POLITICS
09/28/2011 06:12 pm ET | Updated Nov 28, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - Anthony Kennedy Is The Super Committee Of Health Care

The Obama administration will defend the Affordable Care Act in court, though the assisted suicide-wary Supreme Court might not be crazy about the death panels. The fact of the matter is, at the end of the day, Rick Perry won't rest until he sets into motion a lot of political cliches, and that is a fact (it is what it is -- that's football in the National Football League). And lawmakers were so insistent on wishing their Jewish friends a Happy New Year that we're pretty sure Rosh Hashanah well wishes are the new American Flag pins. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, September 28th, 2011:

DOJ TO FIGHT HEALTH CARE REFORM IN COURT - The Justice Department today filed a challenge with the Supreme Court, contesting the August decision that the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act violates the Constitution. The move is a clear indication that the administration wishes to move on from the debate about health care reform and believes it can do so successfully by appealing to the High Court (we hear DOJ's attorney plans to assert the validity of the law by asking mailmen to dump 50,000 letters from children addressed to President Obama on the justices' desk, each asking him to kill their grandparents via death panel). [AP]

As this Huffington Post front page image CLEARLY demonstrates, Barney Frank decided to forgo shaving a few days, don a wig, shackle himself to some other people and attend a protest in Europe.

PERRY NOW HAS MORE SUPER PACS THAN SUPPORTERS - Paul Blumenthal: "Supporters of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential bid have organized a non-profit under the 501(c)(4) section of the tax code to aid his candidacy, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News. The group, Citizens For A Greater America, will be able to accept unlimited contributions from corporations, unions, and individuals without having to publicly disclose those donations, a feature highlighted to donors in a fact sheet obtained by iWatch News. The new non-profit was revealed to iWatch News by a fundraiser for both Perry and the pro-Perry Super PAC, Make Us Great Again."

Setti Warren is quitting the Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary. The Newton mayor didn't gain much traction in his campaign to unseat Scott Brown, and he was rendered even more irrelevant by Elizabeth Warren's entry into the race. Now Warren goes back to concerning himself with the affairs of Newton, which we imagine mostly involves expanding parking at farmers' markets and congratulating the 53 seniors at Newton North High School who were accepted by Colgate.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Oklahoma Republicans have latched onto a Florida study claiming Rick Scott saved the state nearly $1 million in two months by forcing welfare applicants to pee into cups. An Oklahoma state rep, citing the study, said "it is clear the program has been a huge success in just its first two months." A real revenue stream, indeed! Hate to take the piss out of that near-$1 million figure, but it's crap: The study came up with it by assuming the 500-plus poor Floridians who didn't complete applications in August would have soaked up a year's worth of welfare, when the average beneficiary uses the program for less than five months. And there's not much reason to assume the pee-cup scared them all off because they'd have tested positive. Consider also that Scott's scheme forces applicants to pay $30 for their own tests, and that 80 percent of all applicants don't complete the process in the first place. Or, don't consider any of it and go ahead and make your laws. [Alva Review-Courier ]

Obama spoke at Banneker High (!) today. He said he was fine being called "a warrior for the working class." Yes, Barack Obama said that. [HuffPost DC]

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DEMS ADOPT TIME-TESTED STRATEGY OF GIVING UP AND WAITING FOR OPPONENT TO SELF-DESTRUCT - Every so often, Democrats try to formulate a coherent electoral strategy aimed at promoting their agenda and distinguishing it from that of their Republican adversaries. It's always a spectacular failure. "Smaller government!" Republicans say. "Made in America!" Democrats retort. "Smaller government!" say Republicans. "Uh, Social Security!" reply the Dems. "Smaller Government!" the Republicans maintain. "[Tense smile from Nancy Pelosi]" the Democrats respond. Anyhoo, America's supposedly left-leaning party is resorting to its can't-lose "Let paleoconservatives primary more palatable Republican candidates, thereby making the meh Democratic nominee the only rational choice" approach, Mike McAuliff reports. "Republicans note that they actually won seven contests in 2010 -- including with Tea Party candidates -- and that the conservative uprising generated tremendous energy to take over the House. Still, Democrats are already looking at about a dozen primaries on the GOP side, and think at least four -- in Michigan, Nebraska, Indiana and Wisconsin -- are showing signs of a Tea Party surge that could work in their favor." [HuffPost]

"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..."

MITT ROMNEY LEADS IOWA POLL - A survey out from the American Research Group contains dispiriting news for Rick Perry: He's trailing Mitt Romney AND Michele Bachmann in Iowa. Romney is the favorite of 21 percent of respondents and Bachmann narrowly leads Perry for second place, 15 percent to 14 percent. And this is Iowa we're talking about. The bible-thumping, creationism-supporting cup that is usually cooled by the New Hampshire saucer! Rick Perry should be afraid! Also, the initial polls featuring Chris Christie will soon be released. The phrase "wide margin" will be used. Everyone will laugh. It'll be a hoot. [American Research Group]

@politicoroger: Game over. http://huff.to/qHKSvt

FLORIDA REPUBLICANS UNVEIL PLAN TO HAVE JOURNALISTS MAKE OUT IN A DES MOINES-AREA SUPER 8 ON NEW YEARS EVE - Republicans in Florida plan on moving up their primary to January 31st, 2012. This would force the early primary/caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to move their election dates from February to January. This could result in a second-straight Iowa Caucus in held in super early January. "It is more than speculation. It's my expectation that Jan. 31 will be the date," Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon told NBC News. He added that the forfeiture of half his state's delegates was worth the added importance the primary will play by being earlier in the calendar. [NBC News]

EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS, INCLUDING THE NUMBER OF POLITICAL CLICHES EMPLOYED BY ITS POLITICIANS- The University of Minnesota's Smart Politics team tabulated the number of utterances of "At the end of the day," "The Bottom line is," "As a matter of fact," "The fact of the matter," "The fact is," "We know for a fact," "Let me just say," and "Let's cut to the chase" during the two GOP debates this month. It found that Rick Perry had dished out over four times as many cliches than any other candidate.. In fact, if you were to add up the cliches of all the debate participants, the sum of their platitudes don't even come close to Perry's. This is additionally funny if you recall that the title of Rick Perry's last web ad was "Words Have Meaning." Rick Santorum, ever the linguistic crusader (the guy is a neologism, for chrissake), did his part by not saying "thank you for your service" when that gay soldier asked him a question. [ HREF="http://huff.to/rbX5Gy" TARGET="_HPLINK">Smart Politics]

Joe Lieberman is working hard to shore up his legacy in Congress, so that's why he's basically proposing we limit Medicaid coverage to DayQuil and chapstick. Lieberman, along with Tom Coburn, sent a letter to the super committee today asking for greater cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. "Federal spending for Medicare and Medicaid has accounted for a sharply rising share of the federal budget over the last decade, making it clear that it will be virtually impossible to balance our country's finances without bringing the costs of these programs under control," the two senators wrote in a letter sent today to the 12-member panel. We're pretty sure this is the type of behavior that doesn't land you one of your state's two coveted statue spots in the Capitol. [The Hill]

OBAMA: DOMA WILL BE RESOLVED SOON - During a roundtable discussion about Latino issues today, President Obama said he expects the status of the Defense of Marriage Act to be resolved "fairly soon." "The position that my administration has taken, I think, will have a significant influence on the court as it examines the constitutionality of this law," he said. "Once that law is put down -- and I don't know what the ruling would be -- addressing these bi-national issues could flow from that decision." The president's statement, despite his superfluous but necessary (only in politics) insistence that he doesn't know the outcome of a pending court case, suggests the White House is feeilng confident enough about the obvious unconstitutionality of DOMA to predict its litigious demise. Plus, it's probably best that the White House only make educated guesses about gay rights. The president's promises to gay rights folks haven't exactly unfolded as planned. [HuffPost's Elise Foley]

THAD MCCOTTER FACING TOUGH HOUSE CAMPAIGN - Michigan Republican Thad McCotter, who bravely abandoned his wildly successful presidential campaign (his farewell speech is on its way to 60,000,000 hits on YouTube) to tend to the needs of his struggling district, might succeed in his bid for obscurity, but not in the way that he planned. Alex Isenstadt: "Looming for McCotter is a primary against at least one serious GOP rival who wants to cast the congressman as less interested in serving his constituents than waging a futile presidential foray. To add to his woes, McCotter must make amends for attacking Mitt Romney, a favorite son whose family name is well respected in southeastern Michigan.
To some, the predicament underscores what was obvious all along: Running for the nation's highest office would do McCotter more harm than good." We ran the phrase "waging a futile presidential foray" by our editor here at HuffPost, Liz Engdahl (who does not edit HuffPost Hill, so don't blame her!) and she grimaced something fierce. [Politico]

SOMETIMES, WE DON'T NEED TO ADD ANYTHING- "Alabama state Sen. Scott Beason (R) apologized for referring to blacks as 'aborigines' and says his words were 'careless and unnecessary,' the Montgomery Advertiser reports. Beason was heard on FBI recordings made while helping investigate claims of gambling corruption." [Political Wire]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - The sheep that thinks its a dog.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT -Tonight: After a slight clearing during the day, expect more storms to sweep through the region early this evening. Tomorrow: Threatening in the morning, with a drying out, followed by scattered afternoon thunderstorms. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- A cappella group hijacks a college final exam. [http://huff.to/oC6AeV]

- Puppy really wants attention. [http://huff.to/o6Lqgy]

- The story of the polite Chinese native who is walking across America with a grocery cart. [http://huff.to/n8SnNu]

- "Pug on a slide" is your newest internet meme that will be Photoshopped into every iconic photograph imaginable. [http://huff.to/oV9HMc]

- "7 Sites You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now" from HuffPost Comedy. [http://huff.to/nzWAs1]

- More Nirvana nostalgia! Here's a 44-minute video of the band's performance at the Paramount Theater in 1991. [http://huff.to/petUWU]

- "Four Britons driving a car transformed into a pirate ship were stopped by German police as they drove through Europe on their way to a competition." [http://huff.to/n88dvu]

- Kittens turn on a vacuum. [http://huff.to/pVzzeV]

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: Hey, if wealthy investors are getting behind a prez candidate, I'm convinced. Those guys are *never* wrong.

@todd_zwillich: That would be poor forma RT @OKnox: So, colleagues, I'll see you all in the House Press Gallery before 11 am tomorrow?

@HispanicCaucus: RT @ricky_martin: Wishing all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah a happy & peaceful holiday. Shana Tova.

ON TAP

TOMORROW

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm: Oklahoman Frank Lucas isn't running for president but he knows where the money is, which is why he's the guest of honor at a California fundraiser hosted by California Dairies PAC. Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes and Jeff Denham are scheduled to make appearances. [California Dairies Inc, 2000 North Plaza Dr, Visalia, CA]

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm: Pete Visclosky, the greatest lawmaker ever to grace the Congressional Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Caucus, tries to clear the obstruction in Congress with a D.C. fundraiser. [Johnny's Half Shell, 400 North Capitol Street NW #175].

6:00 pm: Henry Cuellar, whose last name we always mispronounce as "Quee-Lar," is the man of the hour at a campaign event in the Lone Star State hosted by a bunch of doctors. [Club Giraud, 707 N Saint Marys, San Antonio, TX].

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