Despite Bob Bennett's grumblings about America's limited understanding of how Congress works, it's becoming increasingly apparent that Congress doesn't really understand how the rest of us work, either. Despite attaining Wilford Brimley-levels of folksiness in his new campaign spot, Chuck Grassley is as connected to the Internet as a 28.8 modem. Harry Reid's new attack ad implies that Sharron Angle's only solution to domestic violence is a little extra concealer. And Democrats are going to resolve tax inequity with Malibu Stacy solutions. But, hey, cheer up everyone! Elizabeth Warren is going to run the CFPB... Maybe! This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, September 13th, 2010:
ELIZABETH WARREN UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR INTERIM CFPB CHIEF - The White House is considering tapping Elizabeth Warren to be the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a move that would allow her to begin setting up the agency immediately and prevent the GOP from filibustering her nomination, a source familiar with the White House deliberations told HuffPost Hill. Warren could serve until Obama nominates a permanent director -- a nomination he's not required to make, meaning that Warren could serve indefinitely with the full powers of the director. Obama could follow the interim nomination by later naming Warren as the permanent director, giving the Senate an opportunity to debate her selection. The ability of the administration to nominate an acting director indefinitely, avoiding a lengthy confirmation battle, was first reported by HuffPost's Shahien Nasiripour in July. American Banker is also reporting that Warren is under consideration for the interim position. White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage tells us: "Elizabeth Warren has been a stalwart voice for American consumers and families and she was the architect of the idea that became the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The President will have more to say about the agency and its mission soon."
On Friday, Obama gave away the game, saying he was a "dear friend" of Warren's, but wanted to wait a bit until making an "official" announcement. Simon Johnson laid out the case for an interim nomination on Friday: http://huff.to/9KhZOg
HuffPost Hill trivia contest: What was the name of the CFPB when it was first introduced in the spring of 2009? We'll know if you Googled.
DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL GETTING A VOTE - Senate aides say that the Defense authorization bill, that includes the (eventual) repeal of don't ask tell, will get a vote this month. Cloture could be filed by the end of the week, setting up a vote early next week.
SMALL BUSINESS BILL UP TOMORROW - With George Voinovich bucking his party, Senate Democrats are cruising to a victory on the small business bill tomorrow.
Some judge was confirmed by the Senate today. http://bit.ly/9W8IGL
PRIMARIES TOMORROW - Some CW, fresh out of the oven: "Both Castle and Fenty probably would be elected in general elections, when all voters can participate and turnout dramatically increases. The closed partisan system -- combined with the rigged system of redistricting -- is making the two parties more polarized and less representative, leading directly to the angry hyper-partisanship that is alienating a growing number of Americans. These two races Tuesday are tests of whether centrist candidates can survive. For the moderate majority of Americans, it's time to give a damn and take a stand." CNN: http://bit.ly/dbwQZK
Mike Castle: "Bottom line is, if she's nominated, Republicans lose the election automatically." http://bit.ly/ajtDhT
ABC News on the New Hampshire GOP Senate primary: "Former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, a darling of the party establishment and one of Palin's "mama grizzlies," has been the steady frontrunner. But a flurry of late-race attack ads and high-profile endorsements of her opponents may have Ayotte in trouble...But Tea Party groups, the state's largest newspaper -- the Union Leader -- and prominent conservative Sen. Jim DeMint see a different candidate as the "true conservative" in the race. They've endorsed Ovide Lamontagne, the former gubernatorial candidate running a shoestring campaign, who has surged in recent weeks to become the latest Tea Party threat to an establishment-backed candidate." http://bit.ly/b8JAtc
HuffPost New York with a preview of the Empire State primaries, including Carolyn Maloney's tougher-than-usual fight against Reshma Saujani and the GOP gubernatorial showdown: http://huff.to/dCNojn
PAGING CHOMSKY: TOP DEMS TRYING TO REBRAND TAX CUTS - In an attempt to drum up support for letting George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire -- and apparently taking a page from the "But she has a new hat!" playbook -- leading Democrats are coalescing around an idea to call their tax proposal the...drum roll please..."Obama tax cuts for the middle class." "President Obama and the Democrats want to implement the `Obama tax cuts for the middle class.' It provides a nice contrast between what the current administration is proposing and what Republicans did in the past," a senior leadership aide told Greg Sargent. A Dem aide confirmed to HuffPost Hill http://bit.ly/aN54Tg
SENATE GOP NOT BUDGING IN TAX BATTLE - Thanks in part to Joe Lieberman, who took a break from planning which Halloween candy he'll serve without wrapping this October to oppose the expiration of the upper-class tax cuts, Mitch McConnell has enough support to oppose anything but a total extension of the
Bush tax cuts Obama tax cuts for the middle class AND our-children-our-taking-time-after- college-to-develop-their-T-shirt-line class. Sam Stein: "Adding salt to the wound, there currently exists no avenue for Democrats to pass only a limited extension through reconciliation, the 50-vote budgetary maneuver used to pass the Bush tax cuts in the first place. The budget resolution from last year, a top aide relayed, did not contain a reconciliation instruction for tax policy, only health care and education. As for this year, Congress hasn't passed a budget." http://huff.to/9mB4Ql
A report out today from Moodys takes a ShamWow! to trickle-down economics. "Hand the wealthiest Americans a tax cut and history suggests they will save the money rather than spend it. Tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush were followed by increases in the saving rate among the rich, according to data from Moody's Analytics Inc. When taxes were raised under Bill Clinton, the saving rate fell. The findings may weaken arguments by Republicans and some Democrats in Congress who say allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to lapse will prompt them to reduce their spending, harming the economy." Bloomberg: http://bit.ly/ciQCm2
Stan Collender in Roll Call examines the possibility of a government shutdown next year: "But there are reasons to believe that a government shutdown in 2011 would be just as politically disastrous for Congressional Republicans as before. A shutdown might be great for the GOP base, but it could just as easily turn off the independent voters who are far more critical to election success today than they were in the 1990s." http://bit.ly/cP8TMb
GOP WHINES ABOUT CLASS WARFARE IT ALWAYS WINS - Beat your pitchforks, clubs and comically large torches into plowshares, pleads the GOP -- John Boehner: "Instead of resorting to tired old class warfare rhetoric, pitting one working American against another, the president and the Democratic leadership should start working with us this week..." Mike Pence: "We will not compromise our economy to accommodate the class warfare rhetoric of this administration." Jon Kyl: "So we don't want to punish anyone for being successful. That class warfare went out of style when the Cold War ended." Over the summer, Jim McDermott had the temerity to call it "class warfare" when the GOP (plus Ben Nelson) blocked unemployment benefits for 2.5 million people as Kyl and his pals said the benefits just made them lazy anyway. http://huff.to/9VzOYA
TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - Roll Call: Anna Palmer on Democratic staffers who are worried about their employment prospects this fall. They have nervously watched as government relations positions on K Street have dried up as the economy continues to falter and lobby shops and corporations hold off on hiring until after the elections to see which party comes out ahead. The Hill: Kevin Bogardus and Silla Brush on how Democratic aides on Capitol Hill might have missed their chance for a big payday, according to head hunters' salary estimates.
NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton will headline an event on the Hill tomorrow entitled "Innovation 101: Technology and Innovation in the Action & Sport Industry." The morning session will be held in 2168 Rayburn at 10:00 am and the afternoon session will be held in 428 Russell at 2:00 pm. A photographer will be on hand to snap pics and Walton will sign autographs. He won't be impressed by your work on that omnibus appropriations act so don't even try.
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FREEDOMWORKS NOT ENDORSING DELAWARE TEA PARTIER - Far-right Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell today joined the privileged ranks of Americans too fit for fat camp and too unafraid of sunlight for the University of Phoenix when the Tea Party organization FreedomWorks deemed her unworthy of its support. This, for some reason, isn't a good thing. "We stayed out of that race because we're not convinced that Christine O'Donnell can win," the group's CEO Matt Kibbe told a Christian Science Monitor-hosted breakfast with reporters. However Kibbe -- who was joined by the organization's Chairman and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey -- added that he is none-too-impressed with Mike Castle: "I think the question for Mike Castle is, if he can't win his primary, does he deserve to win the general? And we'll see what happens tomorrow, but it's always a judgment call as to who is the most competitive candidate, and I think the vetting of the primary and what the Tea Party activists have really asked for is an open primary where their candidates get a chance to run and compete and prove themselves, or lose." Amanda Terkel on O'Donnell being kicked off the political short bus: http://huff.to/db6jdN
The news comes on the heels of a PPP survey this weekend showing O'Donnell ahead of Mike Castle 47 percent to 44 percent. Mark Blumenthal takes a look under the hood: http://huff.to/bB7nVW
Palin robocall for O'Donnell this weekend: "The wave of positive change can really sweep across our land with the election of constitutional conservatives like Christine who promise to use common sense and rein in federal government spending." http://bit.ly/debtW9
TODAY'S TERKEL TAKEDOWN - From Amanda Terkel: "The best takedown of today is by 23-year-old skateboarder Jacob Isom of Amarillo, Texas, who happened to be around when David Grisham of the Christian fundamentalist group Repent Amarillo was about to burn a Quran in a city park on Saturday. Isom swooped in and took the Quran away. 'I snuck up behind [Grisham] and told him, 'Dude, you have no Quran,' and took off,' recalled Isom. He then gave the book to a religious leader from the Islamic Center of Amarillo." http://huff.to/9UDcAd
REID CAMPAIGN: SHARRON ANGLE PROBABLY GOOGLE MAPPING DIRECTIONS TO YOUR HOUSE FOR YOUR ABUSIVE SPOUSE RIGHT NOW - The new ad from Harry Reid's campaign highlights Angle's 2001 state assembly vote that it says would have torpedoed a law recognizing restraining orders from other states. "Imagine you've been abused by your spouse. You get a restraining order and move your family to Nevada thinking you'll be safe," the narrator, a handsome young cop that would NEVER DREAM of hurting you, says. "In the state assembly, Sharron Angle voted to prevent restraining orders from other states from being enforced in Nevada. It would have made Nevada a safe haven from domestic abusers. Thankfully other legislators weren't so extreme because Sharron Angle sided with the abuser, not the abused." We have yet to confirm whether Reid will follow-up with a campaign spot attacking Angle for her misguided vote on the "FY 1986 Won't Somebody PLEASE Lend Willie Horton A Few Bucks For An Avis Rental? Appropriations Bill." Sam Stein: http://huff.to/9z2Guc
OH YOU THINK CHARLIE CRIST IS DONE WITH THE OBVIOUS METAPHORS? CHARLIE CRIST IS ONLY GETTING STARTED WITH THE OBVIOUS METAPHORS - Last week we reported on Charlie Crist's inaugural campaign ad/live-action SAT question featuring the Florida governor haphazardly rearranging the words "DEMOCRATS" and "REPUBLICANS" to spell "AMERICANS." Well this weekend Crist debuted his second ad, a heartwarming number in which he walks down the beach
wistfully gazing at the ocean while lamenting that he has tried all the other online dating sites, but only found happiness once he signed up for match.com and discusses his plans to transcend partisan politics. While elaborating (if you want to call it that) on his plan to cherry-pick the best ideas from each party, Crist -- and now would be a good time for all you creative writing majors to reach for a garbage can -- draws a line in the sand and proceeds to walk across the newly-created coastline fissure. Video: http://bit.ly/d7CgU5
Oh yeah, he actually says "...put people ahead of politics." Yeesh.
Chuck Grassley's newest campaign video opens with an elderly woman quietly announcing that the Iowa senator has a "Twitter." "Oh. Can it be...cured?" replies a second woman -- at long last acknowledging that the inane Web 2.0 service is something that needs to be lanced. Grassley chimes in, as folksy "Pepperidge Farm's special ingredient is love" music plays in the background: "Oh, not that kind. I like to use new technologies like Twitter and Facebook, just to keep in touch." He then ads: "I'll tweet. I'll text. I'll do whatever it takes. I work for you." If Grassley doesn't win reelection, he has a great career ahead of him being the spokesman for Life Alert. Gawker: http://bit.ly/cytnLi
Sweet Jesus the campaign videos won't stop: John Dennis, the Tea Party candidate challenging Nancy Pelosi this November, has a new, Wizard of Oz-themed ad portraying Nancy Pelosi as the Wicked Witch of the West. The highly stylized ad, from the same director of that infamous Dale Peterson "they don't give a R-I-I-I-P about Alabama" video, features flying IRS monkeys, a bodiless Hank Paulson wizard and the candidate himself splashing water on the Pelosi witch. Most importantly, the ad answers the question of what a conservative candidate is to do if attacking San Francisco values is bad politics. Dave Weigel: http://bit.ly/9Hmvap
BOB BENNETT: PUBLIC HAS NO IDEA HOW CONGRESS WORKS - In an "exit" interview posted by NBC News this morning, the outgoing Utah Republican decried the citizenry's ignorance about the nuts-and-bolts of legislating. "They have no understanding of what we do. They expect that we spend most of our time on the Senate floor debating," Bennett said. "The image of Webster and Calhoun and Clay changing the course of the Republic with a brilliant speech is still in their minds. Particularly since the advent of television in the chamber, Senate speeches are more and more irrelevant." How is it that the public is familiar with Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun and Henry Clay but not, say, the hyper-politicization of modern day lawmaking? We applaud Senator Bennett for daring to envision a Rockwellian society whose citizens offset their "Meet The Kardashians" marathons with Ken Burns "Muh Dearest Caroline, I write you this letter, weary from war and torn asunder from within" specials but...really? http://bit.ly/cjlJfT
A number of civil rights activists are protesting this year's U.S. Commission on Civil Rights national conference, accusing the group of going soft. "The USCCR, established in 1957 as a bulwark against racial discrimination against African-Americans, has historically been associated with a pro civil rights agenda. But under the presidency of George W. Bush, conservatives who had long opposed the commission's work were able to stack the commission with like-minded commissioners, who took the agency in a different direction -- including focusing much of its work on instances of reverse racism." TPM: http://bit.ly/9rumOm
Bad reviews for Meghan: "It is impossible to read Dirty, Sexy Politics and come away with the impression that you have read anything other than the completely unedited ramblings of an idiot. This being a professional website for which I have a great deal of respect, I searched for a more eloquent or gentle way to accurately phrase the previous sentence - but could not find one." The New Ledger: http://bit.ly/9gi4au
JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: . A high pressure system rolling in from the West will bring some warmer, drier winds that will ease the area's transition to fall. Yes, fall is coming. It's a fact of life, and should be accepted. Tomorrow: Expect it to stay this warm and sunny throughout the day tomorrow, as well. Thanks, JB!
It's the peak of the hurricane season. Everyone's talking about Hurricane Igor, and with good reason. He is on the verge of becoming a category 5 hurricane, with winds of 150 miles per hour. We can expect that Hurricane Igor will re-intensify within the next two days. With the storm taking dead aim at the Bermuda. The second storm, tropical storm Julia, which looks to be heading to hurricane-dom. This storm, like Danielle earlier this season, is taking a quick northward track, which should keep it away from landfall. The third storm, not yet named, could become a problem. Unnamed as of now, it's a tropical low sitting directly south of Jamaica. It's a storm that has not been organized, and may not strengthen due to dry air surrounding it.Take cover, JB!
- A hauntingly beautiful photograph of Colorado wildfires. http://bit.ly/dioU2G
- Boyz n The Hood meets Lord of the Rings. http://bit.ly/c9GPvJ
- Return of the Jedi meets Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. http://bit.ly/bNRhFJ
- Sticking with the sci-fi/fantasy theme [Editor's note: Of course], the HuffPost Comedy folks compiled the most ridiculous Star Trek screen captures. http://huff.to/aonXtz
- Sweet skateboard moves, bro...but wait...what's that!? http://bit.ly/aBr6am
- A piano...made of CATS. Prince Charles was there. What? http://bit.ly/ddaBfP
- Some interesting knock-off brand names. http://bit.ly/dzMsW4
@rickklein: big welcome to @michaelpfalcone on his first day at ABC. soon-to-be author of The Note...
@DavidCornDC: I'm against masturbation. I didn't really get the college degrees I claimed. Can I be a Senator, too?
@HowardKurtz: Magmanimous! RT Telegraph scribe @tobyharnden: Man in Memphis just heard my accent, shook my hand & said: "I don't blame u 4 the oil spill."
@GregMitch: My Dylan quote for Palin: "Idiot wind, blowin' like a circle around my skull....blowin' every time you move your teeth."
TONIGHT: HuffPost's Jose Antonio Vargas discussed Mark Zuckerberg during an appearance on The Dylan Ratigan Show. Chris Van Hollen discusses Newt Gingrich and Debbie Stabenow discusses Sharron Angle on The Ed Show. David Plouffe visits Countdown to discuss midterms. TOMORROW: Bob Corker is on Morning Joe and Mitch McConnell does a Daily Rundown hit.
7:00 pm: Get over your case of the Mondays with some neo-psychedelia: Of Montreal performs at the 9:30 Club (Janelle Monae opens) [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].
8:00 pm: Broken Social Scene, one of those bands that "transcends" things, performs [Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave NW].
8:00 pm: Mind blowing for the whole family: Cirque du Soleil's Ovo is performed at National Harbor [Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD].
8:30 pm - 10:30 pm: This week's edition of the U Street Movie Series features Duke Ellington's Washington which explores the environs of the jazz legend's upbringing. Also being screened is Soul Power, which does not [Harrison Recreation Center, 1330 V Street NW].
12:00 pm: Fall is a time for apple picking, football and campaign functions benefiting the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Get Autumnal at Doc Hastings' (R - Wash.) fundraiser. [Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America Townhouse, 53 D Street SE].
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm: Tom Petri (R-Wisc.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc) attend a "Primary Day Reception" at
a local 4H club the Capitol Hill Club [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), the Republican candidate for the House seat being vacated by George Radanovich, is the guest of honor at a reception [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Joe Baca (D-N.J.) and a mariachi band at an "Hispanic Heritage Month Kick-Off." What more do you need? Oh yeah, a few thousand dollars [434 New Jersey Ave SE].
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: With all the attention being paid to his colleague Mike Castle, John Carney (D-Del.) could sure use a little love. About $2,400 smackaroos worth [Tortilla Coast, 400 First Street SE].
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Who needs a Southwest ticket when you can partake in "A Taste of Larado" with Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America Townhouse. [Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America Townhouse, 53 D Street SE]
6:30 pm: Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) attends a "small dinner" to raise funds for his reelection campaign. Small donations discouraged [Acqua Al 2 - 212 7th Street SW].
7:00 pm: Chuck "MORE PICKLES" Schumer (D-N.Y.) hosts a fundraiser for Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.). $2,400 buys a lot of Schumwiches [Art and Soul, 415 New Jersey Ave NW].
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