Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - NOVEMBER 4TH, 2010

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Right around "landing on a glacier is completely different, much more dangerous," we knew that "Sarah Palin's Alaska" -- the first episode of which leaked today -- is going to be special. Switching from reality television to plain, ol' reality, Nancy Pelosi sat down with HuffPost Hill to discuss her plans. Senior Republicans scrambled for committee assignments. And Eric Cantor fixed legislative gridlock forever by announcing that the days of non-binding resolutions honoring the contributions of Tony Danza to American entertainment are over. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, November 4th, 2010:

HOUSE DEMS PUSHING PELOSI TO STAY (NOTE TO CALIFORNIA MEMBERS: KEEP YOUR CELL ON TONIGHT) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after giving her first interview to a TeeVee reporter, sat down with HuffPost Hill to talk about the past, present and future. She has made no decision about whether remain as leader of the House Democrats, but, she said, she has been broadly encouraged to stay and will begin feeling her caucus out tonight. "I've gotten a positive response, but I haven't gone to a place where I've made a decision about that," she said. "Only today have I even looked at messages or anything that relate to me from...members, friends, progressives, whether that's collectively in organizations or as individuals. And of course the ones you will hear from are the ones who want you to run. Everything is very positive in what they say, complimentary about how I've kept the caucus together, complimentary about the fact that we won in the first place [in 2006] and increased our numbers [in 2008] and that we have to come right back in that regard. But I'll be very honest with you, it hasn't been something I've--maybe tonight when I get home and after everybody goes to sleep and start reading the memos and calling people if it's not too late--or at least I can call the West Coast, then I'll have more of an appraisal of it. But that's a subject for what comes next."

PELOSI ON HOW MUCH THE ELECTION SUCKED - It was "very sad, of course, about what it means to the great middle class," she said, adding that it was a "very sad day for us. We believe that there's a big distinction between Democrats and Republicans, but 9 and a half percent unemployment is just such an eclipsing phenomenon that no message really can come through unless it's a message that says, 'Here's your job.'"

The election was no ringing endorsement of Republicans," Pelosi said. "We do not accept their version of what this election means. It's not about rejecting what President Obama has done. It didn't go fast enough to create jobs. That's what it's about."

LAME-DUCK PRIORITIES - First on Pelosi's list to get done, while she's still speaker, is an extension of the tax cuts for income under $250,000. She said she spoke to the president yesterday after his press conference and he was clear that he did not support extending them for rich people, too. Second is the $250 COLA check for Social Security folks, followed by an extension of unemployment insurance, child nutrition, food safety and either an omnibus or a CR. (She prefers an omnibus.)

FIRST EPISODE OF 'SARAH PALIN'S ALASKA' BRIEFLY LEAKS -- WE HAVE QUOTES - And it's a gosh darn hoot!!!! Within the first five minutes, Palin and her husband, Todd, discuss journalist Joe McGinniss, who moved next door to write a book on Palin. "Our behavior certainly has changed this summer because of this new neighbor...Todd and his buddies got out there and built a 14-foot fence...By the way, I thought that was a good example, what we just did. Others could look at it and say, 'Oh, this is what we need to do to secure our nation's border!'" Shortly thereafter, Palin makes an awkward foray into gender politics while on a family fishing trip. "He was proud though. You know, he's like, yeah he felt like, he's bringin' home the bacon, that's the way it should be." Palin says after Todd catches a fish. They spend the rest of the episode flying, climbing and gawking at things...and setting aside their BlackBerries for family time. The first four episodes are titled "Mama Grizzly," "Salmon Fishing," "Halibut Fishing," and "Hunting." We're really looking forward to episode five: "Halibut Fishing 2: Tokyo Drift."

BOEHNER ON FOX'S 'SPECIAL REPORT' - Aired tonight.On compromising with President Obama: "I am not going to compromise on my principles nor am I going to compromise the will of the American people. To the extent that the President wants to work with us on reducing the size, scope and the intrusion of the federal government, we're willing to work with him." On health care reform repeal: "We are going to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with common sense reforms that will bring down the costs of health insurance. Beyond repealing Obama care, we're going to do everything we can to stop this bill from being implemented, to make sure it never happens." On a potential "Golf Summit" with the president: "Not yet."

HOWARD DEAN IS NOT GOING TO OREGON AND WASHINGTON AND MICHIGAN AND THEN HE'S NOT GOING TO WASHINGTON, D.C. TO TAKE BACK THE WHITE HOUSE YEARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH - Sam Stein: "For the second time in as many days, a progressive-minded politician who is either out of office -- or soon to be -- has had to deny that they will be launching a primary challenge against President Obama in 2012. On Wednesday, a spokesman for Sen, Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) clarified that the just-defeated senator has 'no interest in challenging President Obama in 2012' despite hinting at advancing his personal political ambitions that year. On Thursday, former DNC Chair Howard Dean, likewise, was forced to respond to rumors that he would lead an inter-party uprising by taking on Obama in the next presidential election." Dean's folks say it's a dirty trick. http://huff.to/dz3LoX

REMAINING MODERATE REPUBLICANS TARGETED - The right is already thinking about which establishment Republicans it can pick off in 2012. Erick Erickson gets it started in RedState today, posting a list of Senate Republicans up in two years. "Now, before you all get giddy about Olympia Snowe, I would respectfully suggest that Corker, Hatch, Hutchison, Lugar, and Wicker make better targets as we have a much greater certainty of both beating them in primaries and also winning the general election," Erickson advises. "Wicker and Corker in particular make exciting prospects for the tea party movement." Even the maverickest-y of senators can quickly find his internal Attila when Teabaggers are breathing down his neck, so if President Obama thinks he might be able to find some middle ground with anybody on this list, the Tea Party might have other ideas. The GOP Senators who will compromise at their primary's peril: John Barasso (WY), Scott Brown (MA), Bob Corker (TN), John Ensign (NV), Orrin Hatch (UT), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), Jon Kyl (AZ), Richard Lugar (IN), Olympia Snowe (ME) and Roger Wicker (MS). But how will Democrats craft legislation without Snowe or Corker pretending to be interested? RedState: http://bit.ly/aHtVNb

CANTOR OUTLINES PROCEDURAL STRATEGY AS MAJORITY LEADER - The would-be House majority leader today circulated a 16-page document entitled "Delivering On Our Commitment: A Majority to Limit Government and Create Jobs." "I believe we need to return to a committee-driven legislature that investigates problems, listens intently to the citizenry, and proposes well thought-out solutions when necessary....Just because we're in session, does not mean the House floor needs to be utilized. Repetitive floor votes and filling time with half-baked legislative proposals - as is currently done by the Democrat majority - is not a suitable answer...The suspension calendar is overused. While it is an appropriate vehicle to consider truly non-controversial legislation, the legislation still ought to be worthy of the House's time. I do not suspect that Jefferson or Madison ever envisioned Congress honoring the 2,560th anniversary of the birth of Confucius or supporting the designation of national 'Pi' day." http://bit.ly/biv5oD

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The progressive Economic Policy Institute says keeping extended unemployment benefits through 2011 would create 723,000 jobs at a cost of $65 billion. Too bad it's going to be super tough, if not impossible, for lame-duck Democrats to get such a lengthy reauthorization. The previous four efforts kicked the can for a few months at a time. If the next reauthorization is similarly short, that means it will be up to Speaker Boehner and Ways and Means chair David Camp to decide on tens of billions in deficit spending that will only help President Obama (and, incidentally, the American people). EPI: http://bit.ly/cdpfRr

SCHADENFREUDE - Those who wanted Congress to reauthorize extended unemployment insurance this summer often assumed that Democrats who opposed the benefits were just posing as deficit hawks to impress voters during an election year. If that was their intention, it didn't work. Of the 11 Democrats who opposed reauthorizing benefits at the beginning of July, eight are goners. Reps. Brian Baird (Wash.) and Marion Berry (Ark.) retired, leaving their seats to the GOP; six others went down in Tuesday's epic wipeout. http://huff.to/cwuuGM

MURKOWSKI WON'T SEEK GOP LEADERSHIP POST IF REELECTED - AP's Becky Bohrer: "Her spokesman, Michael Brumas, says her focus will be on retaining her position as ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Murkowski resigned her position as vice chair in the conference when she decided to run as a write-in candidate following her loss in the August GOP primary to Joe Miller." http://bit.ly/a9lZ7F

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WHITE HOUSE CEDES GROUND ON TAX CUTS - Sam Stein: "White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated on Thursday that the president will be open to extending the upper-end Bush tax cuts for one or two years as part of a broader compromise with Republicans. 'He would be open to having that discussion and open to listening to what the debate is on both sides of that,' said Gibbs, during an off-camera gaggle with reporters. 'Obviously... making those tax cuts for the upper end permanent is something the president does not believe is a good idea.' The issue, Gibbs said, will be a topic of discussion when the president convenes a bipartisan meeting of lawmakers at the White House in two weeks." http://huff.to/bYWJBW

HEATH SHULER REITERATES POSSIBLE CHALLENGE TO PELOSI FOR MINORITY LEADER - Given his bang up work leading multiple NFL teams into the cellar and on the subcommittee on economic development, public buildings and emergency management, the two-term representative is a natural fit. "If there's not a viable alternative [to Pelosi] -- like I said all along -- I can go recruit moderate Members to run in swing districts," Shuler said on Thursday. "In that situation, I could do it better than she could, and that's what it's going to take. It's going to take moderate candidates to win back those seats." Shuler had first made the claim last month during a debate with his opponent, Jeff Miller. http://huff.to/d8G9Fo

BOEHNER FORMALLY ANNOUNCES SPEAKER CANDIDACY - In a letter circulated to Republican representatives and representatives-elect, the minority leader made clear that he intends to run the House in the 112th Congress. Text taken from e-mail version, as letter was too tear-stained to read: "If I am fortunate enough to serve as Speaker of the House, we will run a much different kind of Congress - one that is humbler, more transparent, and respects the will and intelligence of the people. No bill will come to a vote unless Americans have had at least three days to read it first. We will put an end to so-called "comprehensive" bills rushed through Congress without scrutiny or debate. We will eliminate rules that make cutting wasteful spending hard and increasing spending too easy. We will lead a legislature that gauges productivity not by the size of the bills we produce, but by our success in remaining faithful to the will of the people we represent and serve."

@schwarzenegger: Governor-elect Brown is riding to Sacramento with me today. http://twitpic.com/33wgml

SCOTT MCADAMS CONCEDES TO JOE MILLER, LEEZA MERCAOSKEE - The one man who could have replaced Jon Tester as the sturdiest, most meat-and-potatoes, most checkered-blazered member of the Senate has conceded. Jillian Rayfield in TPM: "Democrat Scott McAdams has conceded in the Alaska Senate race, leaving just Republicans Joe Miller and Sen. Lisa Murkowski awaiting the results of the write-in ballot count. According to the Alaska Dispatch, McAdams called write-in candidate Murkowski yesterday to concede, and then gave a final press conference to reporters. 'We left everything out on the field,' he said. 'We ran out of time.'" http://bit.ly/9gqKPz

Murkowski, appearing confident about her reelection prospects, used a "Today" show appearance this morning to take a swipe at Sarah Palin. "I'm looking for somebody that has a breadth of experience not only in government but truly a more worldly approach,'' she said. "And I don't think that Sarah Palin has it." Clearly enjoying this, she added: "Palin gave her endorsement of [Joe] Miller, and that didn't get Miller where he wanted to be." Rachel Rose Hartman in the Upshot: http://yhoo.it/aM0eMb

BEN NELSON SAYS HE WON'T SWITCH PARTIES - Ben Nelson, the Robin to Joe Lieberman's Batdouche, has taken a real leap by declaring he won't abandon the majority party. Emily Pierce in Roll Call: "'I'm certainly not planning to, and the answer I've been giving is no,' the Nebraska Democrat said in a phone interview. When asked, he also said Republicans have not approached him as a potential switcher. Nelson, a moderate, is up for re-election in 2012, but said Tuesday's results have not made him squeamish about running again. 'Last night hasn't made me decide one thing or another,' he said Wednesday. Nelson said he has 'always run against the current, and there's always a possibility of doing that again.'
Though he said he has not made up his mind '100 percent' on seeking another term, he noted that he has been raising campaign cash and building a campaign infrastructure." http://bit.ly/aBBRuB

ENERGY & COMMERCE COMMITTEE FIGHT A POTENTIAL HEADACHE FOR BOEHNER - WSJ: "Texas Rep. Joe Barton, the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, wants another shot at the chairmanship, complicating life for party leaders. Mr. Barton, who's running up against a party-mandated six-year term limit atop committees, made his case in letters to all the incoming Republicans who were newly elected on Tuesday. At issue are the Republicans' internal rules. Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio, the speaker-in-waiting, may grant a waiver to California Rep. Jerry Lewis, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, because the party needs an experienced chairman to navigate a spending fight with the White House over deeps cuts in the federal budget - a tussle that could play out soon after the new Congress is seated in January. If he does that, Mr. Barton will have a much stronger case to become Energy and Commerce chairman - since the rules themselves are determined and ratified every two years...Mr. Boehner wants a chairman he can rely on since the committee could play a crucial role in the Republicans' attempt to roll back the president's health care bill - not someone with whom there has been some friction over the years." http://bit.ly/b9VnTP

CONSERVATIVE LEADERS MEET TO PLOT STRATEGY - Former HuffPost editor and current ABC News deputy political director Michael Falcone: "A group of conservative leaders who helped steer their movement away from a painful defeat in 2008 and toward an electoral comeback in 2010, plan to meet privately on Friday to map out their strategy for the next two years. Led by Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group, and the nephew of the late conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr., the gathering will include a who's who of right-leaning activists. Joining Bozell at his mountain retreat in Stanley, Va. will be Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, one of the most active conservative groups of 2010 election cycle; former Indiana Republican Rep. Dave McIntosh; Becky Norton Dunlop, vice president at the Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy; and Al Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator magazine." http://bit.ly/9yyx0e

MICHELE BACHMANN, POSSIBLE SPOKESPERSON FOR HOUSE REPUBLICANS, MAKES SOMETHING UP - Providing America the stability it needs in this time of transition, the Minnesota congresswoman and candidate to be the House Republican caucus' liaison to the media, pulled a Michelle Bachmann last night. Minnesota Independent: "Bachmann told Cooper that Obama's south Asian trip will cost taxpayers '$200 million a day' and represents 'the kind of over-the-top spending' that's rampant in Washington. 'No one really knows the cost, because for security reasons they don't disclose the cost,' Cooper countered. 'So this idea that it's $200 million is simply made up.' Bachmann replied, 'Well these are the numbers that have been coming out in the press.' CNN fact-checked the claim, finding that the press report Bachmann cited was not American but Indian, and the $200 million per day figure came from an anonymous Indian source, 'allegedly an Indian provincial official.'" http://bit.ly/aaLKI4

Who said white ethnic politics is dead? AP: "Bates College history professor and Republican activist Douglas Hodgkin tells the Sun Journal of Lewiston that [Maine Governor-elect Paul] LePage benefited from the city's Franco-American vote. LePage, a Republican, will become the first popularly elected Franco-American governor in Maine, where about a third of the population is of Franco heritage." Given France's perpetual foot-dragging, can't we just call them freedom-Americans? http://bit.ly/94Ruf4

New York Magazine checks in with Rahm: "A fifty-something woman named Diane in a raincoat and rainbow-colored rims beelines toward Emanuel. "I got off the bus to shake your hand," she tells him. They hug and visit for a few minutes until the next bus arrives and she has to leave. Emanuel seems genuinely touched. 'Got off a goddamn bus to shake my hand,' he says. 'Isn't that weird?'" http://bit.ly/bFZeoc

Book review! - Delaney on Gary Rivlin's Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. -- How the Working Poor Became Big Business. http://huff.to/dtrt3q

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT -
Tonight: The rain continues through the evening and into the morning. Tomorrow: With a dip of the jet stream, it will clear out, but may be a bit chillier. We can expect temperatures in the high-40s. Here's a fact that will make you depressed: by Monday, we should have fewer than six hours of daylight. Winter's approaching! Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Dear America: never, never, NEVER get high and play with your webcam's special effects. http://bit.ly/aL61zP

- Also: never fall asleep at a high-tech bus stop. http://bit.ly/9yTMAb

- This is the most badass hamster we've eve seen. http://bit.ly/aOoW4r

- The Taiwanese CGI animators tackle the midterms. It's in English, which is kind of weird. http://bit.ly/c8kMM0

- George Takei speaking out for civil rights and being uber awesome. http://bit.ly/dgVkEu

- Hitler has reincarnated in cat-form. Sorry, world. http://bit.ly/c263Og

- William Shatner sings Cee-Loo's "F*ck You." http://bzfd.it/d0L3vy

- The "Inception Mouse Button" may be the best of all the "Inception" buttons. http://bzfd.it/aM3OnI

TWITTERAMA

@dcfireems: Unlike ABC 'Modern Family' episode last nite- simpliest thing a family can do is make sure they have working smoke alarms - DO NOT destroy

@pourmecoffee: Not sure if we still have to set clock backs Sunday since we already set country back Tuesday.

@borowitzreport: We may be falling behind China in some ways, but our underground drug tunnels are second to none. #USA

THE TUBE

TONIGHT: Jim Moran, Claire McCaskill, Judd Gregg and Michael Bennet are on Hardball. John Boehner appears on Special Report and World News. Debbie Stabenow, Ed Rendell, Elijah Cummings and Keith Ellison are on The Ed Show.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:00 pm & 7:15 pm: Two free jazz/gospel performances at the National Geographic Society. First, Paul Beaudry & Pathways perform a mix of jazz and blues. Then Turning Pointe, a gospel group, takes the stage [National Geographic Society,1600 M St, NW].

7:00 pm: Call us nerds (which we are) but a biography of the Atlantic Ocean sounds super nifty. Simon Winchester discusses his new book, "Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories" at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave NW].

7:30 pm: For those of you dirty hippies still licking your wounds from the midterms, why not head over to the Kennedy Center for a performance of Hair. It will be running through Sunday [Kennedy Center, 2700 F St NW]

TOMORROW

5:30 pm: Segue into the weekend with some indie chamber rock. Ra Ra Riot performs at 9:30 Club [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].

7:30 pm: If you enjoy reading the lower sections of HuffPost Hill, then you'd probably enjoy Daniel Tosh and his Internet video show on Comedy Central, "Tosh.0." Tosh takes his corrupted view of the information superhighway to the Warner Theatre [Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

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