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HUFFPOST HILL - Americans Thank God They Don't Live In Boston, Also It's St. Patrick's Day

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 17/03/2016 Eliot Nelson

Lindsey Graham endorsed Ted Cruz and plans to help the Texas senator by reaching out to pro-Israel activists, touting his conservative bona fides and not murdering Ted Cruz. Democrats appear to be coalescing around a SCOTUS strategy that mostly involves locking eyes with Republicans and intoning, “It’s not your fault.” And today is St. Patrick’s Day, when 40,000 different guys named Tim vomit all over their finest thermal waffle shirts. It's also when the rest of us start to get a better understanding of Donald Trump’s political success. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, March 17th, 2016:
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That kind of day.OBAMA ACKNOWLEDGES REALITY, LIBERALS STILL BUTTHURT - As Bernie Sanders might put it, the top one percent of the top one percent of the bottom quartile of current U.S. presidents think he's going to lose. Maggie Haberman and Michael D. Shear: "In unusually candid remarks, President Obama privately told a group of Democratic donors last Friday that Senator Bernie Sanders is nearing the point where his campaign against Hillary Clinton will come to an end, and that the party must soon come together to back her. Mr. Obama acknowledged that Mrs. Clinton is perceived to have weaknesses as a candidate, and that some Democrats did not view her as authentic. But he played down the importance of authenticity, noting that President George W. Bush — whose record he ran aggressively against in 2008 — was once praised for his authenticity. Mr. Obama made the remarks after reporters had left a fund-raising event in Austin, Tex., for the Democratic National Committee. The comments were described by three people in the room for the event, all of whom were granted anonymity to describe a candid moment with the president. The comments were later confirmed by a White House official." [NYT]
BAM TO HIT THE TRAIL - I will give you D.C. abortion *the White House*. Juliet Eilperin: "Obama and his top aides have been strategizing for weeks about how they can reprise his successful 2008 and 2012 approaches to help elect a Democrat to replace him. And out of concern that a Republican president in 2017 -- either Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) -- would weaken or reverse some of his landmark policies, Obama and his surrogates have started making the case that it is essential for the GOP to be defeated in November. As a result, Obama is poised to be the most active sitting president on the campaign trail in decades. Central to the White House effort to stop Trump -- or, under a less likely scenario, one of his rivals -- is reassembling and energizing the coalition that propelled Obama into office; that means African Americans, Latinos, young voters and women. One big worry for Democrats is the level of enthusiasm among the party’s base when Obama is no longer on the ballot … Many Democrats think that if Trump is the GOP nominee, he will help the Democratic Party solve the mobilization problem. They think that Trump’s strident anti-immigrant positions and his controversial comments about women and minorities will help Democrats in the fall." [WaPo]

METRO SECTION: MERRICK EDITION - Perry Stein: "When President Obama announced Wednesday that he would nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) held her applause. Norton, the District’s non-voting representative in Congress, has long been one of the city’s chief proponents for voting representation in Congress -- and Garland ruled in a landmark case on the issue in 2000 that the residents of the city do not have the constitutional right to such representation.... But perhaps the biggest slice of D.C. history that Garland partook in was the investigation of four-term D.C. Mayor Marion Barry. As an assistant U.S. attorney in the District, he was one of the prosecutors in the case who put the city’s mayor in jail on drug charges." Huh. [WaPo]
DELANEY DOWNER - Though Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) admits that his government caused the Flint water crisis, he told Congress on Thursday morning it’s something that could happen anywhere that has lead pipes. 'The truth is, there are many communities with potentially dangerous lead problems,' Snyder said in his testimony before the House Oversight Committee. If the 'dumb and dangerous' federal regulations of lead pipes don’t change, Snyder said, 'then this tragedy will befall other American cities.' Flint’s water became poisonous in 2014 after Snyder’s government oversaw a switch to the Flint River as the city’s water source but failed to ensure its proper treatment. 'Not a day or night goes by that this tragedy doesn’t weigh on my mind ... the questions I should have asked ... the answers I should have demanded ... how I could have prevented this,' Snyder said in his testimony. For nearly 18 months, Michigan officials dismissed Flint residents’ complaints that their water looked and tasted bad, while also ignoring red flags raised by state officials. Snyder said he didn’t figure it out until October, when the state finally told Flint residents not to drink from their taps because the lead levels in Flint kids’ blood had shot up. [HuffPost]
DOUBLE DOWNER - Looks like the Senate can't get past Sen. Mike Lee's hold on its Flint-inspired water infrastructure bill. Sorry, Flint! Here's from Sen. Debbie Stabenow's sad remarks on the Senate floor: "Lead poisoning is a frightening thing. It gets in your body and never leaves. It goes from your blood to your bones. As a woman, when you get pregnant, it goes into your -- into the fetus. It is a frightening form of poisoning. If that's not a national emergency worthy of action by the Senate and the House, the Congress of this country, I don't know what is. And there are a whole lot of people that have lost faith, frankly, in government right now in Flint who are asking us to see them, to care about them, and to help."
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Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It's free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHillLINDSEY GRAHAM ENDORSES ... *THROWS UP A LITTLE BIT* ... TED CRUZ - Guessing Graham feels like the taste of cilantro to people who can't properly enjoy it. "South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham today pledged to help Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz 'in every way I can,' calling the Texas senator the best alternative to GOP front-runner Donald Trump. 'I'm going to raise money for him in the pro-Israel community,' Graham said in an interview with CNN, adding, 'If I were in one of the states coming up, in terms of voting and I didn't like Trump, I would vote for Cruz.' Graham, who mounted a failed presidential bid, said Trump is neither a Republican nor a conservative. 'I think his campaign is built on xenophobia, race baiting and religious bigotry,' he said, 'and I think Senator Cruz is a conservative who I can support.' Graham plans to host a fundraiser for Cruz Monday, according to the Texas senator’s presidential campaign." [ABC News]
GOP VOTERS REALLY NOT IN A GREAT PLACE - Rock beats scissors; scissors beat paper; RINOs beat everyone. Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Republicans may be willing to fall in line behind businessman Donald Trump if he wins the nomination, but many would rather not have to make that decision. In exit polls to date, between 43 percent and 60 percent of GOP primary voters have said they would be satisfied to have him as their nominee. While Trump’s remaining rivals aren’t any more broadly popular than he is, that’s significantly lower than the 62 percent to 85 percent of Democrats who’d be content to see former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lead their ticket. In a new HuffPost/YouGov survey, conducted prior to Tuesday’s primaries, fully half of all registered voters who belong to or lean toward the Republican Party still say they’d prefer to see someone besides Trump as the party nominee this year. Among that group of GOP voters, 79 percent believe any of Trump’s remaining rivals would make a better nominee. That adds up to nearly 40 percent of the GOP electorate that views Trump as the worst of all possible primary options." [HuffPost]
RUBIO IN AN EVEN WORSE PLACE - "On his first day back on Capitol Hill since exiting the presidential race, Marco Rubio ruled out becoming a vice presidential candidate or running for governor of his state in 2018. The senator who openly admitted he's soured on his day job said he's had no misgivings about vacating his seat to run for president...Rubio ruled out a "unity ticket" as vice president to Cruz — or to anyone else, for that matter: 'I'm not going to be anybody’s vice president.'" [Politico]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is an old Irish man to express our feelings about St. Patrick's Day.
GOP SENATORS SCARED OF WHAT'S IN THEIR HEARTS - Mike McAuliff: "Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) pointed to a basic question Thursday to prod Senate Republicans to rethink their opposition to hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland: What are they afraid of? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insists that Republicans will not hold hearings on Garland, an assertion he repeated Thursday. McConnell argues that because President Barack Obama’s term expires in January 2017, voters should get a say in the nomination by expressing their choice for the next commander in chief. Democrats have repeatedly noted that the Constitution doesn’t limit a president’s power in election years, and that the Republicans who want the next president to choose could just vote Garland down.
All of which moved King to suggest Republicans seem especially worried over what might happen to them in the normal course of evaluating a high court nominee. 'I don’t understand what people are worried about if they have hearings,' King said at a news conference with Democrats outside the Supreme Court. 'Are they afraid they’ll like him? I don’t get that. Or that somehow they’ll be hypnotized into voting a way they don’t want to vote?'" [HuffPost]

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TWITTERAMA@AlexJamesFitz: Aren't we all just seeking confirmation, really?
@aedwardslevy: Ben Carson is endorsing the guy who called him a child molester.
Lindsey Graham is endorsing the guy he kinda wants to see murdered.
@jialynnyang: If Yale wins, they play Duke. America will be so torn over these two underdogs.
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