President Obama said he is "embarrassed" for the Republican senators undermining Iran talks, the same feeling they get when Obama wears jeans. The White House released a short video of Joe Biden doing a million bicep curls, demonstrating his strong grasp of the vice president's role. And HuffPost reporter Jen Bendery is pretending to be Lindsey Graham by giving up email, instead expressing herself through an endless series of Fox News and Sunday talk show appearances. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, March 13th:
HILL GIRDS FOR PATRIOT ACT FIGHT - Matt Sledge and Ali Watkins: "Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, sat down to talk face to face with his fiercest critics in a House office in January. The visit was more than just a courtesy call. With the legal authority for the NSA's phone data dragnet set to expire June 1, Rogers needs his enemies. Reformers are girding for a fight with congressional leaders, and the looming deadline to reauthorize several Patriot Act provisions gives the former group unprecedented leverage. This time, 'we're in a different moment. ... This is the first reauthorization debate that's happened post-Snowden,' said Neema Singh Guliani, a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, who was referring to whistleblower Edward Snowden's exposure of the spy agency's mass surveillance in 2013." [HuffPost]
Here's the video of Joe Biden doing a million bicep curls.
CONGRESS HAS NO E-MAIL RULES - Fortunately, Congress doesn't do anything. Erica Werner: "Members of Congress who are demanding Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails are largely exempt from such scrutiny themselves. Congress makes its own rules, and has never subjected itself to open records laws that force agencies such as the State Department to maintain records and turn them over to the public when asked. There's also no requirement for members of Congress to use official email accounts, or to retain, archive or store their emails, while in office or after. That's in contrast to the White House and the rest of the executive branch." [Associated Press]
ANYONE SEEN VLADIMIR? "A wave of savage mockery broke over President Vladimir Putin across the Internet on Friday, sparked by days of absence from public view, despite official insistence it was business as usual in the Kremlin. State television footage of Putin working at his residence failed to quell the tide of fantastical theories circulating online that the 62-year-old Kremlin leader had died, been deposed, or traveled to Switzerland to watch his girlfriend give birth." [Reuters]
OBAMA FEELING FREMDSCHAMEN FOR SENATE GOP - Paige Lavender: "President Barack Obama said he's "embarrassed" for the group of Republicans who sent a letter to Iran warning against a nuclear deal with the United States. 'I'm embarrassed for them,' Obama told Vice. 'For them to address a letter to the ayatollah -- the supreme leader of Iran, who they claim is our mortal enemy -- and their basic argument to them is: don't deal with our president, because you can't trust him to follow through on an agreement... That's close to unprecedented." [HuffPost]
HOUSE PROGRESSIVES GOING AFTER RAHM - Roque Planas: "U.S. Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Danny Davis (D-Ill.) are urging their colleagues to throw their weight behind Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia, a grassroots candidate threatening to unseat Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in next month's runoff election. Grijalva and Davis told The Huffington Post they will host a fundraiser in Washington on March 24 to win backing for Garcia from national politicians, including members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The efforts to organize more members of Congress around Garcia’s campaign come amid increasing national attention to the Chicago race, which many see as a contest between the Democratic establishment, in the person of Emanuel, and the more grassroots, populist elements of the party. 'There needs to be a national presence,” Grijalva told HuffPost. 'Just like when we rallied behind [former Mayor] Antonio Villaraigosa in Los Angeles -- not only porque es Latino, but because he's right on the issues." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Senate Republicans are nostalgic for the 1990s, Kristina Peterson reports: "The Senate Republican budget slated for release next week is expected to generate savings by turning more responsibility for Medicaid and food-stamp programs over to states, GOP lawmakers and aides said Thursday. While details of the document aren’t final, Republicans would propose turning funding for those programs into something similar to a block grant, said Senate Budget Committee Member Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.)." Block-granting is what they did to welfare in 1996, effectively blocking the program from ever costing more money or helping more people. [Wall Street Journal]
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CAUGHT GRAHAMING, PART 2 - Scott Conroy: "With his microphone still hot, C-SPAN 2 captured what [Rick] Perry said next about Graham, who also is considering a presidential run. 'Lindsey is my buddy,' Perry said as he signed the board. 'I am a big Lindsey Graham fan. I think he is one of the most knowledgeable people we have on foreign policy, and we need to listen to him. He is a very, very bright Republican senator. He’s carved out his niche, and it is foreign policy.'" [Real Clear Politics]
HILLARY CLINTON STILL MORE POPULAR THAN EVERYBODY ELSE - Jeffrey Jones: "Hillary Clinton is one of a few potential 2016 presidential candidates to have a significantly higher favorable (50%) than unfavorable (39%) rating among the American public. And the 89% of Americans who are familiar enough with Clinton to have an opinion of her is more than any other potential 2016 presidential candidate. Clinton's relatively high scores on both dimensions give her a better starting position regarding her image than other competitors would have in the 2016 U.S. presidential election." [Gallup]
NO WONDER JAMES INHOFE WAS ABLE TO MAKE THAT SNOWBALL - Bobby Magill: "Solar, wind and other renewables are making such a big difference in greenhouse gas emissions worldwide that global emissions from the energy sector flatlined during a time of economic growth for the first time in 40 years. The International Energy Agency announced Friday that energy-related CO2 emissions last year were unchanged from the year before, totaling 32.3 billion metric tons of CO2 in both 2013 and 2014. It shows that efforts to reduce emissions to combat climate change may be more effective than previously thought." [Climate Central]
MITT ROMNEY! Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R) said President Barack Obama could boost former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's chances in the 2016 election if he strikes a nuclear deal with Iran. In a USA Today op-ed published Friday, Romney expressed his disapproval for a potential deal, but said a deal would appear to be a 'political home run.' 'The president would look, well, presidential,' Romney wrote. 'An agreement would also boost the prospects for Hillary Clinton: achievement by association.'" Of course, Romney thinks such an agreement would be bad. [HuffPost]
Modern Healthcare has some news about the latest "doc fix" fix.
REMEMBER THE DEBT LIMIT - Things will get real in the fall. Brian Faler: "The Treasury Department announced today that it has begun using so-called extraordinary measures to avoid breaching the debt limit. In a letter to Congress, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged lawmakers to lift the legal cap on borrowing, saying his agency has had to begin shuffling money around to avoid defaulting on the debt." [Politico]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Please enjoy the final sentence of this New York Times story about how baby wipes ruin sewer systems.
- Will Ferrell literally played for 10 MLB teams yesterday. http://atmlb.com/1GJTR1T
- Epic treehouse apartments. http://huff.to/1Gyps33
- 21 dogs who made poor life choices. http://bzfd.it/1L7oBNs
- President Obama reading mean tweets. http://huff.to/18i0YQm
@jbendery: So far today, I've 1) talked on the phone more than I have all week, 2) gotten a fraction of my work done, 3) cursed. -jb #iamlindseygraham
@LEBassett: .@jbendery is already wandering around the office aimlessly, mumbling to herself about Sunday shows. https://t.co/DSoJh7vxBX
@samsteinhp: so, @jbendery is going without email for a day to see what it’s like to be Lindsey Graham and she’s in the WORST mood right now
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