POLITICS
11/16/2012 05:30 pm ET Updated Jan 16, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - John McCain Clearing America's Lawn Of Measly Kids

Congressional leaders met with President Obama to keep America from falling off the fiscal cliff and into the fiscal fjord. The Taliban accidentally CCed everyone on its email list, a faux pas almost as bad as its stubborn use of Comic Sans. And Ted Cruz expedited the GOP's demographic growth when he claimed Mitt Romney and Barack Obama "French-kissed" in the third debate. Bipartisan (and bi-curious?), this is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, November 16th, 2012:

MCCAIN DESPERATELY SEEKING ONE LAST CURMUDGEONLY HURRAH - Unless someone can land John McCain a supporting role in "Space Cowboys 2: Moon Coupons" he probably won't let up about the whole "Watergate-style hearing." In January, the Arizona senator will lose his top-ranking Armed Services Committee seat due to term limits. The only ranking Republican spot available to him next session will be on the far less prominent Indian Affairs Committee. Unless, that is, the Senate creates a brand-new select committee. On Wednesday, McCain, flanked by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), proposed just that: a select committee with extensive authority to investigate the Benghazi, Libya, attack and the U.S. government's response. The Republican most likely to hold the ranking spot on such a panel would be, of course, John McCain, giving the Arizona senator a new burst of relevance. McCain is behind Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) in the line for the top Republican slot on the Senate Homeland Security Committee and does not sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. [Grim and Sabrina Siddiqui]

RUBIO IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL A TOTAL KNOCKOFF - Like a pair of Guchi shoes. Elise Foley: "A rough outline for a Dream Act-like bill from Senate Republicans leaked on Thursday is part of a year-long effort by Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) to find a GOP solution to helping young undocumented immigrants, a Hutchison aide confirmed to HuffPost. The plan is similar to one being floated this spring by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has become the face of the Senate GOP's efforts on immigration. But their quieter effort, beginning a little over a year ago, predates Rubio's, according to the aide, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity to discuss behind-the-scenes work on the bill. And now, as Hutchison and Kyl prepare to retire in January, their framework -- the ACHIEVE ACT -- is resurfacing as a potential basis for a bipartisan agreement to give legal status to some undocumented young people. [HuffPost]

DOJ TRYING TO MAKE ELECTION DAY SUCK LESS - On November 6th, millions of Americans endured Space Mountain-like lines to vote. But while patrons of the Walt Disney theme parks are rewarded with a magical interstellar journey, voters just ended up footsore and frustrated in a dilapidated community center named after an obscure ex-city council president. The government took note. Amanda Terkel: "'You shouldn't have to vote and by the time you get to the front of the line, know who won the election. It's not exactly America at its finest,' Tom Perez, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division, said at the George Washington University Law Review symposium on Friday afternoon...Perez said the Justice Department is already looking at the issue of provisional ballots, which individuals cast when poll workers have questions about whether they are eligible to vote. Compared to regular ballots, provisional ballots are more often not counted or take longer to be counted...Perez also said it was time for the United States to rethink its system of partisan state and local election administration, which often leads both Democrats and Republicans to question officials' motives behind election decisions...He also embraced same-day voter registration and a system where individuals are automatically registered to vote by the government." [HuffPost]

Senator-elect Ted Cruz on Mitt Romney and Barack Obama's third debate: "I'm pretty certain Mitt Romney actually French-kissed Barack Obama." [Politico]

The Tumblr for fans of Congressional visual aides: Floor Charts

FORMER ABRAMOFF LOBBYIST PISSED AT THINGS FOR SECRETARY OF STATE - HuffPost Hill's chief disgraced K Street correspondent, the Former Abramoff Lobbyist Pissed At Things, is upset about President Obama's rumored cabinet changes. "I am officially throwing my name in the ring for Secretary of State since the requirements seem pretty low, and because my unemployment benefits will run out soon unless these obstructionist GOPers finally do what's right and cave on the fiscal cliff," FALPAT writes, taking a break from presenting his imaginary friends with briefcases full of money. "Seriously, you already have the incompetent/dumb candidate with Susan Rice and the guy nobody eff'n likes with John Kerry. So why not FALPAT? Back in 2004 these guys were all begging for my attention ('Hey FALPAT come by the office and have a drink'....remember that Democrats?). Messina, call me. Time to pay me back and push this through Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and certainly before you give Jesse Jackson Jr. disability benefits." Thanks, FALPAT!

FALPAT adds: "By the way, if Byron Dorgan gets nominated for anything FALPAT will go nuclear with a lot of facts." Noted, FALPAT!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - If Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) wants the poor and jobless to prove they're not on drugs in order to receive benefits, then Perry should have to pee in a cup, too, says a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives. State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) told HuffPost he got his idea from the Bible. "The Bible talks about not judging others," Martinez Fischer said. "If the governor wants to sit in judgment, then we're going to judge everybody by the same standard." Martinez Fischer also noted that Perry might have been, uh, on drugs during the Republican primary this year. [HuffPost]

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FISCAL CLIFF: PRESIDENT MEETS WITH CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS AS MARKETS SUFFER FISCAL VERTIGO - The meetings were described as "productive," which is to say Harry Reid didn't grab a rare vase off of a fireplace mantel and hurl it at Mitch McConnell in a fit of partisan rage. The Hill: "The lawmakers offered no details on their discussions to avert major tax hikes and spending cuts that could cripple the economy in January, but Republican leaders signaled a flexibility on higher taxes while Democrats said they could agree to spending cuts. In a signal to financial markets that have fallen precipitously since Obama's election last week, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed confidence they would reach a deal. The four all appeared outside the White House after the meeting as a group to telegraph their seriousness and unity to the markets and the public." [The Hill]

A Boehner aide tells Sam Stein that the speaker wants to give the issue another six months to marinate: "The speaker said he believes 2013 should be the year we begin to solve our debt problem through tax reform and entitlement reform, and proposed that both parties work together to avert the fiscal cliff together in a manner that ensures 2013 is that year," the aide said. "He proposed that both parties commit to working toward a framework for tax and entitlement reform in 2013 that sets revenue and spending levels." [HuffPost]

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PETRAEUS APPEARS BEFORE INTEL COMMITTEES - In what must have undoubtedly featured a lot of awkward silences and way-too-audible chair shuffling, former CIA Director David Petraeus appeared at the Capitol this morning. AP: "Ex-CIA Director David Petraeus told lawmakers during private hearings Friday that he believed all along that the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was a terrorist strike, even though that wasn't how the Obama administration initially described it publicly. The retired four-star general addressed the House and Senate intelligence committees as questions continue to persist over what the Obama administration knew in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and why their public description did not match intelligence agencies' assessments. Lawmakers said Petraeus testified that the CIA's draft talking points written in response to the assault on the diplomat post in Benghazi that killed four Americans referred to it as a terrorist attack. But Petraeus told the lawmakers that reference was removed from the final version, although he wasn't sure which federal agency took out the reference." [AP]

Priorities: "We the undersigned, hereby request Barack Obama to immediately Nationalize the Twinkie industry and prevent our nation from losing her sweet creamy center." [White House]

Priorities, pt. 2: "Establish new legal system of motorcycle riding 'Judges' who serve as police, judge, jury, and executioner all in one." [White House]

GOP GOVERNORS DIALING DOWN ANTI-TAX RHETORIC - Politico: "[Virginia Governor Bob] McDonnell, the outgoing head of the Republican Governors Association, made clear that raising taxes isn't his first choice. But he said that the political reality of a Democratic president and Democratic Senate makes it unlikely that a grand bargain can be struck without some compromise on raising revenues... Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, one of the most influential Republicans in the country, echoed McDonnell's assessment that Republicans should be open to upping the rates of the top filers in exchange for significant Democratic concessions on Social Security, Medicare and deficit reduction... Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, a former longtime member of Congress, also warmed to higher rates for the wealthy in exchange for major Democratic
concessions." [Politico]

Haley Barbour on GOP soul-searching: "We've got to give our political organization a very serious proctology exam... We need to look everywhere." [HuffPost's Elyse Siegel]

ARNE DUNCAN TO REMAIN SECRETARY OF PICKUP GAMES - And education. Can't forget the educating. Joy Resmovits: "U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan implied in a Friday speech that he intends to stay in his position. 'Let me, first, sketch the outlines, or provide a mini-preview, of a second-term education agenda,' Duncan told state education leaders at the Council of Chief State School Officers conference in Atlanta, according to prepared remarks provided to The Huffington Post. Duncan had previously told The Huffington Post in September 2011 that he intended to stay for a second term if Obama asked him, saying that he hates working against a clock. Many expected Duncan, Obama's basketball buddy, to stay, but over the last week, representatives of the White House would not confirm the appointment on the record." [HuffPost]

CORY BOOKER DELAYS GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN DECISION, WILL AWESOMELY TWEET A BIT LONGER - Newark's popular mayor/grownup version of your super-chill freshman year RA will delay his announcement about his political future. Star-Ledger: "'The reality is Sandy has pushed my timeline back,' Booker said on his monthly radio program on WBGO. With Booker widely touted as the best-positioned Democrat to beat Gov. Chris Christie, the Democratic party in New Jersey is on tenterhooks to see if he will make a run next year. Two sources familiar with Booker's thinking told The Star-Ledger last week that he plans to decide whether to challenge Christie -- who has indicated he plans to seek re-election -- by mid-December, leaving plenty of time for other potential Democratic candidates to mount a campaign." [Star-Ledger]

AWKWARD - WaPo: "Democrat Ami Bera has ousted Rep. Daniel E. Lungren (R-Calif.) to represent a Sacramento-area congressional seat, according to the Associated Press...As of today, Bera had 51.11 percent of the vote compared to Lungren's 48.89 percent, according to the AP. The announcement of Bera's victory comes at the end of orientation week for new House lawmakers -- a process that Lungren is responsible for overseeing in his role as chairman of the House Administration Committee. That means that the man Bera worked to unseat has been training him on how to do his job." [WaPo]

America is still recovering from the fallout of the Sherman/Berman campaign: "Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) on Friday abandoned his bid to become the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, all but ensuring Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) will get the job," The Hill reports. Sherman had antagonized many members of his caucus when his campaign circulated fliers that cast fellow Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and Barney Frank in a negative light. Womp womp. [The Hill]

AWKWARD, WAR EDITION - "In a Dilbert-esque faux pax, a Taliban spokesperson sent out a routine email last week with one notable difference.He publicly CC'd the names of everyone on his mailing list." [ABC News]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Like all cats, this cat is horrible and demands its owner stop everything to tend to its needs.

WAX STEPHEN COLBERT IS UNVEILED, LICKED - HuffPost DC: "'It freaks me out,' human Stephen Colbert told HuffPost DC at the unveiling of his waxen likeness at Madame Tussauds in D.C., before giving wax Stephen Colbert a lick." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Prepare to have your mind blown, and your childhood rendered stupid-seeming, by this humongous LEGO pop-up book. [http://chzb.gr/Qhdvtz]

- Child is deeply upset by President Obama's reelection. [http://bit.ly/TNQcEC]

- Joe Biden's "Parks and Recreation" cameo. [http://bit.ly/UJ2zGr]

- Three-year-old eating sour candy will be turned into a GIF in .00000003 seconds. [http://bit.ly/PYUqLn]

- Photos of animals looking high because yes yes yes yes yes yes. [http://bit.ly/ZHueaT]

- A photo tour of Conan O'Brien's studios and offices. [http://bit.ly/TMcYwA]

- Having a super intricate office in your car will earn you a fine in Germany. [http://bit.ly/Qin4Zs]

TWITTERAMA

@StephanieWDC: Legitimate rape whistle #GOPgiftideas

@joshjonsmith: As a journalist, I feel compelled to make sure the turkey to be pardoned by Obama wasn't a major campaign donor

@igorbobic: We're going to be outspent #talibansubjectlines

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