HUFFPOST HILL - Lincoln Chafee Speaks Softly And Carries Tiny Poll Numbers

President Obama joked that he could win if he ran for president again, as if he somehow doesn't realize Donald Trump is a major, huge candidate who is not only classy, but also creaming everyone in the polls. Chris Christie told Colorado pot smokers to enjoy legal weed while they can, because when he's president he will personally travel to Colorado and tell the state's pot laws to sit down and shut up. And Scott Walker couldn't decide which Philly cheesesteak place to visit, so he went to the two most famous ones and then couldn't finish his second sandwich. Truly, there are no second acts in American lives. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, July 28th, 2015:

HOUSE TO PASS SMARTCAR-SIZED HIGHWAY BILL - Laura Barron-Lopez: "In an effort to stave off a lapse in highway funding, House Republican leaders are pushing another bill through the chamber, but this time it will pay for the nation's transportation infrastructure for three months. The Highway Trust Fund, which on average accounts for over half of the money states funnel into their roads, bridges and highways, is set to run dry on July 31, unless Congress passes legislation extending funds. After voting two weeks ago on a five-month bill, which has been ignored by the Senate, the House is trying again with a three-month extension." [HuffPost]

SENATE MERGING, WEEK IN DEWEY SAVED - Niels Lesniewski: "The Senate will accept a House bill to provide a three-month extension of highway programs, as well as preventing a veterans funding shortfall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday the Senate will take up the highway extension from the House that will run to Oct. 29. He also said the House will pass a long-term bill that will ultimately go to conference with the Senate’s long-term bill." [Roll Call]

Mike Elk has taken his Politico union drive to a new level.

SENATE APPROPRIATORS PLAYING WITH RENTAL ASSISTANCE - The Senate Appropriations Committee wants to expand a housing subsidy pilot program that helps the Chicago Housing Authority and other local agencies sit on millions in voucher funds while waitlists stagnate. Will Fischer: "The Senate bill directs HUD to increase more than eightfold the number of housing agencies participating in [the deregulatory scheme called Moving To Work], potentially extending it to 35 percent of the nation's vouchers and public housing units. The bill also would block important reforms HUD plans to make at agencies already participating in MTW…. The Senate provisions would cause as many as 85,000 fewer low-income families to receive voucher assistance, if -- as is likely -- new MTW agencies use MTW flexibility to shift voucher funds to other purposes at roughly the same rate as agencies that have entered the demonstration in recent years." [Center on Budget]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Ylan Q. Mui: "Once a staple of the American workplace, the annual raise is turning into a relic of the pre-crisis economy as companies turn to creative -- and cheaper -- ways to compensate their employees. More businesses are upping their spending on benefits such as one-time bonuses, health care and paid time off, according to recent survey data. Many are rolling out perks such as free gym membership, commuting subsidies, even pet health insurance." [WashPost]

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WELL, LINCOLN CHAFEE DOES SPEAK SOFTLY… Really softly… Sam Stein: "Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, whose candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination hasn’t yet found a pulse in public opinion polls, hasn't lost hope. In a briefing with reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, he compared himself favorably to two former presidents, suggesting that, in the long run, his campaign will take flight. The first was Jimmy Carter, whom, Chafee noted, was also considered a dark horse candidate during his presidential run in 1976. The other, perhaps less obvious, analogy Chafee drew was with Teddy Roosevelt. 'Well, Theodore Roosevelt certainly, I think I compare favorably to him saying speak softly and carry a big stick,' he said, when asked which president he admired most besides the ever-popular Abraham Lincoln. 'Sometimes people say, 'Lincoln [Chafee]’s so quiet,' but you see the courage that I exhibit when the pressure is on. And I think you can say that about me.'" [HuffPost]

RAND PAUL SAD - He rented a chainsaw and still nobody likes him. Alex Isenstadt: "Rand Paul, once seen as a top-tier contender, finds his presidential hopes fading fast as he grapples with deep fundraising and organizational problems that have left his campaign badly hobbled. Interviews with more than a dozen sources close to the Kentucky senator, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, painted a picture of an underfunded and understaffed campaign beaten down by low morale." [Politico]

TODAY'S DONALD TRUMP OUTRAGE - Oppo gears are grinding. Tim Mak: "Not only does the current frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination have a history of controversial remarks about sexual assault, but as it turns out, his ex-wife Ivana Trump once used 'rape' to describe an incident between them in 1989. She later said she felt 'violated' by the experience. Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, 'You’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.'" Reporter Harry Hurt had described the rape incident in a 1993 book that said trump was mad at Ivana he'd undergone a painful scalp reduction surgery. (Of course Michael Cohen has apologized for his rape comment, which was probably legally sound 20 years ago.) [TheDailyBeast]

Trump is a yoooooge liberal who supports universal health care and a whole lot of other liberal stuff, Judd Legum reports.

Unofficial but really good campaign logo.

SCOTT WALKER EATS SANDWICH, COMMITS LIKE 20 GAFFES - Stellar writeup by Nick Vadala on Walker's visit to two iconic Philly cheesesteak joints: "First off, it appears that when Gov. Walker showed up, he cut his way into line at Geno’s, which legitimately and understandably upset some members of the lunch crowd… Then, when Gov. Walker got to the front of the line, he ordered his steak with American cheese and no onions... Then, over at Pat’s following his second steak, Gov. Walker reportedly left his trash on a table in the outdoor seating area…" It's Philadelphia, so who cares, but that's an impressive pile of gaffes for a guy just trying to pander about sandwiches. [Philly.com]

Scott Walker having a spot of fun in Philadelphia today.

GOD, CHRIS CHRISTIE IS REALLY SOMETHING - Terrence Dopp: "Residents in U.S. states that have legalized marijuana should toke up while they still can, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said. 'If you're getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,' Christie, a Republican campaigning for the 2016 presidential nomination, said Tuesday during a town-hall meeting at the Salt Hill Pub in Newport, New Hampshire. 'As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.' [Bloomberg]

OBAMA FEELING IT - Can't imagine why. Sam Levine: "President Barack Obama joked on Tuesday that he would win a third presidential term were he allowed to run. Speaking about African rulers who stay in power for long periods of time, Obama joked about the limits on his own power. 'I actually think I'm a pretty good president. I think if I ran I could win,' Obama said during remarks at an assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 'But I can't.'" [HuffPost]

PEOPLE COOL WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD - Laura Bassett: "Nearly two-thirds of American voters said they oppose a Republican proposal to strip federal funds from Planned Parenthood after the release of two undercover 'sting' videos of the family planning provider, according to a new poll released Tuesday by the liberal Hart Research Associates." [HuffPost]


How many cat licks does it take to get to the center of a giant ball of ice?


@mims: Bitcoin ATMs are the new George Foreman Grill.

@owillis: Reminder: Jeb Bush described himself yesterday as "the joyful tortoise." Let us not collectively forget this.

@msgwenl: Always a bridesmaid, never a new world-order leader in a post-apocalyptic all-powerful matriarchy. Sigh.

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