Marsha Blackburn challenged President Obama to a shooting contest, though we're pretty sure only vice presidents can participate in firearm-related duels and/or mishaps. Lindsey Graham is so afraid of a primary challenge that we give it a 7:1 chance that he comes out in opposition to the 13th Amendment by week's end. And Harry Reid says no one is at fault for the detainee situation at Guantanamo Bay, though we're pretty sure insurance agents don't lump "indefinitely detained" into the "act of God" category. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, January 29th, 2013:
@jacksonjk: Sen. John Kerry confirmed to serve as next Secretary of State overwhelmingly, 94 to 3. No votes: Cornyn, Cruz and Inhofe. [Kerry voted "present" -- how diplomatic]
PRESIDENT LAYS OUT BOLD PLAN TO KEEP NEVADA BLUE FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY - In other news, Governor Julian Castro has just announced an exploratory committee for the upcoming 2024 presidential election. Elise Foley: "President Barack Obama made an economic and moral case on Tuesday for the need for comprehensive immigration reform, vowing he would send legislation to Congress and insist on a vote if bipartisan efforts there fail. 'I'm here today because the time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform,' he said in a Las Vegas speech... His plans for reform broadly matched with the 'gang of eight' framework, but included progressive elements such as a call not mentioned in the speech for same-sex couples to be given equal treatment to heterosexual ones in immigration law, an idea some Republicans have said would essentially kill any bipartisan legislation. Like the Senate gang, Obama said there must be a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the country. But his proposed pathway, though arduous, would not require certain metrics to be met on border security before green cards could be distributed, a central tenet of the Senate plan meant to stave off charges of 'amnesty.'" [HuffPost]
LAPIERRE TO DIAL DOWN THE CRAZY A BIT - Christina Wilkie reports that the NRA executive will not suggest that back issues of "Soldier of Fortune" be incorporated into our childrens' English curriculums: "Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association, will tell members of Congress on Wednesday that 'law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals,' and the government should not 'dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families.'... In a speech that is uncharacteristically reserved for LaPierre, he will argue that nearly all of the gun control measures currently being debated in Congress are either ineffective or impossible to enforce. His prepared remarks also contend that an assault weapons ban has been proven to have 'no impact on lowering crime.'" [HuffPost]
HARRY REID: NO ONE TO BLAME FOR GITMO - It's been there for years and people just sort of forgot to do something about it -- y'know, like sex and marriage. "Well, it's something we're still looking at," Reid told reporters during a media availability today. "I'm glad Senator Durbin is here. One of the things that they worked on is trying to have a place to bring these people so that they can be tried, and Dick knows more about that than I do, but I know that's one of the things that's being worked on...It's nobody's fault. Where we are -- no one's fault -- where we are now, the president can't do things unilaterally. He has to deal with Congress, and dealing with Congress made it legislatively impossible to do. What he wanted to do was to close Gitmo."
HuffPost's Ryan Reilly is in Guantanamo Bay -- but not in the indefinite-detention kind of way: "Judge Col. James Pohl insisted he was the only person who could close the military commission courtroom here a day after a mysterious censor improperly cut off an audiovisual feed of courtroom proceedings. Journalists and observers are permitted to watch a feed of the courtroom proceedings at Guantanamo on a 40-second delay, a measure intended to prevent the accidental disclosure of classified information. A court reporter in the courtroom has the ability to cut off the feed by pressing a button. But Monday, as a lawyer for confessed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was speaking about a motion, an anonymous censor cut the feed off, frustrating Pohl. During a closed session later Monday, Pohl indicated he would try to get someone to testify about the courtroom security measures in place at Guantanamo. " [HuffPost]
BILL RICHARDSON ROLE-PLAYING - His safety word is "hostage." Actually, it's not what you're thinking. Richardson will appear tonight at 7:00 at George Washington University Jack Morton Auditorium as part of a role-playing event, in which he, Fred Thompson, Neera Tanden, former Sen. Bob Bennett, several members of Congress and other mucketies will react to a fictitious crisis before an audience both live and on C-SPAN. Also joining are Reps. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), James Fallows, Farai Chideya and Pam Iorio, a former Tampa mayor. Frank Sesno of the School of Media & Public Affairs hosts. [LIVE STREAM]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The prepaid debit cards that most people use to receive unemployment insurance carry fewer fees than they did two years ago, but some states are likely breaking federal law by foisting the cards on workers, according to a new report by the National Consumer Law Center. [HuffPost]
DOUBLE DOWNER - Today in unemployment-agency-makes-people-unemployed: "The state Department of Economic Security has closed its Phoenix call center for unemployment insurance, citing cuts in federal funding as fewer people claim benefits. Although DES officials say it reflects an improving Arizona economy, the closure of the Phoenix call center means the loss of 29 full-time positions." [AZCentral.com]
TRIPLE DOWNER - Why the long face, consumer confidence? "The increase in the payroll tax has undoubtedly dampened consumers' spirits and it may take a while for confidence to rebound and consumers to recover from their initial paycheck shock," said Lynn Franco, economic indicators director at the Conference Board. [MarketWatch.com]
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HAGEL NOMINATION LIKELY TO SUCCEED - Soon he will no longer be Senator Sad-Eyed Republican of the Plains -- he will be Secretary Sad-Eyed Republicans of the Plains. Roll Call: "Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said Monday that so far, he has not counted a single Democratic 'no' vote on the question of whether former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel should be confirmed as Defense secretary. Hagel, whose nomination has drawn fire from his fellow Republicans, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday for his hearing. Though the session with the panel is expected to be testy, Hagel will likely clear that hurdle before facing a 60-vote threshold in the full Senate. But even Republican aides are quietly conceding he is likely to get the three-fifths majority he needs to prevent a filibuster." [Roll Call]
Womp womp: "Groups trying to stop Chuck Hagel from becoming the next Defense Secretary have spent $123,000 on television ads against the Republican former senator from Nebraska, according to a new analysis by the Sunlight Foundation... Americans for a Strong Defense is run by former Mitt Romney campaign staffers, according to ABC News. The group has spent at least $63,000 on TV ads aimed at convincing Democratic senators up for reelection in 2014 to vote against Hagel." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
@jbendery: Sen. Hatch on Sen. Rubio: "He is one bright young man. And he's also a very good young man." Okay.
RAY LAHOOD LEAVING ADMINISTRATION - The former Republican congressman, current transportation secretary and the likely inspiration for any "Being There" sequel ("I've never been passionate about any particular issue," he told the Times in 2009, also saying that "I don't think they picked me because they thought I'd be that great a transportation person.") is stepping down. AP: "Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the only Republican still in President Barack Obama's first-term Cabinet, said Tuesday he plans to leave the administration. His move continues an exodus that will give Obama's team a new look in his second term. The 67-year-old LaHood, a former congressman from Illinois, pushed for greater safety on the highways and in the air. He led the Transportation Department throughout Obama's first term and helped steer a campaign to curb distracted driving, promote high-speed rail and repair roads and bridges. Under his watch, the department demanded tougher fuel efficiency requirements for automakers and took steps to address airline pilot fatigue." [HuffPost]
LaHood visited the HuffPost DC offices a couple of years back. It was fun: "In an interview with The Huffington Post, the Illinois Republican praised various cities for restructuring transportation policy around cleaner forms of transit, singling out the construction of bike lanes to encourage biking as particularly effective...Told that his heartfelt defense of bikers came off like the musings of a run-of-the-mill hipster, LaHood professed genuine confusion 'I don't even know what that term means,' he said." [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
TERRIFIED OF A PRIMARY CHALLENGE, LINDSEY GRAHAM PROJECTILE VOMITS CONSERVATISM ALL OVER THE PLACE - Act one: Senator Graham thinks Hillary Clinton is one step away from taking her AK-47, donning a ski mask and going lone wolf on the nearest American consulate. Luke Johnson: "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has upped his already harsh rhetoric against outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, claiming that she 'got away with murder' in the Benghazi, Libya, attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. 'I haven't forgotten about Benghazi. Hillary Clinton got away with murder, in my view,' Graham said on Fox News Monday evening, speaking to Greta Van Susteren. 'She said they had a clear-eyed view of the threats. How could you have a clear-eyed view of the threats in Benghazi when you didn't know about the ambassador's cable coming back from Libya?'" [HuffPost]
Act two: Senator Graham does not like the gays: "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Tuesday that it's a mistake for the president to push for same-sex couples to be included in immigration reform, if he wants Republicans to support the bill. 'Why don't we just put legalized abortion in there and round it all out,' Graham said to reporters." [HuffPost's Elise Foley]
TEXANS GROWING TIRED OF RICK PERRY - The guy has already been elected three times, the first in 2002, the second in 2006 and the third... um... er... uh... PPP: "PPP's newest poll finds that only 31% of voters think Perry should seek reelection next year, compared to 62% who think it's time for him to step aside. He's among the most unpopular Governors in the country, with only 41% of voters approving of him to 54% who disapprove. Perry could face great peril in a primary challenge next year. Only 41% of GOP primary voters want him to be their candidate again, compared to 47% who think it's time for someone else. And in a head to head match up with Attorney General Greg Abbott, Perry leads by only a 41/38 margin. What makes those numbers particularly worrisome for Perry is that Abbott only has 59% name recognition at this point with primary voters. Among voters who are familiar with Abbott- whether they like him or not- he leads Perry 55/33. That suggests the potential for things to get worse for Perry if Abbott does indeed go forward with a bid." [PPP]
MARSHA BLACKBURN CHALLENGES PRESIDENT TO HAND-EYE COORDINATION MATCH - The Tennessee congresswoman, skeptical of the president's claim that he has gone skeet shooting at Camp David, has challenged the commander-in-chief to a shoot-off.
If he loses, he must marry off his eldest daughter to the Blackburn constituent with the strongest mule. Jen Bendery: "Obama revealed in a recent interview with The New Republic that he has fired a gun at Camp David, where he said he goes skeet shooting 'all the time.' The comment has caused some to wonder aloud why he has never mentioned that before or why there aren't any photographs of him engaging in the sport, even if just as a point of reference amid the ongoing debate over gun violence...'If he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of this? Why have we not seen photos?' she asked. 'I think he should invite me to Camp David, and I'll go skeet shooting with him. And I bet I'll beat him' The issue even came up during Monday's White House press briefing. White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked how often the president goes skeet shooting and why there aren't any photographs." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Basset hound lets loose and plays on a slide.
- Biker proposes to girlfriend with army of bikers and canisters of pink smoke. [http://on-msn.com/YePjaM]
- Small girl can probably knock you out. [http://huff.to/X6a3hX]
- The iPhone has turned us all into 19th century lawyers: we're using them as pocket watches. [http://bit.ly/14poUv2]
- DARPA created a super high definition spy camera that can identify six-inch targets from the air. Gulp. [http://chzb.gr/Wn3aMM]
- Just when we thought it was out, it pulls itself back in: "Call Me Maybe" performed with bottles. [http://bit.ly/T3dTfm]
- 29 photos of members of the Reagan White House interacting with celebrities. [http://bit.ly/Wd9mro]
- The force is with the Jedi Kitten. [http://bit.ly/VtXanP]
@kensweet "Are Hyperbolic Headlines Trying to Kill You?"
@KagroX: I think we could use a little defining of the lines when people think putting up "no trespassing" signs means they can shoot anyone on sight
@pourmecoffee: Ray LaHood resigning as Sec. Of Transportation. As far as eye can see, vehicles pulled over, heads bowed in silent tribute. Streets empty.
6:30 pm: Roy Blunt welcomes donors to a $1,000-a-head fundraiser at Carmine's, whose portions are so freaking huge that this might be one of the most cost effective money-for-food fundraisers in town. [Carmine's, 425 7th Street NW]
7:00 pm: Face the Facts USA hosts a "role-play" scenario which isn't nearly as kinky as it sounds. The role-play will "[focus] on major economic issues. Panelists will play roles that reflect their real life experiences." Sorry. [GWU]
7:00 pm: "House of Cards," the straight-to-Netflix series about Washington power brokers starring Kevin Spacey, is screened at the Newseum. [Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW]
6:30 pm: Marco Rubio wants to be president. He's having a fundraiser.
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