POLITICS
09/28/2015 05:08 pm ET Updated Sep 28, 2015

HUFFPOST HILL - Obama, Vladimir Putin Their Differences Assad

Steve Scalise is in a competitive race to be majority leader, though we had kind of thought "race" wasn't his thing. Donald Trump unveiled his tax policy, and it turns out he wants to build a huge wall around rich people's inheritances. And reporters couldn't tell if President Obama clinked glasses with Vladimir Putin at the U.N., but Obama looked no worse for the wear after the shirtless fistfight we assume occurred backstage. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, September 28th, 2015:

KEVIN MCCARTHY'S SPEAKER PITCH: YOU + ME = LATE NIGHTS ON THE FLOOR - He made it official today via email to members: "You all know me. We’ve spent late nights on the House Floor together. I’ve visited your districts and met your families and constituents. More importantly, I have gotten to know your ideas, your goals, and your vision for our conference and our country."

WHO ELSE WANTS THIS AWFUL JOB? Laura Barron-Lopez: "So far, only one other member has announced a run for the post. Over the weekend, Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), a member of the conservative faction, said he would run for speaker. Webster could make it more difficult for McCarthy to garner the 218 needed to win the spot if he woos the House Freedom Caucus. Members of the conservative caucus said on Sunday that they will hold one-on-one meetings with people running for speaker and other leadership posts that could become open during the shuffle." [HuffPost]

Hillary Clinton said something mean about the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

PAUL RYAN THINKS THE PRICE IS RIGHT - Jake Sherman: "House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan is throwing his weight behind Rep. Tom Price for majority leader, a significant boost for the Georgia Republican, and a blow to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and others who are vying for the spot. Price is quickly gathering a good deal of conservative support for his bid for the No. 2 House GOP leadership slot. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) also endorsed Price Monday. 'Tom Price is a committed conservative and a good friend,' Ryan said in a statement." [Politico]

CARLY FIORINA AGREES WITH TORTURING SOME FOLKS - Michael Isikoff: "Positioning herself as a steely advocate of aggressive counterterrorism programs, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina offered a vigorous defense of CIA waterboarding as a tactic that helped 'keep our nation safe' in the aftermath of 9/11. 'I believe that all of the evidence is very clear -- that waterboarding was used in a very small handful of cases [and] was supervised by medical personnel in every one of those cases,' Fiorina told Yahoo News. 'And I also believe that waterboarding was used when there was no other way to get information that was necessary.' A Senate report last year portrayed waterboarding as 'near drownings' that were tantamount to torture and concluded that the agency’s often brutal interrogations produced little actionable intelligence." [Yahoo]

DELANEY DOWNER - Robert Macdonald is the mayor of Lewiston, Maine, and he wants everyone to know who's on welfare and where they live. In a column for a local paper last week, the mayor of Maine's second-largest city proposed an online registry of welfare recipients. He said he would submit legislation to the Maine State Legislature 'asking that a website be created containing the names, addresses, length of time on assistance and the benefits being collected by every individual on the dole." [HuffPost]

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OBAMA MAKES NICE WITH PUTIN - Reuters: "The United States is willing to work with Iran and Russia to try to end the Syrian conflict, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday but insisted there could not be a return to the status quo under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Obama described Assad as a tyrant and as the chief culprit behind the four-year civil war in which at least 200,000 people have died and millions have been driven from their homes internally or abroad as refugees. 'The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict,' Obama said at the annual gathering of world leaders. 'But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo.' In voicing a willingness to deal with Iran and Russia, both staunch backers of Assad, Obama was openly acknowledging their influence in Syria and swallowing a somewhat bitter pill for the United States." [Reuters]


From the pool report: Obama and Putin shook hands. But there is some debate in the pool whether the two clinked wine glasses, as our view was briefly blocked. Following Mr. Obama's toast, which ended with the remark, '...and may we never abandon the pursuit of peace,' the two did not clink glasses, although Mr. Obama did clink glasses with several other table mates."

BIDEN WEIGHING EXCITING OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK INTO MICROPHONE - Vice President Joe Biden, who is not actually running for president, is welcome at the first Democratic debate on CNN, the network says. Jose A. DelReal: "The news organization's apparent message to Biden: despite the fact that he remains publicly uncommitted to launching a 2016 presidential run, it will keep a spot open for him." [WashPost]

REVOLVING DOOR SPINARAMA - Megan Wilson: "Matt Kellogg, a lobbyist for an oil and gas industry group, is heading to work for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday. Kellogg, who has served as the general counsel for the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) since 2011, will be working on finance and energy issues for the GOP leader…. He previously served as a legislative assistant for Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and assisted with tax policy and energy tax issues" [The Hill]

SUPREME COURT POISED TO PISS OFF HALF OF AMERICA AGAIN SOON - Surely there's some kind of heinous ruling John Roberts could issue that would win back the hearts of conservatives still angry about poor people having health insurance. Lawrence Hurley: "The U.S. Supreme Court's nine justices meet behind closed doors on Monday ahead of the Oct. 5 beginning of their new term to consider cases to add to a calendar that already includes significant cases on affirmative action and labor unions." [Reuters]

What a fun time to take over as the drug industry's main mouthpiece!

WOULD YOU BELIEVE DONALD TRUMP HAS A GREAT -- NAY, THE GREATEST TAX PLAN? - Heather Haddon: "Donald Trump boasted Monday that his newly unveiled tax plan could supercharge the U.S. economy, pushing annual economic growth as high as 6%, as he upped the ante with Republican presidential rivals over the growth benefits from their competing proposals. The comments came at an event Monday at Trump Tower, where Mr. Trump unveiled aplan that would eliminate income taxes for millions of lower-income households and cut the tax rate on businesses." Wow, how did he come up with 6 percent growth? It's almost as if he took Jeb Bush's 4 percent and added 2 percent. [WSJ]

Of course Trump's plan abolishes the estate tax.

TURNS OUT 'SOMETHING TERRIFIC' WAS A LOT OF DETAIL - Donald Trump said...well, something about replacing Obamacare on "60 Minutes" last night. Jeffrey Young: "Trump -- who is so all over the place on health care that he's slammed Obamacare as government overreach while praising single-payer systems in other countries -- is saying he can provide universal coverage and unlimited choice of doctors and hospitals for less money than we spend now." [HuffPost]

BRO, IF YOU HAVE TO SAY SO… - Rand Paul would like you to know that he's definitely not floundering and squandering whatever meager chance he ever had to be president. No, that is definitely not happening at all, Rand Paul says. Mark Hensch: "'By no means am I finished,' he told host Alisyn Camerota on CNN’s 'New Day.' 'I’m just getting started.'" Okay cool. [The Hill]

MARCO RUBIO HAS MOMENT OF CLARITY - Will America join him? Mark Hensch: "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in an interview broadcast early Monday that he wants no part of fellow GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s media circus. 'I’m not interested in the back-and-forth -- to be a member or part of his freak show,' Rubio told host Steve Inskeep on NPR’s 'Morning Edition.'" [The Hill]

THE HUCKABEE BOOMLET STORIES ARE HERE!! - Maybe Mike Huckabee really has a chan-- no, sorry. We just can't. James Hohmann: "The Republican could be a serious force on March 1 in the so-called SEC Primary, named after the collegiate Southeastern Conference." [WashPost]

BIG DEVELOPMENT IN THAT AWFUL STORY ABOUT DENNY HASTERT - Lawyers for former Speaker of the House reportedly are working on a plea deal with prosecutors in the case, which stems from Hastert allegedly paying off someone to hide his alleged sexual misconduct with students when he was a high school wrestling coach. [Chicago Tribune]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - In case you missed it, they found liquid water on Mars.

PCCC'S 'WARREN WING' CANDIDATES - The Progressive Change Campaign Committee likes Joseline Peña-Melnyk (MD-4), Jamie Raskin (MD-8), and Susannah Randolph (FL-9): "They are proven progressive champs in their home states who are campaigning on big ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, a $15 minimum wage, automatic voter registration at age 18, campaign finance reform, police reform, Wall Street reform, and criminal accountability when corporate executives break the law."

COMFORT FOOD

- Lunar eclipse pics.

- Shep Smith had an amusing take on today's Facebook outtage.

- Bob Ross once did an all-grey painting.

TWITTERAMA

@laurenduca: If Twitter disappeared tomorrow what would your life be worth? Trick question, the answer is NOTHING EITHER WAY

@petridishes: psssh wake me when there's bourbon on Mars

@jackshafer: Keep your eyes peeled for beat-sweeteners as GOP members queue for the speaker job.

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