03/09/2016 05:19 pm ET Updated Mar 09, 2016

HUFFPOST HILL - Paul Ryan Finally Finds His Batman

Jeb Bush is meeting with Donald Trump’s GOP opponents to provide the advice that only someone who won three percent of the vote can give. GOP establishment officials are beginning to move to Ted Cruz -- not in a zealous, enthusiastic way, but more in a “Princess Leia and Jabba the Hutt” kind of way. And Paul Ryan had a cordial phone call with Donald Trump, which makes sense, because if anyone is John Galt, it’s probably Donald Trump. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, March 9th, 2016:

YOU LOSE, YOU CRUZ - Cool kids forced to make nice with theater dork. Katie Glueck: "Republican elites are begrudgingly embracing Ted Cruz — and hanging Marco Rubio out to dry. Panicked at Donald Trump’s dominance and dismayed by Rubio’s continued inability to do anything about it, some top Republican power brokers are turning to Cruz, putting aside their policy and personal misgivings to back the candidate they now openly label as their best hope to stop Trump’s GOP takeover….'Most people now think Ted’s the best vehicle to defeat Trump,' said Charles C. Foster, a Bush family loyalist from Houston who served on Jeb Bush’s national finance team. 'I would say some are enthusiastic for Ted, some are just saying, ‘OK, Ted’s not my first choice, but anyone that can beat Trump, I’ll support.’' 'That’s a big motivating factor,' he continued. 'I think Ted is the only possibility to stop Trump.' … Foster was on a list of eight Bush backers who transferred their support to Cruz that the campaign touted last week. Foster is trying to expand that list, bringing on board people like Chase Untermeyer, a former ambassador and Jeb Bush supporter who worked in both the George H.W. and George W. Bush administrations." [Politico]

Marco Rubio's presidential candidacy is doomed.

MEANWHILE, IN THE DEMOCRATIC RACE - It's not at dumpster fire levels, but Sanders' win in Michigan has definitely upgraded it from "oh honey," to "incipient goat rodeo." David Fahrenthold: "Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders will meet for their fourth one-on-one debate Wednesday evening in Miami -- one night after Sanders won an upset victory in Michigan, reshaping the Democratic Party’s presidential race as Clinton seemed close to clinching it. The debate, sponsored by The Washington Post and the Spanish-language network Univision, will begin at 9 p.m. Eastern time....In the debate, moderators will probably ask about immigration policy, a vital subject in Florida — and a subject on which Clinton and Sanders differ significantly from the GOP candidates. Both Democrats have said they support a legal pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are already in the United States. And bothhave said they would preserve President Obama’s executive actions, which are intended to stop the deportations of undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children and of undocumented parents whose children are U.S. citizens or legal residents." [WaPo]

JEB! DOESN'T! WANT! YOU! TO! VOTE! FOR! TRUMP! - Mark Hensch: "Bush is huddling with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich before the Miami debate, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The former Florida governor repeatedly clashed with Trump during his own GOP presidential campaign, which ended late last month after disappointing results in early-voting states.
Bush is meeting Rubio on Wednesday and speaking with Cruz and Kasich on Thursday before the debate. It's unclear whether Bush will endorse a candidate before March 15, when both Ohio and Florida vote in winner-take-all primaries, the Times said. Thursday’s debate is the twelfth and final contest of the Republican presidential primary, airing from Miami that evening on CNN." [The Hill]

Carly Fiorina endorsed Cruz.

WATCH TRUMP WOO THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT - Jonathan Cohn: "Donald Trump’s speech on Tuesday night, following big wins in the Michigan and Mississippi primaries, was among the strangest he’s made yet. He talked about Trump steaks and Trump magazine. He bragged about the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at the Trump National Jupiter resort. And he saluted Paul O’Neill -- the former Yankee player, not the former treasury secretary. But the most intriguing part of the speech was its most conventional one. Trump praised House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), with whom he'd had a phone conversation earlier in the week. 'He couldn’t have been nicer,' Trump said. 'He was very encouraging.' He talked about unifying the party. And then he called upon his supporters to rally behind Republican members of Congress." #NeverTrump, right? [HuffPost]

DELANEY DOWNER - For weeks, senators have said they are close to a deal on legislation to help Flint, Michigan recover from the poisoning of its water supply, but on Wednesday another lawmaker threw a wrench in the negotiations. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) put a hold on the agreement just as Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) appeared close to putting out a flame with Republican Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) over the legislation. Nelson doesn’t have a problem with the underlying bill, which makes money available to cities like Flint coping with decaying water infrastructure, or with a separate piece of energy legislation tied to the Flint bill. But he is wary of an offshore drilling amendment that Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) wants to attach to the energy bill. "Sen. Nelson supports the energy bill and the money for Flint but the Republicans insist on an amendment that would start the process of drilling off Florida’s coast," Nelson spokesman Ryan Brown said in an email. "After four decades of protecting Florida’s beaches and military training areas in the Gulf, Sen. Nelson isn’t going to stop now." [w/ HuffPost's Laura Barron-Lopez]

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HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, pt 2 - Michael Calderone: "Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski reportedly grabbed Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields after the Republican presidential front-runner's Tuesday night press conference in Jupiter, Florida. Politico reported that Lewandowski "forcibly grabbed" Fields' arm when she tried asking Trump a question as he left the press conference, 'moving her out of the way and nearly bringing her down to the ground.' … The real estate mogul's team has been the most hostile toward the press this election cycle, with some reporters barred and ejected from events. The campaign has also forced journalists to remain in a "press pen" to restrict their movements while Trump is speaking. Last month, a Secret Service agent roughed up a Time magazine photographer after he left the pen to cover protesters at a rally. It's not the role of the Secret Service to enforce the campaign's press restrictions, but agents, at times, have appeared to do just that. The Secret Service is still investigating the incident." [publication]

HOW THE MICHIGAN POLLS GOT THE YIPS - Ariel Edwards-Levy, Janie Valencia and Natalie Jakcson: "After a run of relative successes, polls missed in a big way Tuesday in Michigan's Democratic primary. Surveys showed Hillary Clinton a heavy favorite in the state, with those conducted in March giving her margins of between 11 and 37 points over Sanders. HuffPost Pollster, which includes all publicly available polling, gave Clinton an 18-point lead. Instead, Sanders pulled off a narrow victory, marking what could be a historic polling misfire. What happened? It's too early to know for sure, but there are a number of things that could have gone wrong. For one thing, though surveys in the state were consistent, they were relatively scarce. Fewer than 10 were released in the week before the election, with none fielded entirely after the Democratic debate Sunday in Flint, Michigan. Polling misfires often come down to a late surge toward one candidate, and Sanders made a concerted effort to swing the state. He outspent Clinton on ads in Michigan, according to data from Kantar Media, spending $3.5 million to her $2.6 million, and making a heavier investment in the last week before the primary." [HuffPost]

Clinton did well with Flint voters.

TRUMP A TOTAL WELFARE QUEEN - Your taxes hard at work. Richard Rubin: "A clue to the billionaire presidential candidate’s income appeared to emerge Tuesday, when it was reported that Mr. Trump has been collecting a New York State property tax break that was available only to people with an income under $500,000. That would imply that Mr. Trump’s income was less than half a million a year … The property break, first reported by Crain’s New York, spurred speculation that Mr. Trump had managed to report almost no income despite his claims of a fortune exceeding $10 billion. The candidate has declined to release his income tax returns, saying they are being audited. Tantalizing as the clue was, it was a false trail. Contacted Tuesday, the city said Mr. Trump is ineligible for the break, which has been netting him about $300 a year." [WSJ]

THE BEST CORRECTION IN HISTORY - From Wired: "Due to an oversight involving a haphazardly-installed Chrome extension during the editing process, the name Donald Trump was erroneously replaced with the phrase 'Someone With Tiny Hands' when this story originally published." [Wired]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a a dog and a bunny.

NEW LEARNING CZAR SOON - Rebecca Klein: "It looks like acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr. may not be acting for much longer. On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Senate education committee voted 16-6 to confirm King as the nation's education boss. King's nomination will soon be brought to the senate for a full vote. King has technically served as education secretary since the beginning of 2016 after long-serving cabinet member Arne Duncan stepped down. At the time, the White House intentionally forwent an official nomination process, fearing it could be potentially long and polarizing. After getting pledges from lawmakers to give it a fair go, the Obama administration decided to formally nominate King in early February." [HuffPost]


- Explaining peppers.

- Why didn't anyone tell us about Hitler rave?

- Don't tell The Donald: Themost expensive steak on earth.


@pourmecoffee: True to Florida, Rubio's whole campaign was was basically, "hold my beer and watch this - I'm going to run for president."

@mobute: bernie bros calling everyone in the office whose name begins with "t" t-bone, even though it's ruining the shower we're throwing for tracy

@igorbobic: Rubio email: "There’s no other way to say this: we will lose...

..If we hand the conservative movement over to Donald Trump"

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