Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - JUNE 3RD, 2010

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The story below includes references to polling conducted by the firm Research 2000. The reliability and accuracy of Research 2000's polling has since been called into serious question by a report published in June 2010 by a group of statistical analysts.

That crude must be seeping into the water supply because everyone is talking crazy: Bobby Jindal wants more offshore drililng, Israel won't allow an investigation of the flotilla raid, Bush would waterboard all over again, Orrin Hatch thinks gays only worship at the altar of politics AND Bud Selig won't reverse that botched perfect game call. Stay dry, Washington. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, June 3rd, 2010:

HIGHLIGHTS FROM OBAMA ON LARRY KING - Interview to air tonight on CNN.

On the Gulf Spill
KING: I know you appear so calm. Are you angry at BP?
OBAMA: You know, I am furious at this entire situation because this is an example where somebody didn't think through the consequences of their actions. It's imperiling not just a handful of people. This is imperiling an entire way of life and an entire region for potentially years... [T]he one thing that I think is important to underscore is that I would love to just spend a lot of my time venting and yelling at people. But that's not the job I was hired to do. My job is to solve this problem and ultimately this isn't about me and how angry I am.

On Israeli raid:
KING: Former President Carter has condemned the Israeli raid against those ships in the flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza. Where do you stand in that? A former American president has condemned it.
OBAMA: The United States, with the other members of the U.N. Security Council said very clearly that we condemned all the acts that led up to this violence. It was a tragic situation. You've got loss of life that was unnecessary. So we are calling for an effective investigation of everything that happened. I think the Israelis are going to agree to that -- an investigation of international standards -- because they recognize that this can't be good for Israel's long-term security... I think what's important right now is that we break out of the current impasse, use this tragedy as an opportunity so that we figure out, how can we meet Israel's security concerns, but at the same time start opening up opportunity for Palestinians...
KING: Premature then, to condemn Israel?
OBAMA: I think that we need to know what all the facts are. But it's not premature to say to the Israelis and to say to the Palestinians, and to say to all the parties in the region that the status quo is unsustainable. We have been trying to do this piecemeal for decades now. It just doesn't work. You've got to have a situation in which the Palestinians have real opportunity and Israel's neighbors recognize Israel's legitimate security concerns and are committed to peace.

OBAMA WAS UNAWARE OF ROMANOFF OFFER, GIBBS SAYS - The White House Press secretary pleaded ignorance by proxy at his daily briefing, telling the press that his boss was not informed about any quid pro quo offers made to Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff. Gibbs released a statement early this morning acknowledging that the White House asked Romanoff to drop out but never offered the former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives a gig.

What message did this practice send to the Democratic voters in Pennsylvania and Colorado who actually wanted a choice for their next Senator? "Obviously, in Pennsylvania we've had a primary," Gibbs said, when asked that question by Sam Stein. "That's been done. The president is supportive of, as we said months ago, supportive of incumbent Senator Michael Bennet somebody who has done groundbreaking work first as the superintendent and is involved in a whole host of things that the president is supportive of, particularly as it relates to ethics."

Some things never change: here's audio of LBJ proposing some reciprocal back-scratching to Rep. Jim Wright, urging him to run for the Senate. http://bit.ly/bYEcwK

The Obama administration anticipates a vote next week by the U.N. Security Council on whether to institute tougher sanctions on Iran. "We've seen sanctions introduced in the U.N. Security Council that we believe will be voted on next week and approved by the U.N. Security Council," Robert Gibbs said. http://nyti.ms/ctyP27

LINCOLN FOR MERKLEY-LEVIN? - Talk of stripping out Blanche Lincoln's derivatives restrictions in echange for Merkley-Levin's ban on proprietary trading is intensifying. The thinking behind it: If banks can't trade anything for their own benefit with taxpayer-backed money, then they also can't trade derivatives -- but could still buy and sell them for clients. http://bit.ly/auz9L4

JAN BREWER: ARIZONA BOYCOTT MAKING NO DIFFERENCE - Weeks after a coalition of unions, progressive groups, and Hispanic organizations pledged to boycott Arizona over the state's tough new immigration law, Gov. Jan Brewer said on Thursday that there has been no tangible effect. "At this point in time, I don't think we have felt any of that impact," the Arizona governor told Sam Stein after her meeting with President Obama.

Afghan withdrawal? "Army Plans $100 Million Special Ops HQ in Afghanistan" http://bit.ly/biXkz1

Bush-Appointed NLRB General Counsel To Step Down - Get Your Class War On: Obama has a chance to tilt the National Labor Relations Board toward workers, following the announcemtn by General Counsel Ronald Meisberg that he'll depart effective June 20. "I expect that President Obama will appoint a new General Counsel who will fully enforce our nation's labor laws to protect employees' rights, even as many corporations continue to do all they can to resist those laws," said labor leader Kimberly Freeman Brown.

BREAKING

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

TRENDING

BP SUCCESSFULLY CUTS THROUGH PIPE - A U.S. official overseeing BP's efforts to stem the tide of oil into the Gulf said today the company's deep-sea robots succeeded in cutting a segment of the broken oil pipe. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said the cut was somewhat jagged, meaning efforts to cap the fissure and siphon off a portion of the excreting oil will be more difficult than originally planned. http://bit.ly/byZBxR

The administration officially blocked new offshore drilling ventures in the Gulf of Mexico today. The news came a day after the Minerals Management Service approved a permit for a drilling site 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. http://huff.to/d2EfZQ

JINDAL, VITTER: DRILL, BABY, DRILL - Sam Stein: "Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wrote President Obama a letter on Wednesday criticizing his decision to implement a temporary moratorium of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Arguing that his state had already suffered crippling economic consequences, the Louisiana Republican urged Obama to rethink his decision to suspend activity at 33 previously permitted deepwater drilling rigs -- including 22 'currently in operation off the Louisiana coast.' Joining Jindal in his call to lift the moratorium is Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) who accused the Obama administration of pursuing a policy that 'could kill thousands of Louisiana jobs.'" We're pretty sure it was the drilling that's killed thousands of Louisiana jobs, guys. http://bit.ly/cLPh8V

Calls for BP's CEO Tony Hayward's resignation are increasing. Bloomberg: "Criticism of Hayward grew this week after BP's failure to stem the flow from the damaged well caused the biggest share price drop in 18 years and raised the risk the London-based company may become a takeover target. Yesterday, he apologized for comments last week that he wanted his 'life back.' 'The pressure is on Hayward at the moment, primarily from politicians,' said David Paterson, head of corporate governance at the National Association of Pension Funds in London. 'Investors clearly will want some answers in order to understand what the long-term future for the company is.'"

Experts say building a criminal case against BP executives will be difficult. AP: "Prosecutors could seek serious jail time - five years or more - if they charge anyone with obstruction of justice, making false statements to the FBI or other U.S. officials or conspiracy to hinder a federal probe. But there's got to be evidence that a person was aware of the wrongdoing, well beyond mere negligence or incompetence, experts said. 'You've got to be really bad, far beyond the norm of ongoing carelessness,' said Robert Wiygul, a Mississippi attorney who, after the disaster, sued the U.S. Minerals Management Service over its regulation of offshore drilling. 'The standard of proof is much higher.'"

The White House announced this morning that President Obama will head back to the Louisiana Gulf Coast tomorrow. http://huff.to/dnUgbx

HOYER'S CENTRAL ROLE IN DADT COMPROMISE - During his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Obama gave a major boost to the campaign to repeal the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy when he called for its repeal. Then the can was a given a swift kick down the road: The Pentagon would study what it would need to do in order to implement repeal and report back on December 1, after the midterm elections. The gay community, however, wasn't willing to play along. When it became clear to the administration that it needed to act quickly, the can being so far down the road was presenting problems. "I do not support the idea of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell before our military members and commanders complete their review," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a response that makes perfect sense -- if anybody actually takes such reviews seriously. Into this debacle stepped House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). In the hectic final days of the battle over the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in Congress, Hoyer emerged as the central figure in a contest he'd largely stayed removed from over the years. Hoyer bridged a gulf between repeal proponents and Defense Secretary Robert Gates that only seemed to be growing wider as the moment of decision grew nearer.

***HUFFPOST HILL CAPTION CONTEST*** - Here's a picture, via Daily Intel, of Joe and Jill Biden chilling out with the Cookie Monster and some other Sesame Street characters: http://bit.ly/9dSpGY Give us your best shot, readers. E-mail your submissions to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com

OBAMA MEETS WITH AZ GOV. BREWER - After the meeting, Brewer spoke to the White House press corps, telling reporters their media was cordial and that the president would dispatch aides to Arizona to study the state of immigration in that state. The Hill: http://bit.ly/bzuajz

Photo of meeting here: http://bit.ly/aVBZI7

GAZA FLOTILLA DEVELOPMENTS - Israel today rejected calls for an international probe of its deadly raid earlier this week on an aid ship headed to the Gaza Strip despite calls for an investigation by the U.N. and U.S. Meanwhile, the State Department claims White House officials urged Israel to use caution when enforcing its blockade of Gaza in the lead-up to the clash. http://huff.to/dCJAlt

The Times reports the White House thinks the blockade is "untenable." "The officials say that Israel's deadly attack on a flotilla trying to break the siege and the resulting international condemnation create a new opportunity to push for increased engagement with the Palestinian Authority and a less harsh policy toward Gaza.'There is no question that we need a new approach to Gaza,' said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the policy shift is still in the early stages. He was reflecting a broadly held view in the upper reaches of the administration." http://nyti.ms/aK850N

Haaretz: The blockade has "failed." http://bit.ly/bghZys

Watch Jeremy Scahill and Ed Koch somehow manage not to punch each other. Not on the clip is Koch calling Scahill a "terrorist supporter" during the break. Stay classy, Mr. Mayor! http://bit.ly/d8LIxn

From our friends at Al Jazeera: Reporter Jamal Elshayyal was on the ship just as the Israeli raid was launched and he filed that report everybody was playing. He had been in detention since Monday and was released today--he gives an account of everything he saw here: http://bit.ly/9CyuoW

LOWDEN TANKING IN NEVADA PRIMARY, REID UP - Harry Reid leads all three of his potential GOP challengers, a new Research 2000 poll finds. Reid is ahead of Sharron Angle 43 percent to 37 percent, Sue Lowden 42 percent to 38 percent and Danny Tarkanian 43 percent to 39 percent, according to the Kos/Research 2000 poll.

A new Suffolk primary poll has the GOP establishment's pick for Harry Reid's Senate seat losing to her two Tea Party-backed rivals. The poll finds 33% and 26% of GOP Nevada primary voters support Sharon Angle and Danny Tarkanian, respectively. 25% of the voters surveyed back Lowden. http://bit.ly/cLr84t

There's also a tight Senate race in Missouri between Roy Blunt and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. A new Rasmussen poll shows it's a statistical dead heat with Blunt leading 45-44. http://bit.ly/cXN0mb

Richard Blumenthal is trouncing Linda McMahon by 23 points, according to a Rasmussen poll. He leads the WWE executive 56-33. http://bit.ly/blPSYy

The NRA threw its support behind John McCain in the Arizona GOP primary. This is a big conservative get for McCain, who has been fending off a challenge from his right flank by former Rep. and professional creepy-guy-at-your-family-functions J.D. Hayworth. http://yhoo.it/aZsuS8

Reichert Flip-Flops on Republican Health Care Repeal Effort. Rep. Dave Reichert, when he's in Washington, D.C., wants to repeal health care reform. Back in Washington state, he says calls for repeal are mere political posturing. "The more radical approach is 'let's repeal this bill' but I'm just gonna say that that's more of a political move, a political argument, than a substantial argument that says you know let's try to make this bill better," he told Seattle-based KIRO radio in March. How did he square his comments in March with cosponsoring legislation to repeal and replace the health care reform bill? He didn't. Calls to both his congressional and campaign offices went unreturned. http://huff.to/9MwBT1

HOW WAS CRIST CONNECTED TO JIM GREER? - St. Petersburg Times: "Gov. Charlie Crist is under fire after his hand-picked state GOP Chairman Jim Greer was indicted by a grand jury on six criminal charges including organized fraud and money laundering. But Crist maintained Thursday he was completely in the dark. 'I didn't know anything about this Victory Strategies thing,' Crist told the Times/Herald. It seems odd given that Victory Strategies, the shell company controlled by Greer to siphon party money to his accounts, charged the party $30,000 for a poll on behalf of Crist's U.S. Senate campaign. The party even tried to collect from Crist's campaign, but the campaign denied any knowledge of it. Did Crist know about this bogus poll? 'Not until recently,' he said. 'It's all very odd.'" http://bit.ly/bM3UMn

Facebook today launched a new U.S. politics hub. Check it out: http://bit.ly/bbjThC

YouTube meanwhile launched You Choose 2010 which will help candidates disseminate their messages. http://bit.ly/9YgcFA

Perry Bacon Jr. in WaPo: "Sixteen months after Barack Obama's presidential win seemed to usher in a new era in racial politics, a different reality has emerged: Black candidates in races around the country are struggling so much that the number of African Americans in major statewide offices is likely to drop from the already paltry three. And the possibility exists that there will be no black governors or senators by next year." http://bit.ly/d3Lnls

Orrin Hatch said "Gays and lesbians don't pay tithing, their religion is politics." The mind-bogglingly offensive remark was made to 300 constituents at Dixie State University Tuesday night. Hat tip: ignorance. http://huff.to/aHC30C

Bill O'Reilly wants Lady Gaga to appear on his program. We agree. http://bit.ly/8Znl0x

In other "SAY WHAAAAAAT???" news, George W. Bush says he would order the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed all over again. http://huff.to/aLhURS

WALL STREET LOBBY POACHES GROWING # OF POLITICOS - Arthur Delaney: "The financial services sector has hired 1,447 former government employees to do its bidding as lobbyists since the beginning of 2009, according to the latest report from the Center for Responsive Politics and Public Citizen. Seventy-three of those lobbyists are former members of Congress -- four former Senate and House Majority Leaders and 17 former members of Senate and House banking committees. Sixty-six financial sector lobbyists formerly worked as banking staffers and 82 worked for members still serving on those committees." http://huff.to/bME3nR

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are pictures of a cat befriending some duckings. http://bit.ly/aKuMdR

BLAGOJEVICH TRIAL BEGINS TODAY - AP: "Jury selection starts Thursday, and the federal courtroom is expected to be packed for one of the biggest political trials ever in the corruption-plagued state. The 53-year-old Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to charges of scheming to profit from his power to fill President Barack Obama's former Senate seat. His brother - 54-year-old Nashville, Tenn., businessman Robert Blagojevich - is a co-defendant and also has pleaded not guilty. Judge James Zagel says he plans to question up to 34 jurors a day until a jury is seated."

From the Chicago News Cooperative, Daniel Libit's excellent live blog of the circus. "He seems upbeat, if not a tad hyper." http://bit.ly/diF1Vk

The U.S. jail population declined for the first time in decades between June 2008 and June 2009. ABC News: http://bit.ly/9Isl6J

Nate Silver and Fivethirtyeight.com are moving to the New York Times. The Grey Lady announced this morning that it will host the political stats portal. Silver will also become a regular contributor to the newspaper and its Sunday magazine. http://nyti.ms/d7Dp2X

Bud Selig won't overturn the botched call that robbed Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

Debbie Stabenow wants it overturned: "Last night's performance deserves its place in the record books. It is clear that Commissioner Selig should make an exception in this case and invoke the 'best interests of the game clause' to grant a perfect game to Armando Galarraga and the Detroit Tigers organization."

COMFORT FOOD

- This fringe Christian guide to disciplining your wife is every bit as weird and offensive as you'd think. http://bit.ly/wij0W

- Like West Side Story with more groin fungi. Check out this Japanese commercial for jock itch. http://huff.to/dblnyo

- A Florida prisoner sold nearly 100 bags of heroin to other inmates by hiding the H in her... ahem... http://bit.ly/bK7aK7

- Some stats on online porn. You wonder how we have enough energy to get to work every day. http://huff.to/awGOhy

- A Toledo cop who saved a fawn is being arrested for hiding the animal in his backyard... he didn't want it made into dinner. http://bit.ly/cCmarL

- What your drink choice says about you. http://bit.ly/cgJCqm

- THANK YOU CLEVELAN....er...AKRON FAMILY FAIR. http://bit.ly/aFPo3V

- A banker was fired for being too hot. http://tinyurl.com/25yy7zm

TWITTERAMA

@mikemadden: Nice of the weather here in D.C. to keep the #oilspill on Obama's mind by doing an impression of August in Louisiana this week. http://bit.ly/96hYll

@jeremyscahill During the break on MSNBC, Ed Koch called me a "terrorist supporter" I said, "Say it on the air." http://bit.ly/cWgjKv

@shannynmoore:Governor Sean Palin-Parnell is keeping the douche in fiduciary. Vetoed Denali Kid care. Love the fetus, Hate the child. http://bit.ly/9lJflc

SPECIAL @pattonoswalt #HuffPoHeadlineBandNames TWITTERAMA

@pattonoswalt: Gwyneth Cooks Tacos #HuffPoHeadlineBandNames

@pattonoswalt: Alabama's Black Tide #HuffPoHeadlineBandNames

@pattonoswalt: Fran's Gay Ex #HuffPoHeadlineBandNames

@pattonoswalt: Some Of My Rivals Are Sluts #HuffPoHeadlineBandNames

SPECIAL CENTER-OF-THE-UNIVERSE TWEET

@thenote: good point from Dan Balz: if Nats knew DC audience fully, Strasburg's debut would not be on a big primary night. http://bit.ly/cf0Tsu

THE TUBE

Subbing for Dylan Ratigan, Eliot Spitzer spoke with Ed Markey about the oil slick. Rachel Maddow will discuss the spill with Charlie Melancon . Greta Van Susteren will speak with Jan Brewer, fresh off her White House visit.

ON TAP

5:00 pm - 8:30 pm: As part of the DC Jazz Festival, "Phillips After Five" will be featuring live jazz in the museum's galleries [The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St, NW].

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Help Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) not vote. Some heavy hitters will be turning out for the District's non-voting representative's fundraiser including Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) [National Democratic Club, 30 Ivy Street SE].

6:00 pm: Get drunk on the love you have for our Earth Mother... and beer. Environmental activists convene at Buffalo Billiards to knock a few back and discuss the pressing issues [1330 19th Street NW].

8:45 pm - 10:45 pm: The Capitol River Front Underdog film series kicks into full gear with a screening of "Hoosiers" [Capitol River Front, Canal Park - 200 M St SE].

11:00 pm: The Passion Pit show at 9:30 Club is sold out but you can catch the group DJing at Velvet Lounge [Velvet Lounge, 915 U St 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