HUFFPOST HILL - Rubio Campaign Devises Crafty Strategy To Still Not Win

Ted Cruz put a hold on emergency funds for Flint, wondering why the residents can’t just drink children’s tears like everyone else. Donald Trump misspelled “Oklahoma,” but the poorly educated voters he loves might see through such obvious posturing. And Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are squabbling over a Supreme Court vacancy, though the Constitution is clear that whichever side wags the most pocket-sized copies of the Constitution gets its way. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, February 25th, 2016:

LIKE HUFFPOST HILL? THEN PRE-ORDER ELIOT'S BOOK (TELL YOUR FRIENDS!) - Do you like things? Then you'll absolutely love Eliot's forthcoming book, "The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide To Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government." As the title suggests, the book is a (cheeky) introductory guide to politics and Washington, featuring all that neurotic and existentially adrift HuffPost Hill humor you've come to know and love and get depressed over! The book includes entries on how bills are passed, how lawmakers endure fundraisers and even tips for identifying "strategists." [Amazon]

RUBIO PREPPING FOR CONTESTED CONVENTION - MJ Lee: "Marco Rubio's campaign is preparing for a contested Republican Convention as one option to take the GOP nomination away from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, his campaign manager told top donors at a closed-door meeting in Manhattan Wednesday night. As Rubio scrambles for support ahead of Super Tuesday, Terry Sullivan, Rubio's top adviser, used a Power Point presentation and took questions from attendees to lay out the two courses that Rubio's quest for the GOP nomination could take in the coming months, two people present told CNN, speaking anonymously to share details from a private meeting. The first showed the number of states and delegates Rubio would need to clinch the nomination outright before July's convention. The second was the scenario in which none of the candidates gain the simple majority delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the convention, unleashing a messy and potentially unpredictable battle where multiple candidates are vying for the title." [CNN]

DEBATE TONIGHT! From the Womp Womp department, via Alex Isenstadt: "Rubio has yet to aggressively engage Trump -- and those briefed on his strategy say he’s unlikely to do so on Thursday night. The Florida senator has concluded that going after Trump would accomplish little because the businessman’s supporters are deeply committed and unlikely to swing Rubio’s way. Inciting a confrontation with Trump onstage would create drama but wouldn’t help the senator gain voters, something he badly needs as he looks for his first primary win. Instead, Rubio’s team has decided his best bet is to focus fire on Cruz." [Politico]

Great. And Chris Christie won't even be there to say, "What is this, the Senate floor?"

BUT IS IT GOOD FOR THE CRUZ? Flint water crisis edition - Laura Barron-Lopez: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and at least one other senator have apparently put a hold on bipartisan legislation to help cities like Flint, Michigan, upgrade their water infrastructure. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters through a grin on Thursday that 'a presidential candidate, not to name names,' is holding up the legislation, which was fast-tracked Wednesday using a procedural tool in the Senate. A single senator has the ability to stop that process. A Democratic aide said Cruz is one of the senators holding up the legislation. A spokesman for Cruz said his office is reviewing the legislation, which is part of a larger deal that includes an unrelated energy bill." [HuffPost]

REPUBLICANS UNVEIL OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT - Just kidding, via Jeffrey Young: "It took President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress 14 months to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010. In about five times as many months, congressional Republicans have produced the following: a set of warmed-over talking points that fits on less than two printed pages. Yes, it's true. More than seven years into Obama's presidency -- an era during which health care reform has been one of the defining issues in domestic politics -- a group of GOP lawmakers hand-picked by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) released a "mission statement" on Thursday. It is 251 words long." [HuffPost]

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GOP SENATORS REALLY DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT - Igor Bobic: "Republican senators are finding themselves in the hot seat for promising to block President Barack Obama's potential nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. As Democrats tried to raise the pressure on their recalcitrant colleagues on Thursday by accusing them of abandoning their responsibility to the Constitution, Republicans on Capitol Hill were ducking and dodging reporters' questions on what's shaping up to be one of the biggest battles in Washington. Several senators ran away from The Huffington Post this week as we tried to ask if they thought a Supreme Court nominee should get a hearing. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said she had to "go vote," even though she could have talked as she walked to an elevator down the hall. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) didn't even let HuffPost get the full question out before saying, 'I don't do hallway interviews.' Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said he had to 'run to a meeting' and disappeared into an elevator. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) listened to the question and, with a blank look, said, 'I'm not doing any interviews.'" [HuffPost]

And then this: "The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to pass a resolution honoring the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, even as dozens of them are refusing to honor his legacy by filling his empty seat. All 100 senators cosponsored the resolution, which was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) -- the same person who says he won't even meet with whoever President Barack Obama picks to fill Scalia's vacancy, never mind vote on that nominee. Nearly all Republicans are saying it's not fair to let Obama nominate Scalia's replacement since he's in his last year in office, so they won't hold any hearings or votes this year." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

MEANWHILE, DEMOCRATS ARE HAPPY TO DISCUSS THE SUPREME COURT - Michael McAuliff: "Standing in front of the Supreme Court, Democrats tried to raise the pressure on Republicans Thursday to at least consider a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Accusing Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of unprecedented obstruction, a phalanx of Democrats repeatedly told the GOP, 'Do your job,' printing that slogan on their press conference lectern to make sure everyone got the point…. 'Even though under the Constitution, they took a solemn oath, a solemn oath before God, to uphold the Constitution, they said in this case we won't uphold the Constitution,' roared Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), holding up his pocket copy of the nation's founding document for emphasis." [HuffPost]

Today in news.

OAAAAAAAAAAAKLAHOMA WHERE THE WINDS GO SW--- WAIT, WHAT? - "Donald Trump's campaign's spelling of "Oklahoma" is not OK.
A Facebook photo advertising his Friday rally in Oklahoma City had this message: 'Stand with Trump Oaklahoma City, OK 02.26.16.' This isn’t the first time the Trump campaign has botched a spelling in Oklahoma, which votes on Super Tuesday. Last month, media badges for his rally in Tulsa spelled them 'Tusla.'" [Politico]

Looking back on Bernie's socialist roots: "What struck me at the time, though, was how politically shrewd it was for Sanders to portray himself as just beyond the fringe. In the 1980s, just like today, America was brimming over with earnest liberal Democratic mayors of boutique college towns like Burlington. But being a socialist mayor — that was the Bernie badge of distinction. Sanders the Socialist was partly the creation of an Associated Press night editor trying to spruce up a 1981 election story on the unlikely victory of an independent mayoral candidate in Burlington. “Are you really a socialist?” the man from the AP asked in a telephone interview. When Sanders said, “yes” without hesitation, the ballad of Bernie was born." [Roll Call's Walter Shapiro]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a cat babysitting puppies.

WAR ON GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! - You're either with us, or you're against us. Christine Hauser: "The Archdiocese of St. Louis is encouraging Roman Catholics to scale back ties with the Girl Scouts, advising church members to think twice about membership and even about buying their cookies. The warnings came in a letter from Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and in a statement on the archdiocese’s website about how the church is distancing itself from the Girl Scouts, which it says supports transgender rights, homosexuality and other stances at odds with Catholic values. In the letter addressed to priests, followers, and scout leaders, Archbishop Carlson announced two new measures. He instructed pastors to discuss alternatives for the Girl Scout troops that meet on parish property. He also disbanded the archdiocese’s Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts, which sponsored Catholic programs for the scouts, and formed a new entity called the Catholic Committee for Girls Formation that will include alternative youth leadership programs. About 515,000 Catholics live in the archdiocese, which includes the city of St. Louis and 10 surrounding counties." [NYT]


- "Spawlight," exposing the awfulness that is Boston.

- Japanese TV show breaks Ikea's unbreakable chair.

- Here are some seals.


@igorbobic: anyone know when the entrance polls will be available for tonight’s debate

@JamilSmith: “Look, black voter, here’s that one clip of Clinton/Sanders that will spark your outrage and sway your vote!”

“Yeah, I saw it in the ‘90s.”

@pourmecoffee: If you let a reality TV show host invade and occupy it, maybe your party isn't the best choice to defend America.

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