During his historic press conference with President Obama, Raul Castro denied that Cuba has any political prisoners, suggesting that Corey Lewandowski has been doing some freelance comms work. Cable news bookers are suffering a shortage of talking heads, which is a bit like Washington suffering a shortage of guys named Zach who work for defense contractors and split their free time between kickball leagues and shopping at West Elm with their girlfriend. And Mitt Romney is making robocalls for Ted Cruz, because nothing gets to rabidly populist Trump supporters better than a multi-millionaire who fired a bunch of people. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, March 21, 2016:
OBAMA IN CUBA - Didn't say hi to Tupac, though. Matt Spetalnick and Frank Jack Daniel: "U.S. President Barack Obama pushed Cuba to improve its record on human rights and sparred with President Raul Castro during a historic visit to the Communist-ruled island on Monday, while Castro hit back by decrying U.S. 'double standards.' Human rights remained an impediment to strengthening ties with Cuba despite the rapprochement reached by the two leaders in December 2014, Obama said, adding a “full flowering” of the relationship could happen only with progress on the issue. 'In the absence of that, I think it will continue to be a very powerful irritant,' Obama said at a sometimes tense joint news conference that was broadcast live on Cuban state television. Castro appeared at times uncomfortable and showed flashes of anger as he made the rare step of taking questions from journalists...Asked by a journalist about Cuba’s detention of political dissidents, Castro demanded to see a list of such detainees, implying that Cuba held none. 'What political prisoners? Give me a name, or the names, so that when this meeting is over they can give me a list with the prisoners. And if there are these political prisoners they will be free before nightfall,' he said, glaring at the reporter." [Reuters]
THERE IS NOT A RED TEAPOT OR A BLUE TEAPOT; ONLY A LITTLE TEAPOT, SHORT AND STOUT
HILLARY CLINTON COMMENTS ON TRUMP'S HANDS - David Stableford: "Hillary Clinton did not mention Donald Trump during her keynote address at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday. But her words were sharply pointed at the Republican frontrunner. 'I know that all of you understand what’s at stake in this election,' Clinton said. 'We need steady hands, not a president who says he is neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who knows what on Wednesday because everything’s negotiable. Well, my friends, Israel’s security is nonnegotiable.' Last month, Trump suggested he was 'neutral' in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so that he could negotiate with both parties." [Yahoo]
Trump's classy response: "She doesn't know me, she doesn't know my policies, she doesn't know what I'm going to be doing," he said, later adding, "I have far steadier hands. I have the steadiest hands."
WESTERN PRIMARIES TOMORROW, ROMNEY STILL TRYING TO HELP - Jessica Hopper: "Mitt Romney took his willingness to support Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz one step further by recording robocalls for the Texas senator. In the calls, first reported by The Daily Caller, Romney encourages voters in Arizona and Utah to support Cruz. A call targeting Arizona voters was released today and another call will begin ringing in Utah homes tomorrow. Both Utah and Arizona will hold nominating contests tomorrow. 'I’m calling to ask you to join me in supporting Ted Cruz for president this Tuesday in the Utah Republican caucuses. This is the time for Republicans across the spectrum to unite behind Ted,' Romney says in the call targeting Utah voters. 'And at this point, a vote for John Kasich is a vote for Donald Trump.' The calls follow a Facebook post released late last week in which Romney revealed he would be supporting Cruz in the Utah caucuses. Romney, the former Republican presidential nominee, has been a prominent face in the efforts by Republicans to stop Trump." [ABC News]
TRUMP MEETS WITH GLORIOUSLY RANDOM MIX OF REPUBLICANS - Also got a ton of earned media for his Old Post Office Building project. Scott Wong: "GOP White House hopeful Donald Trump huddled with Washington, D.C., Republicans in the shadow of the Capitol on Monday, an attempt by the political newcomer to appear more presidential as he zeroes in on his party’s nomination...Not a single member of House or Senate GOP leadership attended the two-hour confab, however. Most attendees, like Hunter, were backbencher lawmakers who have already endorsed Trump. They include GOP Reps. Tom Marino (Pa.), Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Chris Collins (R-N.Y.). Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) were on hand as well. Sessions has endorsed the real estate mogul, while Cotton not backed a candidate. Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), now president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, also attended, as did former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), a failed presidential candidate in 2012, and his wife, Callista." [The Hill]
Corey Lewandowski, whadda guy - McKay Coppins and Rosie Gray: "As Donald Trump faces questions about his campaign manager’s physical altercation with a protester over the weekend, BuzzFeed News has learned new details about the hard-charging operative’s behavior that raise questions about his judgment and the environment inside the Trump campaign. In recent interviews with more than half a dozen sources who have worked with Trump’s top aide, Corey Lewandowski, the strategist was accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question; physically confronting an aide for a rival campaign in a post-debate spin room; publicly shouting threats over the phone at a restaurant; making sexual comments about female journalists; and calling up women in the campaign press corps late at night to make unwanted romantic advances." [BuzzFeed]
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TRUMP SINGLES OUT THE CLASSIEST, MOST WARLIKE WHITE MEN TO HELP HIM NOT START WARS - Mearsheimerians, but with big hands. Philip Rucker and Robert Costa: "Donald Trump revealed part of his foreign policy advisory team and outlined an unabashedly non-interventionist approach to world affairs during a wide-ranging meeting Monday with The Washington Post's editorial board...The Republican presidential front-runner, for the first time, listed five of the people who are part of a team, chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), counseling him on foreign affairs and helping to shape his policies. They are Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz...Kellogg...worked as chief operating officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad following the invasion of Iraq...Schmitz served as inspector general at the Defense Department during the early years of President George W. Bush’s administration and has worked for Blackwater Worldwide… Papadopoulos directs an international energy center at the London Center of International Law Practice. He previously advised the presidential campaign of Ben Carson." [WaPo]
Donald Trump in 1992 wearing Zubaz, because sure. (via Buffalo News)
The Warsaw Pact, now there, THERE was a classy military alliance: "Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. 'We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore,' Trump said, adding later, 'NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money.'" [Ibid.]
CABLE NEWS SUFFERING PUNDIT SHORTAGE - Now we really don't know what to believe anymore. Hadas Gold: "[Wolf Blitzer] seemed taken aback last Wednesday when a woman he was interviewing opined that 'riots aren’t necessarily a bad thing…' The speaker was radio host Scottie Nell Hughes, and CNN labeled her simply as 'Donald Trump supporter' … Hughes, who first appeared on the national stage defending gun rights after the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, is part of a zestful bunch of fresh voices appearing on cable news. They were elevated to A-list status for the simple reason that they favor the candidate whom most Republican talking heads abhor. ... these days, with Trump steamrolling to the Republican nomination while so many party regulars oppose him, the cable networks have little choice but to look outside their comfort zone for speakers: They have almost endless hours of airtime to fill, and most of their regular conservative commentators -- the ones kept on a retainer to be available at odd hours -- are arrayed against the billionaire businessman." [Politico]
DeMINT DeNOT CARE - "The leader of Washington’s most influential conservative think tank met with Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Monday, sources confirmed. Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint was one of a handful of attendees at a Monday afternoon meeting between Trump, a number of members of Congress, and other influential beltway Republicans. DeMint was spotted Monday morning entering the Capitol Hill offices of powerhouse D.C. law firm Jones Day, where the meeting took place. A Heritage source with knowledge of DeMint’s schedule confirmed that he attended the meeting. 'Meeting with candidates about conservative policy is something Heritage has done for a long time,' the source said. 'DeMint and Heritage staff have met with numerous candidates in the last year, including current and former 2016 presidential candidates,' the source said. “This is nothing more than a continuation of those meetings and we will continue to share our ideas with campaigns interested in conservative solutions." [Free Beacon]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a dog and a kitten.
TRUMP'S LAWYERS NOT AS ENTHUSIASTIC AS TRUMP ABOUT SUING YOU - David Lat: "The law firm of Jones Day is notoriously tight-lipped ... There’s a certain irony, then, in this very discreet firm serving as campaign counsel to the most loudmouthed candidate of them all: Donald J. Trump, the billionaire real estate developer turned reality television star turned Republican presidential frontrunner…[wrote one JD attorney]: 'The firm’s (seemingly gleeful) representation of Donald Trump is cringeworthy and embarrassing. Many people in the firm are upset by it and concerned about the negative implications that representing a sexist, racist demagogue could have on our client base. It also sends a negative message to the firm’s female associates when JD takes the (albeit indirect) side of a man actively bullying Megyn Kelly, who worked at this firm for nine years.'" [Above the Law]
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@JFKucinich: O/h at Georgetown: "I care* too much to be in journalism, I'm a human first." #ouch #wearepeopletoo #mostly
@pourmecoffee: Trump would be a terrible Avenger, constantly saying his powers were better. "I have a much stronger hammer. Everyone says I"m invincible."
@berniethoughts: I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING TOLD WHAT IS OR ISN'T FOOD
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