Tom Brokaw denied calling for Brian Williams’ resignation, contradicting Williams’ account of the time Brokaw told him to quit as they tore down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square. The economy added lots of jobs last month, further proving President Romney's promise of a Republican revitalization. And Aaron Schock’s (now former) staffer was featured in a documentary about Southern Baptists' attempts to convert Jews. Now if only they could do a number on Tom Branson’s papist sympathies... This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, February 6th, 2015:
GOP DIVIDED ON OBAMACARE ALTERNATIVE - The Hill: "GOP senators unveiled a new replacement for ObamaCare this week, but few conservatives are rallying around it. The same week the GOP House voted for a fourth time to fully repeal ObamaCare, the party remains divided over what would come next. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the latest proposal from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and other Republicans would be one part of the conversation on replacing ObamaCare, hardly a ringing endorsement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not make any public comments on the plan and declined to comment to The Hill through a representative...Even Hatch and the plan’s other sponsors — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) — acknowledged the difficulty in uniting their party. In an interview with Fox News late Thursday, Burr said he did not believe that Republicans would rally around a single alternative before the presidential election." [The Hill]
YET MORE HOT AARON SCHOCK GOSSIP - We are so #blessed. Colby Itkowitz: "It turns out that the Facebook comments that led to congressional staffer Benjamin Cole’s resignation Thursday weren’t the only series of eyebrow-raising remarks from his past floating around online. Back in 1999, Cole was featured in a documentary about Southern Baptists’ efforts to convert Jewish people." [WashPost]
DID WE HEAR SOMEBODY ASK FOR EVEN MORE SCHOCK GOSSIP? Jimmy Williams: "Now there’s this: the month before the 2012 elections, Congressman Schock sold his house to a major Republican donor who was also one of his campaign supporters for a price that appears to far exceed the market value at the time. Memories of disgraced former GOP Congressman Duke Cunningham (CA) came flooding back into my head as I worked through the documents." [Blue Nation Review]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Every weeknight Bridget Krueger and her husband catch up with an 8 p.m. phone call because his new job is far away and he works long hours, so he has to spend the night in a hotel. "It's almost like being a single parent during the week," Krueger, 46, said in an interview. But it's better now than it was before, when her husband, Brian, was out of work. "Sometimes you have to do what you have to do." It's still better than when he was unemployed for a year and they went on food stamps and almost lost their house. [HuffPost]
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BIDEN SKIPPING NETANYAHU SPEECH - Politics aside, he's probably too busy filming a short feature on opossum fighting rings in Yemen with his new VICE buddies. Politico: "Joe Biden won’t be there to welcome Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint meeting of Congress — or even shake his hand. The vice president will miss only his second address by a foreign leader to a joint meeting of Congress next month, when he’ll be out of the country while Netanyahu makes what’s become an increasingly controversial speech warning against the Iran nuclear deal...Biden’s absence heads off some awkwardness — the White House deeply opposes the politics of this speech, as well as the allegedly violated protocol, so not having the vice president sit behind Netanyahu avoids what could be taken as a symbolic show of support. His facial expressions won’t be parsed, nor will anyone be counting which lines he applauds, and for how long." [Politico]
Democrats are unsure how to handle the Bibi situation, Sam Stein and Jen Bendery report.
RICK PERRY WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT - "And the death penalty, really not my taste, if you ask me." Amanda Terkel: "Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Thursday he was skeptical of open carry gun laws, as conservatives in his home state are attempting to push such measures through the legislature. Texas currently allows gun owners to carry rifles and shotguns in the open, but not handguns. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said he believes there is a 'high probability' that an open carry bill will pass this session. In an interview with the The Texas Tribune and The Washington Post, Perry said he was 'not necessarily all that fond of this open carry concept.' His concerns, however, seemed to be more practical than philosophical. 'I don't want the bad guys to know if I'm carrying,' he said. 'I don't want to be the first person shot if something's going down.' A Perry spokesman didn't immediately return a request for clarification on whether Perry would sign open carry legislation if he were still governor. In his interview Thursday, Perry also said gun owners should be "appropriately backgrounded, appropriately vetted, appropriately trained." [HuffPost]
OBAMA TAKES APOLOGY TOUR TO THE ENVIRONMENT - Kate Sheppard: "The Obama administration's new national security strategy, released Friday, puts a top priority on climate change, calling it 'an urgent and growing threat.' Climate change, the strategy says, is 'contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water." The strategy lists climate change as one of eight "top strategic risks" to U.S. interests, along with a catastrophic attack on the U.S., threats or attacks against citizens abroad, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. "The present day effects of climate change are being felt from the Arctic to the Midwest. Increased sea levels and storm surges threaten coastal regions, infrastructure, and property," states the strategy. "In turn, the global economy suffers, compounding the growing costs of preparing and restoring infrastructure." The strategy touts the commitment the U.S. has made to cutting emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, as well as the work on developing "an ambitious new global climate change agreement." [HuffPost]
EUROPE SURPRISINGLY NOT FEELING JOHN MCCAIN'S FOREIGN POLICY - Akbar Ahmed: "Hours before Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) compared Europe's attitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin to appeasement toward Nazi Germany, the German ambassador here warned U.S. hawks not to see a military solution as the only way forward on Ukraine. Germany has 'the sense this conflict is spiraling,' Ambassador Peter Wittig said in a small briefing with reporters at the Germany embassy in Washington. But he urged proponents of sending arms to Ukraine to remember that diplomacy at the highest levels -- including what he called 'an unusual trip' by the leaders of Germany and France to Moscow on Friday -- may still bear fruit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel 'would not go there if she had no hope that something would be achieved,' the ambassador said. 'She's not going empty-handed.' … The ambassador said his comments -- including questions to those who support sending arms, like, 'Where should that lead to?' and "Does it lead to an improvement?' -- were not meant to insult U.S. figures like McCain. Instead, he said they were meant as 'an appeal.'" [HuffPost]
ALAN NUNNELEE DIES - There are Mississippians, and there are Mississippians. Roll Call: "Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., the stalwart social conservative who spearheaded efforts to ban same-sex marriage in the Magnolia State, died Friday from complications from brain cancer, his spokeswoman confirmed to CQ Roll Call. He was 56. n May, doctors found a tumor in the right side of Nunnelee’s brain after he was complaining of fatigue. He underwent brain surgery in June to remove the mass, and suffered a stroke during the procedure, which left him with impaired speech and numbness in his left side. On Jan. 26,doctors moved Nunnelee into hospice care at his home in Tupelo, Miss., after they found another tumor had formed and no further treatment was possible...Nunnelee was born Oct. 9, 1958 in Tupelo to two teenage parents. His father took a job at a life insurance company shortly after Nunnelee was born, and worked his way up the ladder to be an executive with the company." [Roll Call]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a stubborn dog.
BROKAW: I DIDN'T CALL FOR WILLIAMS TO STEP DOWN - And to think we thought Page Six had rigid journalistic standards. Michael Calderone: "Former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw pushed back Friday against reports that he wants his embattled successor, Brian Williams, to be fired for falsely claiming to have been aboard a helicopter that came under rocket-propelled grenade fire in Iraq. 'I have neither demanded nor suggested Brian be fired,' Brokaw said in an email to The Huffington Post. "His future is up to Brian and NBC News executives.' NBC News President Deborah Turness told staff in an email Friday afternoon that she and Williams had addressed the 'Nightly News' team the previous night and a larger group of colleagues that morning.' Brian apologized once again, and specifically expressed how sorry he is for the impact this has had on all of you and on this proud organization,' she wrote. Turness said the network has assembled “a team dedicated to gathering the facts to help us make sense of all that has transpired.'" [HuffPost]
- Ultimate Sunday vibes: "This 200-year-old 'mummified' monk found in Mongolia last week is not dead but rather deeply meditating, say some believers."
- Someone on Facebook keeps posting the same picture of Italian pop star Toto Cutugno every day.
- Vote for the sorriest bus stop in America.
@elisefoley: “Statement on employment re-“
@GrahamDavidA: We've really jumped the left shark, guys
@BenjySarlin: Good thing all Twitter is there to tell President Obama the Civil Rights movement included many Christians, he probably didn't know that
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