By Eliot Nelson, Ryan Grim & Nico Pitney
Maybe we’re just suckers for the quotidian silliness of politics, but we couldn’t help but notice that a lot of people contradicted themselves today, purposefully or otherwise. John Boehner blasted President Obama for playing politics with the Iraq war, only to praise him minutes later for delegating to his generals. Joe Klein admitted that he was wrong to passively support the invasion of Iraq. Some Republicans are openly defying their party’s directive to publicize their August schedules, lest people find out what is actually ON their August schedules. Down in Florida, vomit-encrusted boat enthusiast Jeff Greene wants voters to know that he is a lifelong resident of Florida — that is, until he is a lifelong resident of California. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 2nd, 2010:
MITCH MCCONNELL WANTS HEARINGS ON 14TH AMENDMENT – Sam Stein: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) officially supports a review of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which grants children of undocumented immigrants status as U.S. citizens, his office confirmed to the Huffington Post on Monday. A spokesman said that the Kentucky Republican believes that ‘we should hold hearings’ on the matter. McConnell had not previously commented on the issue before, the spokesman confirmed. In offering his support, McConnell becomes the highest-ranking Republican figure to call for examining the reach of the 14th amendment. On Sunday, his chief deputy, Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) told CBS’ Face the Nation that he too would back hearings into revising citizenship laws. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — a one-time proponent of comprehensive immigration reform — has explicitly called for the 14th Amendment’s repeal.” http://huff.to/aIuh7d
Check tomorrow’s edition of The Hill for an exclusive, newsmaking interview with McConnell.
More Mitch: “Today Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell visited the Reuters bureau in DC and argued there was no shame in saying no,” according to Reuters’ new daily tipsheet Washington Extra. “Republicans, he said, will be campaigning against many of the policies enacted by President Barack Obama, including healthcare reform, higher spending, bailouts and greater government intervention in the economy, things the party was ‘proud’ to say no to. ‘It depends on what you are saying ‘no’ to,’ McConnell told Reuters… McConnell admitted repealing all of the president’s policies would be tough as long as Obama remained in the White House, and added Republicans would be coming up with their own, more constructive ideas by the end of September.
REID POSTPONES STATE AID BILL AFTER CBO FINDS $4.9 BILLION IN COSTS – Despite indications last week that a vote was likely before recess, the majority leader abruptly changed his mind this afternoon. CongressDaily: “Senate Majority Leader Reid is expected to table his amendment tonight that would extend $16.1 billion in increased Medicaid funding for states and $10 billion for an education fund, after a CBO score released today found the legislation would cost $4.9 billion.” http://bit.ly/9CoBsz
Arthur Delaney, who traveled all the way from HuffPost’s downtown DC offices to the Capitol, on Reid’s tabling: “I wore a tie for nothing.”
ETHICS PANEL RELEASES CHARGES AGAINST MAXINE WATERS – “A House panel announced Monday that Rep. Maxine Waters has been charged with violating ethics rules, setting the stage for a second election-season trial for a longtime Democratic lawmaker and adding to the party’s political woes. The charges against Waters, a 10-term California congresswoman, focus on whether she broke the rules in requesting federal help for a bank where her husband was a board member and owned stock. She immediately denied the charges.” AP: http://huff.to/cAivZB
CANTOR, PENCE: JOB CREATION MORE IMPORTANT THAN DEFICITS – In back-to-back interviews, the two conservative House leaders argued that job creation is more important to Americans than deficit reduction (and, they added, THAT’s why we should extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy).
Dems were blasting around this MSNBC all day Monday:
GUTHRIE: I just was wondering if you had a — if you had any dispute with the notion that it does exacerbate the deficit picture.
CANTOR: What I — what I said in the beginning is, um, if you have less revenues coming into the federal government, and more expenditures, what does that add up to? Certainly you’re gonna dig the hole deeper. But you also have to understand, if the priority is to get people back to work, is to start growing this economy again, uh, then you don’t wanna make it more expensive for job creators. You don’t wanna hike their taxes so that they won’t hire people. I mean, that’s the fundamental decision here.
Rep. Mike Pence said virtually the same thing on Friday to Al Hunt: “Well, as I said before, I really believe the priorities of the American people today are job creation and fiscal discipline, and I believe that it’s in that order. I think the American people know we’re never going to balance this federal budget again unless we get this economy growing. And the very idea that we would allow taxes to increase on job creators in this country on January 1st of next year, I think, is astounding to most Americans. The last thing you want to do in the worst economy in 25 years is raise taxes on people that create jobs in the city and on the farm.” http://bit.ly/cb6xct
SEIU BATTLE WITH HEALTH CARE UNION HEATING UP – SEIU may have settled with UNITE-HERE a week ago, but its ongoing fight with the National Union of Healthcare Workers continues in California, with a huge battle for Kaiser Permanente workers scheduled for September. A major California voice will weigh in on behalf of NUHW tomorrow in HuffPost, calling on SEIU head Mary Kay Henry to call off the dogs that Andy Stern left behind.
PRESIDENT OBAMA DETAILS PLAN FOR IRAQ DRAWDOWN – Our long national nightmare in Iraq may soon be over…except for the 50,000 American soldiers STILL there. Speaking in the Rose Garden today, the president articulated his plan for U.S. troops in the months ahead. “Obama cited progress toward meeting his deadline of withdrawing all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of this month. A transitional force of 50,000 troops will remain to train Iraqi security forces, conduct counterterrorism operations and provide security for ongoing U.S. civilian efforts. Under an agreement negotiated in 2008 with the Iraqis, all American troops are to be gone from Iraq by the end of next year.” http://huff.to/bXqCfO
In Roll Call, Jennifer Bendery observes that House Minority Leader John Boehner is sending conflicting signals over the president’s Iraq plan. In one e-mail sent from his office today before the president’s speech, the Ohio congressman wrote that although “the president may be eager to use this speech to ‘check off another of the major promises he made during the campaign,’ he may be less willing to revisit his own opposition to the surge strategy that … is responsible for the progress that has been achieved to date.” Less than an hour later, after the address, his tone abruptly changed. “I commend President Obama for listening to our commanders in the field and working closely with them, the Iraqi people, and the Congress to ensure that we continue to make progress there.” http://bit.ly/dtODmi
Time’s Joe Klein, looking back: “As for myself, I deeply regret that once, on television in the days before the war, I reluctantly but foolishly said that going ahead with the invasion might be the right thing to do…In retrospect, the issue then was as clear cut as it is now. It demanded a clarity that I failed to summon. The essential principle is immutable: We should never go to war unless we have been attacked or are under direct, immediate threat of attack. Never. And never again.” http://bit.ly/9ZvqHW
John McCain has placed a hold on President Obama’s nominee to be Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. “Senator McCain requested a specific report from Mr. Clapper and until that report is provided, Senator McCain will continue to hold his nomination,” McCain’s spokesperson told Politico. This will likely push Clapper’s confirmation vote by the full Senate until after the August recess. http://politi.co/bd6tA8
@meredithshiner: McCain says Clapper promised him the requested docs and will lift hold “as soon as the report comes over”–but will another GOPer fill in?
This might be part of the problem, from the LA Times: “In December 2001, shortly after James Clapper took the helm of the Pentagon’s mapping intelligence agency, the agency privatized its information technology functions…it awarded a no-bid, 15-year deal worth up to $2.2 billion to NJVC, a joint venture of two Alaska Native corporations. The privatization was set in motion by Clapper’s predecessor, but Clapper endorsed it…In 2006, a little-noticed congressional investigation into problems with Alaska Native corporations found that ‘NJVC’s performance has been seriously deficient with respect to security issues,” and that the firm was doing only about a third of the work specified under the contract. Yet NJVC got paid most of its performance fees anyway, the investigation found.” http://bit.ly/dsFP7u
The conservative Judicial Crisis Network has debuted a 9-minute “closing argument” video explaining why Elena Kagan is untrustworthy and scary. http://bit.ly/cbpQOH
What flotilla? A House appropriations subcommittee has allotted a record amount of funds for a joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense program. From Rep. Steve Rothman’s press release: “The Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has just appropriated $217.7 million in funding for essential joint U.S.-Israel missile defense programs, which is an increase of $95.7 million in funds over the original request. I am proud that since 2007, the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has allocated more than $750 million in federal funding for the Arrow and David’s Sling anti-missile systems. Including this year’s allocation of $205 million toward Israel’s Iron Dome program, the Subcommittee has allocated nearly one billion dollars toward these three missile defense systems over the past three years.” http://bit.ly/9eMAR5
HUFFPOST HIRING – We’re hiring a few aggressive political reporters to be based at our D.C. office. Send resume, clips, and references to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOMORROW’S PAPERS TODAY – Roll Call: Paul Singer writes that the Congressional Research Service has concluded that Congressional reports on foreign travel are essentially useless for determining how much Congress spent, who traveled and where Members went. The Hill: J. Taylor Rushing on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s statement to The Hill that Congress “ought to take a look at” changing the clause of the 14th Amendment that allows children of illegal immigrants a right to U.S. citizenship.
Don’t be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter – @HuffPostHill
VIRGINIA A.G. SAYS COPS CAN CHECK IMMIGRATION STATUS DURING ROUTINE STOPS – “Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, whose lawsuit against health care reform moved forward Monday, has ruled that his state’s law enforcement officials can ask to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest or even stop. Cuccinelli’s legal opinion, written in response to a conservative state delegate’s request, could expand on a 2008 Virginia law requiring police to check the legal status of anyone taken into custody on suspicion of having committed a crime. The opinion also explicitly compares standing Virginia law to the pending Arizona immigration law, which some Virginia activists see as a roadmap for their own state policy.” http://huff.to/bEtMqI
The deployment of troops along the U.S.-Mexico border has begun. Around 1,200 National Guard troops today began to set up shop in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. However officials caution that they will not be fully in place until September. “The troops are expected to assist border patrol agents and local law enforcement by providing intelligence and intelligence analysis, surveillance and reconnaissance support, and the ability to train additional Customs and Border Protection agents.” ABC News: http://bit.ly/aZd5c6
Speaking of extreme law enforcement, a prison guard in Pennsylvania charged with murder for killing a man at a shooting range and stealing the victim’s semi-automatic rifle was apparently planning a coup. From the police affidavit: “[Raymond] Peake said he has been stealing guns for the purpose of aiding an organization that Peake refused to name. Peake said the organization is collecting guns for the purpose of overthrowing the federal government. Peake said he and Tuso together are members of this organization. Peake [said] that he would kill to defend his country and he was stealing weapons to defend his country.” Justin Elliott in Salon: http://bit.ly/9fu1a1
NATURAL GAS INDUSTRY DUTCH OVENING WASHINGTON WITH INFLUENCE – Last Tuesday was a complicated one for the natural gas industry. Harry Reid unveiled a scaled-back energy bill that contained billions in incentives for natural gas vehicles. Vice-chair of the Democratic caucus Xavier Becerra — who has a green-friendly voting record in Congress — was the guest of honor at a fundraiser thrown by leading natural gas companies and held at the American Gas Association. At the end of the day, Maurice Hinchey and Jared Polis hosted a congressional screening of the anti-natural gas movie “Gasland.” These conflicting events underscore the precarious situation natural gas companies find themselves in. On the one hand, their resource is hailed by a growing number of politicians as a bridge between traditional energy sources such as coal and oil and greener alternatives like wind, solar and biofuel. On the other hand, many lawmakers, green activists and scientists are sounding the alarm over mounting evidence that the exploration and extraction of the resource can have devastating effects. http://huff.to/aTpead
BEN NELSON SAYS HE WILL NOT SWITCH PARTIES – Sam Stein, who points out that Charlie Crist made the same noise prior to jumping ship from the Republican party, on progressive foil Ben Nelson’s ongoing quest to look out for number one. “On Saturday, Time magazine’s Joe Klein wrote that ‘if the Republicans make substantial gains in the midterm elections, Nelson could be up for grabs next fall–it certainly would be easier for him to get reelected in Nebraska as a Republican and, if the Democrats’ Senate advantage is cut to one or two seats, he could be offered the moon by the Republicans to switch.’…Asked for comment, however, Nelson’s office stressed that the senator remains a committed Democrat who, despite bucking the party on a host of political fronts (most recently, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation), is not interested in a party switch.” http://huff.to/9r8ZpK
WILL MARIJUANA SLOW DOWN THE GOP’S FORWARD MARCH? – Putting the question of marijuana legalization on state ballots in 2012 may be one of the most effective ways for a dispirited Democratic Party to get reluctant voters out to the polls. A survey making the rounds among strategists, which has yet to be made public, indicates that pot could be just the enticement many of these voters need: Surge voters, single women under 40 and Hispanics all told America Votes pollsters that if a legalization measure were on the Colorado ballot, they’d be more likely to come out to vote. Forty-five percent of surge voters and 47 percent of single women said they’d be more interested in voting if the question was on the ballot.. http://huff.to/aTpead
REPUBLICANS GETTING ALL UP IN EACH OTHERS’ BIZ-NESS – Looks like the whole unified front thing is hitting a bit of a snag. “Several House Republicans are balking at a request by their leadership to offer up a copy of their August schedules for a GOP Conference online database. ‘My constituents know how to find me,’ Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said. ‘I’m listed in the phone book.’ GOP leaders have asked Members to submit their schedules as part of their ‘America Speaking Out’ agenda project, but some Republicans said doing so would only create opportunities for their opponents to embarrass them…Likewise, Rep. Mike Simpson said he would not be submitting his schedule to leadership either, in part because he felt it was not ‘the Conference’s business.’” CQ: http://yhoo.it/dDAOVt
Michele Bachmann has founded a leadership PAC titled Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere or, go figure, MICHELE PAC. Star Tribune: “Bachmann’s creation of a leadership PAC is hardly a surprise, given that she has been in high demand at fundraisers in all corners of the country. Much like Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Freedom First PAC or Sen. Al Franken’s Midwest Values PAC, MICHELEPAC will make it easier for Bachmann to give candidates a boost from afar.” http://bit.ly/9fiYKP
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR – Here are some pets enjoying a Popsicle. http://bit.ly/d0BaJe
FLORIDA SENATE CANDIDATE PROUD TO CALL CALIFORNIA FLORIDA HOME – The Orlando Sentinel picks up this contradiction from Democratic Senante candidate and disgustingly wealthy man Jeff Greene. “U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene, who became a resident of Florida two years ago, has tried hard to shake the label ‘carpetbagger,’ pointing out that his parents moved here in the early 1970s. What he doesn’t say is that he remained in Massachusetts to finish school (working in Florida during breaks). When done with college, he headed for California. He lived there most of his adult life there, and as recently as March 2008, sounded like a guy whose heart was really in the Golden State — specifically, Malibu.” The author, Jim Stratton, also notes that in 2008, Greene told ABC News that California was “home.” http://bit.ly/a1n7hV
This weekend Greene had to contend with more negative local coverage. Miami Herald: “For some Hispanics in South Florida, one detail stood out in Adam C. Smith’s profile of Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene: Former crew members say his 145-foot yacht went to Cuba in 2007, and ‘everybody talked about the vomit caked all over the sides from all the partying going on.’ Greene says he supports the Cuba embargo and stumbled in yesterday’s debate against rival Kendrick Meek to explain.” http://bit.ly/bETxMd
@adamsmithtimes: Debatapalooza: Greene vs Meek @8pm tonight BayNews9 in Tpa/CentralFla 13 in Orl ;McCollum v Scott @ 11:15 tonight Unvision in TPA, MIA,ORL
BUSINESSMAN INKS DEAL TO PURCHASE NEWSWEEK…FOR ONE DOLLAR – “Sidney Harman, the businessman who made his fortune selling stereo equipment, has secured a deal to buy Newsweek from the Washington Post Co. and will announce the deal later Monday afternoon…Losses at the magazine could approach $70 million this year, this person told the Times. Mr. Harman”–yes, that’s Jane’s husband–”reportedly bid $1 for the magazine but agreed to assume the magazine’s liabilities.” Advertising Age: http://bit.ly/cV938Z
@mikeallen: Jon Meacham will announce his departure as editor of Newsweek as The Washington Post Co. sells to Sidney Harman, husband of Rep. Jane Harman
@mikeallen: Meacham, 41, had been planning to step down as editor no matter who bought Newsweek, according to sources inside The Washington Post Co.
A collection of things cheaper than Newsweek available at 99centsdollarstore.com (pre-tax): A retractable dog leash, four push pop erasers, a 15 pack of scouring pads, corn skewers, a cat litter scoop, wooden beads in assorted shapes, a sticker book, a “Green Tea Perfect Nail Set” and Chinese yo-yos. http://bit.ly/8hYGfh
The Hill has announced that it has brought on Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk as a columnist. From the release: “Starting Wednesday, August 4, Bronk will pen a weekly piece titled ‘My 5 Minutes with the President,’ in which she asks leading members of the entertainment community, ‘If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him?’”
Thomas Frank is leaving the Wall Street Journal to join Harper’s. His last column for the Journal will appear on August 11th. “Beginning with the December issue, Frank will pen The Easy Chair column, which will replace the Notebook. The Easy Chair was published from October 1851 to February 1984, focusing on politics, the events of the day, culture, as well as literary topics. The column reflects the great legacy and tradition of Harper’s Magazine,” a release distributed by Harper’s read.
For those of you in North Carolina: “A former candidate for Cleveland County sheriff has been indicted on a charge of assault related to a May incident in which he is accused of throwing pens at state Sen. Debbie Clary.” News and Observer: http://bit.ly/9uNNzR
JEREMY THE INTERN’S WEATHER REPORT – Tonight: It’s going to be a “pop-up” night. Showers will be popping up over the area, but due to lack of heat, don’t expect any thunderstorms. Tomorrow Expect a beautiful day; temperatures in the high-80s to low-90s (inland areas will be hotter), and mostly clear. We’re going to march up to the 90s soon, so enjoy the cooler weather while you can. Thanks, JB!
- 22 bizarre Pringles flavors from across the globe. http://huff.to/aXLAgH
- Kenny Powers inked an endorsement deal with K-Swiss (NSFW language). http://bit.ly/amaaMi
- A very scary auto-tuned news report. http://bit.ly/9kAdtu
- A succinct — and trippy– summary of the oil spill. http://bit.ly/ct1lBc
- Because this contents of this newsletter don’t make you nauseous enough, a cheeseburger smoothie. http://bit.ly/agj5bd
- Cats. On treadmills. http://bit.ly/8Yojk3
@BorowitzReport Some guy just bought Newsweek for $1. Weird, because you can read it for free at the dentist.
@andrewwk: PPAATTrY TiP: Dontt try to typw while you’rw partuing.
@ricksanchezcnn: send me ur snookie caption
@kurtbraunohler: to people with synaesthesia, this tweet tastes like chocolate peppermint and jelly.
TONIGHT: Dennis Kucinich discussed ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with Dylan Ratigan. Jim Moran and Brian Bilbray debated tax cuts, Chaka Fattah talked ethics investigations and Bill Richardson weighed in on the 14th amendment on Hardball. Elijah Cummings pays a visit to Ed Schultz’s show to discuss the ethics investigation. Fascinating Tennessee gubernatorial cadidate Basil Marceaux will stop by Jimmy Kimmel. TOMORROW: Rumored inspiration for Calvin Klein’s underwear campaign and HuffPost reporter Sam Stein is on Morning Joe. Mitch McConnell sits down for a live interview on Bloomberg. John Conyers appears on the Ed Show.
8:30 pm – 10:30 pm: The Star Trek Outdoor Film Festival rolls on with “Star Trek: Insurrection” [18th and South Bell Streets, Arlington].
8:30 pm – 10:30 pm: The final installment of this year’s Screen on the Green (sad) features “Bonnie and Clyde” [700 Independence Avenue SW].
12:00 pm: We’re really going to miss the comforting familiarity of Capitol Hill Club fundraisers during recess. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) holds one for lunch [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].
12:00 pm: Even with the oil reaching Texas, Lamar Smith (R-Texas) shucks, undeterred and undaunted [Johnny's Half Shell, 400 North Capitol Street NW #175].
6:00 pm: Geoff Davis (R-Ky.), who was born in Quebec, but bleeds red, white and bleu, raises reelection funds [Capital Grille, 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW].
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm: West Virginia Gov. and candidate for Robert Byrd’s old Senate seat Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) makes a DC swing to fatten his campaign warchest. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va) hosts [The Home of Jay and Sharon Rockefeller, 2121 Park Road NW].
6:30 pm: Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hosts a campaign function for his ERIC PAC. The invite labels him the “Chief Majority Whip.” Now THAT’S confidence [Cava Restaurant, 527 8th Street SE].