Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - SEPTEMBER 16TH, 2010

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Washington was nursing a killer O'Donnell/Warren hangover today but that didn't prevent it from getting out of bed, plopping a raw egg in a pitcher of Bud Light and chugging that sucker. The Senate finished off its week by passing a small business bill and looked ahead to next week's vote on DADT repeal and the DREAM Act. Reporters will-she-won't-she-ed all day about Lisa Murkowski's potential write-in bid. And the Senate Foreign Relations Committee brought us one step closer to taking some of the sting out of Armageddon. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, September 16th, 2010:

DODD/FRANK DISAGREEMENT ON ELIZABETH WARREN - Chris Dodd won't hold lame duck hearings this fall. He won't be holding hearings ever, in fact. "There's no question that she'll be in there long enough" to set up the agency and put her stamp on it, Barney Frank told HuffPost Hill. "She's got two-plus years to do it. That's more than enough time."

Dodd couldn't have had a more different reaction: "What I gather is Elizabeth will be some sort of adviser in all this," Dodd dismissed. "They need to send us a director, though, a nominee. The issue's no different today than it was yesterday. We need a nominee that can be confirmed by the Senate to run the place." Dodd came awful close to begging when he offered to fast-track somebody other than Warren and even hold hearings during the lame duck. "Maybe in the lame duck we'll have hearings and we'll consider who's going to actually run the place."

IS THIS WARREN JOB A GOOD THING, OR WHAT? - Obama, having overdrawn his liberal-trust account months ago, had insufficient funds to cover this overly complex Warren nomination, leaving progressives puzzled as to whether this is a serious move on the White House's part or flim-flam to shut HuffPost Hill the hell up. "Some of the liberals are worried about it. It's almost an insult to Elizabeth. She wouldn't take this if there was the slightest impediment to her doing the job," Frank told us. And besides, we don't know what you kids were so worked up about: She never wanted the permanent gig in the first place, Frank said. "She always said she didn't want to be there as a permanent director...Frankly, on her behalf, I talked to David Axelrod earlier this year, and I said, 'You know, Elizabeth doesn't want a full five year term. She'd like to set this up. She told me that, and I told Axelrod that." A source familiar with the deliberations, however, tells us that during the extensive and nuanced discussions, the interim nomination emerged as her favored choice, as Frank says, but she has still not foreclosed the option of a full nomination or told the administration that she would flatly refuse one.

WARREN TO BE OFFICIALLY NOMINATED TOMORROW An administration official tells HuffPost Hill Obama'll make it official tomorrow, naming Elizabeth Warren to be an "assistant to the president" -- a highfalutin title that gives her access to the basement vending machines even when security is tight -- as well as a "special adviser" to the Treasury, in charge of setting up the CFPB. Linkins explains: http://huff.to/9DfIAz

SENATE GEARING UP FOR DEFENSE SPENDING/DADT/DREAM ACT VOTE - Harry Reid filed cloture today on the DOD authorization bill that contains language (eventually) repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. The DREAM Act, will come up as an amendment, which pleases immigration advocates, who don't want Republicans tacking on all sorts of amendments. The vote is set for Tuesday. The inclusion of the DREAM Act, which offers a path to citizenship for young, undocumented people in the country if they serve in uniform or finish, is seen by many as a play for Hispanic votes by the majority leader. While most observers will be carefully watching the vote for its political implications, we're readying the popcorn for more John McCain/Carl Levin floor debates, cantankerous exchanges that should really be relegated to a park bench somewhere, replete with pigeons to idly feed and skateboarders to shake fists at.

Speaking of currying the Hispanic vote, Rep. Luis Gutierrez is heading to Nevada on October 15th through 17th to campaign for Reid. The visit is timed to coincide with early voting in the state. Said Gutierrez to HuffPost Hill on Reid's inclusion of the DREAM act in the DOD bill, "I encouraged him to do that."

Mixed messaging: Even as the majority leader attempts to motivate his Hispanic supporters, he has a new campaign spot highlighting his tough-on-immigration bona fides. The spot deflects criticisms from a Sharron Angle attack ad claiming Reid is too soft on illegal immigration. "Sharron Angle's new attack: more crazy talk and outright lies," the narrator says (aggressively purrs?). "This fence? It's Harry Reid who got 400 miles of new barriers." The spot also takes note of Reid's opposition to extending Social Security benefits to illegal aliens and Angle's general wariness of the program. http://bit.ly/bNQRa9

TOMORROW: MURKOWSKI WRITE-IN ANNOUNCEMENT - The Alaska Senator, who has sent strong signals that she might wage a write-in campaign to keep her seat, will announce tomorrow whether she plans to do so. Murkowski remained tight-lipped today about her decision: "Reporters swarmed around her in the Capitol Thursday, pressing for a hint as to what she'll do tomorrow. When asked whether her colleagues were offering advice, caution or help, she had just two words: 'Great support.' And when asked what was factoring into her decision, she had one just one word, repeated several times: 'Alaska.'" Murkowski did not pause, look to the horizon, and shed a tear when she offered up that line. Unconfirmed reports indicate a state flag, however, did magically appear and start to billow behind her. Erika Bolstad in the Anchorage Daily News: http://bit.ly/cl8an0

Mark Begich threw some frozen water on his colleague's chances. "Being a write-in is very tough in Alaska," he told HuffPost Hill. "These people who say you just put her name down, Lisa -- the lieutenant governor who runs elections, who's a Republican, said no no no. Last name. You can misspell it just a little bit, but you can't butcher it, and you have to put the name, you have to fill in the dot, you have to do all kinds of things." http://huff.to/deFCo5

The Senate passed that small business bill today. They'll be back Monday afternoon.

TAX EXTENDERS, CARRIED INTEREST BACK FROM THE DEAD - Max Baucus unveiled a new tax extenders package today that includes the Democrats' carried interest clampdown as a payfor, no doubt to the eternal fury of that private equity guy who said taxing carried interest as income instead of capital gains is "like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939" because it'll force him to pay the same tax rate as his dentist. Hey, what's that sound? I think I hear Atlas Shrugging! (sounds like "UNGH") http://bit.ly/bEOxOo

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST WEIGHS IN - A GOP lobbyist, prone to staring at mirrors for long periods before punching them, speculates the tax extender revival is just "Chuck Schumer ringing the dinner bell" so Democrats can feast on contributions from private equity hot shots, many of whom our PSLGOPL represents. Thanks, PSLGOPL!

FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE PASSES ARMS-REDUCTION TREATY - Hoping to ensure that America's cockroaches will have slightly more vegetation to nosh on in the event of a nuclear holocaust, the Senate panel passed the START treaty 14 - 4 this afternoon. The measure will likely be debated by the full chamber during a lame duck session and is expected to face strong GOP opposition. "The treaty, signed by Mr. Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev in Prague in April, would bar each side from deploying more than 1,550 strategic warheads or 700 launchers, starting seven years after final ratification. It would establish a new inspection and monitoring regime to replace the longstanding program that ended last year with the expiration of the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 1991, known as Start." NYT: http://nyti.ms/a38HKF

President Obama: "Today, I urge the full Senate to move forward quickly with a vote to approve this Treaty. I encourage members on both sides of the aisle to give this agreement the fair hearing and bipartisan support that it deserves, and that has been given to past agreements of its kind. For like those efforts, this Treaty will advance American leadership in the world, while strengthening our national security in the 21st century."

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From Arthur Delaney: "The first year of Barack Obama's presidency started with 700,000 people losing their jobs each month and sensational reports of formerly middle-class families crowding tent cities across the country. The tent cities, it turned out, were there before the recession started, but the rise in poverty was real: For working age people between 18 and 64, 2009 saw the highest poverty rate -- 12.9 percent -- since 1965." http://huff.to/czBlh0 :'(

Democrats can take some comfort in a new Gallup survey that indicates most voters still blame George W. Bush for the lackluster economy. "51% of Americans say President Barack Obama bears little to no blame for U.S. economic problems, while 48% assign him a great deal or moderate amount of blame. More Americans now blame Obama than did so a year ago, but a substantially higher percentage, 71%, blame former President George W. Bush." http://bit.ly/aR8hbf

CHRIS DODD: NOW THAT I'M RETIRING AS A CHAIRMAN, I SEE THE WISDOM IN TERM LIMITS FOR GAVELS - Boy, Tim Johnson, Banking's #2 Dem, must really want to punch this guy in the stones right now. "Well, there was all those years when [I served on different committees but was not chairman.] The Republicans do a better job with this than the Democrats. I like the fact that Republicans rotate [committee chairmanships.] I think it's good for the institution, I think it's good for the members, they don't get so ossified, waiting for someone to die or get defeated, or make a different choice, to move up. They kind of force the institution and individuals to move along. I like that. [Democrats] don't do that." NBC News: http://bit.ly/bnLoZW

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

PALIN CAMP GEARING UP FOR 2012 RUN, AIDES SAY - America, get ready: "'No one has been told directly, but staffers are working under the assumption that she's running,' says one former aide who has knowledge of the inner workings of the PAC, who requested anonymity talking about his ex-boss' plans. 'It has become very apparent to everyone on her staff that she is preparing to run for president. The staff is now working. They are writing speeches, preparing talking points, picking congressmen to endorse all under the umbrella of what you would do two years out before running for president and that's their understanding. It's a 2012 ball game, and they should plan on that basis.'" Daily Beast: http://bit.ly/9etPFm

Fox News Suing Robin Carnahan Campaign For Showing Footage Of Fox News Being Tough On Roy Blunt Carnahan's camp: "We stand behind our ad and will continue to tell the truth about Congressman Roy Blunt's attempt to slip a secret provision into the Homeland Security Act to benefit tobacco giant Philip Morris, while he was dating the company's lobbyist. It's unclear why Fox News refuses to stand by its own content that simply asked questions about Congressman Blunt's Washington record and ties to convicted felon lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Congressman Blunt's 14 year record of wasteful spending, corruption and sticking it to the middle class represents the very worst of Washington: he does not deserve a promotion to the Senate."

YouTube Buckles To Fox, But The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Ain't Skeered The ad in dispute: http://bit.ly/aKrWC9

POLL FINDS GOP VOTERS UNEASY WITH CURRENT LEADERSHIP - The survey, released by Public Policy Polling, suggests that enthusiasm among the GOP's base isn't necessarily engendered by the current crop of lawmakers advancing their agenda in Congress. (If PPP polled RedState's comment section, they'd have found a magnitude less.) "Only 21% of Republicans think the party should retain its current Congressional leadership if the party gains control with 57% saying it should be replaced. When to comes to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell in particular the Republican base isn't too impressed either. Just 33% want Boehner to become Speaker with 34% saying it should be someone else and 33% unsure. For McConnell the numbers are even worse. Only 27% would like to see him as Majority Leader with 33% definitively wanting someone else and 40% not sure." http://bit.ly/9WBzUP

@MPOTheHill: NRCC's Sessions testing new line to respond to WH: "What's scarier: a 9.6 percent unemployment rate and $13 trillion debt? Or John Boehner?"

OBAMA CAMPAIGNS FOR BLUMENTHAL IN CONNECTICUT - Though once commanding an impressive double-digit lead over Linda McMahon, Richard Blumenthal's lead has shrunk to six-points according to the most recent polling. With Blumenthal's performance of late more anemic than a WASP-y West Hartford couple's sex life, President Obama paid a visit to the Nutmeg State today to drum up support for his candidacy and solicit donations.

The Cook Political Report has rebranded the Connecticut race a "toss-up."

A new CNN/Time survey finds the Nevada Senate race between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle is a statistical dead-heat. 42% of respondents back Angle while 41% back Reid. http://bit.ly/cZVdqj

"I don't want realism ... I want magic!": Blanche Lincoln is getting CLOBBERED in the polls by John Boozman. A poll from the Arkansas News Bureau has Lincoln trailing Boozman 51 percent to 34 percent. Ouch. CQ: http://bit.ly/bT7aKm

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL WANTS MORE GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT OF YOUR LOINS - The newly-minted GOP Senate candidate has gone a long way in the past clarifying her "libertarian" views. In a 1996 C-SPAN interview unearthed by HuffPost, O'Donnell declared that it is a "misconception that you, quote unquote, can't legislate morality." Elaborating on this point, she added "I think that drug use is out of control here and there is something called tough love and what has happened with the liberal welfare program implemented in the last decade is they have cultivated an attitude of dependency...We see the same kind of abuse with food stamps... people are abusing our compassion." Sam Stein: http://huff.to/9zzPau

Your Nelson Muntz moment: O'Donnell has raked in $1,000,000 in donations from across the country since her primary victory. That is well over the $125,000 netted by her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons. Sam Stein: http://huff.to/drwiL8

Another Nelson Muntz moment: @HuckPAC: GOVERNOR MIKE HUCKABEE AND HUCK PAC ENDORSE RAND PAUL FOR U.S. SENATE IN ALASKA: http://bit.ly/aZdRQH

Charlie Crist will be listed ninth on the Florida Senate ballot this November. With the Florida governor already trailing Marco Rubio in recent surveys, this could prove detrimental to his election prospects. Crist is undeterred: "We're going to be listed eighth on the ballot as an independent," he said. "So if you want independence, go to eight." So what if he got the listing wrong? Dude is FOCUSED. We're eagerly awaiting a hokey, "Bottom of the ninth." -themed campaign ad. http://bit.ly/a2lnP4

Fishbowl DC got a facelift. Don't worry, America, the stock photos of aquatic life are intact. http://bit.ly/Gji3N

Jesse Jackson Jr. says he knows what to expect if he runs against Rahm Emanuel to be Chicago's next mayor. On Rahm's campaign prowess: "I saw these guys dissect people and then reinvent them and then take people who woke up one day thinking they were this way and went to bed knowing they were something else. So these guys are professionals," Jackson said." Roll Call: http://bit.ly/cpf26E

HuffPost Hiccup: Our maiden mention of Ann McLane Kuster, a progressive New Hampshire House candidate we plan to be following into November, failed when we called her Kister. Sorry!

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Rain sweeping in from the west, with a possibility of storms continuing through the night. Tomorrow: Sunny, low 80s. It may be cloudy at first, but will clear up by midday. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- DNA evidence indicates Africans set foot in the Americas far earlier than anyone thought. http://bit.ly/cUrnU1

- 12 waaay-out-of-context movie scenes. http://bit.ly/aZBimr

- A death metal tribute to one guy's cat. http://bit.ly/cNkjEy

- An attempt to understand what a tree feels. Take away: Europe needs a hobby. http://bit.ly/aJwcfL

- Where should you pee? This flow chart will help answer your question. http://huff.to/c2nSVT

- Martha Stewart getting a bit tipsy and reminiscing about the men that used to hound her. Fast forward to 3:30 in. http://bit.ly/9ZBqXZ

- A woman taught her toddler how to smoke weed. http://bit.ly/9zAGOo

- Danny DeVito discussing his forthcoming role in "Ghandi II" http://bit.ly/d5S6Tq

- Do ducks blink? http://bit.ly/9VKimY

- If a Japanese man happens to ask you out in a very peculiar manner, this is why. http://bit.ly/bJvNe1

- A series of time-lapsed videos of pets. http://bit.ly/96NluZ

TWITTERAMA

@evale72: BREAKING - today is so important @HuffPostHill is almost all in bold. Teabaggers. [Editor's Note: Up yours].

@FakeAPStyleBook: Reminder to Journalists: The One World Government "Libcoins" you are paid in can only be converted to cash at your nearest UN branch.

@alqaeda: Just noticed Twitter keeps prompting me to "Add a location to your tweets". Not falling for that one.

@nickkroll: hey guys, where's the best place to get brunch in my apartment right now?

THE TUBE

TONIGHT: Luis Gutierrez is on Countdown. Maddow airs more of her interview with Joe Biden. TOMORROW: Sam Stein, Chris Smith, Jo Ann Emerson and Bill McCollum are on Morning Joe. John Cornyn and Evan Bayh stop by Daily Rundown.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:30 pm - 9:00 pm: Social Security Works is hosting a happy hour to discuss the letter being circulated among lawmakers urging that cuts not be made to Social Security. First round is on SSW [Top of the Hill, 319 Pennsylvania Avenue SE].

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is in town to reconnect with some of his polifriends and raise some dough. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) are just some of the heavyweights expected to attend [The Offices of Davis and Harman, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Big ups to Bob Ethridge (D-N.C.) for being considerate enough to roast a pig and let you eat it in exchange for your hard-earned donation dollars [524 Independence Ave SE].

TOMORROW

11:00 am - 2:00 pm: You can has cheezburger. For those of you in upper Northwest, Z Burger will be offering $1 CHEESEBURGERS [Z Burger, 4321 Wisconsin Avenue NW].

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Dixie Liquor's Customer Appreciation BBQ will feature free BBQ and free booze samples [Dixie Liquor, 3429 M Street NW].

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: The final installment of the I Love The 90s Film Festival features Home Alone [Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway].

7:30 pm: Parks and Recreation's very funny Aziz Ansari takes his standup act to the Waner Theatre [Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

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