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HUFFPOST HILL - Because John Boehner Doesn't Have Enough Problems Already

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Tonight is the third night of Hanukkah, a holiday that commemorates the time when God drill-baby-drilled for eight miraculous nights. Speaking of Hanukkah, pot use is now legal in Colorado, so the state should be experiencing a latke and chocolate coin-fueled boom by the weekend. And speaking of God's chosen people, John "Why in every f**king kosher meal do we have to have salmon?" McCain will likely question Susan Rice if she is nominated to be secretary of State. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, December 10th, 2012:

SUSAN RICE'S CONFIRMATION IS GOING TO BE EXTRA CURMUDGEONLY - John McCain is joining the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, meaning America is going to get to witness a level of grumpiness from John McCain not witnessed since one of his interns forgot to refresh his hard candy supply. Foreign Policy: "McCain told The Cable he will join the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and also remain on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) in an interview on the sidelines of the 2012 IISS Manama Security Dialogue. McCain, who finishes his six-year term as ranking Republican on the SASC this year, will not challenge Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) for the leadership post on the SFRC, but his presence will be felt, especially during the confirmation hearings, which could be especially contentious this time around if Rice is chosen as the nominee. Those nomination hearings would be chaired by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) -- that is, unless Kerry gets the nod himself." [Foreign Policy]

STATES, OBAMA AND SICK IN MEXICAN STANDOFF - Not sure how the sick would contribute to the standoff but this is America so surely everyone involved is armed. Jeff Young: "States must expand Medicaid all the way if they want to receive full Obamacare funding, federal officials said Monday. The health care reform law enacted in 2010 calls for Medicaid to be offered to anyone who earns up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $14,856 this year. Under the law, the federal government would pay the full cost of enrolling newly eligible people from 2014 to 2016, after which the share would gradually shrink until it reached 90 percent starting in 2022. States have been slow to embrace this aspect of Obamacare, despite the unprecedented level of federal financing for Medicaid...After months of waiting for an answer about partially expanding Medicaid under health care reform, states received a simple reply from the Obama administration Monday: no. States that partially expand will not receive the enhanced funding that would come with a full expansion." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Republicans in three states said last week they would introduce legislation to make poor people pee in cups when they apply for welfare benefits. Most places it's been tried, the policy has triggered strong court challenges, and it's never been shown to save the government money. But humiliating jobless people and insinuating that they are drug addicts is just priceless. (MSNBC has a roundup of the latest proposals.)

Holiday fundraiser tomorrow for the Maslins at the Tune Inn from 5 to 8.

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TOM PRICE ANNOYING THE SPEAKER - At this point, John Boehner has probably inserted an IV of Merlot into his veins and is sighing so much his staffers are suffering from carbon dioxide poisoning. Robert Costa: "Should a debt deal go sour, the buzz is that Tom Price, a 58-year-old physician from Georgia, may challenge John Boehner for the speaker's gavel. 'Price is the person we're all watching,' says an aide close to House leadership. 'We know he's frustrated, but we don't know much else.' In an interview with National Review Online, Price won't speculate about his future, but he acknowledges his growing uneasiness. 'My concern is that within our conference, conservatives, who are a majority, don't have a proper platform,' he says. 'That's true at the leadership table and on the steering committee.'" Price's office responded to the speculation with this conspicuously present tense statement: "Price is not running for speaker." [NRO]

@FixAaron: Price has also reportedly been making calls about a potential primary challenge to Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

HALEY WON'T APPOINT 'PLACEHOLDER' FOR DEMINT'S SEAT - That is, South Carolina's governor won't appoint some aging chief of staff or retired legislator to serve until the victor of the 2014 special election takes office. So Ted Kaufman and Carte Goodwin's AAA Temporary Legislative Staffing Professionals will probably not be receiving new business. WaPo: "South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said Monday that she would not appoint a 'placeholder' to fill the seat of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) when he leaves in January for the Heritage Foundation. The announcement bolsters speculation that Haley will appoint Rep. Tim Scott (R), a well-liked conservative with ambitions for higher office. 'As I continue to consider the impending U.S. Senate vacancy, many have discussed the possibility of a 'placeholder' appointee who would pledge to serve for only two years and not seek election to the seat in 2014,' Haley said. 'While there are some good arguments in favor of that approach, I believe the better case is against it.'" [WaPo]

He can Senate and so can you. PPP: "Colbert tops the wish list of who South Carolina voters would like to see join that body at 20%, followed by Tim Scott at 15%, Trey Gowdy at 14%, Jenny Sanford at 11%, Henry McMaster and Mark Sanford at 8%, Jeff Duncan and Joe Wilson at 5%, and Mick Mulvaney at 4%. It's Democrats and independents- those voters Haley most needs to improve her standing with- who are pining for a Colbert appointment. Among Democrats 32% say they'd like Colbert to be picked with Jenny Sanford at 19% and no one else in double digits. With crucial independent voters Colbert has a 15 point lead for the appointment, getting 28% to 13% for Tim Scott, 12% for Jenny Sanford, and 10% for Trey Gowdy with no one else in double digits. If Colbert's lacking knowledge of the state beverage keeps him from Haley's consideration, voters say their top choice is Jenny Sanford at 17%, followed by Tim Scott at 16%, Henry McMaster at 13%, and Trey Gowdy at 12%." [PPP]

@PPPPolls: If Grandma got run over by a reindeer, just 24% would press charges against Santa. 61% would not

WEED NOW LEGAL IN COLORADO - Vermont just lost all rights to the nickname "Green Mountain State." Step it up, Montpellier. CNN: "The recreational use of marijuana officially became legal Monday in Colorado, a little more than a month after voters in the state passed an amendment in favor of the measure. 'Voters were loud and clear on Election Day,' Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said in a statement, as he signed an executive order to officially legalize the personal use and limited growing of marijuana for those 21 or older. Amendment 64, as it's called, is now a part of the state's constitution. It is still illegal, however, to buy or sell marijuana 'in any quantity' in Colorado or to consume it in public. Hickenlooper, who opposed the amendment in the run-up to Election Day, announced the start of a 24-member task force that would 'begin working immediately' to help the state navigate federal laws and establish how citizens can legally purchase and sell cannabis." [CNN]

Americans want Obama to leave Colorado's pot law ALONE, according to a new poll.

2012: RNC TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WENT WRONG - Anyone could tell you that it was John Cusack's phoned-in performance and the unimaginative vision of director Roland Emmerich. Politico: "The Republican National Committee is rolling out a plan to review what worked and what didn't for the party in the 2012 cycle, appointing five people at the top of a committee that will make recommendations on things like demographics, messaging and fundraising. The Growth and Opportunity Project is going to be chaired by RNC committee member Henry Barbour, longtime Jeb Bush adviser and political operative Sally Bradshaw, former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, Puerto Rico RNC committee member Zori Fonalledas, and South Carolina RNC member Glenn McCall. Priebus, who is running for a second term, is holding a call with committee members to roll out the plan this afternoon. The plan is to focus on: campaign mechanics, fundraising, demographics, messaging, outside groups, campaign finance, the national primary process and, last but not least, what the successful Democratic efforts revealed about the way forward, and recommend plans for the way forward, sources familiar with the plan said." [Politico]

MICHIGAN LAWMAKERS DISCUSS 'RIGHT TO WORK' BILL - Amanda Terkel: "Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) met with Democrats in Michigan's congressional delegation on Monday morning on the controversial 'right to work' bill being fast-tracked by the GOP-controlled state legislature. Sen. Carl Levin, along with Reps. Hansen Clarke, Jon Conyers, Dave Curson, John Dingell, Sander Levin and Gary Peters, were in the meeting, according to a congressional aide involved. Rep.-elect Dan Kildee also attended. Sen. Debbie Stabenow was not at the meeting because of a previously scheduled tour of Hurricane Sandy damage in New Jersey, but she met with Snyder separately over the weekend and called in to the delegation's post-meeting press conference...Peters spoke with The Huffington Post after the meeting and said if Snyder does sign the bill into law, he should at least support putting right to work before the public as a ballot initiative. Currently, the legislation is a spending bill, so it can't be put forward as a referendum." [HuffPost]

President Obama took issue with the legislation today: "And by the way, what we shouldn't do -- I've just got to say this -- what we shouldn't be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions," he said today at a speech at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant. "We shouldn't be doing that. The so-called 'right-to-work' laws -- they don't have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they're really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

HOUSE DEMS SUING TO REFORM THE FILIBUSTER - As an opening and closing argument, their lawyer should read from the phonebook, just to put the judge in the right state of mind. NBC News: "A federal court in Washington on Monday takes up a legal challenge to the Senate filibuster brought by four House Democrats and the political reform group Common Cause, which calls the procedure 'an accident of history, not included in the Constitution and never contemplated by its drafters.' At issue are Senate rules allowing discussion without time limit and requiring a vote of three-fifths of the members, or 60 senators, to end debate. That 60-vote super-majority, the lawsuit contends, is at odds with the Constitution, which specifies only a small number of circumstances in which more than a simple majority is required -- overriding a veto, impeaching the president, or expelling a member, for example." [NBC News]

Harry Reid today celebrated Ben Nelson's Blagojevich-at-60 haircut: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants you to know his feelings about a retiring senator's hair. Reid, speaking Monday afternoon on the Senate floor, was paying tribute to Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who is retiring in January after serving for two terms. 'I mean, that is a mop of real hair,' Reid said. 'It's often that people call his office, email his office, they believe he has a toupee. It's his hair! He'll pull it for you any time just to show you that it's real.'" [HuffPost]

ALLEN WEST GRACEFUL IN DEFEAT - But seriously, folks. During an appearance on Mark Levin's radio show last week, the outgoing Florida congressman attributed his defeat to Patrick Murphy worshiping at the altar of ACORN. "The most important thing everyone has to understand is my voice is not going to be lost," West said. "We've gotten a lot of opportunities, a lot of offers, and we're going to make sure we continue to have that platform. [...] I'm a warrior and I'm a statesman and I'm a servant of this republic. I'm not going away just because of a congressional race where he seems to have to cheat to beat me." In fairness to West, one's Americanness is directly tied to one's inability to process defeat, making Allen West the most American American ever to grace America. [ThinkProgress]

Local anglophiles take note: "'Downton Abbey's' long-awaited season three stateside premiere is coming! Wanna know what's even better? Certain members of the cast are coming to Washington on Thursday to watch it at the British ambassador's residence. Though PBS is being a bit mum about which cast members will be in our nation's capital, HOH does know that everyone's favorite butler, Mr. Carson, played by actor Jim Carter, will be among the guests." [Roll Call]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - That time a Jack Russell terrier pulled a baby on a sled.

UNCLE JOE CRASHES PARTY - HuffPost DC: "David and Susan Axelrod, whose daughter Lauren developed a severe case of epilepsy at age seven, hosted CURE Epilepsy's 2012 Key to the CUREevent at a private D.C. residence on Friday night. Vice President Joe Biden made a surprise appearance at the event." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- New Zealand's SPCA trained dogs to drive cars and pass their driving tests... really. And to think you feel cool for knowing how to drive stick. [http://bit.ly/VLJGTS]

- "Arrested Development" characters and plotlines reimagined as games for the original Nintendo system. [http://bit.ly/U6RKZA]

- Baby takes dog on a walk, gets distracted by a puddle. [http://bit.ly/T0nwJ0]

- If "Breaking Bad" were a Lifetime series. Bob Odenkirk has never seemed so wholesome. [http://bit.ly/VD5q48]

- A sitdown interview with Tard the Grumpy Cat. [http://bit.ly/WP2jS0]

- What happens when two bored Londoners dress up as Teletubbies and creep everyone out. [http://chzb.gr/RKqQeC]

- Yoko Ono performs Katy Perry's "Fireworks." Moving. Truly. [http://bit.ly/TAGSXi]

TWITTERAMA

@pourmecoffee: Fiscal cliff should be gamified with Obama and Boehner playing one-on-one while Congress cheers on like a cockfight.

@bdayspring: He's an old white man... Odds say not likely MT @HuffPostPol: Americans think Santa Claus is a Democrat, poll shows huff.to/TQeGje

@daveweigel: MT @PublicPolicyPolling Please pay attention to us

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:00 pm: Mark Udall kicks off his 2014 reelection campaign with a $10-a-head barbecue with volunteers in his home state a $1,000-a-head fundraiser at a swank DC restaurant. [Cava Mezze, 527 8th Street SE]

6:00 pm: That other Senate Mark, Mark Warner, does actually have a semi-cheap BBQ fundraiser. $50-a-head. [Hill Country, 410 7th Street NW]

TOMORROW

8:30 am: The once and possibly future Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown pays tribute to his donors with... coffee. Hopefully there will be scones... or maybe a bagel or two. [NRSC, 425 2nd Street NE]

11:45: Bob Corker raises funds for his Rock City PAC, which shouldn't be confused with "Rack City," a 2011 single from the rapper Tyga about strip clubs. Don't expect a Tyga appearance. [Fiola Ristoranta, 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW]

6:00 pm: The Senate's new minority whip, John Cornyn (forever known to us as BIG JOOOOOHHNNNNNN), launches his reelection campaign -- hopefully while mounted on a steer. [NRSC, 425 2nd Street NE]

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Chuck Schumer puts down his Schumwich and talks politics at a reception recapping the 2012 election. [Acqua Al 2, 212 7th Street Southeast]

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