To defend its signature legislative accomplishment on Tuesday, the Obama administration sent to the Supreme Court a human-sized tub of flop sweat. Mitt Romney said being godfather, a role that involves taking over for parents that die, means you can kill the kids, possibly using a car elevator. And Rick Santorum plans to make a foreign policy address outside the Jelly Belly Candy Company, to be followed by a health care speech outside F.A.O. Schwartz...This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, March 27, 2012:
TOUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE FOR SOLICITOR GENERAL, SICK PEOPLE, KIDS WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS - U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli sounded like he was having difficulty envisioning the Supreme Court justices naked today. Herewith, HuffPost Hill's annotated transcript of the first 25 seconds of Verrilli's oral argument: "The Affordable Care Act addresses a fundamental and enduring problem in our health care system and our economy. Insurance has become the predominant means of paying for health care in this country. [Cough, cough.] Insurance has become the predominant means of paying for health care in this country. For most Americans, for more than 80 percent of Americans, the insurance system does provide effective access... [Tinkling noise from icewater glass...] Excuse me. But for more than 40 million Americans who do not have access to health insurance either through their employer or through government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, the system does not work." Donald Verrilli, ladies and gentlemen. [Supreme Court]
BuzzFeed edited together some of the most awkward stammering.
DEMOCRATS: SHUT UP, JEFFREY TOOBIN - CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called the hearing a "trainwreck for the Obama administration" that "looks like it's going to be struck down." (Yes. In Washington terms, millions of people losing health care is foremost a problem "for the Obama administration.") The White House declined to comment, but Harry Reid was pissed. Todd Zwillich, on Twitter: "Sen Reid on Toobin's panning of SG [ed: Solicitor General]: 'I'm sure he was trying to sell some words that he distributes.' ... More Harry Reid re SG: 'I've been in court a lot more than Jeffrey Toobin.' #shotsfired" [Politico, Twitter]
@JeffreyToobin: Harry Reid doesn't like my legal analysis re #scotus today. http://bit.ly/GXB3g1
HIGHWAY VOTE POSTPONED - House Republicans postponed the vote on their 60-day extension of highway funding because they "hate America" (and because Democrats wouldn't vote for it). Pete Kasperowicz: "Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) went so far as to say Republicans 'hate America' and 'hate government.' 'They hate government so much, they will say that investment by the government in building a national transportation system, and maintaining it, and rebuilding it with Made in America requirements,' DeFazio said on the House floor. ... DeFazio's 'hate America' comment drew a rebuke from Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), but not a call to have his words stricken from the record. 'I do take offense to the fact that he said we hate America,' Shuster said." [The Hill]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - When Linda Hall applied for unemployment insurance after getting laid off in August, the country club where she'd worked for 18 years appealed the claim, claiming she quit even though she'd been fired, and in September the state of Washington ruled her ineligible for benefits. As the appeals process got underway, Jan Quintrall, a former member of the club's board of trustees, wrote a column in a local paper bashing bogus unemployment claims. "We are taking issue with the state going through the motions to review cases but awarding unemployment even when the staff person was terminated for cause," Quintrall wrote in October as Hall fought for her benefits. It was one in a series of columns Quintrall penned to complain about dishonest unemployed people. "Now, I know there are still a large number of people who are unemployed or under-employed and really looking for a new place to work," Quintrall wrote in an earlier op-ed. "But there also seems to be a growing number of people who enjoy not working and are making a career out of job avoidance." To Hall, who said she had helped cater Quintrall's wedding, the columns stung. "I was so sad, because it was right after this happened, and I wanted so badly to write a letter to the editor, but I was right in the middle of this hearing," Hall said. "Not only do you lose your job, but they treat you like some kind of mooch on society." [HuffPost]
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SANTORUM TO SPEAK AT ONE JELLY BELLY LANE - Even Reagan, who famously loved jelly beans, never made a speech in front of one, to our knowledge. Santorum is scheduled to give an address on foreign policy Thursday at Jelly Belly Candy Company.
TRAYVON MARTIN'S PARENTS VISIT THE HILL - AP: "Martin's parents spoke briefly Tuesday at a Capitol Hill forum that began with a moment of silence for their son, who was shot and killed Feb. 26 in a gated Florida community. Martin's father, Tracy Martin, thanked 'everyone who is holding the legacy of Trayvon' while his mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, 'Trayvon was our son, but Trayvon is your son.'" [AP]
TRANSMIT THIS MESSAGE TO ROMNEY - Both John Boehner and Dmitri Medvedev agreed that Mitt Romney was wrong to go after Obama on the "let's wait to deal with this until 2013" thing. Catalina Camia: "Medvedev said Romney's comments were 'very reminiscent of Hollywood and also of a certain phase of Russian-U.S. relations.' Medvedev counseled the GOP front-runner to 'listen to reason' before articulating his positions. When Boehner was asked about Romney's criticism, the speaker told reporters that it wasn't the right thing to do. 'While the president is overseas, I think it's appropriate that people not be critical of him or of our country,' he said. The Romney campaign said Medvedev's criticisms are a sign that Russia would rather deal with President Obama." Can't imagine why, after Romney called Russia America's "number one geopolitical foe." Seriously. He said that. [USA Today]
HIDE YO KIDS - Because according to Romney, their godfathers could go after them. His exchange with Hugh Hewitt, via Daily Intel: "Hewitt: Yesterday, the president's campaign manager said that you are the godfather of Obamacare ... if that's who you are, can you make the Democrats an offer they can't refuse to repeal it? Romney: (laughing) That's a great idea. We counted, by the way, that Mr. Plouffe is the Rumpelstiltskin of trying to turn straw into gold. He will not be successful. I can tell you one thing. If I'm the godfather of this thing, then it gives me the right to kill it." [Daily Intel]
RUBIO TO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: REMEMBER, I'D HELP YOU WITH BROWN PEOPLE - Marco Rubio, person who is totally not interested in being VP or playing up his cred with Hispanics, is working on a Dream Act-type bill to help (probably) a tiny number of undocumented young people. Alexander Bolton: "[Rubio] declined to provide any details, but confirmed he hopes to have legislation soon. 'I don't have any specifics to announce yet,' said Rubio. 'This stuff has to be done responsibly. We're working toward that and hopefully very soon.' ... Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) are also working on a bill, although its details are being kept secret, according to congressional sources. Senate sources expect it to be unveiled after GOP front-runner Mitt Romney has clinched the presidential nomination. [The Hill]
@Jordanfabian: Schemer not talking about potential Rubio alternative DREAM Act: "Don't know anything about it."
@Jordanfabian: Last tweet should have read Schumer*. Swear it was auto correct, not Freudian slip.
SIREN: DEMOCRATS SOMETIMES KILL PEOPLE - George Zimmerman, who shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin last month, is a registered Democrat. This. Changes. Everything. The Washington Free-Beacon's headline: "REGISTERED DEM KILLED TRAYVON: MEET REGISTERED DEMOCRAT AND SELF-IDENTIFIED HISPANIC AMERICAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN." [Free Beacon]
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misstated Zimmerman's first name.
D.C.'s SUGAR DADDIES AREN'T SO SWEET The nation's capital has a lot of "sugar daddies," "but they aren't very generous. Also: lobbyists are overrepresented in D.C.'s sugar daddy population. Arin Greenwood: "D.C. comes in sixth on a list of U.S. cities with the most sugar daddies per capita, according to Brandon Wade, founder of a website called SeekingArrangement.com. The site matches up (mostly) men of means with (mostly) women seeking such means. (The sugar providers are 99.53 percent male, according to Wade, and 95.6 percent identify as straight.)" [HuffPost DC]
NOM BEING NOM (TERRIBLE) - National Organization for Marriage attempts to use divisive tactics to avoid allowing gay people to divide our country. Nicholas Confessore: "An internal memo from one of the country's leading anti-gay marriage organizations outlines a plan to defeat same-sex marriage and create division among Democrats by creating tension between gays and blacks over the issue. The project's goal, according to the memo, is to recruit blacks who oppose gay marriage to serve as spokespeople for the group, then 'provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.' Another initiative, described under the heading 'Internationalizing the Marriage issue: A Pan-American Strategy,' is to convince Hispanic voters that efforts to legalize gay marriage would force them to assimilate to 'the dominant Anglo culture.'" [NYT]
ROMNEY PLANS FANCY HOUSE, BUT WITHOUT ROOM FULL OF STACKS OF GOLD COINS - Mitt Romney's proposed house in California would have a separate elevator for cars. We look forward to the Cribz episode where he says "This is where the magic happens." Reid Epstein: "A project this ambitious comes with another feature you don't always find with the typical fixer-upper: its own lobbyist, hired by Romney to push the plan through the approval process. ... But it may not help Romney -- whose wealth has caused him trouble connecting with average folks -- to be seen building a split-level, four-vehicle garage that comes with a 'car lift' to transport automobiles between floors, according to 2008 schematic plans for the renovation obtained by POLITICO that are on file with the city of San Diego." The rebuttal, via Ashley Parker: "The Romney campaign said that a 'car elevator' was simply a mechanism for storing cars in tight spaces." [Politico, NYT]
@davidaxelrod: @woodhouseb Question is, will there be enough headroom for the dog crates? Inquiring canines want to know!
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Mitt Romney soundboard. Prank call away. [HuffPost]
- Wait! We didn't really mean it, Google! Here, you can have all our intellectual property. Just give us back our Gmail? [http://bit.ly/HcwIX4]
- Just a typical day in Alaska. [http://bit.ly/GVQbJI]
- Make cake in a jar. [http://bit.ly/HcvzyN]
- "25 Celebrities That Look Like Mattresses." BuzzFeed is on fire this week. [http://bit.ly/HcwejI]
- The Google Street View car got lost, recorded the Amazon river. [http://bit.ly/GVNGHg]
- That secret gay agenda you've been hearing about. [http://bit.ly/Hcup6n]
- Forever alone, beginner's guide. [http://bit.ly/HcwvTD]
@BenjySarlin: BREAKING: JetBlue pilot was registered Democrat, violent breakdown came after reading Jeff Toobin tweets #NewsDayDistilled
@SabrinaSiddiqui: I bet a young Mitt Romney pwned the shit out of other kids at Monopoly.
@dceiver: "I can't have a bunch of cars all over the driveway, I'm running for office, for Pete's sake!"
6:00pm - 8:00pm: Bruning again, fresh from a K Street fundraiser, scoots over to Carmine's for yet another fundraiser, this time at the biggest political fundraising venue in DC. So much for fighting the good fight, enjoy the baked zitti! [425 7th St NW]
6:30pm - 8:30pm: Highlight of the beer lobbyists' fly-in is a reception at the Library of Congress, which is pretty much members and senior staff only. Yeah, sorry 'bout that. [James Madison Room]
6:30pm - 8:30pm: Look on the bright side: While your boss is busy slugging microbrews in the hallowed stacks, there's a rare map viewing right across the hall! Lucky duck. [Madison Building, B-01]
12:00pm - 1:00pm: Free lunch today is sponsored by a scrumptious group of diseases afflicting the autoimmune system. Bon apetit! [Rayburn B-338]
6:30pm - 8:00pm: There's an exclusive club of Hill receptions that every member will swing by at some point in the night, because they're politically perfect -- the ultimate receptions. The 125th Anniversary of the United Way is one of those. [SVC 212]
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