In a p-YUGE-ilistic development, a Donald Trump supporter punched a protester. Reporters are learning that campaign staff can do far worse things than not hand out WiFi passwords. And the final GOP debate before Tuesday's primaries is tonight. It will probably be the last chance for establishment types to positively grade their candidates' performances on Twitter and lie to themselves that everything will be okay. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, March 10th, 2016:
A big hunky slice of eh.
TRUMP SUPPORTERS GETTING WAYYYY TOO STREET JUSTICE-Y - Their patron saint is basically drunk Dog the Bounty Hunter. Laura Barron-Lopez: "Video surfaced Thursday of a Donald Trump supporter punching a protester in the face at the Republican presidential front-runner's rally in North Carolina on Wednesday. The footage shows a white man in a cowboy hat walk down the row to the aisle where protesters are leaving and sucker-punch an African-American man, later identified as Rakeem Jones. WRAL reports that the suspect, John McGraw, 78, was charged with assault and battery on Thursday … Inside Edition tracked down McGraw after the rally and asked him if he liked the rally. 'You bet I liked it. Knocking the hell out of that big mouth,' McGraw said. Asked why he punched the protester, McGraw told Inside Edition, 'Number one, we don’t know if he’s ISIS.' 'We don’t know who he is, but we know he’s not acting like an American,' McGraw went on. 'The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.'" [HuffPost]
Newt Gingrich tells HuffPost's Candidate Confessional podcast how Mitt Romney's Super PAC destroyed the Gingrich campaign in Florida.
TRUMP MAKING NICE WITH MEGADONORS - Most vile person in politics? Meet most vile development in campaign finance. Ken Vogel: "The GOP’s biggest donors are mostly united in their distaste for the party’s presidential front-runner Donald Trump, but they increasingly are coming to grips with the prospect of his nomination, and many are now signaling they would support him in a general election. The shift, detailed in interviews with a dozen major donors and their representatives, is less an indication that the party’s donor class is warming to Trump, and more a reflection of their disdain for Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. Their willingness to rally in opposition to Clinton should tamp down concerns on the right that the lingering unease with Trump would mean a free pass for Clinton from big-money attacks in a prospective general election matchup with Trump. 'If it were Trump vs. Hillary, I would have to give to Trump. And I would kind of hold my nose doing it, but I would have to do it,” said Minnesota billionaire Stan Hubbard, adding that he’d prefer that the GOP nominate either Ohio Gov. John Kasich or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz." [Politico]
Stop it, bro: Paul Ryan sent a cease and desist letter to the people behind the Draft Ryan movement.
MEET GARY JOHNSON, POSSIBLE TRUMP SPOILER - Eliot spoke with the Libertarian presidential candidate: "Johnson wasn't just presenting himself as someone who can appeal to a conservative electorate cast adrift by Donald Trump, but as someone who can be the Libertarian Donald Trump by matching the front-runner's boisterous, media-savvy brand of politics. The greatest free market president. A really fabulous disciple of the Austrian School. Just the best. Ayn Rand. John Galt. It's gonna be beautiful. In case his point wasn’t clear enough, consider the Libertarian debate where he called Trump a 'pussy.'...he'll have to polish his presentation a bit. During a discussion about the late Antonin Scalia's Supreme Court seat, Johnson -- who believes the Senate should consider President Barack Obama's nominee -- conceded he couldn't name the remaining eight sitting Supreme Court justices. Asked about his plan to reform Social Security, he suggested three proposals, but could only articulate two: raising the retirement age and creating personal investment accounts. 'Gosh there's one other one, what is it?' Johnson mused before trailing off. The final proposal -- means testing for Social Security recipients -- came to Johnson several minutes later." [HuffPost]
DELANEY DOWNER - Poor people who want welfare in West Virginia may soon be subject to drug testing. The state legislature this week approved a measure that would screen welfare applicants for drug use and then require urine samples from anyone whose screening results raised suspicions. (This kind of screening process typically happens via a written questionnaire, although the West Virginia bill doesn't specify the point.) If Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) signs the bill into law, West Virginia will join 13 other states that have passed welfare drug testing bills in the past five years,according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Our concentration has been more on helping people get the services they need if they're addicted to drugs," Tomblin said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. "At the same time, we'll just look at this bill when it comes down here." [HuffPost]
DOUBLE DOWNER It's unclear what's going on with the Flint water infrastructure bill, other than nothing. John Cornyn said it could get a vote next week, but Bill Nelson seems pretty committed to his hold. Sorry, Flint. Sad!
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OBAMA APPROVALS HIT THREE-YEAR HIGH - Will undoubtedly provide the lame duck president the political capital he needs with the Republican Congress to name some post offices. Natalie Jackson: "President Barack Obama is enjoying some of the highest ratings of his second term in office. A new Gallup poll out on Thursday shows that 50 percent of Americans surveyed approve of the job he's doing in office -- his highest rating in that poll since early 2013. The higher Gallup ratings are reflected in HuffPost Pollster's average of Obama's job approval ratings. The Pollster average shows that 48.4 percent of Americans approve of the job he’s doing in office, while 48.2 percent give him negative ratings. The margin is narrow -- that’s only 0.2 percent net positive -- but it’s the first time Obama’s job approval ratings have reached positive territory in the HuffPost Pollster average since his re-election honeymoon period ended in the spring of 2013. The HuffPost Pollster chart average is configured to not give any one poll much weight, meaning that the average changes slowly." [HuffPost]
SENATE ACTUALLY DOES SOMETHING ABOUT OPIOIDS Laura Barron-Lopez, Ryan Grim and Jason Cherkis:"After an uncertain and at times rancorous debate, the U.S. Senate on Thursday did the unthinkable: passed a major piece of legislation by a nearly unanimous vote. The sweeping bill, targeted at the opioid epidemic, aims to bend drug policy away from punishment and toward a public health approach. Along the way, the bill's authors beat back an effort to inject hundreds of millions of dollars into enforcement-centered approaches...The bill -- approved in a 94-1 vote -- known as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015, was sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a product of nearly three years of work across the aisle...this new bill shifts the emphasis of the treatment industry away from what's known as "abstinence" and toward medication-assisted treatment. The latter strategy is proven to be a more effective means of helping those with a substance abuse problem, but is stigmatized by a dogmatic treatment community that often opposes any intervention by prescription medications. " [HuffPost]
SENATE MIGHT ACTUALLY CONFIRM A GUY … AND A GAY GUY, AT THAT! But maybe we should wait until 2017 so the American people can vote on our gay secretaries of the Army. Jen Bendery: "A Senate committee voted unanimously Thursday to confirm Eric Fanning as the next Secretary of the Army. His nomination now heads to the full Senate, where, if he's confirmed, he'll become the first openly gay person to hold the top military post. Fanning, who was nominated last September, has served in several senior positions at the Defense Department, and had been filling in as acting Army Secretary since November, when then-Secretary John McHugh stepped down. He pulled out of his acting role in January, though, as some on the Senate Armed Services Committee didn't like that he was serving in that capacity while waiting to be confirmed. It's a sign of progress that his nomination is moving at all given that he's been waiting for six months for a vote, and given Republicans' overall blockade of President Barack Obama's nominees. But he's still got another hurdle to clear: Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who has placed a 'hold' on his nomination to protest the president's plans to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay." [HuffPost]
OH, JEB! - We never thought of Jeb! as a "force people to get a haircut" kind of guy. Sophie Weiner: "Devon remembered a night when she had to break it to the ex-Republican presidential candidate that she couldn’t get him a milkshake. “The pastry chefs are busy making dessert for everyone, so there are rules about when you can order milkshakes,” she said. 'One night, Jeb Bush is there, and he flags me down and asks for a milkshake. I give him my spiel about why you can’t get a milkshake before 8 pm. He’s like, ‘No, I really want a milkshake.’ I’m like, ‘I’m sorry, sir, I can’t get you one.’ So he asks to speak to my manager.” Like his presidential campaign, Bush’s milkshake confrontation would end in defeat. ;So I find a manager and tell him what’s going on. He goes back over to the table and tells him basically the same thing I did. Jeb Bush gets kind of angry. He says something like, ‘Do you know who I am?!’ My manager bends down and says, ‘Yes, sir, I know who you are. But the milkshake rule still applies to you.’'" [Gawker]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a dog chasing a dolphin.
- Lawnmower dog just doin' chores.
- Move over, Pizza Rat. Kleenex rat is the new hotness.
- Weezer's very weird new video.
@dceiver: Uber, but for marshaling the forces of darkness to eternally hound Corey Lewandowski until he dies weeping and alone
@mcalderone: The Clinton rope mess, led by advance staffers, seemed to get more attention than GOP frontrunner’s top aide accused of grabbing reporter.
@DanaSchwartzzz: It's incredible that there's a head of state named "Barack" but equally amazing there's one named "Justin"
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