Today was the first day of CPAC, the incredibly influential conference that has tremendous bearing on CPAC. Vice President Biden launched a new audio blog called "Being Biden" that regrettably isn't recorded in the third person. And MSNBC's Chris Hayes is moving to primetime. Presumably he'll change the name of his show, "Up With Chris Hayes," to "You Probably Don't Care About The First Few Innings Of That Game, Anyway With Chris Hayes." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, March 14th, 2013:
BOB CORKER: REPUBLICANS RULE, DEMOCRATS DROOL - After his conference met with President Obama today, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker told Mike McAuliff that the difference between meeting Democrats and Republicans is like the splitscreen meal from "Annie Hall"... and Republicans are Diane Keaton's family: "I would suspect that if you asked the president which luncheons he enjoyed the most, I would say he enjoyed -- by far! -- the Republican luncheons. There was a tone of respect, and I think he senses, even though there are differences politically and policy-wise, I think he senses a sincere desire to make something happen. I think the Democratic meetings were a little more raucous than ours was."
Earlier, in Obama-GOP bromance - Orrin Hatch in January, per Mike McAuliff: "The president doesn't seem to ever get really involved. I like him personally. We're friends. We talk to each other in nice ways, and not because we have to, because we like each other. Or at least I like him. I don't know if he likes me anymore. He seems to. He calls me Orrin."
OBAMA: STOP FILIBUSTERING MY NOMINEES? GOP: NO - Well, it was worth a shot. Mike McAuliff: "President Barack Obama made a plea to Republican senators in their private meeting Thursday to ease up on their filibusters of his nominees, but he appears to have gotten a cool reception. 'The president made the pitch that it would be useful to his administration if nominees were more quickly confirmed,' said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) after the president spent more than an hour chatting with the GOP caucus as part of his 'charm offensive.' But it seems that Republicans will not relent on bogging down nominees, and also do not agree they are obstructing Obama's picks...At the moment, there are 18 nominees pending on the floor, with another 12 waiting in the Judiciary Committee. So far, the GOP has actually stopped five of Obama's nominees, though Moran was right that only two of them -- Halligan and Goodwin Liu -- failed in cloture votes. Democrats blocked seven Bush nominees in two presidential terms. Republicans have also required 30 filibuster votes on Obama nominees, compared to the 18 times Democrats forced such cloture votes on Bush nominees in all eight of Bush's years...'So the president made the pitch,' Moran said. 'I don't think it had a lot of credibility with Republican senators.'" [HuffPost]
GOP PREPPING BILL TO RESUME WHITE HOUSE TOURS... BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT'S IMPORTANT - Woah, first things first, gang, don't you need to deal with all the Hill staffers who have to wait in line, first? Sam Stein: "Congressional Republicans have upped their campaign to pressure the White House to reopen its doors to tour-goers after shutting them in response to sequestration. Two senators are pushing measures to restart the White House tours as amendments to a 'continuing resolution' bill to keep the government funded past March 27. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is reported to have his amendment in the works. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) rolled out a separate amendment on Wednesday night, calling for the transfer of $2.5 million from the Transportation Security Administration to the U.S. Secret Service to pay for the security staff on the tours." [HuffPost]
SPOTTED: Jon Kyl, at Tosca, being a lobbyist, and Citi's Peter Orszag chilling in first class on the DC-bound Acela. Enjoy the good life, gents!
REUTERS SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR INDICTED FOR AIDING ANONYMOUS - Someone at SXSW is going to turn this into a hashtag and that person should be punched in the face. From DOJ's press release: "Matthew Keys, 26, of Secaucus, N.J., was charged in the Eastern District of California with one count each of conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, transmitting information to damage a protected computer and attempted transmission of information to damage a protected computer... The three-count indictment alleges that in December 2010 Keys provided members of the hacker group Anonymous with log-in credentials for a computer server belonging to KTXL FOX 40's corporate parent, the Tribune Company. According to the indictment, Keys identified himself on an Internet chat forum as a former Tribune Company employee and provided members of Anonymous with a login and password to the Tribune Company server. After providing log-in credentials, Keys allegedly encouraged the Anonymous members to disrupt the website... If convicted, Keys faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 for each count." [DOJ]
Court document here.
VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT - http://www.whitehouse.gov/being-biden exists.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Did you hear the one about how widespread drug abuse caused the Great Recession? "Wendy Davis was 18 and pregnant when she lost her job at Dresser Industries in Dallas. To pay the bills, she did what many laid-off workers do: She collected unemployment benefits for a few months. It's 30 years later, and state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Harvard-educated Democrat representing Tarrant County, on Wednesday spoke against a proposal to target laid-off workers with government-sponsored drug tests. 'I've been on unemployment,' Davis said in a nine-minute confrontation with the bill's sponsor, Sen. Tommy Williams, during a hearing in the Senate Economic Development Committee. 'I just can't imagine, Sen. Williams, what it would have felt like for me to have been subjected during that period of time to a drug test simply because I was on unemployment benefits.' Williams, a Republican from the Woodlands, described his proposal as a way to help the state maintain a competent workforce." [Star-Telegram.com]
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MCAULIFFE'S CAMPAIGN SPRING TRAINING FOR HILLARY 2016 - Politico: "Terry McAuliffe made a veiled joke about Hillary Clinton running for president and Bill Clinton congratulated a major Democratic donor as the new ambassador to France at fundraisers for his Virginia gubernatorial campaign Wednesday night, sources in attendance told POLITICO. McAuliffe... made a quip about another campaign coming in a few years -- a remark that attendees took as a veiled reference to Hillary Clinton, whose friends are openly urging her to run. McAuliffe allies have also described, in private conversations, his Democratic gubernatorial run as something of a test run for the Clinton network of donors and supporters. Hillary Clinton herself has not said whether she's running. McAuliffe was feted at two fundraisers, hosted by hedge fund billionaire and longtime Clinton backer Marc Lasry and former Bill Clinton aide-de-camp Doug Band." [Politico]
CPAC: I pevert democracy, and so can you! This is like our corporate democracy's version of those late-90s services that helped you sell your stuff on eBay. "For a limited time only, DB Capitol Strategies PLLC will guide you through the loopholes of confusing campaign finance laws at a price that the Average Joe can afford. From its booth in the basement hall at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center (the site of this year's conservative gathering) the D.C.-based firm is offering its 'CPAC discount': For $695, you can get outfitted with a ready-to-roll hybrid PAC...Taking elements of the classic political action committee, which allows you to contribute directly to federal candidates, and the super PAC, which gives you the power to make unlimited expenditures (provided you're not coordinating with campaigns), the hybrid PAC is the best of both all mashed together... 'The Cutting Edge of Free Speech Litigation' reads one of the signs at the firm's booth." [HuffPost]
HuffPost asked Allen West, who spoke at CPAC, whether he would run for office again. "God determines that," he replied. God did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
SENATE JUDICIARY PASSES ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN, TED CRUZ MANSPLAINS - Prior to a Judiciary Committee vote on an assault weapons ban, the freshman lawmaker reminded everyone that he's a few months away from giving up words all together and wet willying Ron Wyden. TPM: "Cruz, a former constitutional law professor, began by reciting portions of the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments, and asked Feinstein whether the power of government to restrict certain types of guns would be equally appropriate given those provisions. 'Let me just make a couple of points in response,' Feinstein shot back. 'One, I'm not a sixth grader. Senator, I've been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot."... The panel approved the bill on a party line vote, 10 - 8. The legislation now moves to the full Senate, where it is widely expected to fail." [TPM]
@MEPFuller: I can confirm: Lindsey Graham has a flip phone. It just rang at this Budget markup and he picked it up.
JIM INHOFE: OUR CHARMING PRESIDENT IS RUINING EVERYTHING - Fun fact: Jim Inhofe's middle name is "Mountain." Crazy, right? Preston Maddock: "Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is not falling for President Barack Obama's so-called 'charm offensive.' Speaking with Laura Ingraham on her radio show Thursday, Inhofe sarcastically criticized his colleagues for their 'good responses' to the president's recent overtures. 'But wait a minute,' Inhofe said. 'This is the same guy that is ... over-regulating all of our businesses, he has a war on fossil fuels, he is keeping us from being energy independent, he is defunding the military.' "So he's destroying this country, but yes he's charming,' Inhofe said." [HuffPost]
While we're on the subject of below-the-belt presidential criticism, here's Kevin McCarthy: "How can a president not want to balance the budget? How does he forgot what he said? One of his first goals in the first four years was to cut the deficit in half. Now he doesn't care. He doesn't even produce a budget. I'll bet you this. I bet you he spends more time filling out his March Madness brackets than he does writing a budget." [The Hill]
CHRIS HAYES MOVING TO MSNBC PRIMETIME - NYT: "Chris Hayes will take over the 8 p.m. time slot on MSNBC in the next month, the channel announced on Thursday morning, the day after the current host of that hour, Ed Schultz, said he was moving from the weekdays to the weekends... The change is predicated on the belief that MSNBC can win a wider audience with Mr. Hayes than it did with Mr. Schultz, a champion of the working class whose bluster didn't always pair well with Ms. Maddow and the channel's other prime-time program, 'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.' Mr. Hayes, on the other hand, is just as wonky as Ms. Maddow and Mr. O'Donnell, and is a regular contributor to both of their programs." [NYT]
SELLOUT ALERT: HOWARD BERMAN - Politico: "Berman is going to Covington & Burling, POLITICO has learned. It's the second big hire in as many weeks for the firm as it bolsters its global public policy and government affairs practice -- former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) joined the company last week. Both Kyl and Berman will advise clients on tax policy, intellectual property, health care and immigration. Berman, who lost to another Democrat incumbent, Rep. Brad Sherman, in a costly election last year, will start March 25 as senior policy adviser. Ethics rules prevent Berman from lobbying for one year and Kyl for two years." [Politico]
VICE PRESIDENT'S STAFF ROUGHS UP COLLEGE REPORTER - We imagine this transpiring exactly like that scene from Connie's wedding in "The Godfather" when an incensed Sonny smashes the photographer's camera and then drops some money at his feet. WaPo: "The office of the vice president has apologized to a University of Maryland student after a member of Joe Biden's staff confronted the college reporter and forced him to delete photos of an event. Capital News Service reporter Jeremy Barr was covering Biden's announcement of a new domestic violence initiative, he told Captial News Service, the school's student paper. He accidentally sat in a section of the audience not meant for the media. He had identified himself as a member of the press upon entry and been directed to that area. Barr took a few pictures of Biden at the podium. After the event, a staffer for Biden confronted him and demanded to watch as he deleted the pictures from his camera." [WaPo]
CORY BOOKER NERDS OUT TO THE MAX - There were no Jedi mind melds, because Cory Booker is just the coolest. John Celock: "Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) put talk of his likely U.S. Senate campaign and love of Twitter aside Tuesday night to engage in a 'Star Trek' trivia contest while calling into a New Jersey radio station's pledge drive. Booker competed with comedian and 'Daily Show' correspondent John Hodgman in the contest on WFMU, a Jersey City-based radio station, around 11 p.m. Tuesday. The Star-Ledger first reported Booker's late night geek-a-thon Wednesday evening, posting audio of the 15-minute interview. 'John and I know the difference between a Vulcan mind meld and a Jedi mind trick,' Booker told host Tom Scharpling when he was challenged to battle Hodgman in the trivia contest." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Antelope is very, very confused.
SAD NEWS: BOSTON PHOENIX CLOSING - Boston Herald: "The Boston Phoenix is closing, according to a staffer at the alternative weekly newspaper. 'It's awful to be here at the end, but it's been a blessing," said Phoenix staff writer Chris Faraone. 'I'm anything but angry, I'm just saddened. It's sad to lose an alternative voice in the city.' The weekly's sister paper also confirmed the closing...The Boston Phoenix, a decades-old alternative weekly that has been financially strapped in recent years, last year merged with Stuff@Night and went glossy." [Boston Herald]
- A toaster that prints images from the web onto bread. The greatest addition to breakfast since Eggos. [http://chzb.gr/WIantH]
- Person dresses up as Spiderman, does some sweet Taekwondo.
- These Twitter accounts do not belong to Pope Francis. [http://huff.to/ZJ3fKf]
- Hate groups, like the rest of humanity, have no problem with Jennifer Lawrence. [http://bit.ly/ZmMN2s]
- A 1993 AT&T commercial more or less predicted what technology would be like 20 years later. [http://bit.ly/N28VG]
- Dog snores like a Looney Toons character. [http://bit.ly/WcuDCA]
- Move aside, goats. Here are seals yelling like humans. [http://bit.ly/YbTylY]
@lehmannchris: In lieue of pretending that CPAC matters, just planning on having an extended political conversation with my dogs tonight.
@daveweigel: Mike Lee played off by "Only the Horses" by Scissor Sisters. And yet @GOProud is banned. #CPAC2013
@pourmecoffee: Remember to celebrate Pi Day by being irrational, transcendental, and never settling into a repeating pattern.
5:30 pm: With all apologies to her pregnant supporters, Lois Capps is going ahead with her "Spring Time Sushi Spectacular" fundraiser. [Erickson & Co. Townhouse, 38 Ivy Street SE]
6:00 pm: Brian Higgins hosts the "5th ANnual Taste of Buffalo," so make sure you bring your checkbook and a desire to learn what industrial decay tastes like. And wings... maybe. [National Democratic Club Townhouse, 40 Ivy Street SE]
7:30 pm: Ted Deutch invites his donors to Pink's concert at the Verizon Center. Enjoy that scene. [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW]
8:15: It's a political whip party and you don't even need to go to Voyeur West Hollywood! The Democrats' two congressional whips, Dirck Durbin and Steny Hoyer, raise funds for their joint campaign venture, AmeriPAC. [Hotel George, 15 E Street NW]
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