Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - JUNE 2ND, 2010

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Members of both parties will try their best to put this embarrassing day behind them. The GOP should've left Dick Blumenthal be: Republicans Mark Kirk, Jan Brewer and Darrell Issa are now caught in their own webs of military half-truths and outright lies. The White House appears increasingly flustered by the oil slick and the public is getting impatient. Obama will try to forget his woes at a star-studded concert honoring Paul McCartney while a handful of GOP lawmakers will be fundraising at the Taylor Swift show. Yet no amount of music can make us forget about Dale Peterson's loss. Will anyone ever give a rip about Alabama? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010:

BREAKING

UNIONS, CONSUMER GROUPS HUDDLE WITH SUMMERS - Larry Summers and his deputy, Diana Farrell, along with Eric Stein, Treasury's guy for consumer affairs, met with progressive groups at the Eisenhower building to talk Wall Street reform. There were few surprises, meeting attendees tell HuffPost Hill, with Summers and the groups mostly in accord. The one divergence came over Al Franken's amendment, which would end the practice of banks choosing their own rating agencies and instead assign them by lottery, removing a colossal conflict of interest. Summers said he wasn't there yet but was willing to be convinced, asking Public Citizen's David Arkush and Demos' Heather McGhee for more info. The White House is still pushing to remove the auto-dealer carveout from the consumer protection bureau. The groups pushed Summers to work with Maria Cantwell, who is threatening to vote no if her amendment to tighten derivatives regulation isn't adopted. Summers said he was concerned about her amendment's language that would nullify derivatives contracts, but saw the value of having Cantwell on board.

The WH agreed with the groups on granular stuff related to consumer protection authority, such as funding, rulemaking, and preemption, and also that conferees ought to close the bill's loophole letting private equity and venture capital firms out of the title requiring hedge funds to register with the SEC.

The White House readout, from an admin official: "The discussion was centered on our mutual commitment to key priorities for financial reform as the legislation enters its next phase. They discussed a number of issues including ensuring a strong and independent consumer financial protection agency, reforms for credit ratings agencies, comprehensive derivatives reform that brings all derivatives transactions out of the shadows, appropriate regulation for hedge funds and private equity, the Volcker Rule, and ending the perception that any firm is too big to fail."

At the gathering: AFL-CIO, SEIU, Americans for Financial Reform, AFSCME, Center for Responsible Lending, Consumer Federation of America, DEMOS, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumer Law Center, National Council of La Raza, Public Citizen and US PIRG.

BIDEN TALKS ISRAEL, GULF SPILL, RELATIONSHIP WITH OBAMA - From an interview with Charlie Rose airing tonight:

On the Israeli raid: "I think Israel has an absolute right to deal with its security interest. I put all this back on two things: one, Hamas, and, two, Israel's need to be more generous relative to the Palestinian people who are in trouble in Gaza. ... [A]s we put pressure, and the world put pressure on Israel to let material go into Gaza to help those people who are suffering, the ordinary Palestinians there, what happened? Hamas would confiscate it, put it in a warehouse, sell it, they were -- so the problem is this would end tomorrow if Hamas agreed to form a government with the Palestinian Authority on the conditions the international community has set up. And so I mean again, look, you can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not and the -- but the truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know -- they're at war with Hamas -- has a right to know whether or not arms are being smuggled in. And up to now, Charlie, what's happened? They've said, "Here you go. You're in the Mediterranean. This ship -- if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we'll get the stuff into Gaza." So what's the big deal here? What's the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it's legitimate for Israel to say, "I don't know what's on that ship. These guys are dropping eight -- 3,000 rockets on my people." Now, the one thing we have to do is not forget the plight of these Palestinians there, not Hamas, the -- they're in bad shape. So we have put as much pressure and as much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow them to get...materials.

On criticism over Gulf spill response: "I -- first of all, I don't think they're legitimate criticisms. And I -- look anyone in the press can make a criticism from their perspective. And I'm viewing it from my perspective. From my perspective, I think if there's any mistake made that we haven't communicated clearly enough. What the president has done on this oil spill from the beginning. We were there the first day, the first morning after that well had blew and that platform collapsed. We were in the Oval Office. He mobilized everyone in the White House in the West winning, made it clear that every single asset of the federal government should be made available. When I sit down and talk to him about this, which is constant. I mean, it's -- he talks with such empathy about this is not just merely an economic catastrophe. This is potentially going to ruin a way of life. This is a unique bayou culture that's down there."

On his relationship with Obama: "I say things that every once in a while I can see others go, 'Ooof, I wish that I could have asked that.' But the President I know as a friend. I've become his friend. He's become my friend. I know that's what he is looking for. I'm always respectful. He is the President of the United States of America but the fact of the matter is he's also my friend Barack Obama. And I do raise things and I would deliberately raise a contrarian view. [Charlie Rose: If he wasn't doing well in your judgment you would tell him?] I would tell him. But you know what, I do tell him. I mean look, we have lunch a month. I spend -- he's in the country and I'm in the country -- I spend somewhere between three and five hours a day with him every day... We talk about everything from that to he'll ask my opinion, oh, by the way, he will give me his opinion as to how I'm doing my job or what he'd like me to do or didn't like what I did. So it really has matured into a relationship where I would be not being loyal to him if I did not tell him if I thought he were --"

WHITE HOUSE OFFERED JOB TO COLO. SENATE CANDIDATE - AP's Phil Elliott: "Administration officials dangled the possibility of a job for former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff last year in hopes he would forego a challenge to Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, his rival in an Aug. 10 primary, administration officials said Wednesday. These officials declined to specify the job that was floated or the name of the administration official who approached Romanoff, and said no formal offer was ever made. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not cleared to discuss private conversations." http://huff.to/9vbs3P

OBAMA WELCOMES SIR PAUL TONIGHT - A litany of stars will gather at the White House this evening as the president honors Gershwin Prize recipient and our moms' favorite Beatle Paul McCartney. Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, the Jonas Brothers, Jack White, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Jerry Seinfeld and other will be on hand. Performers will tackle a set list of McCartney numbers, culminating with a performance by the man himself. http://bit.ly/cKb24L

The president will appear on Larry King tomorrow night.

Check HuffPost tomorrow for a piece on Steny Hoyer's role in Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal.

DIAL 'M' FOR MEXICAN - HuffPost's Sam Stein: The Service Employees International Union has offered a clever twist in its ongoing campaign to effectively boycott Arizona over its new, controversial immigration law. The labor force has set up a mock travel advisory hotline warning visitors of the state about what, exactly, would get them picked up and ostensibly deported from over-zealous police. http://www.itstopsinarizona.com/

The list includes wearing jeans ('Please wear slacks or khakis to avoid appearing suspicious'); dressing in a non-conservative manner ('Working people come in many shapes and sizes. But anyone who doesn't resemble a J Crew or Ralph Lauren model should be very, very careful') and eating at fast food joints ('Avoid these foods while traveling in Arizona'). Just dial 1-800-958-5068 for your travel guidance. Arthur Delaney did. And owing to the no-jeans and/or fast food guidelines has since canceled his summer trip to Tempe.

WASHINGTON WANTS POT - A new poll says Washington state voters favor marijuana legalization 52-25. Activists are working to get the initiative on November's ballot. FDL: http://bit.ly/az0QLo

DETAILS OF JIM GREER ARREST - Read the full affidavit here: http://bit.ly/c5idtg and the St. Petersburg Times' summary here: http://bit.ly/dpK0gZ

"Jim Greer told RPOF fundraiser Meredith O'Rourke that 'there was a lot of money to be made in political fundraising.' When she rebuffed his offer, she was shut out of meetings with donors that were labeled as 'men's only.'"

"Greer was suffering personal financial problems in 2009 and overdrew his bank accounts six times, at an average of $10,000 a month. The top overdrawn amount was $25,392."

"After he was confronted at a December executive board meeting, 'Greer responded by saying that he was a wealthy man, had a legal defense fund, and, if warranted, would take legal action against his accusers.'"

U.S. TO JOIN SOUTH KOREA IN MILITARY EXERCISE - ABC News: "The U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington will participate in a joint naval exercise with South Korea next week in the Yellow Sea, the same waters west of the Korean peninsula where North Korea is accused of sinking a South Korean warship last March, ABC News has learned. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warns N. Korea to 'halt provocative actions.' A U.S. official said the carrier, which operates from its home port in Japan, "will be sent to the waters off South Korea within coming days to participate in joint exercises" with the South Korean navy." http://bit.ly/96sWtL

George W. Bush is getting into new media. You can now follow our 43rd President on Twitter @George_WBush and check him out on Facebook.

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

TRENDING

OBAMA CALLS OUT GOP ON OIL SPILL - Facing mounting criticism over his handling of the BP oil slick, the president today pulled a "Hey, what's that over there!?" AP: "President Barack Obama seized on the nation's worst oil spill Wednesday to argue for rolling back billions of dollars in oil company tax breaks and using the money to speed the way to a clean-energy future. 'The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century,' he said... In his remarks, the president aggressively sought to cast Republicans as a party that fought him on tax cuts for small businesses, tax credits for college tuition, new spending on clean energy and more." http://bit.ly/99FkCU

FAMILY OF BP VICTIM FIRES BACK AT BP CEO - Charlie Melancon started a petition calling for BP CEO Tony Hayward, who said he just wants his "life back", to be fired. One man named Keith signed the petition and added: "My son died aboard the Transocean Deepwater Horizon. That's whose life Tony Hayward ought to want back." http://bit.ly/a5hgZJ The petition signer may have been Keith Jones, who has testified before Congress about the disaster, but a HuffPost Hill attempt to reach him was unsuccessfull. His testimony: http://bit.ly/dA4iRV

The current Senate bill rolling back oil company tax breaks was introduced by Robert Menendez last week.

The latest attempt to abate the flow of oil into the Gulf Coast hit a snafu today when a saw got stuck in a section of pipe it was cutting. Engineers were attempting to cut a segment of the well in order to place a cap on the new fissure. When completed, the cut will temporarily increase the flow of oil by 20 percent until the cap can be, inshallah, affixed to the well. http://huff.to/d4gy2Z

Watch: ABC News has video of three new oil plumes southwest of the Deepwater Horizon well. http://huff.to/adrNq0

Gulp: Some analysts are predicting a worst-case scenario in which the spill continues until December. http://bit.ly/cNOutu

BP HAS ARMY OF EX-STAFFERS ON LOBBYING PAYROLL - Sam Stein: "[T]he company at the heart of the current crisis, BP, has hired at least 27 lobbyists who formerly worked in Congress or the executive branch. The revolving door between the oil giant and elected office is spinning fast -- so much so that good government officials are hard-pressed to name a comparable organization with that much institutional clout on tap." http://huff.to/cwQ5Y2

2000: Rep. David Vitter introduces a bill to limit oil companies' criminal liability .

2010: Sen. David Vitter's statement: "I thank U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for taking steps to open criminal and civil investigations into the causes of the oil spill."

GROUPS TIE LINCOLN TO OIL SPILL - Sam Stein: "In a new television ad that will run in Arkansas from now until the Democratic U.S. Senate runoff election on June 8, the League of Conservation voters accused Lincoln of voting 'to allow risky offshore drilling for BP and others.'...On Wednesday the Communications Workers of America put up their own television spot through its independent campaign arm accusing the senator of being in the pocket of 'Big Oil.' The spot will air for the next week in Arkansas. 'Blanche Lincoln says she works for Arkansas,' the ad goes. 'But for too long she has been helping oil companies get their way in Washington.'" http://huff.to/bLzJ1a

PALIN DISSES MURKOWSKI, ENDORSES PRIMARY RIVAL - Sam Stein with the HuffPost Hill hat trick: "Palin took to her Facebook page to announce her support for Joe Miller -- an Alaska Tea Party candidate who failed to win a state Senate seat...[T]he history between the former governor and Murkowski is too animosity-filled to ignore. Palin famously defeated the Senator's father during her gubernatorial bid in 2006 and she did so by pledging to break up the Republican power nexus that included the both Frank and Lisa Murkowksi." http://huff.to/cyZUJ5

ARIZONA GOV. INCORRECTLY CLAIMS NAZIS KILLED DAD - In a recent interview, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer fought back against critics of her state's strict immigration law by citing her father's ultimate sacrifice. "Knowing that my father died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany, that I lost him when I was 11 because of that...and then to have them call me Hitler's daughter. It hurts. It's ugliness beyond anything I've ever experienced," Brewer said. The thing is, her dad died in 1955 of lung disease... in California. The Arizona Guardian has it: http://bit.ly/ddasp9

MARK KIRK AGAIN MISREPRESENTED HIS MILITARY SERVICE - Greg Sargent reports that the Republican hoping to capture Barack Obama's Senate seat gussied up his army service for a second time. "Mark Kirk's Senate campaign has now acknowledged a second misrepresentation of his service record, admitting to me that his Web site falsely claimed that he was 'the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.'" http://bit.ly/a90YMV

DARRELL ISSA FUDGED HIS MILITARY RECORD, TOO - With accusations being levied against Mark Kirk for embellishing his military service and Jan Brewer for exaggerating her father's, TPM has uncovered a decade-old San Francisco Examiner article exposing California Rep. Darrell Issa's military fibs. "A focus in the story was Issa's claim he protected then-President Richard Nixon as part of an 'elite Army bomb unit' at the World Series in 1971. But it turns out Nixon didn't even attend the games. The Examiner scoured military records and concluded that Issa's service on the squad 'was marred by a bad conduct rating, a demotion and allegations that he had stolen a fellow soldier's car.'" http://bit.ly/cQ3Oqe

If Lindsey Graham had to run for reelection this year, he'd probably lose. A PPP poll out today finds that 57% of voters in next week's South Carolina gubernatorial primary would vote to oust Graham while only 32% would keep him. http://bit.ly/didAz2

A new ad from South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley features her husband and indirectly addresses the allegations of infidelity she is facing. http://huff.to/a9WIgO

Meg Reilly is a Geithner flak no more. Treasury's loss is OMB's gain..

LESSONS FROM YESTERDAY'S PRIMARIES - With the defeat of Rep. Parker Griffith (D-turned-R-Ala.) by Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks and Artur Davis unable to secure the Alabama Democratic gubernatorial nomination, commentators are sifting through the fallout for meaning. Pundits are more or less united in the belief that Griffith's party-switch, like Arlen Specter before him, sealed his fate.

Nate Silver: "The more you look at the numbers, it's clear that Davis lost this primary by failing to have any real electoral base, demographically or geographically. And strange to say, the candidate who actually put together a pretty impressive biracial coalition was Ron Sparks." http://bit.ly/9ymZzW

Firedoglake says Davis went down for opposing the public option: "Davis took the baffling position of voting against a health care bill with a public option, the first time around in the House, and then voting against it again on the final vote. He clearly took positions - and not just on health care - completely at odds with his Democratic base in his district and in the state, and even in Alabama, he discovered, that mattered." http://bit.ly/9QvH5w

Among the losers last night was Dale Peterson who was unsuccessful in his bid for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors. We'll always give a rip about you, Dale. http://bit.ly/cP9ly6

The pervasive anti-incumbency sentiment has led to an electoral feeding frenzy. More people are running for federal office this year than in any election cycle in several generations, the AP reports. "More than 2,300 people are running for 471 House and Senate seats in the midterms. It's the highest number of candidates in at least 35 years, according to data provided to The Associated Press by the Federal Election Commission, which began tracking candidates in 1975." http://huff.to/8XUFy9

EX-FLORIDA GOP CHAIRMAN ARRESTED - No pages, no mistresses, no bathroom foot-tapping, just a good ol' fashioned corruption charge. Jim Greer, who helmed the state's GOP operation until he stepped down in February amid allegations of using party funds to bankroll his lavish expenses, was charged with six felony counts of fraud, theft, and money laundering. . This is unwelcome news to Charlie Crist, who stood by Greer until his resignation. Expect the blogosphere to occupy itself with the connection for a while. http://huff.to/bix2O0

BILL CLINTON UPSET WITH HAITI PROGRESS - Yesterday we reported that the U.S. was wrapping up its major relief operations in the earthquake-devastated nation. Former President Bill Clinton, who along with George W. Bush is spearheading the U.S.'s relief efforts, toured the island this week and was unimpressed. From the Miami Herald: "The tour revealed a lack of coordination by aid groups, conflicts between landowners and quake victims, no clear government directives, and a population increasingly dependent on foreign aid since the quake took a government-estimated 300,000 lives in the country." http://bit.ly/9QvH5w

Donate to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund here: http://bit.ly/8CWGlR

COMFORT FOOD

- A printer made out of Legos. http://bit.ly/9mQ9Nb

- Barack Obama's always hilarious Facebook feed. http://bit.ly/cKYb1B

- A new study finds that Wikipedia is mostly acc--BABA BOOEY BABA BOOEY JAMES IS A PENIS--urate, just poorly written. http://bit.ly/brnHSSf

- A Toronto comic book store has named August 13th "Michael Cera Day." http://bit.ly/aeaqhj

- It wouldn't be a Comfort Food without a totally random superlative list: the most ironic mug shot outfits ever. http://huff.to/9ycjI1

- The Coke Zero/Mentos dudes built a car. http://bit.ly/b3TniR

- "Glee" summer camps are in. http://bit.ly/9LVvSF

- Real life Dukes of Hazard http://bit.ly/aEcjl6

TWITTERAMA

@George_WBush: I'm now on Twitter & Facebook. Stay Tuned for updates! http://bit.ly/dz0OVJ

@michaelianblack: Oil spill, sinkhole... tragedies yes, but also great names for gay bars. http://bit.ly/axDIPX

@denisleary: Study: younger siblings take higher and much more dangerous risks. I'm praying there's not a Betty Winehouse. http://bit.ly/d1jHo5

@lehmannchris: My theory: EPA is just pretending to consult Cameron on BP spill to motivate Katherine Bigelow to really get the job done http://bit.ly/bSrtDN

@FakeAPStyleBook: Only spell it "errbody" if literally each person in the club is gettin' tipsy. http://bit.ly/dBZ1jv

@WillieGeist1: Thanks for Tweets on 10am show - except for the guy who told me to do that thing to myself. I tore a hammy trying. Thanks for nothin'. http://bit.ly/dho1Hu

THE TUBE

TONIGHT

Bill Nelson discusses the oil spill on Hardball and Barney Frank clarifies his statement on the flotilla raid. Ed Schultz talks jobs with Ed Rendell, the oil spill with Elijah Cummings and the Arkansas primary with Bill Halter. Charlie Crist is on Jon King, USA. Gov. Jan Brewer goes On The Record.

TOMORROW

Ed Markey weighs in on the oil spill on Morning Joe. Nevada senate candidate Danny Tarkanian appears on the Daily Rundown.

ON TAP

7:00 pm: NoMa Summer Screen continues tonight with a free screening of "Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn." As always, there will be BBQ, popcorn and Italian ices [L Street Between 2nd and 3rd Streets NE].

7:00 pm: ***CONGRESSIONAL TAYLOR SWIFT BONANZA*** Obviously the GOP thinks the best way to lure moneyed campaign contributors is the promise of a 20-year-old chanteuse singing about her high school boyfriends. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) are all holding fundraisers at the country/pop star's D.C. concert [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW].

Tonight's free DC Jazz Festival listings...

6:00 pm: The Berklee World Jazz Nonet perform at the Kennedy Center [Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 2700 F Street NW].

8:00 pm: The Butch Warren Experience appears at Columbia Station in AdMo [Columbia Station, 2325 18th Street NW].

8:00 pm: All Soul for a New Day featuring Colin Williams will be at JoJo on U Street [JoJo, 1518 U Street NW].

8:00 pm: A few blocks away at Utopia, Andrew Cox performs [Utopia Bar and Grill, 1418 U Street Northwest].

10:00 pm: The Alfredo Mojica Project performs some Latin jazz at Club Bossa in AdMo [Club Bossa, 2463 18th Street NW].

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

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