POLITICS
01/27/2016 06:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

HUFFPOST HILL - Bernie Sanders Visits White House For Last Time


Fox News is VERY upset at Donald Trump for all of his debate grandstanding, a disappointment they will express to record audiences in their next A, B, C, and D blocs. Trump has not received one congressional endorsement, despite the fact that he’d be GREAT for the congressmen. And Hillary Clinton said nominating Barack Obama to the Supreme Court would be a GREAT idea, though it's unclear what she meant by pointing her finger at her temple and moving her thumb up and down. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, January 27th, 2016:

THE CHANGING POLITICS OF PERSONAL WEALTH - Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis: "When he ran for president in 2012, Mitt Romney had hoped voters would see him as a chief executive who could boost the sluggish American economy. The private equity firm he had founded, Bain Capital, had done well investing in companies like Staples and the Sports Authority. As he liked to remind everyone, he helped save the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Like every presidential candidate, he tried to project confidence and competence. But privately within his own campaign, Romney could be brutally tough on himself. In this week’s episode of 'Candidate Confessional,' his top strategist Stuart Stevens reveals that the former Massachusetts governor and CEO worth hundreds of millions of dollars never seemed satisfied with his own performance, even after his widely praised first presidential debate. 'He’s very self-critical,' Stevens said…. Stevens remembers one debate prep where they tried to encourage Romney to embrace how he was personally successful. Romney thought this was not a good argument a presidential candidate should make. 'Am I really saying this because I made money, I should be a better president? I’m a better person?' Stevens remembered Romney arguing at the time." And now look at the entire premise of the Trump campaign: He's rich, therefore great. [HuffPost]


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RICK SNYDER NOT CALLED TO THE HILL - Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich) wanted Snyder to be called to testify at a hearing on the Flint water crisis next week, but apparently he has not. "Gov. Rick Snyder was at the top of my list of witnesses due to the central role that he has played in this manmade crisis; from the decision to shift from Flint’s original water source for cost-savings to the appalling delay in response to months of complaints by lead-poisoned residents and their children," Lawrence said in a statement.

BERNIE & BARRY HANG - Guess they needed a reset after Obama kinda said Sanders hasn't been vetted and isn't ready for the presidency. Mollie Reilly: "President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) met at the White House Wednesday. According to the White House, the 'informal' meeting was held in the Oval Office and had no set agenda. 'The president and I discussed this morning a number of issues, foreign policy issues, domestic issues, occasionally a little bit of politics,' Sanders told reporters after leaving the Oval Office. 'I enjoyed the meeting and I thought it was a very positive and constructive meeting.'" [HuffPost]

GOP STILL TARGETING PLANNED PARENTHOOD - Samantha Lachman: "Republicans are determined to push on with their investigation of Planned Parenthood, even after a Texas grand jury cleared the organization of wrongdoing on Monday and instead indicted two anti-abortion activists who targeted the family planning provider in a series of undercover videos. One of the videos, taped at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston and purporting to show Planned Parenthood staff members discussing the sale of fetal tissue for medical research, inspired Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, to ask Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson to initiate a criminal investigation of the organization in August...The grand jury’s decision hasn’t affected Republicans' plans to continue investigating Planned Parenthood, however. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who is chairing a select investigative committee that purports to be investigating 'big abortion providers' -- but for all intents and purposes is only scrutinizing Planned Parenthood -- said in a statement Tuesday that 'the mission of our investigation has not changed.'" [HuffPost]

SAD NEWS FOR THE SANDERS HEALTH PLAN - Jonathan Cohn has received some test results and hopes you're sitting down: "When Bernie Sanders released his universal health care plan last week, promising that most people would receive more generous insurance coverage while paying less for medical care, most policy experts said it sounded too good to be true. Now, a veteran health economist has produced a more serious assessment of Sanders' proposal and concluded that the critics were right. According to analysis from Emory University professor Kenneth Thorpe, a former Clinton administration advisor who has also done paid work for health industry clients, Sanders has wildly underestimated the cost of providing such comprehensive benefits to all Americans. Either his plan would blow a giant hole in the deficit, Thorpe predicts, or the new payroll and income taxes to finance the proposal would be more than twice as high as the Sanders campaign has projected." [HuffPost]

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH NOT KEEN ON THE DONALD - Matt Fuller and Robert Baldwin III: "Donald Trump may be about to do something that has never been done in the modern presidential nominating era: Win a state primary without a single endorsement from a member of Congress. In a testament to the oddity that is 2016, just days before primary voting begins, Trump -- the GOP frontrunner that the GOP refuses to believe is the frontrunner -- has yet to win the official support of any elected official on Capitol Hill. It’s not that Republican members of Congress haven’t flirted with Trumpism. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions famously donned a 'Make America Great Again' cap at a Trump rally in August, has consistently praised Trump’s xenophobic immigration policies, and saw his longtime-communications director jump ship this week to the Trump campaign. The only other member to come as close to a Trump endorsement was Sen. Chuck Grassley, the honorary Mr. Rogers of the Senate, who recently gave Trump a warm introduction in his home state of Iowa." [HuffPost]

JEB! SUCCEEDING! Just kidding. Natalie Jackson: "The Twittersphere is abuzz about a New Hampshire poll from the Emerson College Polling Society that shows former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a 'surprising' second place behind perpetual front-runner Donald Trump, who has 35 percent of the vote in the poll. But before you lose your mind over another poll, heed our repeated warnings: Look at the polling methods and the polling averages. If a polling number is labeled a 'surprise,' chances are it’s what we call an outlier." [HuffPost]

DELANEY DOWNER - How many lead pipes are in the city of Flint? Rick Snyder said nobody knows. "A lot of work is being done to even understand where the lead services lines fully are, so I would say any numbers you're hearing at this point are still speculation," Snyder said Wednesday, adding that the state is trying to map the system. "Longer term, though, I think everyone understands we'd like to see those pipes replaced." Someday. In the meantime there's no plan to replace millions of lead pipes all across America.

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LATEST UPDATE ON WHY WE'RE ALL TALKING ABOUT DONALD TRUMP - Sadly it's not his plan to replace the SNAP program with a coupon for a free side of garlic mashed potatoes at the Taj Mahal's steakhouse. "Donald Trump has not yet changed his mind. The GOP presidential front-runner announced yesterday that he will not participate in tomorrow's Fox News debate. 'I’m not going to do the debate. I’m going to have something else in Iowa,' Trump said yesterday...Instead of appearing on stage with his presidential competitors, Trump said he will host an event for veterans in Des Moines, Iowa, during the debate…[Trump campaign spokesperson Corey] Lewandowski also claimed this morning on MSNBC that other campaigns have 'asked us proactively' to participate in the event and that 'it’s very possible' that other candidates could skip the debate as well. It’s a risk for Trump to be a no-show, given that the Iowa caucuses are five days away and he’s neck-and-neck with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa, according to recent polls. Trump said he's boycotting the debate because he believes Fox News host and debate moderator Megyn Kelly is 'unfair' and 'biased' because of questions she posed to Trump last August." [ABC News]

This is the most hypnotically terrifying thing we've seen all week.

CAMPAIGNS KEEPING BUNDLERS UNDER WRAPS - Fredreka Schouten: "Republican Jeb Bush and Democrat Hillary Clinton each have released the names of the financiers, philanthropists, political strategists and the hundreds of other wealthy supporters who have raised money for their presidential campaigns. It doesn’t look like other presidential candidates will join them anytime soon. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has drawn support in recent months from key Republican fundraisers such as hedge funder Paul Singer, has not released his bundlers’ names. Campaign officials “disclose what we're required to,” spokesman Alex Conant said in an email this week. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is battling Donald Trump for first place in Iowa’s GOP caucuses, told CNN last year he would release fundraisers' names and do so on 'our own timetable.' This week, Cruz spokesman Brian Phillips said “no decision has been made yet” on disclosing those names." [USA Today]

HILLARY RAISING FUNDS WITH BON JOVI - Drew Doggett: "Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will attend a gala tonight in Philadelphia, joined by Franklin Square Capital Partners Executive Michael C. Forman and state Rep. Michael Gerber, D. But is the former secretary of state still the frontrunner or is she Livin’ on a Prayer? She constantly tells voters I’ll Be There for You and she will Never Say Goodbye. While her poll standings are certainly not on a Bed of Roses, she just wants her donors to Have a Nice Day. If you haven’t guessed it, her special guest tonight is none other than Jon Bon Jovi. Enjoy his acoustic set for $1,000 and become a host with a photo op for folks who bundle $27,000." [Political Party Time]

Wow! No he won't! But wow! Thank you, potential voter! "During a campaign rally in Iowa on Tuesday night, one man asked her if she'd consider appointing Obama. Clinton was enthusiastic about the idea. 'Wow, what a great idea! Nobody has ever suggested that to me,' she said. 'Wow. I love that!' 'He may have a few other things to do,' she added. 'But, I'll tell you, that's a great idea.' None of the current justices have indicated that they'll retire anytime soon, but four years is a long time -- especially for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who turns 83 in March." [HuffPost's Alanna Horowitz Satlin]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a child who really loves Donald Trump.

BLOOMBERG NEWS SPARED FROM COVERING YET ANOTHER 'WILL HE? WON'T HE?' STORY - That said, Bloomberg News does seem to have a hard time holding onto talent. Michael Calderone: "Kathy Kiely, the Washington news director for Bloomberg News, resigned Wednesday over concerns the company could not adequately cover owner Michael Bloomberg's considerations about whether to run for president as an independent candidate. 'I did not feel we could cover the Bloomberg trial balloon in the aggressive way I thought it deserved,' Kiely told HuffPost. 'I think there are a lot of good people at Bloomberg making an honest effort to work this out,' she said. 'I just feel very strongly that the rules of the game should be the same for everybody.' Bloomberg News has long placed restrictions on its coverage of its owner, a former mayor of New York City, barring reporters from writing about his personal life and wealth. The news organization's coverage of Bloomberg was scant this past weekend following a report in The New York Times that he was weighing a run." [Bloomberg]

COMFORT FOOD

- Darth Vader needs some personal space.

- Explaining the caucus.

- The underappreciated health benefits of beards.

TWITTERAMA

- @igorbobic: Put Kanye on that stage instead of Trump

@elisefoley: Politics in 2 steps:

1) Tell everyone they should be scared about something. 2) Say we have to do something because people are afraid.

@MEPFuller: Article I — pronounced "Article 'Eye'" in Trump's America — could be in trouble

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