POLITICS
02/29/2016 05:53 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

HUFFPOST HILL - 13 States Set To Decide Who Has Better Dick Jokes

We enjoyed an extra day of February, though Congress still hasn’t provided any budgetary offsets for Obama’s calendrical giveaway . China is laying off 1.8 million people from its coal and steel industries, meaning, per Donald Trump, President Obama isn’t the only one who isn’t winning at China -- China isn’t winning at China. And tomorrow is Super Tuesday, prompting reporters to pre-write something they’d never thought they’d rewrite: [TK RUBIO DICK JOKE]. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, February 29th, 2016:

CAN MARCO RUBIO HAVE IT LOL? We asked some comedians. Rob Delaney said no: "He will never be funny. He has no conviction, no authority, no confidence. Mitt Romney is funnier," said Delaney, who also listed Trump, President Barack Obama, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former President George W. Bush as occasionally funny political people. But not Rubio. "You have to care about something to be funny," Delaney said. "What does he care about? Advancing his career? He has no other defining qualities or characteristics."...Neal Brennan, who co-created "Chappelle's Show" and currently is doing a stand-up show called "3 Mics," also said no. "I think this is the lowest hanging fruit that Rubio can find. And I don’t think it is going to help because I think Rubio is too little and sweaty to win. He is the Latino Bobby Jindal. But I think it is his best shot."... Travon Free, who writes for "The Daily Show," said there is a joke -- perhaps too risqué though -- that would work. And one that clearly drove Trump insane when they used it: mocking his weird infatuation with his daughter Ivanka. "Nothing else sticks. No matter what you say, he has a comeback for it or he dismisses it or he hits you hard," he said. "This is how you destroy Trump. Talk about the fact that he wants to bang his daughter. That is a weird thing for someone who wants to be president." [w/ HuffPost's Sam Stein]

Enjoy this video of Donald Trump telling Chris Christie to get on his plane and go home.

TRUMP OUTPACING ROMNEY - Failed candidate Mitt Romney can't even outpace a sociopath with a terrible haircut. Sad! Natalie Jackson: "Businessman Donald Trump’s support among Republican voters has hit a new national high of 49 percent, according to a CNN/ORC poll. By contrast, the party's nominee in 2012, Mitt Romney, didn’t reach 49 percent in a poll until mid-April of that year. As YouGov’s William Jordan noted, Romney’s highest polling number prior to that was 40 percent, which he achieved once in mid-January 2012 and once at the end of February. Support for Trump has been over 40 percent in the last four national polls, and flirted with the 40 percent mark in some polls in early December. Single polls can vary considerably, though, so a better metric is how Trump is performing relative to Romney in the polling averages. Here, too, Trump has the advantage...Trump is averaging over 10 percent more support than Romney was at this point in the 2012 cycle, and has consistently outperformed Romney’s polling averages since September. The gap was narrower at the beginning of this month -- Trump was averaging 36 percent support compared to Romney’s 30 percent in 2012. But Trump’s numbers have risen quickly in recent weeks." [HuffPost]

Bright slice of humanity: "The U.S. Secret Service and local law enforcement briefly detained a TIME photographer at a Donald Trump rally at Radford University in Virginia Monday, following a scuffle that saw the photographer thrown to the ground in a choke hold. Chris Morris, a veteran White House photographer working on the campaign for TIME, stepped out of the press pen to photograph a Black Lives Matter protest that interrupted the speech. A video shows that Morris swore at a Secret Service agent who tried to move Morris back into the pen. A separate video of the event shows that the agent then grabbed Morris’ neck with both hands and threw him into a table and onto the ground." [Time]

Best thing about Marco Rubio's rally yesterday in Purcellville, VA: Former Virginia AG and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, a Cruz surrogate, was loitering in the press pen by himself, handing out a statement after the event wrapped up.

DELANEY DOWNER - Congress now has a big opportunity to do something about lead. People might be more aware of the problem of water lead than ever -- 58 percent of Americans surveyed by HuffPost/YouGov in January said they had been following the Flint water crisis at least somewhat closely. A search of national polling archives suggests that, prior to Flint, little effort had been made to measure awareness of the problem. Ten million American homes still get their water from lead pipes. And what will the Flint-inspired legislation percolating in the Senate do about the problem? Not much. [HuffPost]

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CLINTON PICKS UP BIG ENDORSEMENT FROM CHC - No, not the Capitol Hill Club. That'll come after Trump's nomination. Elise Foley: "Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received an endorsement Monday from the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The CHC BOLD PAC endorsement comes as both Clinton and opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are vying to win the Latino vote, which could be pivotal in Super Tuesday primary states like Texas and Colorado. Both candidates sought an endorsement from the group, which helps elect candidates who support Latino issues. They chose Clinton in an internal vote that concluded Sunday, according to Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), the PAC's chairman. He declined to reveal the vote tally, but it's safe to say it swung heavily Clinton's way, since a majority of Congressional Hispanic Caucus members have already endorsed her, and only one of them, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), has endorsed Sanders." [HuffPost]



Behold the cartoon villain that is quite possibly Ted Cruz.

DEM STRATEGISTS WANT TO POACH GOP MODERATES - All six of them. Kyle Cheney: "Democrats are drawing blueprints for stealing GOP moderates from a rightward-driving Republican Party, saying the heist is key to scoring a White House win in November. Democracy Corps’ Stan Greenberg, a prominent national Democratic pollster, released data Monday morning that suggest moderate Republicans — nearly a third of the GOP base — are being ignored by their presidential candidates. These Republicans don’t revile Planned Parenthood — in fact, many prefer the women’s health group to pro-life groups and candidates who take hard-line stances on abortion. They’re supportive of same-sex marriage. They’re not enamored of the NRA. They have less rigid attitudes about sex. They accept climate science…[a] poll shows that GOP moderates may be pliable — and that Democratic efforts to corral GOP votes shouldn’t end with just looking for moderates. The results show that Catholic Republicans are similarly out of step with the Republican base. They’re less hostile to government regulation and generally agree that those making more than $250,000 a year should pay “a lot” more in taxes." [Politico]

SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES LEAVING STICKS AT HOME - Alex Roarty: "[Activists'] assessment is blunt: Leading social conservative organizations are either too cozy with congressional leadership or simply don’t understand the importance of, when necessary, playing rough with lawmakers who vote against them. The consequence is a tangible feeling, on Capitol Hill and beyond, that stepping out of line on issues such as abortion rights and gay marriage carries less of an electoral penalty than defiance on issues such as taxes. That’s because the latter will earn the ire of such well-funded groups as the fiscally focused Club for Growth, which has a well-known history of defeating Republican incumbents...In two other Republican primaries this year, featuring Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, social conservative groups have also failed to mount a serious effort against incumbents who defied them on key issues. Portman came out in favor of same-sex marriage in 2013, a decision that earned him vows of retribution from gay marriage opponents, while DesJarlais -- among a long list of transgressions -- has acknowledged having twice urged his wife to have an abortion." [Roll Call]

LOUIE GOHMERT MIGHT LOSE AND WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO - OK, he'll probably win, but we still don't even like to think about a special order speech session without the Gohmster. Cristina Marcos: "Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), one of the most colorful and conservative lawmakers in the House Republican conference, is facing a primary reelection challenge for the first time in his career. On Tuesday, Gohmert will face two rivals hoping to end his 12-year legislative tenure. Both argue Gohmert has become an 'embarrassment' to the deep-red Texas district because of his wild statements on the House floor and on television and stints like a long-shot bid for Speaker against John Boehner. 'I think he’s an embarrassment to east Texas,' rancher Simon Winston told The Hill by phone. 'He’s not getting anything done.' 'He’s an embarrassment. It’s a thing that comes up over and over when you’re talking to people,' said Anthony Culler, Gohmert’s other rival on Tuesday. Gohmert is nonetheless seen as the favorite to win on Tuesday, thanks to the wide name recognition he commands as the incumbent." [The Hill]

HOW THE MILITARY WEIGHS CIVILIAN DEATHS - Ali Watkins: "One day last year, a team of U.S. soldiers working in the military’s special operations drone program sat tucked away in a secret facility discussing the rapidly accelerating campaign against ISIS.
One of the operators was asked about collateral damage assessments in a war that is rooted in U.S.-led airstrikes and that is increasingly being fought in urban centers — cities still crowded with those who have not joined the millions who have fled places like Syria and Iraq. ISIS, meanwhile, has used that to its advantage, moving military assets into cities to hide them among the remaining civilians. How, a U.S. intelligence official asked, did they decide when there were too many civilians present to risk the strike? '‘As long as it’s under 10,' a soldier said, 'we’re good to take the shot.' [BuzzFeed]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a baby wombat .

COMFORT FOOD

- China is laying off 1.8 million people.

- The best Leap Day discounts.

- Cat in snow.

TWITTERAMA

@mviser: Donald Trump to a protester: “Are you from Mexico? Are you from Mexico? Are you from Mexico?"

@joshgreenman: I'm old enough to remember when people worried about Chris Christie's, John McCain's and Rudy Giuliani's temperament.

@berniethoughtsIF YOU SHOWED A PACKET OF OSCAR MAYER BRAND TURKEY SLICES TO AN ALIVE TURKEY WOULD IT KNOW

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