Hillary Clinton endured a meeting that stretched more than 8 hours unable to Gchat snarky comments to colleagues -- as sure a sign as any of her fitness to lead. Donald Trump reacted to Ben Carson's Iowa surge by insulting corn growers; we eagerly await his exposition on why "Bull Durham" is Kevin Costner's best baseball movie. And House Republicans continued to rally around Paul Ryan's hyper-conditional speakership bid, though the conference remains mum on transforming the Ohio Clock Corridor into a Crossfit facility. This is HUFFPOST HILL for October 22, 2015:
HILLARY HAS PLEASANT, 10-HOUR MEETING - Amanda Terkel: "Hillary Clinton was the star on Capitol Hill Thursday, with TV crews camped outside her house all morning in anticipation of seeing her walk out her door, step into her car and drive across town to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi in an appearance expected to last more than eight hours. But the GOP-led committee and its members were on the hot seat just as much as Clinton, forced to be on their best behavior so that they wouldn't overstep and hand the former secretary of state a political victory. Again. [Panel Chair Trey] Gowdy tried to argue why, although there have been seven other investigations into Benghazi, his is still necessary...Gowdy focused his aggressive questioning of Clinton on why she took foreign policy advice from Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime friend and adviser who did not work for the State Department but frequently emailed his thoughts to her...As expected, Democrats used much of their time to either attack the committee for being partisan or to ask Clinton softball questions, allowing her more time to give answers and explain her point of view." [HuffPost]
YOOOOOGE RT - Rebecca Kaplan: "Judging from his Twitter feed, Donald Trump isn't too happy with Iowa Republicans after they picked neurosurgeon Ben Carson as their top choice for president in a recent poll. After the results of a new Quinnipiac poll were released - showing Carson in the lead, with 28 percent, compared to 20 percent for Trump among likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants - Trump retweeted someone who seemed to be suggesting that Ben Carson's rise could be attributed to brain damage caused by genetically modified corn: '@mygreenhippo #BenCarson is now leading in the #polls in #Iowa. Too much #Monsanto in the #corn creates issues in the brain? #Trump#GOP'" [CBS News]
@realDonaldTrump: The young intern who accidentally did a Retweet apologizes.
If you need to get caught up on the Benghazi committee, this is a good rundown.
PEOPLE FORGOED SLEEP, URINATION FOR THIS - Sam Stein and Jennifer Bendery: "Long before Clinton sat down for what could be 10 hours of testimony in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building, people like Arango lined up in hopes to getting one of a few hundred seats in the room. It was first-come-first-serve for the public, which created a filter for who would be in attendance. Standing for hours in the long hall on the first floor were, unequivocally, some of the most politically obsessed, borderline crazed, people in the nation. They were there to witness what they were sure would be history. ... Neither was worried about being stuck in a potentially 10-hour hearing, or about losing their seats if they left for food or a stretch. They said they wouldn't leave even if they had to go to the bathroom ... badly. 'We have a plan,' Corley said. 'We're keeping our secrets.'" [HuffPost]
HuffPost's Scott Conroy spent time with Chris Christie for the latest edition of '16 And President.
GOP DIVIDED ON KEEPING PEOPLE IN PRISON FOREVER - Seung Min Kim: "Sweeping changes to the nation’s federal sentencing laws cleared one major hurdle Thursday, as a powerful Senate panel easily passed legislation that would overhaul mandatory minimum sentences and implement other key changes to the U.S. criminal justice system. On a 15-5 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent the legislation to the Senate floor, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will be lobbied by influential senators from both parties to take up the bill. ...But the landmark criminal justice reform bill has a high-profile opponent in the form of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a 2016 Republican presidential contender. He said he believes the bill goes beyond the realm of non-violent drug offenders to affect violent criminals, and that under the measure’s retroactive provisions, just over 7,000 federal prisoners could be released. The legislation doesn’t automatically reduce mandatory minimum sentences; rather it allows qualifying inmates to apply to have their cases revisited by a judge, who then would have discretion to hand down a reduced sentence. Without changes to those provisions, Cruz said he 'cannot go along with legislation that could result in more violent criminals being released in the streets."[Politico]
@seungminkim: .@JohnCornyn, chief R backer of criminal justice bill, is thinking first quarter of next year for floor action
DAVE DOWNER - Read Dave Jamieson's gripping account of the death of a temporary worker at an Amazon warehouse, and what it says about the future of low-wage work in the United States over at HuffPost Highline.
FCC: STOP GOUGING PRISONERS, FAMILIES - Dana Liebelson: "The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to cap the rates and fees that companies can charge for phone service in prisons and jails. Right now, providers can bill inmates and their families hundreds of dollars per month to make phone calls, tacking on exorbitant fees for transactions, account maintenance and other services. Inmates who can't afford these costs don't have other options, because providers monopolize service. ...The proposal has proven deeply unpopular with prison phone providers, several of whom threatened legal action against the FCC prior to the vote. Securus, whose earnings grew from $87 million in 2013 to $114.6 million last year, said that the preliminary proposal could be a 'business-ending event.' The companies fear they will collect less per call, but will still have to pay commissions to prison operators." [HuffPost]
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AMERICAN KILLED DURING ISIS HOSTAGE RESCUE - Jim Miklaszewski, Richard Engel and Alastair Jamieson: "A young American commando was killed during a mission to free dozens of hostages who faced imminent execution by ISIS in Iraq, U.S. officials said Thursday -- the U.S. first service member to die in combat operations against the militant group. U.S. special operations forces rescued 70 hostages after receiving intelligence that there was about to be a mass execution, U.S. officials told NBC News. 'We commend and congratulate the brave individuals who participated in this successful operation that saved many lives, despite the casualty,' Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, said in a statement. There were varied reports on who the rescued hostages were: Kurdish fighters, Iraqi fighters, or a mix of those and other groups. ... A senior U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the raid said the commando was killed by direct fire from ISIS. He is the first American killed during combat operations since the United States began airstrikes and training Iraqi military forces more than a year ago." [NBC News]
STUDIOUS REPUBLICANS ENDORSE PAUL RYAN - Robert Costa and Mike DeBonis: "House Republicans continued to coalesce behind Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as their next speaker Thursday as two influential Republican blocs threw him their support as was widely expected. The moderate Tuesday Group, which has 55 members, backed Ryan by acclamation in a Thursday morning session, while the conservative Republican Study Committee, which has more than 170 members, announced its endorsement in an afternoon statement. 'I am confident that he is the right person to lead the House going forward,' RSC Chairman Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) said in a statement that followed what he called an 'overwhelming' vote of the group’s steering committee. ...'We all support Paul Ryan,' Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) said, exiting the Tuesday Group meeting. 'We don’t need to vote.' ... There are still signs the hard right could complicate matters for Ryan. The Freedom Caucus stopped short of granting Ryan a formal endorsement, which would have required an 80 percent vote of the roughly 40-member group. But Ryan said Wednesday that the 'supermajority' of support was 'a positive step toward a unified Republican team,' rather than a sign of political rift or disagreement." [WashPost]
SHOW ME THE RACISTS - Marina Fang reports on Ben Carson, who is definitely not campaigning right now: "Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Wednesday denied that voter identification laws and other voter suppression laws are racist, calling such restrictions necessary because voting should be 'done by the appropriate people.' 'I’ve made it my personal project, every time I visit a country outside the U.S., to ask what do they do to ensure the integrity of voting? There’s not one single country anywhere -- first world, second world, it doesn’t matter -- that doesn’t have official requirements for voting,' Carson told The Topeka Capital-Journal. 'My question to those people who say we’re racist because we apply those standards: Are all the other countries of the world racist?' he asked. 'I don’t think so. Voting is an important thing. Obviously, you want to make sure that it’s done by the appropriate people.'" [HuffPost]
ONE FORMER RON PAUL STAFFER CONVICTED, ANOTHER ACQUITTED - Grant Rodgers: "A federal jury on Thursday convicted a former Ron Paul presidential staffer but acquitted his campaign chair on charges of scheming to secretly pay an Iowa senator to switch his endorsement. Former deputy campaign manager Dimitri Kesari was found guilty of causing a false record, but not guilty of obstruction of justice. The jury could not reach a verdict on three other charges: conspiracy, causing false campaign expenditure reports and engaging in a false statement schemes. Jurors acquitted former Paul campaign chair Jesse Benton on a single count of lying to FBI agents. The two had been charged in a purported scheme to pay a former Iowa state senator $73,000 for his endorsement. The prosecutors' case alleged that the two former top operatives on Paul's 2012 campaign orchestrated a scheme to secretly pay former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson to switch his loyalty from the Michele Bachmann campaign to Paul ahead of the Iowa Republican caucus." [Des Moines Register]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are a bunch of ducklings.
REID: I DON'T LIKE RYAN THAT MUCH - Jordain Carney: "Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) defended his support for Rep. Paul Ryan to be the next House Speaker but said he will still oppose plans from the Wisconsin Republican to cut or privatize social programs. 'I say to my allies, rest assured, I'll continue to oppose Congressman Ryan's plans to privatize Social Security, to privatize Medicare, and if not to privatize Social Security certainly to slash it the way he talks about,' he said Thursday. The Democratic leader added the clarification after he endorsed Ryan for Speaker earlier this week. He suggested that Ryan, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is the best option to replace outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and called himself a 'Paul Ryan fan.' ... Ryan has the votes needed to succeed Boehner, though he's drawn some criticism over reportedly making the ability to spend weekends at home a pre-condition to running for the chamber's top job. Reid on Thursday took a jab at the request, saying that he hopes Ryan 'will not take the weekends off until we do something to solve the debt crisis and to fund the government.'" [The Hill]
JEB! IS REALLY GOOD AT MAKING EVERYONE UNCOMFORTABLE - Nick Visser reports on the Republican candidate's predilections: "Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush had an awkward response Wednesday during a Q&A at the Libre Forum in Las Vegas when he was asked to name his favorite superhero. The answer: Batman. The addendum no one asked for: Bush has eyes for 'Supergirl' star Melissa Benoist. 'I saw that "Supergirl" is on TV,' Bush, the former Florida governor, said at the event, sponsored by the Koch brothers-backed Libre Initiative. 'I saw it when I was working out this morning. There's an ad promoting "Supergirl." She looked kind of -- she looked pretty hot.' The Guardian’s Sabrina Siddiqui noted Bush quipped that his response would 'make news,' probably because it's a supremely odd moment that adds to his streak of shirt-unbuttoning and awkward high-fives." [HuffPost]
SENATORS TORN ON HELPING PUERTO RICO - Alan Gomez: "A Senate hearing Thursday examining the economic collapse of Puerto Rico turned into a debate over who to protect: Puerto Rican families struggling to get by or American investors possibly facing big losses. Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla told the committee his island desperately needs access to Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection to survive. Since he took office three years ago, his administration has cut expenses 20% and increased revenues by 20%, he said. But those actions have not been enough to tackle the massive debt he inherited. Padilla said his administration will run out of cash by next month and be forced to decide between making debt payments to creditors or providing basic services like health care, police, fire and education. Some members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources questioned why Americans should accept bankruptcy proceedings that will ensure a smaller return on Puerto Rican bonds they purchased simply because the island has been unable to control its economy. ... President Obama asked Congress on Wednesday to grant the U.S. commonwealth the same bankruptcy protections as U.S. municipalities. ... 'You cannot treat the people of Puerto Rico like second-class citizens and then profess to be surprised when we don't have a first-class economy,' [Non-voting Puerto Rico Rep. Pedro] Pierluisi said." [USA Today]
GOP CANDIDATE GOES AFTER RELIGION - It's okay though, it wasn't one of the ones they like. Alan Rappeport: "Donald J. Trump angered Hispanics when he referred to immigrants as criminals and rapists during the kickoff of his campaign in June. This week, he has put American Muslims on edge by suggesting that he would be open to shutting down mosques as president. Asked on Fox Business Network if the United States should take action to close certain mosques as part of the fight against the Islamic State, as has happened in Britain, Mr. Trump said, 'I would do that, absolutely.' Mr. Trump then said that he was not sure about the legality of closing mosques, but that it was certainly something that should be looked at. 'It depends if the mosque is, you know, loaded for bear,' he said. ... For his part, Mr. Trump has said he is concerned about religious extremists, not Muslims generally. 'I love the Muslims,' he said in September. 'I think they’re great people.'" [NYT]
- Here's the most popular Halloween costume in each state
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- The names of celebrities, according to this Buzzfeed staffer's mom
: @GovMikeHuckabee: .@HillaryClinton coming clean to #BenghaziCommittee seeming abt as likely as me getting a Che Guevara tattoo on small of my back! #Benghazi
@petridishes: GOWDY: this Mr Groupon seems to have an AWFUL LOT of access
@DavidNather: Somewhere, Kate McKinnon is practicing looking bored.
@timothypmurphy: We Asked an Actual Witch-Hunter How He Would Have Run the Benghazi Hearing
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