POLITICS
12/30/2013 06:15 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - GOP Sets New Year's Resolution To Compare Absolutely Everything To Benghazi

This time of year, it's easy to forget the date or day of the week, though we're not sure that fully explains Ed Royce filing for reelection in the wrong district. Enjoy this truncated holiday edition of HUFFPOST HILL... and remember, it's Monday, December 30th, 2013:

Because we're nuts for arbitrary turnover points in the Gregorian calendar, we'll be off tomorrow and Wednesday. HuffPost HIll will return in its full form on Thursday. Happy new year!

US SUPPORT FOR AFGHAN WAR AT NEW LOW - Saying your war is less popular than Vietnam is like saying your friend's boyfriend is an ugly version of Steve Buscemi. Not good. Luke Johnson: "More than 12 years after the United States invaded Afghanistan, support for the war is dipping below levels of support for American intervention in Iraq and Vietnam, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday. CNN found that 17 percent support the effort in Afghanistan, down from 52 percent in December 2008. Eighty-two percent disapprove of the conflict. Americans' assessment of the war is gloomy -- 57 percent said the war is going badly, and about a third think the United States is winning. United States troops are scheduled to be in Afghanistan for another year -- until Dec. 31, 2014. A recent National Intelligence Estimate predicted that gains made by the United States would be significantly lost by 2017 if the United States and Afghanistan do not make a new security pact allowing troops beyond the deadline. However, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has been reluctant to sign such a deal, and U.S. efforts to impose an ultimatum to sign by the end of this year have failed." [HuffPost]

REPUBLICANS ACCUSE NYT OF PASS BLOCKING FOR HILLARY - At this stage in the 2016 cycle, a Republican labeling a media report pro-Hillary propaganda is like a foreign leader blaming the CIA for his financial misdeeds. Sabrina Siddiqui: "Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) on Monday joined the growing chorus of Republicans claiming that an in-depth New York Times report on Benghazi, Libya, was published to protect former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of a possible presidential run. During an appearance on "Fox & Friends," Westmoreland questioned the timing of the report, which was published Saturday after a months-long investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four people. 'I don’t know why they put it out unless it was for political reasons,' Westmoreland said..'This thing is eventually going to fall back on the State Department, when all the truth gets out there. Of course, Secretary Clinton was in charge at the time and there is just now a lot of rumors going and pushing about her running for president in 2016,' he continued. 'So I think they’re already laying the groundwork. We are not quite as used to this kind of political machine as the president and the Clintons have.'... Westmoreland is not alone in his views. On Sunday, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, claimed the paper had sought to 'clear the deck' for Clinton in 2016 with its report." [HuffPost]

You stay grounded, Congress: "Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) is concerned that recent terrorist attacks in Russia could turn the upcoming Sochi Olympics into a 'nightmare like Benghazi.'" [HuffPost's Sabrina Siddiqui]

We suggest you read this moving remembrance by HuffPost's Jen Bendery about a friend who passed away from bladder cancer this year.

REPUBLICANS DEVOLVING ON EVOLUTION - Monkeys should be in zoos visited by Newt Gingrich, not our genetic lineage. Luke Johnson: "Significantly fewer Republicans believe in evolution now than in 2009, according to a Pew Research Survey released Monday. In 2009, 54 percent of Republicans believed that humans had evolved over time, but a survey conducted in March and April 2013 found that just 43 percent now thought so. The percentage of Democrats who believe that humans evolved over time was relatively unchanged between the two surveys: 64 percent said so in 2009, and 67 percent in 2013. Several prominent Republicans have questioned the theory of evolution and claimed that it is controversial among scientists. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), during a failed presidential run, said that evolution was 'a theory that's out there' and has 'some gaps in it.' Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) contended that "hundreds and hundreds" of scientists with Nobel Prizes believe in intelligent design. However, Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, said that he believes in evolution. Overall, the Pew survey found that 60 percent of Americans think humans and other living things evolved, while 33 percent think humans and other living things have 'existed in their present form since the beginning of time.'" [HuffPost]

ICYMI, Jamie Dimon's daughter assumes you haven't heard of Flint, Michigan and insists she doesn't have the "means" to visit there. Also, she and her dad are into beer pong.

CONGRESSMAN FILES FOR REELECTION IN WRONG DISTRICT - Ed Royce should take a cue from rock stars and tape the name of the city he's in on the inside of his Fender. Sacramento Bee: "It's been more than two years since California redrew its political map, but old district-numbering habits apparently still linger for Rep. Ed Royce. Royce, R-Fullerton, filed a statement of candidacy this week for his re-election campaign. But instead of listing the 39th Congressional District he has represented since winning re-election in 2012, he listed the 40th Congressional District, the number of the district he represented during the 2000's. And yes, that's a typo, said Royce consultant Dave Gilliard. The redrawn 40th is in Los Angeles County, represented by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, and has a 47-percentage point Democratic registration advantage that would withstand even the tallest of Republican waves in 2014. 'He's running in the 39th,' Gilliard said. The campaign corrected its filing Friday. The 39th covers parts of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. Royce won re-election there last year with 57.8 percent of the vote against Democrat Jay Chen." [Sac Bee]

MIKE ROGERS CAN'T MAKE BRUNCH, SORRY - Politico: "With the last Sunday of 2013 behind us, there was a clear leader among politicians in Sunday show appearances this year: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. The Michigan Republican made 27 appearances in 2013 on the Sunday talk shows, including “Meet the Press,” “Fox News Sunday,” “Face the Nation,” “This Week” and “State of the Union,” according to a tally conducted by “The Rachel Maddow Show” blog. That works out to about one appearance every two weeks. In second place was Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with 24 appearances. Third place was a tie between former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, with 19 bookings each. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) rounded out the top, tied with 16 each." [Politico]

COMFORT FOOD

- Igniting Christmas Candy. [http://bit.ly/1cisibr]

- Cats playing in sinks, the collection. [http://huff.to/JG02Zu]

- Here is a less joyous cat. In fact, this cat is a jerk. [http://huff.to/1kWCqyz]

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