POLITICS
01/20/2011 06:34 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - Moderate Dems Flirt With Boehner

Christ was betrayed by a kiss. Caesar by Brutus. And America's environment by a Republican lobbyist gleefully yelping "Hey, great, go for it guys!" -- Yeah, it was that kind of day. Jeb Hensarling, infused with a renewed sense of Eff-You after accusing President Obama of threatening his mother, dumped a trayful of unappetizing budget cuts in his leadership's lap. Lawmakers fussed over who to take as a date to the State of the Union. And Rick Santorum double downed on his statement that black people can't be pro-choice because...well...we don't really know. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 20th, 2011:

CENTRIST SENATE DEMS RESTART PUSH F0R 1099 REPEAL - Now that you've had your vote to repeal health care, three Senate Dems wrote to John Boehner today, let's repeal a little piece of it. Ben Nelson, Maria Cantwell and Amy Klobuchar called for Boehner to "quickly pass a clean measure rolling back a burdensome reporting requirement in the law --the so-called "1099" requirement." Business -- actually, everybody -- hates the 1099 requirement, a job-killing payfor in the health care bill. Democrats and Republicans introduced several amendments to deal with this last year but just couldn't agree on what job-killing offsets to replace it with.

RSC TO BOEHNER: WE'VE GOT YOUR BUDGET CUTS RIGHT HERE - With House Republican leaders David Blaine-ing themselves out of their (entirely unachievable) promise to cut $100 billion in federal spending this year, Jeb Hensarling just made the situation worse. His Republican Study Committee proposed $2.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade and they don't protect veterans from some of those, a radioactive no-no. Boehner and Cantor played nice, though stopped short of endorsing the plan. "Our immediate goal [is] to cut spending to pre-bailout, pre-stimulus levels," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. "That's what we pledged, and that's what we'll fight for. But that will be the beginning, not the end, of our efforts to cut spending and create jobs - and we appreciate every Member's input." Cantor: "I applaud the Republican Study Committee for proposing cuts in federal spending, and I look forward to the discussion on reducing spending that our country so desperately needs to have. As promised, we will have an open process when it comes to spending bills. I look forward to these cuts and others being brought to the floor for an up-or-down vote during consideration of the CR, and I support that effort."

@hillhulse: One senator says pressure to find a bipartisan seatmate for SOTU has touched off a frenzy as lawmakers scurry for acceptable dates.

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST THANKS OBAMA - Our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, looking for a pick-me-up after he broke his New Year's resolution to eat his feelings less, is thrilled that President Obama is finally ready to stop being the most anti-business president in the history of America. "PSLGOPL is giddy over the president's effort to reduce burdensome regulations," wrote PSLGOPL, who began referring to himself in the third-person because first-person pronouns are an ACORN ploy. "Clearly if K Street hires enough former Democratic aides to perpetrate one big lie, and they say it over and over, sooner or later, really important people like the president will believe it. You know, kind of like Nazi Germany, right Mr. Cohen???!!!!" Thanks, PSLGOPL!

Dan Maffei, former House Dem from upstate New York, is joining Third Way, cuz why not?

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Capital is saddened by Labor's gains. Declining initial jobless claims announced this morning pushed down the price of Treasury bonds. "Bonds add losses after jobless claims data," says Reuters. :( [Reuters]

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GIFFORDS' RECOVERY CONTINUES - A day after it was reported that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords walked with assistance and will be heading to a rehabilitation center this week, her husband, Mark Kelly, confirmed that she is making significant strides towards recovery. Kelly indicated that Giffords attempted to speak and is browsing on an iPad -- making this the only time in its short history that we smiled when someone publicly used an iPad. "In two months you'll see her walking through the front door of this building," Kelly told reporters this morning at Tucson University Medical Center. Michael Lemole, one of the neurosurgeons tending to Giffords, said the iPad use indicates advanced brain activity -- again, the first time a device we use to slingshot birds into giant pig-constructed edifices was cited as a sign of higher cognitive function. We're guessing she wasn't playing Angry Birds.

SHAMELESS TEAR-MONGERING FROM LAURA BASSETT - Nine-year-old Isaac Saldana of Tucson, Arizona, was so upset when he heard about the shootings in his hometown that he felt compelled to do something in response. "Me and my brother were about to go walk the dog when we saw them saying on TV that a little girl and Gabrielle Giffords got shot," he told HuffPost. "I just thought, whoa! I didn't know that people carry around guns here in Tucson. It scared me a little." After raising a total of $2.85 selling his toys, Saldana put the money into an envelope with a get-well card and mailed it to Giffords' hospital room. [HuffPost]

MICHAEL BARR NOW WORKING AT...FILENE'S BASEMENT??? Zach Carter: "My mistake, that's Filene Research Institute, a think tank funded by the credit union lobby. Barr is jumping ship from Treasury, where he was the agencies main point man on Dodd-Frank, responsible for smashing some of the most important reforms that got through the Senate version of the bill, especially on derivatives. He was considered a top contender for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau back when bank lobbyists had the guts to trash talk Elizabeth Warren in public. Get ready for some thrilling papers on community finance interest rates. Somewhere Peter Orszag is laughing contemptuously as he thumbs through the Herman Miller catalogue."

Fred Upton is naming committee rooms after sports stadiums -- or, we guess, stadia, if you want.[FamousDC via The HIll]

RICK SANTORUM: OBAMA CAN'T QUANTIFY LIFE BECAUSE HE'S BLACK - Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum put his own career up against a wall solidified his base's support yesterday when he said that the president cannot credibly form a view on when life begins due to his apparent black guy handicap. "Well if that person, human life is not a person, then -- I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, 'We are going to decide who are people and who are not people,'" Santorum said in an appearance on CNS News yesterday. Today he defended his comments in a statement to the Christian Broadcasting Network. "I am disappointed that President Obama, who rightfully fights for civil rights, refuses to recognize the civil rights of the unborn in this country." Santorum has spent the last four years rehabilitating his image since he started making mind-bogglingly stupid statements about human sexuality and had his name turned into a neologism so upchuck-inducing that we won't reprint it in full except to mention that the word "frothy" is involved. This really won't help. [HuffPost]

GOP STAFFERS PLOT ENERGY STRATEGY WITH INDUSTRY INTERESTS - Darren Goode and Robin Bravender report: "Top staff members for key House and Senate Republicans met in a closed-door session Tuesday with energy industry interests to work on strategy to handcuff the Obama administration's climate change agenda. With the backing of GOP caucus leaders, aides for House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) are seeking unwavering support from a host of industries for an all-out push to block federal and state climate rules. 'The feedback we got was 'hey, great, go for it guys,'' one Republican aide told POLITICO. 'And we pretty strongly told them we do need your help to get this done. And when we walked away from the meeting the feeling was we got that.'" [Politico]

CONGRESSIONAL DEMS ANTICIPATING GOV'T SHUTDOWN FIGHT OVER HEALTH CARE REFORM FUNDS - Sam Stein reports that a growing number of House Democrats are fearful of their Republican counterparts forcing a government shutdown over funding last year's health care reform package. "They are potentially setting up a situation where they will bring government, all of government, to a screeching halt," Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Wednesday. "Not because of the debt ceiling. This is beyond the debt ceiling ... If they think they are going to have the end game of their appropriations bills be that they drive health care reform into an early grave ... they are literally setting up a full stop for almost everything we will possibly do this year." Added Charlie Gonzalez: "There is no doubt in my mind that the Republican leadership ... has already charted a course. They are very disciplined and very good at what they do." [HuffPost]

WHAT'S GOING ON WITH REP. DAVID WU? - We missed this Oregonian item yesterday but it bears mentioning: "Since the November election, U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., has lost at least six staffers plus the leadership of a veteran campaign team that guided him to a seventh term amid complaints about his public behavior. The exodus includes Wu's longtime chief of staff, Julie Tippens, and communications director, Julia Krahe, both in Washington, D.C. Krahe left without securing a job while Tippens took a similar position with a lawmaker with far less seniority. In addition, Wu has lost virtually his entire political team -- people who have been with the Democrat for more than a decade -- including his chief fundraiser, Lisa Kurdziel, and chief pollster, Lisa Grove, who told The Oregonian she wouldn't work for him again...But the staff departures come amid questions about Wu's behavior during the campaign. On Oct. 27, he gave a speech so negative and loud that a Washington County Democratic Party member complained formally to his office. The outburst was followed two days later by an episode at Portland International Airport, where Wu used his influence as a member of Congress to enter a restricted area and campaign for votes from off-loading passengers. One passenger filed a complaint, and a Transportation Security Administration employee was later required to be retrained for his lapse in letting Wu past security." Hey Wu staffers: That address you're looking for is huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com [Oregonian]

Even newly-minted Supreme Court justices have to serve jury duty, ABC News reports.

POLL: PRESIDENT'S NUMBERS AMONG MODERATE REPUBLICANS IMPROVING - A Public Policy Polling survey out today suggests President Obama's shift to the center has endeared himself to the country's six remaining moderate Republicans. "In the last poll 87% of GOP voters said they would definitely vote for Huckabee against Obama- now it's 80%. 79% said they'd vote for Palin- now it's 69%. 81% said they'd vote for Gingrich- now it's 72%. And 87% said they'd vote for Romney- that's now down to 78%. For most of last year Republicans were so disgusted with Obama that they pretty universally said they'd vote for anyone from their party against him but now their feelings have softened a little and the GOP might need someone more formidable than this current bunch to ensure a unified front in 2012." Looks like the president has really shored up Darien, Connecticut. [PPP]

Way to be, Daily Caller! "First Lady's anti-obesity campaign could be causing more pedestrian deaths"

Jason Linkins picks this one apart

CHRIS MURPHY ANNOUNCES CONNECTICUT SENATE BID - Our very own Primetime Sam Stein broke the news today that Rep. Chris Murphy is entering the race to fill the seat being vacated by Joe Lieberman. The news comes in the same week former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz announced her candidacy. Democratic Rep. Joe Courtney and former GOP Senate candidate and person slapped by her daughter in a WWE wrestling ring Linda McMahon are also mulling runs. "Connecticut needs a fresh, progressive voice there that will push for both policy and institutional reform," Murphy's statement read. He kicked off his campaign this morning at an event in Cheshire and simultaneously released an announcement video. The video, filmed in Murhpy's home and neighborhood, attempts to convey his down-to-Earth bona fides by showing him drinking orange juice, wearing winter jackets, being awkward and shoveling his front yard. High bar. [HuffPost]

@daveweigel: Chris Dodd and Ted Kennedy Jr having coffee in Russell cafe.

John Dingell, the 84-year-old dean of the House, is running for reelection. "It's the greatest job in the world," Dingell, told the Detroit News. "I can help people and ... make things better, and I represent some of the finest people on earth. The people in southeast Michigan are nothing short of wonderful...I've had three bad redistrictings, and I've survived every one of them despite predictions to the contrary." [Detroit News]

CHICAGO TO SERVE AS OBAMA 2012 HQ - For the first time in recent history -- somehow -- a sitting president will not base his reelection operations in Washington, the Chicago Tribune is reporting. "Observers said a key factor in Chicago's favor is the anti-Washington climate that has swept the country. Another is the insurgency candidacy anticipated from Obama's rivals, who are expected to make the case that the times are bad, the nation's capital is broken, Obama has been captured by Washington -- and they offer voters an alternative." [Tribune]

How it'll work, from Jeff Zeleny: "President Obama will close the office of political affairs at the White House, aides said, restructuring his organization to prepare for his re-election campaign, which is to start building a fund-raising and grass-roots operation based in Chicago by late March. Mr. Obama has signed off on the plan to set up his campaign headquarters away from Washington, a first for a modern-day presidential re-election campaign. To avoid turf battles, chaotic communications and duplicated efforts, aides said, a significant realignment is underway in the West Wing, with the duties of the political office being taken up by the Democratic National Committee. The president intends to formally declare his candidacy in about two months by filing papers with the Federal Election Commission, aides said. That step would allow him to start raising money and hiring a team of advisers." [NYT]

STYMIEING PATRIOTISM COSTS $$$, GAO FINDS - The Government Accountability Office released a report today indicating that it cost the U.S. nearly $200 million between 2004 and 2009 to maintain the controversial -- and on-the-outs -- "don't ask, don't tell" policy. During that time, 3,664 military personnel were discharged, amounting to $52,800 per separation.[HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - The "faces of rejected bachelorettes" Tumblr happened.

BEN & JERRY DISLIKE MONEY IN POLITICS, ISSA CREAM - Dough should be paired with chocolate chips, left unbaked and meshed with ice cream -- not used to improperly influence elections. That's the opinion expressed by two of America's foremost dairy wizards. Tomorrow morning, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield -- of the eponymous Vermont company -- are joining Public Citizen "to announce a small business push to overturn the Supreme Court decision," followed by an 11 a.m. rally at the Capitol marking the first anniversary of the Citizens United decision. [Public Citizen]

You mean this sort of thing doesn't just happen in November-release Oscar-bait movies? "Boeing just laid off 1000 workers in Southern California, according to the Orange County Register. The move comes just a day after Boeing agreed to a $19 billion deal with China to produce 200 airplanes for the country. The layoffs affect workers in the company's Long Beach, Anaheim, and Huntington Beach facilities. The bulk of the layoffs will occur in Long Beach, where 900 will lose their jobs." [Business Insider]

"Immigration authorities have repatriated 27 Haitians previously convicted of crimes, the first such deportations since the Obama administration halted them following the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti."

BRAD THE INTERN HAIKUS THE NEWS

Frothy

Santorum is a
sexual neologism
Google told me so

Thanks, Brad!

COMFORT FOOD

- National Geographic kindly took the time to assemble an infographic [http://bit.ly/i1qGbZ]

- So powerful is Keyboard Cat's effect on the Internet that it is now creating new memes [http://bit.ly/hLWBp2]

- Wait for it......wait for it......WAIT FOR IT.....WAIT FOR IT [http://bit.ly/hLWBp2]

- After years of drugs, alcohol and estrangement from its family, this owl hit rock bottom when it was arrested for drunken behavior. [http://bit.ly/grddTW]

- This Valentine's Day, show her you care. [http://bit.ly/i2Ch8N]

- Everyone is doing a dance based off of "Weekend at Bernie's" ---including this four-year-old. [http://bit.ly/glAJT4]

- Someone built a replica of Ohio stadium with LEGOs. [http://usat.ly/fUXlAo]

TWITTERAMA

@bradjshannon: Santorum, a news haiku: Civil rights, racism / still. But fetus rights will end / abortions, right guys?

@borowitzreport: Three things Rick Santorum claims to be an expert about: homosexuality, bestiality, and remarkable Black men.

@delrayser: No way I'm hosting a SOTU watch party for Obama. He didn't help clean up after the Pampered Chef party I hosted for him.

ON TAP

TOMORROW

8:00 pm: Indie rock legends Yo La Tengo perform in D.C. Not only are they one of HuffPost Hill's favorite bands, but they also wrote one of HuffPost Hill's favorite workout songs [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].

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