The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: 2015 was the hottest year on record | New planet in the solar system | Graham campaigns with Jeb today | Winter is coming

BREAKING -- 2015 WAS THE HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD: ViaThe Hill's Devin Henry, last year was the hottest recorded on Earth since officials began tracking temperatures in 1880. New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show average temperatures over land and ocean were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, clearing the previous record by 0.29 degrees Fahrenheit. 

WHAT WHAT WHAT?!: Via The Washington Post's Joel Achenbach and Rachel Feltman, new evidence shows a ninth planet lurking at the edge of the solar system. Called "Planet Nine," this giant icy planet is far beyond the orbit of Pluto. Well, time to start rewriting the "My Very Educated Mother..." planet acronym phrase? Anyway, I'm still salty about Pluto's demotion, so they better not be kidding around with this.

A (VERY REAL) BAD NEWS BEARS SCENARIO FOR HILLARY: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE has a very real chance of winning Iowa and New Hampshire -- and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE is already strategizing on how to handle that scenario. Clinton is trying to lock down the support of black voters as a "firewall" for South Carolina and beyond, but in a year when all conventional wisdom has been turned on its head, that firewall might not be a sure thing.

JUST RELEASED -- TRUMP LEADS GOP FIELD 2 TO 1: Via The Hill's Jonathan EasleyDonald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE holds a more than two-to-one advantage over the next closest contender in a new national poll. Trump leads with 36 percent (down from 41 percent in December!), followed by Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDebbie Wasserman Schultz marks 10 years as breast cancer survivor Foreign agent registration is no magical shield against Russian propaganda Let Trump be Trump and he'll sail through 2020 MORE at 17 percent, Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE at 11 percent, Ben Carson at 8 percent and Jeb Bush at 5 percent.

Note: While the lead is big, it's a national poll. State polls better highlight actual support in each caucus or primary.

It's Wednesday and to borrow from "Game of Thrones," WINTER IS COMING. The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Watch for the D.C. area, with 12–20 inches expected. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of what you missed this morning -- and what's on tap for the rest of the day. Send your tips, story ideas, complaints and your personal snow predictions to and @CateMartel

NEW THIS A.M. -- "FAST AND FURIOUS" RIFLE FOUND AT DRUG LORD'S LAIR: Via The Hill's Jesse Byrnes, a .50-caliber rifle recovered from the hideout of drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán was reportedly lost by the U.S. government's "Fast and Furios" gun-smuggling operation.

COME ON IN, THE WATER'S FINE!: Via The Hill's Jonathan Swan, Republican donors are quietly coming around to the idea that Donald Trump could be their party's nominee. This is a major shift.

A BURIED LEDE -- SCOTT BROWN MAY ENDORSE: In the final paragraph of The Wall Street Journal's Janet Hook report about Ted Cruz's campaign event in Rye, N.H., yesterday, Hook writes that former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) might endorse an unnamed presidential candidate next week.

A TRIBUTE TO BRADEN JOPLIN: Via The Hill's Rebecca Savransky, a 25-year-old volunteer on Ben Carson's campaign was killed in a car crash yesterday. Here are tributes from the presidential candidates:

BEFORE WE HUMILIATE EVERYONE -- HERE'S HOW POLLS TRICK PEOPLE: Yesterday, a survey was released saying 10 percent of college grads think Judge Judy is a Supreme Court justice. OY VEY. But wait, The Huffington Post's Samantha Guff explains how polls trick people into saying dumb things -- like that Judge Judy is on SCOTUS. Hint: It's the same misleading way that another poll asked whether the United States should bomb Agrabah without any context. Agrabah is a fictional city from "Aladdin."

READY, SET... LOBBY!: Fresh off the cooling period between working in Congress and lobbying, former Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Jim MoranJim MoranDems face close polls in must-win Virginia Billionaire Trump donor hires lobbyists to help vets Lawmakers: Chaffetz has a point on housing stipend MORE (D-Va.) and Dave Camp (R-Mich.) are among the lawmakers who are free to lobby.

PALIN QUOTES YOU ASK? YOU BETCHA!: In honor of Sarah Palin endorsing Donald Trump, here are the top 12 Sarah Palin quotes from Nick Wing of The Huffington Post.

WELL, THAT'S RUDE: The front page of the New York Daily News features New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- on a baby's body. It's titled, "Crybaby." Photo: 

A WEIRD RELATIONSHIP: Via NPR's David Folkenflik, Univision, the parent company to the nation's leading Spanish-language broadcast channel, has acquired a controlling stake in the satirical news site "The Onion."

IN NEW HAMPSHIRE NEWS: Via WMUR, the Supreme Court has declined to review a petition from New Hampshire's only death row inmate.



The Boston Globe's Matt Viser
John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE's former running mate is now endorsing the man who said he's not a war hero. Welcome to 2016, everyone.

Mother Jones's Ben Dreyfuss
The funniest part of this Palin-Trump interview is when she is just spouting word salad and Trump looks like "WTF?"

National Journal's Ron Fournier 
President Donald Trump (just getting used to it)

Donald Trump tweeted back: Wow, very nice!

Ron Fournier replied: My tweet was a warning, sir, not a compliment.



The House is out of session this week. 

1:30 p.m. EST: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) addresses the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

1:30 p.m. EST: Jeb Bush is holding a meet-and-greet with Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration We are running out of time to protect Dreamers US trade deficit rises on record imports from China MORE (R-S.C.)

2:30 p.m. EST: The Senate will vote to open debate on the refugee bill.

4:30 p.m. EST: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) holds a rally in Hollis, N.H.

6 p.m. EST: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) speaks in Derry, N.H.

7 p.m. EST: Jeb Bush speaks at the Keene Country Club in Keene, N.H.

8:30 a.m. EST tomorrow: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks at the Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security forum at UNH-Manchester.



Today is National Cheese Lovers Day! Get at me. It's also #PenguinAwarenessDay.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The Annual National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place in Washington, D.C., from March 20 to April 17. Prepare. For. All. The. Tourists. 

TAKE A FRY, ADD CHOCOLATE: Because McDonalds French fries are too healthy (?), they're adding chocolate to them! It's called the "McChoco Potato." Yep, this is a thing. Here are the photos to prove it: 

BEST OF LATE-NIGHT TV: Hillary Clinton rattled off polls during a recent interview and then said, "I don't pay any attention to [polls]." Seth Myers on "Late Night" enjoyed this comment saying, "You can't say you don't pay attention to polls right after citing a poll. That's like saying, 'I'm not a gambler, but taking New England -3.5 plus the over is a fantastic parlay.' " Watch: 


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