POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - MAY 25, 2010

Lawmakers turned their attention to the Gulf today: Robert Menendez had the uncanny idea that companies which get reckless with crude should pay for the cleanup, Senate Energy grilled administration officials on their response to the spill and the White House announced Obama will check it out Friday. Elsewhere, Obama's meeting with GOP lawmakers didn't go so hot, at least according to Pat Roberts, who thinks POTUS should take a (literal) chill pill. Tired of all the silliness? Just be glad there isn't a fake Saddam Hussein sex tape floating around. This is HUFFPOST HILL for May 25th, 2010:

BREAKING

JUST IN - BP CHAIRMAN TO U.S. CRITICS: AMERICA NEEDS US - BP's chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg gives the Financial Times his first newspaper interview since the April 20 Gulf rig explosion. He "hit back at critics of the company's response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, insisting that they ought to remember that the group was 'big and important' for the US. 'The US is a big and important market for BP, and BP is also a big and important company for the US, with its contribution to drilling and oil and gas production. So the position goes both ways,' he said. Mr Svanberg accepted BP's reputation had been damaged by the accident but said that should not be long-lasting 'if we do the right thing'. 'This is not the first time something has gone wrong in this industry, but the industry has moved on. Of course our reputation will be tarnished, but let's wait and see how we do with plugging the well and cleaning up the spill.'"

MENENDEZ INTRODUCES BILL TO LIFT CAP ON BP LIABILITY - Along with Frank Lautenberg and Bill Nelson, Bob Menendez is proposing lifting the cap on liability for oil companies altogether, rather than using a figure like $10 billion. Louisiana Republican David Vitter responded with a 40-page amendment, Menendez said, that would lift the cap, but only on BP and only for this spill. Menendez said he was glad Republicans were loosening their opposition, but saw little sense in narrowing it.

Mendendez told reporters that MMS employees who acted as rubber stamps in collusion with oil companies should be prosecuted and he has urged the Department of Justice to look into it.

Sam Stein: "Senator James Inhofe (R-Okl.) blocked a unanimous consent agreement on Menendez's proposal Tuesday afternoon -- citing, among other things, the prohibitive effects it would have on smaller oil companies hoping to drill in the Gulf. Expect Democrats to continue pushing the legislation going forward, though there is some question as to whether it will be introduced as an amendment to a larger bill and whether leadership will stick with an unlimited cap." http://huff.to/9L3XjS

The White House announced that President Obama will travel to the Gulf Coast Friday to review response efforts. http://bit.ly/a08PGN

BP WILL GO DARK DURING "TOP KILL" EFFORT TO CAP WELL - The process essentially involves clogging the well by pumping a heavy drilling fluid into the lines and then sealing it shut. The biggest risk, according to BP officials, is that the fluid will misfire and spew into the water. Florida's Bill Nelson told reporters this afternoon that BP told him their live feed of the belching well would "go dark" during the maneuver they say has an 80 percent chance of success -- odds that Nelson felt were highly optimistic. If it fails, the volume of oil gushing out could increase by magnitudes. Nelson said he is still lobbying BP not to cut off the live feed.

From CNN, animation of the "top kill" process: http://bit.ly/aQEztN

EPA CHIEF HEADS TO SWANKY FUNDRAISER AMIDST SPILL FALLOUT - From Politico: "Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, who served as chief of staff to former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, is listed as the main attraction at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee breakfast scheduled for June 4. An e-mail sent to potential donors and attendees by Rafi Jafri, who has raised money for Hillary Clinton and was a fundraiser for Corzine, said the event is being hosted by New Jersey PR man Michael Kempner." http://politi.co/chJSSW

Via Firedoglake, video of BP CEO Tony Hayward getting testy at a photo-op. Also, who put Xanax in Rick Sanchez's coffee? http://bit.ly/d9cxq7

FUND MANAGERS WAGING WAR ON JOBLESS - The attempt to pay for a jobs bill by closing a tax loophole cherished by real estate, private equity, venture capital and some hedge fund managers is running into a thicket of rich-guy lobbying. Senators and House members from states with high unemployment are nevertheless threatening to vote against the package to protect the investment managers. In a Democratic caucus meeting today, and in one last night, several members complained about the tax on fund managers. House Dems are nervous they'll take another tough vote and the Senate will once again fail to pass the legislation "There's an attitude of 'Why bite the bullet if it's not going anywhere? Why take the hard vote?'" Rep. Danny Davis, a WAM member, told Arthur Delaney. Leadership is meeting as we go to press. Chris Van Hollen stepped out to say there were still concerns the Senate wouldn't act. Davis is backing the bill, but HuffPost Hill got word that DSCC head Bob Menendez was also fighting behind the scenes and quizzed him about it: "I have, overall, a concern about the carried interest loophole as it relates to both characterization rates and implementation period and I think that we can derive revenue that we want and should need, but I think there is a different way to do it," he said. "The House approach is not one that I favor." A Menendez aide said that he wanted to ensure that the real estate market is not harmed and that businesses don't lose access to venture capital.

Organized labor is lobbying hard on the other side. "I don't know how members of Congress can return home and look an office manager, a nurse, a court clerk in the eye and say I chose hedge fund managers instead of you and your family. But that's exactly what they'll have to do if they do not pass the jobs package this week. People need jobs and security -- they don't need the people they elected into office putting the richest of the rich first," said SEIU's Lori Lodes.

DEFICIT CONCERNS JEOPARDIZING UI BILL From Daily Caller: "The package of extensions for unemployment insurance, health insurance for those without jobs and a fix to maintain current rates for Medicare payments would add about $134 billion to the deficit. Key senators from both parties said they did not want to do this. 'We can't keep saying we're concerned about the deficits but keep adding to the deficits,' said Sen. Olympia Snowe, Maine Republican. 'At some point you have to draw some lines.' Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, in particular said he did not think the legislation should include the adjustments to Medicare payments if they were not going to be paid for, according to the Wall Street Journal." http://bit.ly/aNa8Pt

LEVIN NOT SURE HE HAS THE VOTES FOR DADT REPEAL - Carl Levin spent Tuesday afternoon whipping up support from his Senate Armed Services Committee colleagues for compromise legislation to repeal the military's don't-ask-don't-tell policy, the Michigan Democrat told reporters after a meeting with his colleagues. "It's not safe to say the votes are there. I'm hopeful," he said. "I've got a long afternoon ahead of me." With 16 Democrats on the committee, Levin and the measure's cosponsor, Joe Lieberman, can only lose one defector if the 12 Republicans stay united in opposition.

JIM WEBB LEANING "NO" - The Virgina Senator told HuffPost Hill earlier today that he's wary of nudging DOD along: "If you look at what the White House said and you look at what Secretary Gates said, they both said they would prefer to go through the process that Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates announced in February. I don't see any reason to preempt that process."

BILL NELSON A "YES" - "Nelson will support the Levin-Lieberman Amendment," said Dan McLaughlin, a Nelson spokesperson. http://bit.ly/bAoYBg

BREAKING: BEACON HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY BOOTED KLOBUCHAR FOR FLOWERED BELLBOTTOMS - By way of explaining how far the country has come, Amy Klobuchar, who turns 50 today, confessed to having worn flowered bellbottoms in the fourth grade. She was sent home for the crime of being a girl and wearing pants. "Girls only wear dresses," her principal told her. She pivoted from there to say that Elena Kagan should be judged on her intellect and not "where does she shop." Klobuchar, for the record, sported black pants and a lavender jacket -- attire that was controversial in the Senate even recently.

KAGAN WOULD FACE A TOUGH CONFIRMATION IF NOT FOR HOLDER - Main Justice wonders how much rougher her road would be had Eric Holder tapped her as his deputy, as he almost did. http://bit.ly/bsEbBs

TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - The Hill's Alexander Bolton on what went on behind closed doors in the meeting between President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans.

Start spreading the news...the NFL voted today that New York will host the 2014 Super Bowl. http://bit.ly/9dQKzO

OBAMA SENDING MORE TROOPS TO BORDER - The president will dispatch 1,500 troops to stem illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border and will request an extra $500 million for border security. WaPo: "The decision, to be announced Tuesday, comes as the White House is seeking Republican support for broad immigration reform this year. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan hasn't been announced, said the new resources would provide 'immediate enhancement' to the border even as the Obama administration continues to 'work with Congress to fix our broken immigration system through comprehensive reform, which would provide lasting and dedicated resources by which to secure our borders and make our communities safer.'" http://bit.ly/aVwWnb

Frank Sharry, founder of the immigration group America's Voice, compares President Obama to Joe Wilson http://huff.to/bLBKfZ

COBURN'S QUESTIONNAIRE FOR DANA PERINO - Tom Coburn, not a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is claiming his chance to quiz eight nominees to the Broadcast Board of Governors that have cleared the panel before releasing a hold on them. They're people you've heard of: Dana Perino, Susan McCue, Michael Meehan (the guy who shoved a blogger on behalf of Martha Coakley), Walter Isaacson, Victor Ashe, Michael Lynton, Dennis Mulhaupt and Enders Wimbush. Coburn even has a questionnaire he's having them fill out, a pretty unprecedented hoop for such nominees to jump through. But hey, in this job market, is that so much to ask? The questionnaire, which Coburn's office provided to HuffPost Hill (pdf): http://bit.ly/aml0hU Though he told The Cable recently that the BBG is "the most worthless organization in the federal government," his spokesman said some clarification might be in order. "[H]e doesn't necessarily believe BBG is the worst entity -- that might be Congress," said John Hart.

GRAHAM WANTS SCALED-DOWN CLIMATE BILL - Sam Stein: "The chief Senate Republican negotiator on energy legislation urged President Obama and Democrats to abandon comprehensive reform for the time being and push passable components of the bill instead. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said that in the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf the votes simply didn't exists for the Senate to pass far-reaching legislation. 'You have a comprehensive approach that can sell and I don't think many people believe that the oil spill has helped get more votes for offshore drilling,' he said. 'It has made it a hard climb. Let's do smaller version of the energy climate bill.... and be realistic about what is possible or not.'"

Lieberman: Climate vote by recess. The Connecticut Senator told reporters the hopes the legislation he is cosponsoring with John Kerry will come to a vote in June or July. "I hope that sometime in June we're going to be able to prove to Sen. Reid that we're in the range of 60," Lieberman said. The Hill: http://bit.ly/clS7BG

Organizing for America has a new Political Director, Yohannes Abraham. http://bit.ly/aq0Jih

RICK PERRY TO PUBLISH BOOK - Fresh off of killing coyotes and embarrassing Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is doing some good ol' fashion screed writin'. From the publisher's release: "FED UP [is] a polemic that examines the dangerous and unconstitutional intrusion of the federal government on states' rights and individual liberties and advocates for the protection of the 10th Amendment principles that put power in the hands of the people. Publication is scheduled for fall 2010 in time for the midterm elections."

And Bobby Jindal will delay publication of his book in the wake of the BP slick.

Chalres Djou sworn in: "I want all the voters to know that every single day I have the privilege of serving them, I will never ever forget the trust and confidence they have vested in me," he said before the swearing in.

@VincentMorris: Rep djou 1st vote of his career - expressing sympathy w/ sinking of south korean military boat. And he votes with paper, not electronically. http://bit.ly/dBOvIb

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com

TRENDING

OBAMA MEETS WITH SENATE GOP TO MEND TIES... - AP: "President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans called a high-noon cease-fire in their long-running political feud Tuesday, holding a rare, private meeting on Capitol Hill to discuss what legislation can be achieved during this volatile election year. 'We want to see if we can get some more work done,' Obama told reporters on the way into the session. The question went unanswered, according to early readouts from those in the room. Obama gave opening remarks before a question-and-answer session; one official said senators fussed at the president a bit. Applause could be heard emanating from the parlor just before the president exited, however. 'It was a good, frank discussion about a whole range of issues,' Obama reported as he left." http://yhoo.it/bJPKYX

...SO MUCH FOR THAT - "He needs to take a Valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans," Pat Roberts told reporters after the meeting. "He's pretty thin-skinned." Things also got hot between Obama and John McCain. From WaPo: "'I said we needed to secure the border first,' McCain recounted. But, according to several senators, Obama argued in favor of a comprehensive bill that also provided a pathway to citizenship for illegal residents, similar to the legislation that McCain backed in 2007. McCain also challenged Obama on the new Arizona immigration law, which Obama has criticized as 'misdirected' because critics say it will lead to legal residents facing intrusive police scrutiny. 'He said he still believed it was open to discrimination,' McCain told reporters after the meeting. 'I pointed out that members of his administration who have not read the law have mischaracterized the law.'" http://bit.ly/aKpoge

Bob Corker, too, got into it pretty good with the president, HuffPost Hill is told, suggesting that Obama's visit was part of a strategy of faux bipartisanship.

OIL SPILL REMAINS IN SPOTLIGHT - As the Gulf Coast increasingly resembles Darth Vader's koi pond, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee grilled administration officials about the slick. DOJ's head environment honcho, Thomas Perrelli, said he supports lifting the liability cap. "We don't think there should be an arbitrary cap on corporate responsibility," he told the panel. David Hayes, the Deputy Interior Secretary, echoed Perrelli. "We are totally in line with the Department of Justice on this," he said. http://bit.ly/bWbsdA

Committee member Bernie Sanders maintained an aggressive tone throughout the proceedings. "A year from now the TV cameras will not be there, and some fisherman will go try to get damages from BP, a multibillion dollar company," he said. "He won't stand a chance." http://bit.ly/adeNA8

The Inspector General released a damning report today on the MMS. HuffPost : "The government regulator with oversight of offshore drilling allowed industry officials to fill in their own inspection reports and federal employees accepted gifts -- including meals and tickets to sporting events -- from oil and natural gas companies, according to a new report by the Interior Department's Inspector General. In addition, Mineral Management Service employees viewed porn on government computers -- similar to a recent scandal involving the Securities and Exchange Commission -- according to the report. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the latest report 'deeply disturbing,' stating that it demonstrates the need for reforms, including a plan to split up the agency and replace it with three new entities.The report 'is further evidence of the cozy relationship between some elements of MMS and the oil and gas industry,' Salazar said Tuesday." More: http://huff.to/bDDkLN

Check out this bit from GMA featuring Sam Champion diving into the oil slick . http://huff.to/bNKJa2

MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR OVERTURNING DADT - With Congress reaching an agreement with the White House on Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal last night, a growing chorus of officials and commentators are weighing in on the move:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed restrained support for the agreement that would allow the Pentagon to finish its review of the repeal before implementing the change. "Secretary Gates continues to believe that ideally the DOD review should be completed before there is any legislation to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell law," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. "With Congress having indicated that is not possible, the secretary can accept the language in the proposed amendment." http://bit.ly/btj64f

Andrew Sullivan seems relieved: "My major fear up to now has been that the repeal could get lost legislatively if the GOP made big gains in the House and Senate this fall, as is historically almost certain. This compromise removes the basis for that fear, while allowing the military and the defense secretary to manage the transition to ensure a smooth ride. I hope it works. If it does, it really will be a feather in the cap of Jim Messina, the good folks at SLDN and Servicemembers United, and the Obama administration." http://bit.ly/9FW5fA

Sullivan's colleague, Marc Ambinder, is worried about DOD feet-dragging: "When it became apparent to the White House that it could add repeal language to the Senate's defense appropriations bill and pass it, it facilitated a compromise. The policy will be formally repealed, first. That will be on the books. Forever. But. The Secretary of Defense will determine WHEN the repeal goes into effect. And lo and behold, the criteria for determining when it will go into effect will be the same criteria that the Pentagon's working group on DADT had set up as thresholds: no impact on readiness, recruitment, effectiveness, retention, or unit cohesiveness. http://bit.ly/b33ogl

POLL: MOST AMERICANS THINK OPENLY GAYS GIs ARE A-OK - A striking poll released today says nearly eight out of every ten Americans think gay individuals should be allowed to openly serve in the military. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey shows 78 percent of Americans supporitng the change, including six out of ten Republicans. http://bit.ly/c6pnGt

Scott Brown says he will vote "no" when the DADT measure comes up for a vote in Armed Services Thursday. Boston Globe: http://bit.ly/bRoJCn

PLAYING WITH BOYS HAS NO RESONANCE IN MIDDLE EAST, FYI: Pentagon flacks are working overtime today after video surfaced of a U.S. soldier taunting Iraqi children, asking if they will grow up to be terrorists and whether they are gay. http://huff.to/bohYyk

...actually CIA's external relations department might win the award for most stressed PR shop. Reports are surfacing that the CIA considered forging a Saddam Hussein gay sex tape in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. "Saddam playing with boys would have no resonance in the Middle East -- nobody cares," an operative said. http://bit.ly/9K5ig4

SIMMONS DROPS OUT OF CONNECTICUT SENATE RACE - CHOKE HOLD: Citing a dearth of campaign cash, former House Rep. Rob Simmons announced this morning he is suspending his campaign for Senate. This all but assures WWE executive Linda McMahon the nomination, baring an unlikely surge from Tea Party-backed Peter Schiff. The primary is August 10th. http://bit.ly/anrIK1

HuffPost Hill's exclusive summary of the Connecticut GOP primary here: http://bit.ly/ccr2f1

A day after he announced his candidacy, a new poll shows Dino Rossi trailing Patty Murray 44-40 in the Washington Senate race. http://bit.ly/99noHr

S.C. SEX SCANDAL UNFOLDS - Will Folks, the South Carolina blogger claiming to have gotten physical with Nikki Haley says he has telephonic evidence. In a combative piece on FITSNews, Folks' colleagues defend his claim: "...any legal motion that's filed would undoubtedly result in the publication of a flood of phone records, text messages, emails, voicemails and other data exchanges between the two protagonists in this unfolding drama... All we can tell you for now is that the record of correspondence between the two of them began on November 20, 2005 - with an email sent at 8:33 a.m. from Haley's State House email address (haleyn@scstatehouse.net) to Will Folks' personal address (willfolks@hotmail.com) in which Haley complimented Folks on an article he had written praising her gubernatorial ambitions.

"That four-and-a-half year record of correspondence ended on Saturday, May 22, 2010 - three days ago - with a text message sent from Folks' cell phone to Haley's cell phone at 1:04 p.m. alerting her to the fact that he had been placed in a position where he felt that he had no choice but to address the rumors regarding their relationship on his website." http://bit.ly/aSB9FT

AP with a brief Folks bio: "[He] is a fixture in the state's rough-and-tumble politics and has worked for Sanford and Haley, an accountant and three-term legislator in a tight race for the GOP nomination with Congressman Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and state Attorney General Henry McMaster. Folks was Sanford's spokesman in his 2002 campaign and when he took office. Folks left in 2005 and not long after pleaded guilty to a criminal domestic charge involving his fiance. He is a political consultant and runs FITSNews.com, a conservative site that features occasionally insightful commentary, thinly sourced stories of state political intrigue and photos of women in bikinis. Haley hired him in 2007 to write speeches and news releases. Folks said that's when the vaguely described 'physical relationship' with Haley took place. He offered no proof and refused to give details." http://huff.to/b8NYx5

Check out Nikki Haley's new campaign ad, now with 100% more "dontcha knows": http://bit.ly/a8DlGS

What affair? CNN reports Haley's fundraising numbers are through the roof in the wake of the allegations. "Nikki had more online donations yesterday than any other single day of the race," a top-ranking Haley aide told CNN. "The public knows an unfair personal attack when it sees one." http://bit.ly/cuEA0H

Clarence Thomas's wife unveiled her Tea Party website today. Check out her spiffy line of freedom-loving clothing for sale. From Dave Weigel: http://bit.ly/ch93VK

ANOTHER EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK: Jonathan Cohn's health care opus for TNR continues with part FOUR. Some highlights from the upcoming password-protected portion:

- On the post-Scott Brown Dem panic: One of Pelosi's first moves was an appeal for calm. Take a breath, she told her members, and don't say anything publicly that might set off a stampede. In caucus meetings, she listened--and then, ever so slowly, she started to push. "After Massachusetts, there was a big Democratic caucus, everybody was trashing health care, and you left the room thinking, 'This is just never going to happen,'" one senior Democratic aide recalls. "And then, the next caucus, she's talking about how we're going to do it. ... I thought there was no way in hell." But, if Pelosi projected confidence, she had a major worry: Back at the White House, a debate over whether to proceed with comprehensive reform was playing out one more time. Rahm Emanuel was, once again, proposing to find a quick deal on a smaller bill that would insure just kids. ... The internal debate was no secret at the White House, and, particularly in the first two weeks after Massachusetts, many administration officials assumed that health reform really was "Dead, DEAD DEAD," as one put it to me in an e-mail.

- On the bipartisan health care summit: The Baltimore session went so well he called for another, more formal summit--with Democrats and Republicans. At that event, which took place at Blair House in late February, the Republicans acquitted themselves far better. But the summit itself was less important than the time it bought. "It just froze the game," says John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress. "Everybody just decided, 'OK, let's see what happens a month from now [at the summit].' It stopped people from jumping ship." (It also gave reformers a chance to publicize news about huge premium hikes by California's WellPoint insurance.) Pelosi used the time to work on her members, while House staff--coordinating with their White House and Senate counterparts--quietly figured out how to write a bill that would fix the Senate package within the intricate rules of reconciliation. Reid worked his caucus, urging them to give Pelosi time and making sure 51 members would be ready to approve the reconciliation bill when the time came.

- How Dingell flipped Stupak: In the end, once again, it came down to abortion, because the Senate's language was less restrictive than what Stupak had won. John Dingell reminded Stupak, to whom he'd been a mentor, how important reform was. Stupak relented, accepting an executive order that merely affirmed existing bans on taxpayer-funded abortions. By this time, House leadership and the White House were working as a team. Insiders from both camps observed that Obama and Pelosi seemed to be reinforcing one another--and, together, conjuring up a political miracle.

Click here to subscribe to TNR and get the full motherlode: http://bit.ly/ciKDGc

JOE SESTAK JOB-GATE HEATS UP... SORT OF - RNC chairman Michael Steele today urged Americans to tweet Robert Gibbs with questions about whether the White House offered Joe Sestak a job in exchange for dropping out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary race. "What did the White House offer and who from the White House offered it?" Steele wrote. "White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has been dancing around the question for months, saying, 'I have not looked into this,' and 'I don't have any more information on that.' He said the conversations were not 'problematic,' but that's not his call. That will be decided by the American public once all the facts are on the table. http://bit.ly/cRERhX

Clearly doing everything he can to NOT be Majority Leader, Dick Durbin today called on Sestak to come clean on any quid pro quo that may have occured between the two parties. "At some point, I think Congressman Sestak needs to make it clear what happened," Durbin said. http://politi.co/9axpkx

Slate's John Dickerson with the contrarian portion of your well-balanced breakfast: "Offering a job in exchange for dropping out of a political race actually is illegal. But it's not that scandalous. In previous administrations and in both parties, this kind of pressure has been applied. And both parties are smart enough to never make any offers explicit. It works like religion (or the mafia, if you want a secular example): The understanding is that, if you do the right thing, your reward will come later." http://bit.ly/bDl5Rk

Awwwkward: "One week after toppling Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) in the Senate Democratic primary, Rep. Joe Sestak dropped by the Senate Democrats' regular Tuesday lunch. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has made a practice of inviting primary winners -- particularly those serving in the House -- to visit his caucus, but this one could be considered more awkward than the rest, given Sestak defeated a sitting member of the Conference. It was unclear whether Specter was in attendance." From Roll Call: http://bit.ly/9BYFlV

WEB 2.FAIL: NEW GOP WEBSITE BLUNDER - Taking a page from the Rick Sanchez playbook, the RNC has decided to forgo think tanks and instead is soliciting policy ideas from people still acclimating to the 14th Amendment. Sam Stein: "On Tuesday morning, GOP leaders unveiled a website that they pitched as a 'giant step forward' towards popularizing the Republican platform. The idea was simple. Allow viewers to suggest legislative remedies that they and others could then debate and vote upon. The top suggestions would, naturally, rise to the top. But opening up the process of debate meant inviting in uncomfortable voices. And within minutes after the unveiling the problems with the design were already transparent. A poster on the site had suggested repealing Section II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act because it was 'UNCONSTITUTIONAL, PROGRESSIVE and HITLER.' [yes, Hitler was an adjective]."

FORMER DETROIT MAYOR GOING TO JAIL - As if the Lions haven't put this city through enough. Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced today to five years in prison and will not be eligible for parole for 18 months. The sentencing judge, Wayne Circuit Judge David Groner, said Kilpatrick had hidden assets from the court. "You challenged this court's authority," Groner said. "You attempted to utilize semantics and exploit loopholes. The broader context of this issue is that your family living expenses -- including living in a million-dollar home, driving a brand new Escalade and purchasing elective surgery for your wife -- you have made it perfectly clear that it's more important to pacify your wife than comply with my orders." http://bit.ly/9c7Ldx

COMFORT FOOD

- Like the dot-com bubble, Ricky Martin's heterosexuality and Olestra, Christina Aguilera has learned that most '90s trends must end. http://huff.to/9AfjSi

- The funniest answers to school tests ever. http://huff.to/a5Z1Nu

- Walmart has cut the price of the latest iPhone in half, signaling that a new version is imminent. http://huff.to/cK5fQA

- What a happy child... a REALLY happy child. http://bit.ly/bcbeB6

- Today is "Towel Day," which celebrates "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". http://bit.ly/bcfKDQ

- That dude who vomited on an off-duty cop and his daughter at a Phillies game pleaded guilty today. http://bit.ly/bH26uJ

- A cell phone provider has cut the number 0888-888-888 after the last three owners died. http://bit.ly/c9Xp45

- Some of the weirdest sports in America. http://huff.to/ctnNdX

TWITTERAMA

@benpolitico: South Carolina GOPer emails: "Politico might be well served to establish a Columbia bureau." http://bit.ly/bp0Y8e

@courtneyatmsnbc: I apologize, @TamronHall: I did not mean to say you had Justin Bieber hair. Can we go back to being friends? http://bit.ly/a1aMO1

@jondaley: The Temptations claim they can "make it rain whenever they want it to." Guess they don't give a shit about small farms. http://bit.ly/aeYqo1

@BPGlobalPR: Funny, no one has thanked us for seasons 3-15 of Treme yet. #bpcares http://bit.ly/9CmFGA

@paulscheer: Did the Series Finale of "What's Happening?" ever definitively state what actually was happening? http://bit.ly/cCgzOh

@daveweigel: "MEEK!" also sounds like the sound Democrats make when they read Fla-Sen poll numbers. http://bit.ly/bk06HL

@HeidiMontag: My last surgery was the BEST decision of my life! Anything else anyone says(family members who are trying to make money off of me) is a lie! http://bit.ly/c9qcDx

THE TUBE

TONIGHT

Mary Landrieu, Steve Scalise and Nick Rahall discussed the oil spill on Hardball. On Ed Schultz, Debbie Stabenow weighs in on unemployment extension and Xavier Becerra talks immigration. Patrick Murphy tells Rachel Maddow about his DADT proposal. John Thune goes On The Record.

TOMORROW

Pat Toomey and Jeff Sessions are on Morning Joe. Lamar Alexander , Charles Djou and Mel Martinez are on Daily Rundown

ON TAP

6:00 pm: Elijah Cummings' (D-Md.) staffers say farewell to two of their colleagues, one of whom is continuing his commitment to public service at SIGTARP. The other is heading to the Associatin of American Railroads, where he will be viciously made fun of in ON TAP for perverting democracy. One is Martin Levine and the other is Harrison Wadsworth IV. One guess at the guy going to pitch for the railroads. [Union Pub, 201 Massachusetts Avenue NE].

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Like Joe Camel pushing cancer sticks, Glenn Nye (D-Va.) gets the youngins hooked on the fundraising circuit with his "Young Professionals Happy Hour." For just $50, you too can be like those cool lobbyists on TV and sell yourself down the river [Good Stuff Eatery, 303 Pennsylvania Ave SE].

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) hosts his annual "Taste of Paterson" reception. As for the actual taste of Paterson, NJ, we're pretty sure it's a vibrant bouquet of gabagool, shag rug and QVC porcelain doves with the slightest hint of urban decay [Erickson & Co. Townhouse - 38 Ivy Street SE].

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) and John Tanner (D-Tenn) host a reception honoring Travis Childers (D-Miss.) [National Democratic Club Townhouse, 40 Ivy Street SE].

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) hosts a fundraiser this evening. A paltry $1,000 gets you what loitering around 221 Cannon could: a hello [The Home of John Weinfurter, 209 C Street NE].

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Help Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) celebrate his 50th birthday (it was yesterday, technically) at his "Big 50th Birthday." Charlie already has enough ties, books and scented bath soaps. He doesn't have enough $750 checks, however [203 C Street SE].

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) who--yes--exists, hosts an evening fundraiser at Johnny's Half Shell [Johnny's Half Shell, 400 North Capitol Street NW #175].

6:30 pm: Like "Taste of Paterson" but good: Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) hosts his "Taste of El Paso" [24 Independence Ave SE].

6:30 pm: Paul Broun (R-Ga.), a doctor by trade, hosts a "Physicians' and Dentists' Dinner" [Art and Soul, 415 New Jersey Ave NW].

TOMORROW

8:00 am - 9:00 am: Susan Davis (D-Calif.) bucks the trend and hosts a fundraiser at her own home. $500 for what we're guessing will be the best home-cooked omelets you've ever had [The Home of Susan Davis, 613 E Street SE].

8:30 am - 10:00 am: Didn't Donna Edwards (D-Md.) see that lawmakers are hosting events in their own homes now?! Donna cops out and hosts a breakfast at the National Democratic Club Townhouse [National Democratic Club Townhouse, 40 Ivy Street SE].

8:30 am - 9:30 am: Ron Klein (D-Fla.) and Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) host a breakfast for labor interests [The Monocle Restaurant, 107 D Street NE].

8:30 am: Kevin Brady (R-Texas) continues his breakfast series with a petit dejeuner at the Capitol Hill Club [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].

6:00 pm: Like Woodstock for the "This American Life" set: The Progressive Network Happy Hour brings together some of D.C.'s most talented and social climb-y young professionals. [Probably Local 16, 1602 U Street NW].

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm: Reporters and press secretaries convene at Top of the Hill to catch up and swap gossip in an off-the-record soiree [Top of the Hill, 319 Pennsylvania Avenue SE].

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