POLITICS
06/13/2014 05:49 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - Iraq Broken Despite All Our Help

Mike Bloomberg has been spending a lot of money in support of Thad Cochran, because apparently Bloomberg couldn't find a hole in the ground or a bonfire. Chelsea Clinton earned $600,000 a year at NBC News, meaning she’ll never know the pain her parents felt when they were dead broke. And our invasion of Iraq and its current state calls to mind the Pottery Barn Rule: If you break it, you buy it *leave Pottery Barn*. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, June 13th, 2014:

@anthonyweiner: Ok, to recap my day. I accidentally hit the star thingy on a @voxdotcom story about Tinder. Sorry.

LABRADOR JUMPS IN MAJORITY LEADER RACE - "A two-term Republican congressman from Idaho with a track record of challenging the House Republican leadership said Friday he would run for the No. 2 job in the chamber. Raul Labrador, a 46-year-old Mormon father of five, tea party congressman and Puerto Rican-born only child of a single mother, will challenge House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for the position of House majority leader. It's a long shot bid. McCarthy, 49, began gathering commitments from other House Republicans on Wednesday, the day after then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) suffered a stunning loss in the primary for his seat. In his current role as whip, McCarthy's job is to round up votes from other Republicans. The election is Thursday -- leaving little time for Labrador to build momentum and peel off votes from McCarthy. The former immigration attorney stepped forward to run after a number of other conservative House Republicans declined to. 'I was stunned when Eric Cantor lost his primary election earlier this week. Eric is a good friend and I have tremendous respect for him. But the message from Tuesday is clear -- Americans are looking for a change in the status quo,' Labrador said in a statement...The situation left House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the rest of the Republican leadership in the House with a problem: The 40 or so hardline tea party members of the House GOP do not want the response to Cantor's loss -- which was driven by grassroots discontent with the establishment -- to simply be more establishment leadership. This discontent may be satisfied if Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) wins his race against Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) for House majority whip, taking McCarthy's spot." [HuffPost]

You mean the far right doesn't love this guy? "He hangs out with billionaire Elon Musk, rides bikes with actor Kevin Spacey and counts Arnold Schwarzenegger and Condoleezza Rice as buddies. He visits Silicon Valley almost every month, and flies from Washington to his district in Bakersfield, Calif., virtually every weekend to see his family, even if he stays for just 12 hours. When schmoozing with celebrities, the onetime deli owner often snaps a selfie on his iPhone — he’ll show his collection to anyone who wants to see it...As McCarthy rises in leadership, his small network of former aides and K Street confidants does as well. Former senior aides downtown include Uber’s Brian Worth, who served as his coalitions director; former policy director and general counsel Stephen Pinkos, now at American Continental Group; and former communications director Erica Elliott, now at Crowell & Moring. Over the past seven years, McCarthy has amassed a small 'kitchen cabinet' of lobbyists whom he works closely with, including Greg Maurer of Facebook; Kirsten Chadwick of Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock; Dan Meyer of the Duberstein Group and Brian Conklin of USAA. Joe Wall of Goldman Sachs, Amy Best of American Express, Kyle Nevins of Capitol Counsel and Ryan Triplette of Franklin Square Group are also in McCarthy’s circle." [Politico]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - This story by Dylan Byers and Maggie Haberman has the motivation-killing power of a thousand government safety nets: "Chelsea Clinton earned an annual salary of $600,000 at NBC News before switching to a month-to-month contract earlier this year, sources with knowledge of the agreement told POLITICO….When Clinton joined NBC, many media critics chafed at the network’s decision to employ a former first daughter with no experience in journalism. The New York Post referred to Clinton as 'just another spoiled, aimless child of rich, successful parents chauffeured through adulthood by Mommy and Daddy’s connections.' Yet Clinton’s appointment did not mark the first time NBC Universal had hired children of high-ranking politicians. In 2009, it hired George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager to serve as a correspondent on the 'Today' show. In 2011, it hired Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain as a contributor on MSNBC." Why even try? [Politico] '

Erik Wemple reports on just what Clinton did for all that money.

DOUBLE DOWNER - Tyler Cowen wonders whether the lack of a really huge war is hurting economic growth. "Today the major slow-growing Western European nations have very little fear of being taken over militarily, and thus their politicians don’t face extreme penalties for continuing stagnation," he writes. "Instead, losing office often means a boost in income from speaking or consulting fees or a comfortable retirement in a pleasant vacation spot." [NYT]

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OBAMA WON'T PUT BOOTS (BACK) ON THE GROUND IN IRAQ - Times: "President Obama said Friday that he would make a decision 'in the days ahead' about whether to use American military power to help the besieged Iraqi government stave off collapse at the hands of Islamist insurgents, but he ruled out using ground forces . 'This poses a danger to Iraq and its people and, given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well,' Mr. Obama said of the offensive now threatening Baghdad. “We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options.” The president cautioned against expecting quick action, saying the planning would take “several days” to make sure any airstrikes were effective...Mr. Obama, in a televised statement before he boarded Marine One to begin a trip to North Dakota and California, emphasized that the problem was not just a short-term threat to the Iraqi government but also a long-term failure by Baghdad leaders to achieve political reconciliation across sectarian lines. He warned Iraqi leaders that if they want American help, they have to come up with a plan to accommodate minority factions in a meaningful way." [NYT]

OBAMA HITS NEW LOWS IN THREE POLLS - Maybe Iraq will stop tearing itself apart if he sings like Al Green again. Or not. WaPo: "At least three polls released this week showed President Obama's favorability rating hitting new lows. In his first term, his favorable rating held steady even as his job approval rating slipped. But that's no longer true. Fifty-two percent of Americans said they held an unfavorable view of Obama, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. Forty-seven percent said they held a favorable opinion of him. The five-point net negative favorable rating is a new low for Obama in Gallup polling. The new CNN/ORC International poll showed something nearly identical, with Obama's favorable rating at 47 percent (a new low for Obama during his presidency in in CNN/ORC polling) and his unfavorable rating at 51 percent. A Bloomberg National pollpegged Obama's favorability rating at 44 percent." [WaPo]

CANTOR NOT THE ONLY CONGRESSIONAL LEADER WITH BAD POLL NUMBERS - Spoiler: Pretty much all of them do. Rachel Lienesch: "[A] new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that Cantor is not the only GOP congressional leader struggling to find support from the party’s base. According to the poll, only about a third of Republicans have a favorable view of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The poll asked respondents to rate five congressional leaders: Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Among all Americans Pelosi had the highest rating, though only 27 percent of respondents said they view her favorably. Cantor received a favorable rating from the fewest respondents, with just 16 percent giving him a positive rating. Boehner, McConnell and Reid were in the middle, with 20 percent of respondents viewing Boehner favorably, 19 percent viewing McConnell favorably and 24 percent viewing Reid favorably. Even among Republicans themselves, GOP leaders received mediocre-to-poor ratings. Just 33 percent of Republicans gave Boehner a favorable rating, while 41 percent said they view him unfavorably. McConnell was viewed more favorably than unfavorably, but only by a margin of 36 percent to 32 percent. Cantor was also quite unpopular among Republicans. Only 28 percent gave him a favorable rating, while 39 percent gave him an unfavorable rating -- though that result could be due in part to Cantor’s loss on Tuesday." [HuffPost]

ROMNEY IN CAMPAIGN MODE - Maybe he's still campaigning because it's all he knows how to do now? Like how Tom Hanks' character in "Castaway" slept on the floor even after being rescued. NBC News: "Mitt Romney has repeatedly said it's time for someone else to carry the Republican Party's presidential banner, and he insists that he’s not running again in 2016. But in a Friday speech for donors and supporters at a luxury mountain resort, the 2012 GOP loser sounded a lot like a candidate, declaring: 'I and we will continue to fight.' ... Romney's speech was the kickoff of a weekend of events at a sprawling, ritzy Deer Valley resort high in the Utah mountains. About 300 top donors, supporters and former campaign aides gathered for a weekend that includes a number of other potential 2016 presidential hopefuls, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rep. Paul Ryan. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spoke at a Friday morning breakfast and met privately with donors in a hotel suite at the Stein Erickson Lodge on Thursday evening...The weekend also includes more casual events: Friday morning offered skeet shooting with Ryan or hiking with Romney; on Saturday, guests can mountain bike with Sen. Rob Portman, who was on Romney's shortlist to serve as vice president." [NBC News]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a cat obsessing over a moth.

BLOOMBERG SPENDING BIG ON COCHRAN'S REELECTION - Because if there's one thing that helps a Mississippi politician win reelection, it's a Jewish, effete former New York mayor who strongly supports gun control rooting for their victory. Textbook. Alex Lazar: "Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) gave $250,000 to the Mississippi Conservatives super PAC, which is helping to re-elect Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Bloomberg gave money to the super PAC in May, before the June 3 GOP primary between Cochran and Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R). Cochran and McDaniel, neither of whom received 50 percent of the vote, will face each other in a June 24 runoff election. Facebook and Napster mogul Sean Parker also gave $250,000 to the super PAC in May. Mississippi Conservatives is run by Henry Barbour, the nephew of former Mississippi Governor and Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour (R). The winner of the runoff will face off against former Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) in the November general election." [HuffPost]

Here's an extremely awkward video of Thad Cochran having no idea that Eric Cantor lost his primary, because Cochran is just really really focused on his own election.

COMFORT FOOD

- Five apps to follow the World Cup with. [http://bit.ly/1qHWypZ]

- ICYMI, here's Jimmy Fallon and Chris Christie performing the evolution of dad dancing. [http://bit.ly/1pUkjLE]

- A photo of Bill Nye in his 9th grade science classroom. [http://chzb.gr/1pstyF9]

- The sound a Brazilian city makes when its team scores in the World Cup. [http://bit.ly/1nck7ou]

- Someecards is obviously crushing Father's Day. [http://huff.to/1mSGZb5]

- Baby bunny is the black tar heroin of cute. [http://huff.to/1mSHdz0]

- Father writes hilariously bitter craigslist post selling his kids' trampoline. [http://chzb.gr/1kwNr69]

TWITTERAMA

@speechboy71: Takeaway from this presser: Obama would rather stick sharp pencils in his eyes than got militarily involved in Iraq.

@nickbaumann: Robert Kagan, naked and alone in his bathroom, screaming at the mirror about how superpowers don't get to retire.

@jbarro: In general I think the government should let people do what they like with their real estate, but I make an exception for Donald Trump.

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