Mitt Romney won't run for president, meaning Jeb Bush must be actively exploring the living shit out of a White House bid right now. We're not sure which is more awkward: Chris Christie's dinner with Romney tonight, or video that emerged of the New Jersey governor falling from a chair. And Paul Ryan is among a group of Republicans developing an alternative to Obamacare. Combining the two strongest forces in medicine: the need to compulsively check WebMD and telling the injured "it's just a flesh wound," the plan is expected to revolutionize medicine. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, January 30th, 2015:
MITT. OUT. BYE. - He can now go back to doing what he loves: looking disheveled while fueling his car. Also, Hugh Hewitt is the Medium of the GOP. Paige Lavender and Sam Levine: "Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he will not run for president in 2016. Hugh Hewitt posted text of the remarks Romney was to make on a conference call with donors discussing his 2016 plans on Friday. 'After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I've decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee,' the prepared remarks say...But even as he denied he was interested in another campaign, Romney left the door open. Romney told donors earlier in January that he was considering running for president, and moved to reassemble his old campaign team." [HuffPost]
Romney will dine with Chris Christie tonight, though whether they'll sit down to eat or Romney will awkwardly hand out sandwiches to Christie remains unclear. "Use your fingers -- we're friends!" he'll say. Awwww, Mitt.
Turns out Obama's put-down was the Battle of New Orleans of Romney attacks: just a little bit too late: "Addressing House Democrats at their annual retreat in Philadelphia on Thursday night, Obama referred to one 'former presidential candidate' who was 'suddenly deeply concerned about poverty.' 'That's great. Lets do something about it,' Obama said, according to a White House pool report." [HuffPost's Igor Bobic]
JEB BUSH'S CHOOMWAGON: PHILLIPS ACADEMY ANDOVER - Someone really needs to spice up the alcohol/drug admissions that putative presidential candidates make; we're waiting for a "Jeez, what didn't I do in Studio 54's bathrooms?"-style admission from Chris Christie. Boston Globe: "In the fall of 1967, when a 14-year-old Texan named John Ellis Bush arrived on the bucolic campus of Phillips Academy in Andover, great expectations preceded him...But this Bush almost ran aground in those first, formative prep school days. He bore little resemblance to his father, a star on many fronts at Andover, and might have been an even worse student than brother George. Classmates said he smoked a notable amount of pot -- as many did -- and sometimes bullied smaller students…'The first time I really got stoned was in Jeb's room,' [friend Peter] Tibbetts said. 'He had a portable stereo with removable speakers. He put on Steppenwolf for me.' As the rock group's signature song, Magic Carpet Ride, blared from the speakers, Tibbetts said he smoked hash with Bush. He said he once bought hashish from Bush but stressed, in a follow-up e-mail, 'Please bear in mind that I was seeking the hash, it wasn't as if he was a dealer; though he did suggest I take up cigarettes so that I could hold my hits better, after that 1st joint.'" [Boston Globe]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Michael Kruse: "Sitting recently on his brick back patio here, Michael Schiavo called Jeb Bush a vindictive, untrustworthy coward. For years, the self-described 'average Joe' felt harassed, targeted and tormented by the most important person in the state. 'It was a living hell,' he said, 'and I blame him.' [Politico]
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PAUL RYAN DEVELOPING OBAMACARE ALTERNATIVE - Politico: "Three powerful committee chairmen -- including Rep. Paul Ryan -- will lead a working group to develop an alternative to Obamacare, the House Republicans' most serious attempt thus far to develop their health care reform package, according to GOP sources. Ryan of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, will work with Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan and Education and Workforce Chairman John Kline of Minnesota to develop the health care plan. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will unveil the task force this afternoon, GOP sources said. The trio of GOP chairmen will also develop a strategy for Republicans if the Supreme Court strikes down the Obamacare subsidies as part of the King v. Burwell case. That decision is expected to come down this summer." [Politico]
Taking a cue from Gerald Ford, video emerged of Chris Christie falling down... specifically onto the floor, from a chair.
BIBI AND SENATE DEMOCRATS: WHOLE LOTTA AWKWARD - NYT: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has been reaching out to leading Capitol Hill Democrats to try to ease criticism over his coming address to Congress, but has made little progress. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said Thursday that Mr. Netanyahu had called him the previous afternoon to explain why the White House had been circumvented before he was invited to speak before Congress. The prime minister has also called Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, and Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the Senate's No. 3 Democrat….Mr. Reid, a strong supporter of Israel, said in an interview that he had had a candid conversation with Mr. Netanyahu. He said he had advised the prime minister that the speech, scheduled for March, had become such a problem that some Democratic senators had backed off their support of the quick imposition of new sanctions on Iran." [NYT]
EBONY AND IVORY LIVE TOGETHER IN POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY - But how are you doing, Steve Scalise? The Hill: "Rep. Cedric Richmond is advising fellow Louisiana lawmaker Steve Scalise as the Republican leader quietly begins outreach efforts aimed at repairing his frayed relationship with the black community. Richmond, an African-American Democrat from New Orleans, was Scalise's most vocal defender after revelations the House GOP whip addressed a white supremacist group as a Louisiana state lawmaker in 2002...'People are deferring to Cedric, thinking they can rely on Cedric's good judgment, and in this case I don't think we can,' said the CBC lawmaker, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the controversy. 'I think Cedric is angling for other reasons because Scalise is part of leadership. He's thinking in some way he can benefit for his district and his state.'" [The Hill]
BARACK OBAMA DOES NOT LIKE OUR WEBSITE - LOOK: Obama RIPS Huffington Post (Photos). WaPo: "President Obama urged fellow Democrats Thursday night to "keep your powder a little dry" as he begins working with Republicans on securing fast-track trade authority. He also called on them to "get informed, not by reading the Huffington Post," as Congress prepares to debate giving him the authority to complete work on the broad Trans-Pacific Partnership. Obama's knock against the liberal-leaning news organization came on the same day that the Web site published an op-ed by him defending his forthcoming budget proposal." [HuffPost]
Specifically, he doesn't like Zach Carter's reporting.
STRICKLAND TO RUN FOR SENATE - The Vindicator: "Former Gov. Ted Strickland will run for the U.S. Senate next year, sources close to him confirmed today... However, those sources say he told political allies Thursday that he would run in the 2016 Democratic primary for the seat and was spending today talking to high-level donors about his decision. Strickland, 73, will visit Israel shortly and doesn't plan to make an official announcement until the middle of February, one source said. Strickland runs the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a politically progressive organization in Washington, D.C. One source said Strickland will resign from the group to concentrate on the Senate bid." [Vindicator]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a dog who really enjoys tennis.
- Snickers' Super Bowl commercial with Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi is worth a watch.
- You know what's a thing? Bunny syphilis.
- New trailer for the fifth season of "Game of Thrones".
@ilanagain: Chris Christie's PAC is http://LeadershipMattersForAmerica.Org -- or LMFAO, in acronym form.
@LEBassett: All the trees in Michigan are at half-mast today.
@JohnDingell: Congratulations to Mitt Romney for finally saying something the American people want to hear.
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