb from rudimentary ingredients, placed it in a rusty SUV and drove it into Times Square with the intent to kill as many innocent tourists and theatergoers as possible." Politico: http://bit.ly/breqcw

Shahzad was officially charged by U.S. prosecutors today with five counts including trying to detonate a weapon of mass destruction http://bit.ly/aZfPfw

Sam Stein reports the GOP is faulting Obama despite Shahzad's arrest: "In a steady stream of indictments, top-ranking officials in the GOP said it didn't matter that the Obama Justice Department was getting information from Faisal Shahzad... 'That is a stroke of good luck,' Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said. 'What if he had not waived [his Miranda rights] and just quit talking, said I want my lawyer?' 'Maybe we got lucky and [Shahzad] said I will go ahead and talk to you anyway,' said Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). 'But you didn't know that when you read [him] the rights. So I stand by what I said it is better in these kinds of cases to get the intelligence first and then, if you decide you want to proceed with an Article 3 prosecution than read the Miranda rights.'"

Lieberman has his own frustrations, via Politico: "'My feeling is that if they make a judgment that this was a terrorist act, the person should be turned over to the military,' Lieberman said. ... That's not allowed under current law. U.S. citizens cannot be tried in military commissions - the 2006 law that outlines guidelines for the commissions authorizes them only for 'alien unprivileged enemy belligerent[s].'" http://bit.ly/9Gwkh8

Problem solved? "Lieberman: Strip U.S. Citizenship From Terrorism Suspects" http://huff.to/9BFMYx

SHOCKING AUDIO FROM SHAHZAD'S FLIGHT - The suspected bomber had nearly made it out of the country when he was pulled off his Emirates Airlines flight. Audio has emerged of the air traffic controller instructing Shahzad's plane to turn around: "I have a message for you to go back to the gate immediately so make the left turn when able," says the controller. "I don't know exactly why but you can call your company for the reason." http://huff.to/ct7NlT

Molly Hooper in the Hill tonight: "Less than two weeks before voters head to the polls, President Barack Obama has not endorsed the Democratic candidate who is looking to succeed the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.)."

REID: NO AUGUST RECESS UNTIL WALL ST. REFORM - A golden oldie but potent nonetheless: Harry Reid told reporters that he will suspend the first week of August recess if financial reform has not passed by that time. According to the Majority Leader, he told his caucus: "There's no definite decision been made yet, but the first week of our vacation in August, don't put family vacations in there or something that you can't get out of, because we may have to be here." http://bit.ly/bi3cLH

BAUCUS: NOT ENOUGH SUPPORT FOR BANK TAX - Just hours after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner testified in favor of a bank levy before Max Baucus' Finance Committee, the chairman told The Hill that there aren't enough votes to pass such an amendment. http://bit.ly/92lSzC

TONIGHT IN ROLL CALL: Paul Singer reports, "Members of Congress routinely travel on Defense Department airplanes to the far-flung corners of the world, but it turns out they sometimes also request military transportation to head up the street a few blocks to the White House, or across town for ceremonial events."

Andrea Mitchell teases us: "Big surprise guest Thursday prepping for it now..."

'THE FIRST HISPANIC PRESIDENT'? - A sneak peak at this weekend's NYT Magazine, where contributor Zev Chafets highlights "The Post-Hispanic Hispanic Politician" aka San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, "possibly the next national Hispanic political leader" who "some say" may become "the first Hispanic president of the United States." Is that all? Castro is a "young, 35-year old Harvard Law graduate (and son of Rosie Castro, a well-known '70s firebrand Chicana)" who is overseeing "one of the country's largest cites" and "drawing the attention of the Hispanic community and political leaders," Chafets writes.

For what it's worth - here's how San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro talks about the AZ immigration law: "There is tremendous frustration In Arizona about immigration and that has been clear for many years. In many cases that frustration with federal policy is justified. But that is not an excuse to pass a bad law. Arizona crossed the line from effective policy against illegal immigration to a law that is built to abuse by profiling." http://tinyurl.com/28yzd6w

Immigration ad watch -- and it's a doozy, from the new Americans for America PAC, timed to Cinco de Mayo and "micro-targeted to University of Arizona students in Tucson who will tomorrow be drinking margaritas, dancing to mariachi music, and even speaking a little Spanish." Listen: http://bit.ly/9uKZLw

***HUFFPOST HILL WONK-OFF*** - Help us solve a looming policy conundrum: With Joe Lieberman suggesting we strip suspected terrorists of their citizenship and Duncan Hunter trying to deport the children of illegal immigrants, we're unsure where all these lawbreakers (or their offspring) will go. We're pretty confident there aren't exclusive B&Bs for terrorists and Mexican children so e-mail us at huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com with your ideas. Winner gets their proposal mentioned here and an all-expenses-paid trip to their anti-'murrrican island of solitude.

CHOICE QUOTE FROM "THE PROMISE" - Some redonkulously awesome anecdotes in Jonather Atler's new book on Obama's first year. Here's Barney Frank's subtle prodding of Henry Paulson during bailout negotiations in 2008: "Barney Frank muscled his way past Harry Reid and started yelling. 'F-- you, Hank! F-- you! Blow up this deal? We didn't blow up this deal! Your guys blew up the deal! You better tell [GOP Rep. Spencer] Bachus and the rest of them to get their s-- together!' When Paulson tried to equivocate, Frank threw in another 'F-- you, Hank!' -- his third of the day." Courtesy of Aaron Wiener, who combed through the book. http://bit.ly/bWCxeB

RUPERT MURDOCH MAKING NEWS - RIGHT NOW - The News Corp chairman is leading an earnings call as HuffPost Hill goes to press. Twitter updates from paidContent.org's @RobertAndrews: "Press conference in 3-4 weeks on that "innovative subscription model," for TV, film, everything. iTunes rival? "I guess so, an extension of it." ... "Anything about us spending $30m on a 'war' (with NYTimes) is BS" ... On MySpace: "We've got to admit that, in the last 3 or 4 years, we made some big mistakes." ... "iPad will lead a revolution in media consumption. Unlike Kindle, we keep 100% of subscription revenue from iPad" ... Advertising income at WSJ up 25pc in last year." http://bit.ly/aGUC1R

Scott Brown's daughter Ayla got a job on the Early Show as a youth correspondent. She follows in the footsteps of fellow Boston College-alum Luke Russert. Man, BC must have one kickass career center. Go Eagles! http://huff.to/9LGtfu

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com

TRENDING

PRIMARY DAY IN THREE STATES - Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina voters selected their parties' November combatants today. In Ohio, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher enters the day with a commanding lead over for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in the Democratic race to replace outgoing Sen. George Voinovich. Former Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats attempts to reclaim his old seat as he fends off challenges from opponents John Hostettler and Marlin Stutzman. In the Tar Heel state, six Democrats are vying to challenge Richard Burr in November. Although there is no clear front runner, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and former state rep. Cal Cunningham are widely viewed to be the ones to beat.

There is a decidedly insider-outsider slant to today's contests. In Indiana, the NRSC-recruited Coats has fought accusations that his prior experience in Washington hinders his ability to enact the change voters pine for. Much of this criticism originates from Stutzman, who won the backing of several Tea Party organizations and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. Elsewhere, incumbents Dan Burton, Howard Coble and Larry Kissell are all facing anti-establishment challenges. http://huff.to/ccbuFO

Fivethirtyeight's Ed Kilgore on the Democratic contests in Ohio and North Carolina: "Two recent polls (Quinnipiac and Suffolk) have shown Fisher opening up a big lead over Brunner (43/23 in the Q-poll, and 55/27 in Suffolk), and he's outspent her nearly four-to-one. The really good news for Ohio Democrats is that both Fisher and Brunner have been running even or slightly ahead of the unopposed Republican nominee, former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, best known for being budget director and U.S. trade representative in the Bush 43 administration. A late-April Quinnipiac survey had Fisher leading Portman 40/37, and Brunner up 40/36. A win in OH could help Democrats offset expected losses elsewhere."

"In North Carolina, longtime Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (perhaps best known outside NC for beating NASCAR legend Richard Petty in her first race for SoS in 1996) has led the contest from the beginning. But poor general-election trial heat showings against incumbent Sen. Richard Burr spurred the DSCC to recruit and help finance another candidate, former state senator (and Iraq War vet) Cal Cunningham...With a third candidate, African-American attorney Ken Lewis, receiving significant but not top-tier support, it's unclear whether one of the front-runners can cross the 40% threshold necessary to avoid a June 22 runoff." http://bit.ly/amizjf

OBAMA SHILLS FOR LINCOLN - With two weeks left before the Arkansas primary, President Obama cut an ad for Blanche Lincoln hailing her populist bona fides. "On health care, Blanche took on big insurance companies by voting to end discrimination against Arkansans with preexisting conditions and fought for tax credits that will help thousands of local small businesses provide insurance to their employees," Obama says in the spot. http://huff.to/afhgpk

NEW REVELATIONS IN NYC TERROR PLOT - Time reports that Faisal Shahzad, the suspected Time Square bomber, has ties to militants along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border: "Pakistani media are reporting that Shahzad is from Karachi and spent significant time in Peshawar, the capital of North-West Frontier Province, where the government is waging a fierce war against Taliban militants. A Pakistani government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told TIME on Tuesday that the suspect had ties with militants while in Pakistan. 'He was here at a training camp,' the source said. The source also claimed that members of Shahzad's family were arrested in Karachi on Tuesday morning." http://bit.ly/aIH98F

The AP: "Pakistani authorities have detained at least one man in connection with the Times Square bombing attempt in New York, two intelligence officials said Tuesday. The man, identified as Tauseef, was a friend of Faisal Shahzad, the American of Pakistani origin who is in custody in the United States over the failed attack, one official said. He was arrested in the southern city of Karachi, said the official, who like all Pakistani spies refuses to be named in the media. Another official said several people had been taken into custody in Karachi since the failed attack Saturday. Neither said when the detentions had taken place. They said no charges had been filed." http://huff.to/da06mP

As if financial sector employees didn't have enough PR problems, ABC is reporting that Shahzad previously worked as a financial analyst in Connecticut for an international marketing firm. http://bit.ly/caEcG0

GLENN BECK AT ODDS WITH MCCAIN ON SHAHZAD ARREST - This morning Glenn Beck defended the mirandizing of Faisal Shahzad. He cited Shahzad's American citizenship as justification for his position. Beck stopped short of granting basic legal rights to all people, just Americans. Beck's view is at odds with John McCain who, this morning, called Shahzad's mirandizing "a mistake." http://huff.to/9v4QuU

GULF COAST OIL VOMIT CONTINUES, BP TRIES TO DODGE BLAME - BP CEO Tony Hayward told the BBC that the oil slick is "...not our accident ... This was not our drilling rig. This was not our equipment. It was not our people, our systems or our processes. This was Transocean's rig. Their systems. Their people. Their equipment." Oil Change International breaks down how Hayward's claim is patently false. http://bit.ly/c33SUC

Robert Menendez, Frank Lautenberg and Bill Nelson warned against further expansion of offshore drilling. In a press conference today, the senators indicated they will make every effort to exclude drilling measures in the currently stalled Senate climate and energy bill. Bill Nelson reiterated his willingness to filibuster any legislation that includes such provisions. "If offshore drilling is a part of it, this legislation is not going anywhere," Nelson said. http://bit.ly/cdH954

JOHN BOEHNER: TREE HUGGER - As the principal ingredients of his tanning cream bubble around the Gulf Coast, John Boehner is softening his stance on alternative energy options. Firedoglake tracks the Minority Leader's transition from a drill-baby-drill fanatic to green energy advocate. http://bit.ly/9C3VEN

FRANKLIN GRAHAM: OBAMA "GIVING ISLAM A PASS" - The son of renown preacher Billy Graham told Newsmax Television that the president is "hostile" to Christianity and is going soft on the world's second largest religion. http://huff.to/bR5umS

AL JAZEERA ENGLISH EXPANDS TO CANADA - Al Jazeera WINS THE CANADIAN DAY as it starts broadcasting, inshallah, on Bell TV, Rogers and Vidéotron aujourd'hui.

Good thing this release isn't partisan: "House Dems Praise Capture of Suspected Terrorist, Slam Cantor's Rank Partisanship"

COMFORT FOOD

- The City of "don't tase me Bro"-therly Love: a dude who ran onto the field during a Phillies game got his ass zapped. http://huff.to/c33Gs5

- The ten hottest (translation: nausea-inducing) homes on the market. http://huff.to/a1LJto

- Tony Awards nominations were handed down today. Among those in the running are Denzel Washington, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones. http://huff.to/bAXqLh

- The most ridiculous Facebook groups. http://huff.to/ck83ud

- 9 adorable animals sneezing. http://huff.to/buQCtz

- As if paying for your bags weren't bad enough, check this out. http://huff.to/cSCFPp

TWITTERAMA

@fsforum: In testimony today, Treasury Secretary Geithner says splitting up bank functions won't aid the stability of the financial system. (via BN)

@ArthurDelaneyHP vintage klein RT @ezraklein: A few years back, I'd look at my full calendar with pride and surprise. Now with horror and resignation

@nickasaur: I named my iPhone "The Titanic", so everytime I plug it in my computer it'll say "The Titanic is syncing." http://bit.ly/bogqJf

@WhispersBedard: Mass Sen Scott Brown's GM Canyon pickup wasn't just for show. He still drives it to the US Senate http://bit.ly/9EXruR

@jaketapper: Am really shocked no one RTed my "Gibbs: Heckuva interview, Brownie" tweet. Sad face.

@NestleUSA: To clarify, we do not advertise on the Glenn Beck radio or television show. If you saw a recent ad there, it was an error (Purina also). http://bit.ly/cgqu5p

@foxnews "BREAKING: Piece of luggage explodes at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport ... after the plane landed" ... Followed 30 minutes later by... @foxnews Nice handling: Houston's Bush Airport resumes normal activity after luggage fell so hard workers thought it exploded

ON THE TUBE

TONIGHT

Dylan Ratigan spoke with Charlie Melancon about the oil slick and Judd Gregg about Wall St. reform. O'Reilly talks to Peter King. Chris Matthews talks primaries with Howard Dean. Ed Schultz queries Pat Leahy about the foiled terror plot and Brian Bilbray about immigration. Greta Van Susteren has Eric Cantor on.

TOMORROW

Sherrod Brown and Mary Landrieu appear on Morning Joe.

ON TAP

THIS WEEK

Tues-Fri 11:00 am: As D.C. develops a new streetcar network, the city will display three streetcars from the District's old above-ground network [City Center DC].

TONIGHT

6:45-10:30 pm: Free booze at GW, but first you have to watch "Casino Jack and the United States of Money," a free screening starting at 6:50, followed by a panel talking about lobbying reform, featuring Angela Canterbury (Public Citizen), Heather Smith (Rock the Vote), Mark McKinnon (Change Congress) and Ilyse Hogue (Move On). [Lisner Auditorium] HuffPost Hill moderating.

5:30 pm: Nothing says "finger-lickin' good" quite like "Chick-Fil-A fundraiser at the Strategic Healthcare Townhouse." Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) engages in a bit of Bluegrass State treachery by snubbing the Colonel and ordering from the lesser-known poultry chain [Strategic Healthcare Townhouse, 230 Second Street SE].

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: No one celebrates Mexican culture quite like the Republican Party. Join Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) for a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Capitol Hill Club, which occasionally rents out its multicultural learning center for Republican fundraisers [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].

6:00 pm - 9:30 pm: Was there ever a more appropriately themed fundraiser? Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) welcomes all those with some extra coin to spare to his annual "Real Real Imported From New York Deli Fundraiser". We hope that Ackerman, who we already assumed was a deli proprietor, will pick a special lapel carnation for the event [Sewall-Belmont House and Museum - 144 Constitution Ave. NE].

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm: A veritable Hillaryland reunion at tonight's fundraiser for Clinton's former campaign research director Judd Legum who is running for the Maryland statehouse. Paul Begala and John Podesta are special guests, Neera Tanden and Catherine Brown host. Details here: http://bit.ly/9RDV9X [1759 Lamont Street, NW]

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Sue Lowden (R-Nev.) continues her fundraising swing through D.C. with a rooftop reception in her honor. Fred "Foghorn Leg" Thompson will be singing the Nevada senate candidate's praises. Arthur Delaney tells us that Senate Dems will send a doctor with a chicken. No, really. [801 Pennsylvania Ave.].

7:00 pm: Chow down with Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) at the Capital Grille. $1,000 gets you a dry aged sirloin steak with a side of democratic atrophy [Capital Grille, 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

7:00 pm: Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) snubs the traditional steak-seafood-more-steak fundraising route and hosts his money-generator at an Italian restaurant. [Ristorante Tosca, 1112 F Street NW].

7:00 pm: Buy Tom Price (R-Ga.) a hella ton of peanuts and Cracker Jacks with a $500 contribution at his "Night at Nationals Park." It's the 13-12 Nationals versus the 11-14 Braves. [Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE].

7:00 pm: Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) didn't get the memo about Price's fundraiser because he's asking for $1,500 so you can watch two mediocre team duels it out with him. Hint to Price folks: Scalp your tix to the Donnelly crowd. [Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE].

8:00 pm: Take in some ambient music at Album Leaf and Sea Wolf's Rock and Roll Hotel performance. $15 at the door [Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H Street NE].

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Nico Pitney (nico@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e