POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Jeb Bush HUNGRY, Jeb Bush LEAD AMERICA

02/18/2015 05:30 pm ET | Updated Feb 18, 2015

Jeb Bush is on the Paleo diet, so don’t be shocked when his first act as president is to rip up Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden and replace it with several buckets filled with Slim Jims. Sheldon Adelson will attend Lindsey Graham’s fundraiser after Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress, but don’t for a second think that the speech is a political stunt or anything. And Democrats are fussing about their chances of retaking the Senate due to a dearth of politically attractive candidates who want to run for federal office *because they’re Democrats.* This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, February 18th, 2015:

OBAMA ON WHY HE WON'T SAY 'RADICAL ISLAM' - Jen Bendery: "President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he refuses to describe the Islamic State or al Qaeda as a type of 'radical Islam' because it grants them a religious legitimacy they don't deserve. 'They are not religious leaders, they are terrorists,' Obama said during remarks at a White House event on countering violent extremism. 'We are not war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.'"

DEMS' 2016 SENATE BENCH LOOKING WEAK - [Inspirational John Williams score begins] Who among you will be the next Martha Coakley? The next Creigh Deeds? [Cut to men and women in business attire picking their noses and staring blankly into space]. Politico: "But a sense of foreboding has crept into Democratic circles around the country. Interviews with dozens of strategists, party officials and Democratic luminaries reveal that in states Democrats are depending on to retake the Senate, top-level candidates are sparse, unwilling to run or more interested in seeking state office than going to Washington. As a result, Democrats are embracing a slew of well-known but failed candidates -- former governors, senators and also-rans spurned by voters the last time they were on the ballot -- or being forced to rely on candidates with little political experience...In Ohio, former Gov. Ted Strickland is weighing a run five years after voters cast him out of office. In Florida, Democrats’ best prospect may be a 31-year-old, second-term congressman with no statewide experience -- or they could turn back to Charlie Crist, the former governor who lost his last two statewide races. In Wisconsin, Democrats are hoping for former Sen. Russ Feingold to mount a comeback. In Pennsylvania, Democrat Joe Sestak is looking for a rematch, even though some party insiders are hoping for a fresh face to emerge." [Politico]

SUPPORTING CLEAN DHS BILL IS GOOD FOR THE RUBIO- Laura Myers: "During a visit to Las Vegas, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday Congress should pass a bill to fund Homeland Security without conditions, essentially stepping back from a battle with President Barack Obama over his executive actions on immigration." [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
JEB BUSH: I LOVE YOU, BRO - Catalina Camia: "The former Florida governor acknowledged he is 'lucky' to have a father and brother whose presidential legacies are rooted in the way they tackled wars and conflicts. He addressed the challenge of his last name head on in his remarks. 'I love my brother, I love my dad, I actually love my mother, too,' Bush said. 'I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. But I am my own man. My views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences.'" [USAToday]

SCOTT WALKER ON AVOIDING A QUESTION ABOUT EVOLUTION: "I think the taxpayers of Wisconsin would have been upset, saying, 'Why are you off talking about political questions?'" Molotov. [HuffPost]

Sabrina Siddiqui has a profile of Dem legend former Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), which includes a bit about Miller's role in a famous House floor fistfight between Jim Moran and Duke Cunningham: "Cunningham was just a bad guy and, well, he didn't know Moran very well," Miller recalled. "Of all the people you wouldn't want to get in a fight with, it's Jim Moran. He’s a buffalo."

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Pat Roberts wants to tackle food stamp reform, Tim Carpenter reports: "He said the Senate committee would examine the food stamp program in search of cost and eligibility reforms. 'We do not want to cause any consternation with regards to the people who truly need food stamps,' he said. 'We have two people to be concerned about. One is the taxpayer. The other is the person receiving food stamps.'" Here is DDD's question: with states already cutting benefits for childless able-bodied adults -- the GOP's easiest target for the past few years -- what other population of undeserving poor do Republicans have in mind? [CJOnline.com]

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CLINTON FOUNDATION TAKING CONTRIBUTIONS FROM FOREIGN GOV'TS - If/when the Clintons return to the White House, will the preferred scandal suffix be -ghazi or -gate? James Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus: "The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency. Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline. In 2009, the Clinton Foundation stopped raising money from foreign governments after Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state. Former President Bill Clinton, who ran the foundation while his wife was at the State Department, agreed to the gift ban at the behest of the Obama administration, which worried about a secretary of state’s husband raising millions while she represented U.S. interests abroad...One of the 2014 donations comes from a Canadian agency promoting the proposed Keystone pipeline, which is favored by Republicans and under review by the Obama administration. The Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development agency of Canada, a first-time donor, gave between $250,000 and $500,000. The donations, which are disclosed voluntarily by the foundation, are given only in ranges." [WSJ]

SUDDENLY LINDSEY GRAHAM'S PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS SEEM A LOT MORE VIABLE - Politico: "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is getting some 2016 encouragement from several of the GOP’s top donors, with Sheldon Adelson signing up as a co-chair for a March 3 fundraiser for the senator’s testing-the-waters political committee, Security Through Strength. Graham’s 'luncheon and policy discussion' at the Capitol Hill club will be held right after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress. Donors are invited to watch together, before being joined by Graham. In addition to Adelson, other prominent donors among the 33 co-chairs include Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz, hedge fund manager Seth Klarman, real estate developer David Flaum and homebuilding magnate Larry Mizel. The invitation asks for a donation of $2,700 to be a co-chair and $1,000 to attend." [Politico]

RAND PAUL COURTS A MEGADONOR, AWKWARDLY - Akbar Ahmed: "The Washington Examiner reported Tuesday afternoon that GOP megadonor Foster Friess excoriated Paul earlier this month over what he said was the senator's reluctance to ramp up U.S. military involvement in the Middle East. In an email he sent to Paul on Feb. 11, after the senator had taken him to lunch on the Hill, Friess pointed specifically to the question of whether the U.S. should directly arm Kurdish forces in Iraq who are fighting the Islamic State, a group also known as ISIS...Friess added insult to injury with his Feb. 11 email by copying other Republican senators on the message -- and describing to Paul their efforts to support the Kurds. The list of senators included two of Paul's likely rivals for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who Friess said was preparing to propose a $500 million package of funding to aid the Kurds, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), whom Friess praised for following his advice and publicly endorsing weapons delivery to the Kurds (possibly a reference to this Feb. 8 'State of the Union' segment)." [HuffPost]

JEB BUSH PUTS HIS PSEUDOSCIENCE WHERE HIS MOUTH IS - Chait: "Jeb Bush has expressed his skepticism about the theory of anthropogenic global warming (in an interview five years ago and again in December). But you know what theory he’s all in on? The Paleo diet. Marc Caputo and Ben White report that, as part of his plan to win the Republican nomination, the candidate is raising money and eschewing all foods unavailable to his caveman ancestors...In fact, the Paleo diet is pure pseudoscience. Its premise is that we should eat only foods available to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. As this article in Scientific American patiently explains, the premise is badly mistaken. Yes, some of the foods forbidden by the Paleo diet are bad for you (Caputo and White report that Bush eschewed a slice of cake for his birthday). But many of the foods it excludes are healthy, like dairy, beans, and grains. The diet imagines that our bodies were permanently shaped during the Stone Age, and therefore we must eat what humans ate then. In fact, evolution is a continuing process. (That’s why, for instance, most humans evolved the ability to digest milk after infancy.) What’s more, the Stone Age diet varied wildly by region." [NYMag]

MEMBER OF CONGRESS REALIZES MINORITY STINKS - If members of Congress now think board of supervisor seats are more desirable than their own, we give it three years tops utnil Nancy Pelosi bails to invest in a handful of Arby's franchises.Roll Call: "Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., will officially run for an open seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, she announced Wednesday, leaving vacant her Los Angeles-based House district for the second time since 2010... Hahn, 62, is the second California House Democrat in two cycles to vacate a congressional seat to run for a supervisor position -- an arguably more powerful role than being in the minority in Congress. In 2014, former Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod left Congress to run for a San Bernadino County Board of Supervisors seat, but ultimately lost that race. State Sen. Isadore Hall said he will run for Hahn’s seat. He’s already secured endorsements from Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., as well as Compton Mayor Aja Brown." [Roll Call]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are some dogs dressed like their owners.

@ByronYork: Biden, 2000: 'There is no circumstance under which a man has a right to touch a woman without her consent other than self-defense.'

COMFORT FOOD

- Two very pregnant women dancing to "Thriller."

- This year's best picture nominees reenacted by little girls.

- The video for "Uptown Funk" without the music.

TWITTERAMA

@DavidLauter: Bush seems to have gotten thru entire foreign policy speech uttering the word "Iraq" only once -- an then in error when he meant "Iran.

@MarkLeibovich: Sounds like many are wondering, "Is Jeb a Wolfowitz in sheep's clothing?"

@pourmecoffee: Jeb Bush: Where there was only one set of Bush family footprints in the sand, it was then that I ran for you.

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