POLITICS
09/09/2013 05:55 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - Is Kerry's Gas Gaffe Assad's Last Laugh?

John Kerry's chemical weapons ultimatum was the most spontaneous thing to come from the secretary since his face swelled up for absolutely no reason whatsoever. President Obama invited himself to a lunch because he's definitely not a lame duck. And Florida's attorney general postponed an execution so she could attend a fundraiser. Rick Perry wonders why she didn't simply combine the two. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, September 9th, 2013:

NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL OBAMACARE DEFUNDING 41! - Get it? Because there are SO MANY versions of both things? David Rogers: "House Republicans are dusting off an old legislative gambit from April 2011 as one way to move ahead this week with a stopgap spending bill for the first months of the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The goal is to give conservatives a vote on defunding health care reform without resulting in a government shutdown. It's worked before, but 'before' is the operative word. And until Tuesday's Republican Conference, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) won't really know if this flash-from-the-past can flash again. Most simply the procedure calls for sending the Senate a stopgap spending bill together with a resolution that would alter the text of the bill once it's enrolled for presentation to President Barack Obama. In this case, the so-called "enrollment correction" would bar funding to carry out Public Law 111-148, Obama's signature health care reforms. But the Democratic-controlled Senate retains the right to choose: accepting the spending resolution with or without the 'correction.'" [Politico]

2014: DEMOCRATS SCRAMBLING TO KEEP MONTANA BLUE - Roll Call: "With a string of declinations from potential candidates, Democrats continue to hunt for a strong recruit for the open Senate seat in Montana -- potentially a top-tier race. At this point, their hopes may rely on the candidacy of Democratic Lt. Gov. John Walsh, a crew-cut former state adjutant general who led hundreds of Montanans into combat in Iraq. Walsh, 52, hasn't announced anything yet, but several knowledgeable Democrats in Big Sky Country and on Capitol Hill said he is taking a serious look at the seat. Since taking office in January, Gov. Steve Bullock has often dispatched Walsh to events around the state, party sources said, using his knack for retail, which would also come in handy on the campaign trail...Republicans have been awaiting a decision from freshman Rep. Steve Daines, whose fundraising prowess and statewide victory in 2012 made him an obvious top recruit for the party. He would start the race with an edge in both name recognition and money. But Montana's relatively cheap media markets would undoubtedly invite hefty outside spending." [Roll Call]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST MISSES HILLARY - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist hasn't been leaving his underground bunker much lately, convinced that Iraq's WMDs ended up in the hands of the Street Sense guy outside his office. He's used the extra time to contemplate America's standing abroad. "There's something not right about being sent to war by a man who is in the process of healing from a face lift," PSLGOPL writes of John Kerry's swollen appearance. "It's very emasculating." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

President Obama is scheduled to appear on all the channels tonight.

The Washington Department of Football is holding its first field hearing of the session tonight. Robert Griffin III is expected to testify.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - John Kasich is doing in Ohio what the House GOP wants done everywhere. "Gov. John Kasich's administration will limit food stamps for more than 130,000 adults in all but a few economically depressed areas starting Jan. 1. To qualify for benefits, able-bodied adults without children will be required to spend at least 20 hours a week working, training for a job, volunteering or performing a similar type of activity unless they live in one of 16 counties exempt because of high unemployment. The requirements begin next month; however, those failing to meet them would not lose benefits until Jan. 1." [Columbus Dispatch]

Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It's free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

ALL YOUR GASSES ARE BELONG TO US - The international community is united. AP: "Syria on Monday quickly welcomed a call from Russia, its close ally, to place Syrian chemical arsenals under international control, then destroy them to avert a U.S. strike, but did not offer a time frame or any other specifics. The statement by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem appeared to mean that diplomatic efforts to end Syria's 2 1/2-year civil war were gaining momentum...Also Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Syria to immediately agree to transfer chemical weapons and chemical precursors to a safe place within the country for international destruction. Ban said he will also propose to the Security Council that it unite and demand an immediate chemical weapons transfer should U.N. inspectors conclude that such weapons were used in an attack Aug. 21 in a suburb of Damascus...The surprise series of statements from top U.S., Russian and Syrian diplomats followed media reports alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who discussed Syria with President Barack Obama during the Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg last week, had sought to negotiate a deal that would have Assad hand over control of chemical weapons." [HuffPost]

Kerry's diplomacy earned Joe Manchin's shotgun blast of approval: "It moved a little bit," Manchin told Sam Stein. 'Thank god for that. It moved a little bit.'" [HuffPost]

OBAMA AIDE: ARMY HAS 'GOOD PICTURE' OF SYRIA'S CHEMICAL WEAPONS CACHE - Which sounds like the Google Street View car has been touring sensitive Middle Eastern military installations. Sam Stein: "U.S. armed forces have a 'good picture' of where Syrian President Bashar Assad is stashing chemical weapons and are confident that funding a military intervention won't require additional legislation, a top foreign policy aide to the president said on Saturday. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken was hesitant to discuss many planned operational details should the administration go through with military engagement in Syria. But he did stress that any action would be limited in scope and that the 'short-term' objective 'did not involve' removing Assad from power. He argued that even within these confines, the United States had the capacity and intelligence to ensure that a strike would be effective." [HuffPost]

The administration is downplaying proposals to keep it from blowing things up: "Obama administration officials on Monday said the U.S. would 'take a hard look' at an emerging proposal to place the Assad regime's stockpile of chemical weapons under international control. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf sought to downplay the proposal first introduced by Secretary of State John Kerry during a speech in London on Monday, saying the secretary's words were 'rhetorical and hypothetical.' Nonetheless, she said, 'We'll have to take a hard look at the Russian statement [in response to Kerry], so we understand what the Russians are proposing.' A few hours after Kerry spoke, the Russian foreign minister said his country would urge Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control, and the Syrian foreign minister seconded the idea." [HuffPost]

OBAMA INVITES HIMSELF TO LUNCH #THISTOWN - National Review: "In a speech this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said President Obama 'has extended an invitation' to Senate Republicans to speak at their weekly luncheon on Tuesday. 'But I haven't heard back from the Republicans as to whether they wish to hear from the president,' Reid lamented...A Senate aide e-mails: 'After calling the White House today, we learned that the President would like to attend the Senate GOP lunch tomorrow to discuss the Syria resolution. He is welcome to join the lunch, and we are told that he will in fact attend.'" [National Review]

REID BACKS SYRIA STRIKE - Once again siding with Nancy Pelosi and her San Francisco, bomb-everything-to-smithereens values. Mike McAuliff: "Calling the use of chemical weapons in Syria a "clear violation" of international laws and human rights, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday formally backed authorizing a strike against Syria. Reid cited a 13-minute video from Syria of the Aug. 21 incident, which the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 people. Reid said he couldn't stop thinking about the 'little baby boys and girls dressed in colorful play clothes ... boys and girls, some looked like teenagers, retching in spasms.' 'Without question, this brutality demands a response,' Reid said...Reid, speaking on the first day since the Senate returned from its summer break, was not answered or echoed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). McConnell, who is facing a tough primary challenge in his 2014 reelection bid, has not taken a position on Syria." [HuffPost]

SAMANTHA POWER: LAWS SCHMAWS - The UN ambassador told NPR today that military action against Syria is the moral, though likely not legal, thing to do. You know, like the parable of the man who breaks the window of a closed pharmacy to bomb a sick person. Jen Bendery: "U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power suggested Monday that launching a military strike on Syria may be not legal, but she said it is 'necessary' to prevent the use of chemical weapons. During an interview on NPR's Morning Edition, Power was asked about the legality of President Barack Obama's call for limited strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. She avoided a direct response. 'If we take military action in this context, it will be a legitimate, necessary and proportionate response to this large-scale and indiscriminate use of chemical weapons by this regime,' Power said. Asked, then, to clarify if the administration believes it is time to go outside the legal framework to attack Syria, Power still didn't answer but pointed to past cases, such as in Kosovo, where it has been "structurally impossible" to go through the usual process of getting authorization from the U.N. Security Council for a military intervention." [HuffPost]

PEOPLE STILL DON'T WANT TO BOMB SYRIA: POLL - Though not bombing Syria would deprive the president his "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" moment wherein he skids onto an aircraft carrier aboard a zero-emission glider. Ariel Edwards-Levy: "According to a Pew Research/USA Today report released Monday, the percentage of Americans opposing military action rose 15 points in the past week, from 48 percent in a survey ending Sept. 1 to 63 percent in a survey ending Sept 8. In the most recent poll, 45 percent were "strongly opposed," while the percentage favoring airstrikes remained stalled below 30 percent. Obama, who will make a primetime speech on Tuesday calling for action, faces an increasingly uphill battle to win popular support. Only 35 percent think he's made a clear case for launching airstrikes, virtually unchanged from last week." [HuffPost]

@jbendery: Uh. Hill leaders to hold ceremony for 1963 Birmingham bombing victims ... on the SAME DAY Obama makes appeal to nation to bomb Syria.

51st state news: "Eleanor Holmes Norton Would Vote Against Attacking Syria, If She Could" [City Paper]

MARCO RUBIO, MAN OF LETTERS, TO WRITE BOOK - Of course, Florida's junior senator will write this book simply because he likes sharing his ideas. And, of course, he will pose for the cover photograph in front of amber waves of grain simply because he likes being photographed in front of bucolic crops. And, of course, he will promote this book in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina simply because he likes those states. Nothing more. The Hill: "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) plans to release a new book following the 2014 midterm elections, according to his publisher. The book, which is not yet titled, is 'about the future of the country and the future of the Republican Party,' according to Adrian Zackheim, who heads the Sentinel imprint of Penguin Books...Since taking a prominent role in the immigration reform debate, Rubio has sought to pivot back to the right to shore up some of the support among conservatives that eroded during that fight." [The Hill]

Wolf pack: "@gwenifill: This was an @wolfblitzer idea. pic.twitter.com/Wfuxo2f9rh

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a dog that knows how to make an entrance.

FLORIDA WOMAN RESCHEDULES EXECUTION TO ATTEND FUNDRAISER - Florida is now the worst state in the country. Congratulations, Massachusetts, you're out of the basement. News Service of Florida: "A 'hometown campaign kickoff' at a waterfront home in Tampa for Attorney General Pam Bondi is scheduled for the same night that Gov. Rick Scott had once set as the execution date for Death Row inmate Marshall Lee Gore. The execution was moved to a later date at Bondi's request. A spokeswoman for Bondi said Friday that the Sept. 10 fundraiser had been planned before the execution date was set. Scott had scheduled two earlier execution dates for Gore this summer, but both were scuttled because of legal battles about Gore's sanity. Gore was convicted of killing two women in 1988 in Miami-Dade and Columbia counties. The Tuesday night reception for Bondi ... in Tampa is set for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. On Aug. 13, Scott had scheduled Gore's execution for the same night. But on Aug. 19, Scott advised Florida State Prison Warden John Palmer that he was moving the execution from 6 p.m. Sept. 10 to 6 p.m. Oct. 1 'at the request of the Attorney General.'" [Tampa Bay]

COMFORT FOOD

- Golden retriever needs to be enrolled in remedial Cheerio catching. [http://huff.to/15bVuCj]

- BuzzFeed wants you to be excited about fall. [http://bit.ly/19jcd6g]

- Bluegrass rendition of "Enter Sandman." Try to ignore the fact that Bashar al-Assad is playing guitar. [http://bit.ly/13BxIib]

- Dog greets hedgehog. [http://bit.ly/17R0DvP]

- Target stores in the 1960s were the original Tar-jays. [http://bit.ly/17gDvdn]

- The Pizza Boy International Union has been lobbying strenuously against this pizza box helicopter. [http://bit.ly/19vmg8o]

- Thermal imaging makes Formula 1 crashes look very different. [http://bit.ly/15KIzts]

TWITTERAMA

@pourmecoffee: President Obama will be on all the networks tonight calling for military action, or as John McCain calls it, "a typical Sunday."

@simonmaloy: So excited for Crossfire. Newt. On TV. FINALLY

@BenjySarlin: I love what the phrase "conscience vote" implies about 99% of other votes

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e