POLITICS
03/07/2017 06:03 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - 'Geez, Look At The SIZE Of That Thing!' An Accepted Political Argument Now

Carlos Barria / Reuters

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The GOP’s health care proposal is garnering so little support you’d think it was Donald Trump’s popular vote total. On the list of most overused things, the GOP tactic of stacking up a bill and showing off its size falls somewhere between “Jon Stewart’s wiseguy impression” and “Kevin McCarthy’s insight.” And, at this point, if “let the president’s tweet speak for itself” isn’t etched into Donald Trump’s tombstone, we don’t know what will be. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, March 7th, 2017:

APPARENTLY NO ONE IS CALLING IT ‘ROMNEYCARE III’ - Ryan Grim and Matt Fuller: “The Republican Study Committee...called it ‘a Republican welfare entitlement.’ Conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks...put it simply: ‘This is ObamaCare-lite.’ Over at Breitbart News, the lodestar of the Trump administration, readers variously dubbed it ‘Ryancare,’ ‘Obamacare 2.0,” ‘Soroscare’ or, for the wonks, ‘unEarned Income Tax Credit II.’ The brewing conservative opposition to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s reform of the Affordable Care Act centers on what Ryan calls ‘advanceable refundable tax credits’ that could be used to subsidize the purchase of health insurance. Conservatives are making the case ― quite accurately ― that such a payment is, in principle, no different than the subsidies already created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. For a campaign based on principle, that’s a devastating critique. The only difference, in the end, is that Ryan’s subsidies are smaller than those in the current health care law. ‘Writing checks to individuals to purchase insurance is, in principle, Obamacare,’ concludes an RSC staff report obtained by The Huffington Post and first reported by Bloomberg.” [HuffPost]

MITCH MCCONNELL LOL NOTHING MATTERS’D SO HARD TODAY - Michael McAuliff: “There were just a couple of small details Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) couldn’t provide Tuesday about the Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act ― how to pay for it and how he can pass it…. To pass a replacement for Obamacare, the GOP would have to attract eight Democrats to join all of their Republicans. Asked how McConnell could satisfy his own members to try and move the legislation across the floor, the Senate leader instead chose to focus on just one complaint of some senators ― that the GOP bill doesn’t protect people who have health insurance, thanks to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. McConnell said the GOP approach had buy-in from some Republican governors. ‘We’re optimistic this is the best way to go,’ McConnell said…. Similarly, when reporters asked about how the bill would be paid for if the Affordable Care Act funding was removed and some other taxes were not raised, McConnell demurred. ‘Well, It just got launched yesterday,’ he said, never answering the question.” [HuffPost]

The president live-tweeted “Fox and Friends” this morning. We’re all going to die.

WIKILEAKS DUMP SHOWS CIA SURVEILLANCE TACTICS - Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti, and Matthew Rosenberg: “WikiLeaks on Tuesday released thousands of documents that it said described sophisticated software tools used by the Central Intelligence Agency to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions. If the documents are authentic, as appeared likely at first review, the release would be the latest coup for the anti-secrecy organization and a serious blow to the C.I.A., which maintains its own hacking capabilities to be used for espionage…. Among other disclosures that, if confirmed, would rock the technology world, the WikiLeaks release said that the C.I.A. and allied intelligence services had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect ‘audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.’” [NYT]

Haircuts: Laura Bassett (h/t Amanda Terkel), Akbar Ahmed (h/t Elise Foley)

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PENCE REFUSES TO BACK TRUMP’S WIRETAP CLAIM - *seventy bazillion Mike Pence shaking his head “no” GIFs* Samuel Levine: “Vice President Mike Pence struggled on Tuesday to defend President Donald Trump’s allegation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Asked whether he thought Trump’s tweets were a ‘good move,’ Pence declined to weigh in. ‘I think the president’s tweet speaks for itself. He’s expressed himself on it. And we’re very pleased that the congressional committees have made it clear that they will look into that matter, just as they’re looking into every aspect of it,’ Pence said during an interview with Fox News Radio’s ‘Kilmeade and Friends.’ There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim, though members of Congress have said they will investigate it. FBI director Jim Comey reportedly asked the Department of Justice to deny it.” [HuffPost]

UGH….. DRINK - Another Trump lie. Marina Fang: “President Donald Trump on Tuesday falsely attributed the release of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to his predecessor Barack Obama. However, it was actually former President George W. Bush who released the vast majority of them. Continuing his habit of early-morning tweets while watching cable news, Trump, apparently responding to a Fox News segment, blamed Obama for freeing ‘122 vicious prisoners’ from the U.S. military detention facility who went on to engage in terrorism.” [HuffPost]

YOUR WALLET HAS WAYS TO SHUT THAT WHOLE THING DOWN - Hayley Miller: “Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is proposing a quick fix for low-income Americans unable to afford coverage under President Donald Trump’s newly proposed health care law: Don’t buy an iPhone…. But the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Tuesday that Americans who might struggle to afford insurance under the GOP plan simply need to make the choice to ‘invest in health care.’ ‘Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice,’ Chaffetz said Tuesday on CNN. ‘So rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.’” [HuffPost]

TRUMP STRUGGLING IN SWING COUNTIES - “The 2016 election was decided by a matter of degrees. The vast majority of counties gave either Trump or Hillary Clinton a double digit victory margin. The president has a solid 55% approve and 33% disapprove rating among residents of the nearly 2,500 counties that gave Trump a victory margin of ten points or more. He is upside down – 33% approve and 57% disapprove – among residents of the more than 400 counties he lost by ten points or more. Opinion is divided at 41% approve and 46% disapprove among residents of the just over 300 counties where the 2016 winning margin was in the single digits. There is very little difference in opinion in these ‘swing counties’ based on which candidate won there. In just over half of these counties that were won by Trump, his job rating stands at 43% approve and 48% disapprove. Among the remaining swing counties won by Hillary Clinton, 40% of residents approve of Trump’s job performance and 44% disapprove.” [Monmouth University]

WE HAVE OUR FIRST CONFIRMED ‘DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?’ OF THIS ADMINISTRATION! - Shocked it’s taken this long. Annie Karni: “White House official Boris Epshteyn, a combative Trump loyalist tasked with plugging the president’s message on television, threatened earlier this year to pull all West Wing officials from appearing on Fox News after a tense appearance on anchor Bill Hemmer’s show. Epshteyn, according to multiple sources familiar with the exchange, got in a yelling match with a Fox News booker after Hemmer pressed him for details of President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order cracking down on immigration from Muslim-majority countries — a topic he was not expecting to be grilled on. ‘Am I someone you want to make angry?’ Epshteyn told the booker, the sources said. When he threatened to pull White House officials from the network, the fed-up booker had had enough. ‘Go right ahead,’ the booker fired back, the sources said.” [Politico]

TRUMP SCREWS UP THE HOLIDAY HIS SUPPORTERS PROBABLY LOVE MOST - In a real 1870s throwback, America’s Irish voting bloc has been offended. Dustin Nelson: “Ever the businessman, the store at President Donald Trump’s site has an eye on how to turn a quick profit. With the approach of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s not at all surprising they’ve made a St. Patrick’s Day-themed ‘Make America Great Again’ hat that comes at the middle class-friendly price of just $50. However, there’s a problem with the cleverly titled ‘Official Make America Great Again Green Hat.’ It’s explicitly about St. Patrick’s Day, according to the store’s description, but it has a four leaf clover on the back instead of a shamrock. [Thrillist]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a dog who is a monk and is one with God.

I HEAR AMERICA SINGING - And rearming. Kimberly Houghton: “State Rep. Al Baldasaro is a popular man in the community, but through no doing of his own: An unusual photo from his wedding a few years ago has become the curious image of the town on Google. The photo, which appears in the ‘knowledge panel’ on the right side of the Google search results page for Londonderry, shows Baldasaro wearing a tuxedo, joined by his wife and her wedding party all holding firearms. ‘I think (Google) should take it down. It has no business being there,’ Baldasaro said, stressing the photograph is several years old and should not be associated with the town. Town officials agree, and have made several attempts to have the photograph replaced on Google’s search engine, but to no avail.” [Union Leader]

COMFORT FOOD

- Website that generates recipes based on whatever is in your fridge.

- Rare whale filmed in the wild for the first time.

- The guy who vowed to eat a photo of Jason Segel each day until Segel eats one of him is still at it.

TWITTERAMA

@swin24: “your father saying he loved you was fake news” is my new canned comeback

@aedwardslevy: me: [prints out copy of 400-word-article, places it next to copy of Finnegan’s Wake]
editor: ...
me: look how good my story is

@MattBruenig: can’t afford an annual cost of $10,000? yet I see you have purchased a nintendo, curious

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