The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

If you'd like to subscribe to The Hill's midday political newsletter, please click here:


The Hill's 12:30 Report: What you missed in the SOTU | Iran frees sailors | John KerryJohn Forbes KerryTrump's dangerous Guantánamo fixation will fuel fire for terrorists Tech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny Overnight Tech: Senate Dems want FCC chief recused from Sinclair merger | Tech rallies on Capitol Hill for DACA | Facebook beefs up lobbying ranks MORE's 'red carpet' moment | Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Pelosi blasts California Republicans for supporting tax bill MORE's Lifetime interview tonight

To view online -->

AND THAT WRAPS UP OBAMA'S LAST SOTU: President Obama laid out his vision for the future and a few policy proposals during last night's 59-minute address. Here's a primer of the speech: 

  • ECONOMY IS A-OK: Obama argued, "Anyone claiming that America's economy is in decline is peddling fiction" -- i.e. Republicans.
  • ISIS -- WE'RE COMIN' FOR YA: Obama vowed to go after ISIS, even as he criticized "over-the-top claims that this is World War III." He asked Congress for an authorization for the use of military force against the terrorist group.
  • IRAN MADE THINGS AWKWARD: Right before the speech, 10 U.S. Navy sailors were detained in Iran. Obama made no mention of this. 
  • LITTLE ON GUNS?: Obama barely mentioned guns despite recently announcing new executive actions and having an empty seat in the audience to honor gun victims. 
  • TAKE THAT, CANCER: Obama announced he's tapping Vice President Biden to spearhead his "moon shot" effort to cure cancer. 
  • TAKE THAT, DONALD: Obama took shots at Trump but not by name. "America has never given in to 'those who told us to fear the future...' "

More from The Hill's Jordan Fabian

NEW THIS MORNING -- IRAN RELEASES 10 US SAILORS: Via The Hill's Kyle Balluck, Iran said it has released 10 U.S. sailors that were detained on Tuesday "for crossing into Iranian territorial waters." Oh, and Iran wants an apology. Vice President Biden says, "No way!" Kerry thanked Iran Wednesday for its "quick and appropriate response." Back story: Right before the address, U.S. Navy boats were stopped and arrested for entering Iranian waters, causing a diplomatic crisis and overshadowing the president's State of the Union address.

Happy Wednesday! Hope you get an extra shot of espresso in your coffee drinks today for the post-SOTU sleep hangover. I'm Cate Martel with what you missed this morning -- and what's on tap for the rest of the day. Send your tips, comments, complaints and favorite SOTU moments to and follow me on Facebook.

137 HOUSE MEMBERS MISSED THE VOTE: Tweet from The Hill’s Cristina Marcos: Per @GOPLeader's office, House will do a re-vote of the Iran sanctions bill when it comes back from recess. 137 members missed today's vote. 

DONORS ASK: HAVE WE WASTED OUR MONEY? Via The Hill's Jonathan Swan, look at the relatively cheap but effective campaign Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MORE has run. Now compare that with the millions of dollars spent on behalf of Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Scott Walker and Rick Perry. Donors are now wondering if there's a better way to back a presidential candidate.

SO, RICK PERRY IS A DENTAL LOBBYIST NOW...: Via The Texas Tribune's Jim Malewitz, former governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry has a new job. He's the chief strategy officer at MCNA Dental. Oh, and this insurer was a major donor to Perry's presidential campaign.

WHATCHA SAYIN' BOUT ME?: Via The Hill's Neetzan ZimmermanDonald Trump is firing back after being targeted in his own party's response to the State of the Union. Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) jabbed at Trump, warning voters not to listen to the "angriest voices" in politics.

"No. 1, she's very weak on illegal immigration," Trump responded on "Fox and Friends" this morning. "Over the years, she's asked me for a hell of a lot of money in campaign contributions. So it's sort of interesting to hear her."

OBSERVATIONS YOU WON'T READ IN TAKEAWAY PIECES: Twitter makes events like the State of the Union even more interesting. Journalists inside the room catch moments that are fascinating but probably won't make it into the takeaways. Below are some of the live tweets from the address:

IJ Review's Benny Johnson (Kerry's response is the best moment of the night. Watch)
This is what happens when you ask John Kerry "Who are you wearing?" At the State Of The Union.

Darth, the friendly Twitter troll (Amazing work with Photoshop. This is hilarious)
"9:35....ok it is burrito time"

The Daily Beast's Tim Mak
The press are warned before the State of the Union not to take any photos of the chamber, and also not to show "any emotion" during speech 

Vocativ's Alex Koppelman
The members of Congress who hold Obama's hand for as long as possible so the cameras have to stay focused on them are my favorites.

The Hill's Scott Wong
President Obama gets big hug from Notorious RBG (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

The Hill's Sarah Ferris
Multiple people just turned and looked at Rubio after [Obama's] joke [that some are eager to get back to Iowa]. He's totally blushing.

BuzzFeed's Tarini Parti
Bipartisan applause for keeping SOTU short!

The Center for Public Integrity's Dave Levinthal
Times nations/groups noted in #SOTU: ISIL: 9 Al Qaeda: 3 Syria: 3 Iran: 2 Iraq: 2 Cuba: 2 Russia: 2 China: 1 Canada: 0 Mexico: 0 Israel: 0

The Hill's Sarah Ferris
No gun policy in this speech but Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D) -- nation's most active leader on the issue -- is sitting a seat away from FLOTUS tonight

NBC's Alex Moe
Several Dem. House members brought Muslim Americans as guest to #SOTU to protest Trump's proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from US

Tribune DC's Lisa Mascaro
Turns out Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress faces growing health care crisis in Puerto Rico The Hill's 12:30 Report Colbert mocks Trump for sipping water during speech on Asia trip MORE is only GOP presidential hopeful in the house tonight -- both Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCongress must end American support for Saudi war in Yemen Black men get longer prison sentences than white men for same crimes: study Sarah Palin on sexual harassment: 'People know I'm probably packing' so they 'don't mess with me' MORE & Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTexas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request Dem rep: Trump disaster aid request is 'how you let America down again' Moore endorsements disappear from campaign website MORE hit the campaign trail

The Atlantic's Molly Ball
Shorter Obama: "We have so much winning, I'm getting bored with winning."



A GRAPHIC THAT MAKES ME HAPPY: Politico compared the 50 states in an annual head-to-head competition of which state is most "strong" -- in SOTU speak -- using federal rankings. By now, most of you know I'm biased toward New Hampshire. And they did pretty well ;)

NH EDITORIAL: New Hampshire Union Leader Publisher Joe McQuaid (with whom Donald Trump has been in a verbal war) has an editorial today titled "NH voters, not networks, should pick winners."



The Senate is out until Tuesday.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. EST: The House votes.

12:15 p.m. EST: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has her weekly press conference.

12:00 p.m. EST: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is holding a rally in Charleston, S.C. -- the day before the debate. (!)

6:30 p.m. EST: The Society of Professional Journalists is hosting an event titled "Are the Media Being Trumped? The News on Presidential Campaigns' Political Discourse." Panelists include Politico's Scott Bland, ThinkProgress's Alice Ollstein, Bloomberg's Derek Wallbank and Washington Post's Erik Wemple. Deets: 

Today–Friday: House and Senate Republicans head to Hershey, Pa., for their annual retreat. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and comedian Jay Leno will speak. Details from The Hill's David McCabe



10 p.m. EST: Lifetime will air a special interview with Hillary Clinton to show a softer side. Topics include what she does for a girls' night out and how she handles emotions in the public arena. Clips: 

11 p.m. EST: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will join The Daily Show on Comedy Central.

Between 1 and 3 p.m. EST: Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDe Blasio headed to Iowa to speak at political fundraiser Yes, spills happen — but pipelines are still the safest way to move oil Why sexual harassment discussions include lawmakers talking about Bill Clinton’s past MORE (I-Vt.) will be on MSNBC's "Live with Thomas Roberts."

6 p.m. EST tomorrow: The "happy hour" debate for the six Republican presidential candidates who didn't qualify for the main stage. Candidates include: Carly FiorinaMike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is boycotting it after not being allowed on the main stage.

9 p.m. EST tomorrow: The sixth Republican presidential debate will air live from North Charleston, S.C. Candidates include: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris ChristieJeb Bush and John Kasich.



Today is National Gluten Free Day! And in honor, here's how to make a flourless Nutella cake with two ingredients in a 50-second video.

YESTERDAY'S MOST CLICKED: The most-clicked link in The 12:30 Report yesterday was the list of bars to watch the State of the Union. Keep up the good work, everyone.

SESAME STREET'S EDGY SIDE: Via The Washington Post's Drew Harwell, after spending 45 years on PBS, the Muppets of Sesame Street are heading to HBO. "Elmo will move into a brownstone, the Cookie Monster will team with some tablet-wielding crime-fighters, and Oscar the Grouch will pop out of not just trash cans but recycling and compost bins, too." Oh, and you have to subscribe to HBO to get it.

And to leave on a high note, here are babies eating lemons in slow motion.


To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here: