POLITICS
09/14/2010 06:17 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - SEPTEMBER 14TH, 2010

The great thing about campaign season (or worst, if you're the fussy type that prefers a functioning government) is that the pitched craziness of the trail bleeds into politicians' legislative calendar. Harry Reid, short on friends in his home state and unable to decipher TWT bloggers, is tweet-befriending (twfriending?) Lady Gaga. President Obama is forswearing his oath to become the next Shel Silverstein. And South Carolina Republicans are betraying their core values by adopting Democratic ones (circa 1852). This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, September 14th, 2010:

HUFFPOST PRIMARY COVERAGE: BECAUSE CQ DOESN'T HAVE JUSTIN BIEBER SLIDESHOWS - The HuffPost Politics team will be covering tonight's primary elections in seven states and the District of Columbia. We'll be live-blogging the returns, making sense of polling updates and, of course, providing you with all that original reporting you love to read when you're not, say, ponying up on Schwimmer's "rape movie" (http://huff.to/acF3Ug).

DODD UNLEASHES ON WARREN - Before the caucus luncheon today, Chris Dodd told a few reporters that the Senate might be so furious about an interim appointment of Elizabeth Warren that it would change the law and pull funding from it. He then called the White House to find out what was up with her appointment. When he returned to the scrum after the lunch, he was much more subdued, frustrating reporters who wanted a repeat of his red-faced quote crank-out of earlier in the day. (http://huff.to/aV7ekq) One reporter tried awful hard to get him to bite: "But circumventing the Senate, though, wouldn't that piss people off?" "Well," said Dodd. "Let's see what they decide. They haven't decided anything yet."

SANDERS HITS BACK AT DODD, CALLS FOR INTERIM APPOINTMENT - Bernie Sanders, after reading Dodd's comments on Warren, called HuffPost Hill to respectfully disagree, (thus planting in our mind the best "They Live" fight scene spoof imaginable). "I think he is very wrong. They would need 60 votes to [get confirmation]. They would not get 60 votes to do that. The president has the power to make the appointment. We should not be beholden to a Republican filibuster and 60 votes, which is sure defeat. I have a lot of respect and affection for Senator Dodd, but I think he is dead wrong on this issue. What he is really saying is, 'Bring the name forth so she can be defeated,'" said Sanders. "I think what the president can do is appoint her on an interim basis, bring forward her nomination for a permanent appointment, and if she doesn't get 60 votes, she stays on as an interim appointment. But what is most important right now at this very difficult moment, is that Elizabeth Warren get that position."

Just in case you haven't been blessed by the cinematic genius of "They Live:" http://bit.ly/Y0iJr

EPA PREEMPTION VOTE COMING THIS YEAR, IRON EYES CODY READIES KLEENEX - Looks like our Earth Mother is going to need some alone time with a bottle of Tisdale and a Grey's Anatomy Season 1 DVD: Harry Reid told reporters today that the Senate would vote on Jay Rockefeller's EPA preemption bill "not before we leave here, [but] this year." Rocky's legislation would prevent the EPA from regulating carbon emissions as pollutants as ordered by the Supreme Court. Climate scientists say that mankind must reduce its carbon emissions or face horrific consequences. But, says a leadership aide, the majority leader promised Rocky and other conservative Democrats that, in exchange for votes against Lisa Murkowski's preemption legislation, the Senate would vote on Rocky's piece. The vote is likely to come after the November elections and it can get in line behind cutting Social Security, cutting veterans benefits, extending all the tax cuts and corporate giveaways and whatever other bad thing you can pack into November and December.

A Rocky aide emails HuffPost Hill: "Senator Rockefeller's EPA Delay bill is gaining momentum every day in Congress. Rockefeller is fighting for legislation to suspend - for two years - harmful EPA regulations to regulate greenhouse gases because he believes that Congress - and not the unelected EPA - must be responsible for determining our nation's energy policy. Rockefeller expects a vote on this important legislation this year and he is aggressively pursuing this in Congress." No, that's not a typo. Harmful is in the right place. :-(

SENATE ADVANCES SMALL BUSINESS BILL - Lucia Graves on the legislation that will provide small businesses with a $30 billion lending fund, $12 billion in tax cuts and, we're guessing, import tariffs on folksy aprons, old-style cash registers and leaf-strewn Main Street sidewalks that need sweeping: "The vote was 61-37. Democrats succeeded in securing the support of Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), and his stated reasons for backing the measure say a lot about the state of the U.S. Senate: 'We don't have time for messaging,' Voinovich told the Washington Post. 'We don't have time anymore. This country is really hurting.' Tuesday's vote ends legislative debate on the measure, which is expected to proceed to a final vote by the end of the week." http://huff.to/aiepNF

Hey America, guess whom Tim Geithner meets with more often than Nancy Pelosi? It rhymes with Roid TankFind. Shahien Nasiripour's exclusive: http://huff.to/bhoZG9

LEGISLATIVE LOOK AHEAD - The landscape for the next few weeks is in pretty clear focus after today. Later this week, Harry Reid will file cloture on the Defense Authorization bill and fill the tree (meaning no additional amendments on the floor). Three key amendments, however, will be in order. Two of them:

DREAM Act: A last-ditch effort to mollify Latino voters who are furious that Obama hasn't followed through on his pledge to make comprehensive immigration reform a priority. It provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented kids, conditioned on military service or a college degree. (Hey, kids! Go for the college thing: Way less chance you get killed or kill somebody.) The vote could boost Democrats nationally, but one particular Democrat running a tough race in Nevada could particularly use it.

Don't Ask Don't Tell: An amendment to strip the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal will get its day in court. Your ticket out of the double-negative maze: There are enough no votes that the amendment should fail, leaving the repeal in place.

Getting to the tax extenders package, said Max Baucus, is a "high priority."

TAX HIKE COMING FOR EVERYBODY - If the Senate allows the Making Work Pay tax credit to expire at the end of the year, pretty much everyone will get a tax hike. Extending it, said Baucus, is "a little less certain. That's not at the top of the list."

What are the payfors? "There's little talk about how all this is going to be paid for. There's very little talk," said Baucus.

Fed Nominees Headed For Floor Chris Dodd told reporters today he'd hold an impromptu gathering of the Banking Committee just off the Senate floor and re-approve Peter Diamond's nomination. He along with two other Fed nominees, would then be brought to the floor together. A leadership aide speculated that a vote on the nominations would come at the end of the October work period. A vote on the middle-class tax cuts -- the Obama Tax Cuts(!), per Sargent -- will likely be the last week.

George Voinovich -- really striving for that Jim Bunning "most likely to starve zoo animals in a defiant act of fiscal austerity" superlative -- says he might vote AGAINST extending Bush's tax cuts for the middle class. The Hill: "'My gut is probably no,' Voinovich told The Hill. 'I think I would probably not vote, period, for it.' Voinovich also said he would not vote only to extend tax cuts for middle-class families earning less than $250,000 a year. Voinovich said Congress needs to tackle tax reform and extending the Bush tax cuts for another two years would only 'kick the can down the road.'" http://bit.ly/bXnyZu

Mark Warner ripped into White House after the vote, when HuffPost Hill asked him why the small business lobby didn't help push the bill over the line. "I wish we would have seen more emphasis from the administration and others much earlier on this bill. This is helpful now. It would have been wonderful eight months ago," he said.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Speaking of Jim Bunning, the Kentucky senator who called the severely injured Stephen Strasburg "a joke!" is not willing to say anything about the dude who pleaded guilty in August to a felony charge for sending Bunning an email threat back in February. "I just report all threats to the FBI and to the Capitol Hill police," said Bunning after initially refusing to speak to HuffPost. "I don't know anything about it." :(

Today is the three-year anniversary of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. pffft

JEC PREEMPTIVE STRIKE BLAMES BUSH FOR LOOMING BAD ECONOMIC REPORT - The Joint Economic Committee is releasing a report tomorrow morning blaming the Bush administration for the decrepitude of the American middle class. On Thursday, the government is expected to announce that the poverty rate has risen to 15 percent. "This JEC report shows that the Bush economic policies exacerbated income inequality and led us into a painful, protracted recession, the effects of which we still feel today," said JEC Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney. "Middle class Americans lost ground under President Bush and so when the Great Recession hit at the end of 2007, they were already vulnerable and were hit particularly hard."

Tomorrow in Roll Call: Emily Pierce and Steven T. Dennis. report on Senate Democrats fighting over whether and how to extend expiring Bush-era tax cuts.

PROGRESSIVE LAWMAKERS URGE VOTE ON OBAMA TAX PLAN BEFORE ADJOURNING - Amanda Terkel: "Progressive Democrats Alan Grayson, Raul Grijalva, and Mary Jo Kilroy will begin circulating a letter amongst members of Congress calling for a vote before recess on Obama's tax plan: 'As the Bush tax cuts are set to expire, we respectfully urge you to bring to the floor, before Congress adjourns in October, a vote on President Obama's recently proposed tax plan: permanent tax cuts for the middle-class while allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans to expire, using any additional revenue to close our budget deficit.'"

ALAN SIMPSON TO BE HARASSED BY FURIOUS MILK COWS - This is what you get when you call Social Security "a milk cow with 310 million tits!": Social Security activists are gonna show up at the Catfood Commission tomorrow morning dressed in cow costumes and, according to a release, ask the commissioners "if they agree with Simpson that Social Security beneficiaries are milking the system." No word on how many tits they're bringing.

Move aside, John McCain and Snooki, Harry Reid is tweet-conversing with Lady-friggin'-Gaga. "God Bless and Thank you @HarryReid, from all of us, like u, who believe in equality and the dream of this country. We were #BORNTHISWAY," the pop star tweeted at the majority leader today. Reid responded: "@ladygaga It's the right thing to do. Come back to Vegas soon! #nvsen #DADT."

TODAY'S TERKEL TAKEDOWN - Amanda Terkel reports: "Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's (R) recent executive order -- intended to keep 'Obamacare' out of the state by restricting the Affordable Care Act grants state agencies can apply for -- may backfire. Experts say that if they don't get the funds to develop a smart state health insurance exchange, they may have to just default to a federal exchange -- leading to more federal authority over Minnesota's health system. Additionally, Pawlenty is picking and choosing when he's against the Affordable Care Act, authorizing the state Department of Health to still apply for millions of dollars in federal funds." http://huff.to/bJfVr1

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CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: QUIT INJURING THE CITIZENRY BY RAISING QUESTIONS ABOUT MY DUBIOUS FINANCES - A person running to, among other things, help allocate trillions of dollars in federal spending deflected criticisms of her financial prowess by saying such attacks are "insulting" to voters. O'Donnell made the statement on the CBS Early Show this morning when asked about her outstanding college expenses, alleged unpaid campaign debts and an FEC complaint lodged against her, her campaign and the Tea Party Express. CBS News: http://bit.ly/aWSLWi

A new Fox News/Pulse Opinion Research poll indicates Charlie Crist is getting ABSOLUTELY CLOBBERED by Marco Rubio. The survey has Rubio with 44 percent, Crist with 27 percent and Kendrick Meek with 21 percent. With Crist falling so far behind, we wonder if he'll start releasing out a series of wholesome, cliche-ridden attack ads (ideas: "Hi, I'm Charlie Crist, and Marco Rubio's shady business deals are kind of like this Whack-A-Mole," "Hi, I'm Charlie Crist, and Marco Rubio's votes in the Florida House have put Team Florida at 4th and long," "Hi, I'm Charlie Crist, and that dead prostitute I'm not necessarily saying knew Marco Rubio is a bit like this peach cobbler," etc). http://bit.ly/9JK3rg

Mark Blumenthal weighs in: "Political junkies may be wondering, what is Pulse Opinion Research? The answer (as reported earlier today by Political Wire) is that Pulse is a 'field service' spun off of of Rasmussen Reports that conducts their well known automated, recorded-voice surveys. It also conducts polls for other clients including, as of today, Fox News. While the questions asked on specific surveys may differ, the underlying methodology used by Fox/Pulse and Rasmussen are essentially identical." http://bit.ly/dlTxpE

Richard Blumenthal's -- the less sexy Blumenthal -- lead in the Connecticut Senate race has shrunk dramatically. In a new Quinnipiac survey, the Nutmeg State AG has a six-point lead over WWE executive and acclaimed groin-kicker Linda McMahon, 51 percent to 45 percent. http://bit.ly/cMk1Fu

PRESIDENT OBAMA TIRED OF ALL YOUR @#$&, GOING TO AUTHOR A CHILDREN'S BOOK - Actually, he's contractually bound to fulfill a three-book deal he signed with Random House in 2004 (Is President Obama in the pocket of BIG PUBLISHING???). The book is titled "The Magical Adventures of Mom Jeans Maura And Teleprompter Ted" "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters" and will profile 13 "groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation--from the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington," according to the publisher. The release date is November 16th. ABC News: http://bit.ly/dmtaIM

Did you know that the ancient Mayans set their calendar by "The Vice President is actually playing an important role" articles? The Atlantic has one and it's not half bad: "Like most modern vice presidents, Biden has been subjected to the constant ridicule and caricature that seem to accompany the office. And he is, by his own admission, prone to verbal blunders. But Biden's stock has risen steadily in the West Wing, and as the Democrats appear poised to lose much of their leverage in Congress in the upcoming midterm elections, his long experience as a legislator, his warm relationships with his former Senate colleagues, and his relentless salesmanship are likely to become even more important to the president. Even his occasional well-publicized gaffes have served to humanize a leadership team that all too often seems aloof, cerebral, and elitist." http://bit.ly/91k8sE

Doug Pennington is leaving American Rights at Work to become the new press secretary at the Constitutional Accountability Center. Let it be known, Washington, that THIS is a guy who likes codified protections and, you know, wants to tell you about them.

FOX TO RUN THAT "WE GIVE MAD $$$ TO THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION" COMMERCIAL - After considerable tweaking by Media Matters, which is bankrolling the spot, Fox News today announced that it will air a commercial highlighting its sizable financial contributions to the Republican Governors Association. The network originally refused to air the ad because of what it claimed were misleading statements about Fox's intentions (such as saying Fox "refused" to report its donations to its audience). Greg Sargent with the finalized ad: http://bit.ly/aDQm8X

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a fluffy cat playing catch. http://bit.ly/cbPEdc

'YOUNG GUNS' PARODY - At long last the release date for Sisterhood of the Traveling Izod Polo "Young Guns" has arrived. Americans United For Change has released a web clip lampooning a video promoting the book by Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy that outlines their vision for the conservative movement. "What are they gunning for?" the narrator asks over footage of the original video, "Social Security. Medicare. Middle Class Jobs. The Young Guns: Dorky yet .... Dangerous. Middle-aged conservatives recycling ideas that were young... when they were." The Untied for Change video: http://bit.ly/aKuCGL The original: http://bit.ly/bKbtuH

Why are South Carolina Republicans playing plantation dress-up? FITS News, via Ben smith: "The National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) held its annual fall Board of Directors meeting in Charleston, S.C. last weekend - a decision the organization is likely regretting after several controversial pictures from one of the meeting's sponsored events began surfacing on the Internet. One of the pictures shows S.C. Senate President Glenn McConnell - who FITS readers will recall enjoys dressing up as a Confederate General - posing in his Rebel garb with a pair of African-Americans dressed in, um, 'antebellum' attire. The event in question - dubbed 'The Southern Experience' - was held last Friday evening at the Country Club of Charleston. Hosted by the South Carolina Federation of Republican Women, it was included on the national conference's official itinerary." http://bit.ly/auhcHu

President Obama today addressed the nation's schoolchildren to mark the new school year. After last year's speech, Jim Greer, then the Florida GOP chairman, made waves by accusing the president of using "taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda." Greer, since stripped of his chairmanship amid fraud and money laundering charges, has rescinded those claims. "In the year since I issued a prepared statement regarding President Obama speaking to the nation's schoolchildren, I have learned a great deal about the party I so deeply loved and served,'' Greer said in a statement. "Unfortunately, I found that many within the GOP have racist views and I apologize to the President for my opposition to his speech last year and my efforts to placate the extremists who dominate our party today. My children and I look forward to the president's speech." http://bit.ly/92J7cj

The precious exchange today between Harry Reid and the ubiquitous Capitol Hill Washington Times, as Reid walked the short distance from the microphones to the Senate floor:

Blogger: Did you change your mind on anchor babies because Big Labor did?

Reid: Pardon me?

Blogger: Did you change your mind on anchor babies because Big Labor did back in '99?

Reid: I'm sorry. I can't understand you.

Blogger: Did you change your mind on anchor babies because Big Labor did in '99?

Reid: I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're--

Blogger: Did you change your mind on immigration, sir, because Big Labor did? [Reid walks onto Senate floor.]

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT -Tonight: High pressure mixed with a very strong jet stream means that it's going to stay warm. Expect the clouds to clear. Tomorrow: Warm air will come pushing from the south, so we can expect it to be just a tad warmer but, sadly, a bit more humid. Thanks, JB!

Sweat Scale (after walking 5 blocks outside): It'll feel like you just got out of the way of a sprinkler. A few drops, but your shirt stays reasonable. Stay sharp, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- An early history of the remix. http://bit.ly/b4Sav4

- In case you ever wanted to build a Muppet, here's Jim Henson to tell you how. http://bit.ly/92L2iO

- A university is planning a week-long ban of Facebook and other social media outlets. The shakes will subside, people. http://bit.ly/ba9pJO

- More aside, Lords of the Dance. Here's some Irish hand dancing to blow your mind. http://bit.ly/bNuyq7

- A rubber band gatling gun. Dear America: You're bored. http://gizmo.do/cNosqQ

- Dollars to donuts you're going to see this costume roughly 1,450,432 times this Halloween. http://bzfd.it/cBOa3t

- Here's a costume we hope you never see. http://on.vh1.com/bhT8HS

- SMASH CAPITAL! Here's your chance to bid on the naming rights to this fetus' middle name. http://bit.ly/a3n8lw

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: RT @lizzieohreally: Dorgan talking about underwear on the floor of the Senate. // 1. Debate underpants. 2. ??? 3. RETAIN SENATE MAJORITY.

@benpolitico: First day of optical scan ballots in ny. Nostalgia for the clunky old machines, some error messages. Election worker advising prayer.

@mattklewis: Chris Matthews loves "Morning Rundown".

@Wonkette: Media Cannot Stop Reporting That Elizabeth Warren Has Been Given Job.

@FakeAPStyleBook: If you can't find the source of a quote, attribute it to Kurt Vonnegut, Einstein, Dorothy Parker, or H. L. Mencken and move on.

@ManleySenate: Hey GOP, walk down LV Strip & tell me who's hurting. Don't pretend Paris Hilton needs tax cut more than bellboy at Paris or busboy at Hilton [EDITOR'S NOTE: *Crickets*]

THE TUBE

TONIGHT: Martha Raddatz interview with General Petraeus on World News

ON TAP

TONIGHT

7:00 pm: Of Montreal is back for another show at 9:30 Club. Janelle Monae opens [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].

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 Laredo" 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].

TOMORROW

12:00 pm - 10:00 pm: To commemorate the debut of Top Chef: Just Desserts, Open Table will pay for your desert at 75 area restaurants. A listing of participating restaurants here: http://bit.ly/b4Sav4

7:45 am: Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who just yesterday reminded us that Sharron Angle is probably telling your abusive ex about all the people you've dated since you broke up, is the guest of honor at a reception hosted by the freshman Democratic classes of 2006 and 2008 (boy, those were the days, huh?) [Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave NW].

8:00 am - 9:00 am: Rick Berg (R-N.D.), who is challenging Earl Pomeroy for his at-large seat, waddles into town to pass the hat [Valente & Associates, 600 14th Street NW 5th Floor ].

8:00 am - 9:00 am: Heather and Tony Podesta host a fundraiser for Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) because they aren't influential enough already [131 C Street SE].

12:00 pm: Forgive our red/blue state prejudices but we kind of expected Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to be hosting his campaign functions at wine bars, Spanish restaurants, etc. Screw that: dude's throwing down at Charlie Palmer Steak. Big ups, Ron [Charlie Palmer, 101 Constitution Ave NW].

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Whenever we hear about the Strategic Healthcare Townhouse, we always picture a bunch of dudes in Napoleon outfits fussing over hospital blueprints. We're not sure if that's true or not. What is true is that Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will be a guest at a fundraiser benefiting Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) [Strategic Healthcare Townhouse, 230 Second Street SE].

6:00 pm: Help Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) win what may be the least exciting race this cycle [Bistro Bis, 15 E Street NW].

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