The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump up in Rubio's home state | GOP senator chased by elephants | Biden, Lady Gaga team up for Academy Awards | 8 in 10 Hispanics don’t like Trump

RETIREMENT ALERT – FREEDOM CAUCUS LOSES A FOUNDER: Via The Hill’s Cristina Marcos, Rep. Matt SalmonMatt SalmonMcSally tells GOP colleagues she'll run for Arizona Senate GOP Senate hopeful Kelli Ward leads challengers in internal poll Paul says he still supports McConnell after endorsing anti-McConnell candidate MORE (R-Ariz.), a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, announced Thursday that he won't seek reelection. Reason: The standard answer — he wants to spend more time with his family. Election effect: His district is deeply Republican. http://bit.ly/21jyfo9

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NEW POLL – LOS HISPANOS NO QUIEREN A TRUMP: Via The Hill’s Bradford Richardson, A new poll finds that 8 out of 10 Hispanics view Trump unfavorably, including 7 out of 10 who have a “very unfavorable” impression. How they see Rubio and Cruz (both of Cuban descent): Rubio is seen favorably by an 8-point margin, 45 percent to 37 percent, while Cruz is viewed negatively, 44 percent to 39 percent. http://bit.ly/1XOCOS7

OOOOF – THIS WON'T SIT WELL WITH RUBIO: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, A new Quinnipiac survey has Donald 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 leading in Sen. 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's (R-Fla.) home state of Florida. Trump: 44 percent, Rubio: 28 percent. Rounding out the field are 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 12 percent; John Kasich, at 7 percent; and Ben Carson, at 4 percent. http://bit.ly/1Qgm5Wd

Tweet from Rubio's communications director Alex Conant: How reporters think: "There's 20 days, 15 elections, 3 debates, millions spent before Florida. BUT OMG A POLL SAYS MARCO IS LOSING TO TRUMP" http://bit.ly/1TH1Sv4 

Happy Thursday! Filing from a joint presentation by the American Enterprise Institute, Center for American Progress, and Brookings Institution on the changing demographics in the country and their effect on elections, 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. Follow along on Twitter for updates from the event — and send comments, story ideas and happy hour suggestions to cmartel@thehill.com and on Facebook

JUST RELEASED... LET THE GAMES BEGIN: Via NH1's Paul Steinhauser, Gov. Maggie Hassan's (D-N.H.) Senate campaign has released a web video blasting Republican Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteExplaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid Trump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE (N.H.) over the Supreme Court nominee. Watch: http://bit.ly/1Oxynnp

TOPIC TO WATCH FOR IN THE DEBATE TONIGHT: Via The Hill’s Naomi JagodaDonald Trump says he will decide in the coming months whether to release his tax returns. He weighed in after 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said there was likely a "bombshell" hidden in Trump's tax returns and amid growing pressure for the businessman to open up his finances. http://bit.ly/1TGXs7f

ANNOUNCED TODAY – THE DREAM TEAM: Via The Los Angeles Times’s Christi ParsonsVice President Biden and Lady Gaga are teaming up during Sunday’s Academy Awards for a special presentation aiming at combating sexual violence. http://lat.ms/1Lf7wls

NEW POLL – DON’T COUNT KASICH OUT YET: GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump has 22 percent support in Pennsylvania, (unchanged since October), followed Marco Rubio, with 16 percent (up by 5!), John Kasich, with 15 percent (up by 12 points!), Ted Cruz, at 12 percent, and Ben Carson, with 6 percent. http://bit.ly/24rnSO7

GOP ESTABLISHMENT: OH, YUP. THIS COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN: Via The Hill’s Cristina Marcos and Jordain Carney, Republicans in Washington are coming to grips with the increasing likelihood that Donald Trump will be the party’s presidential nominee. So naturally, a few House members have joined the bandwagon. No senators have endorsed Trump yet, but Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat House passes concealed carry gun bill Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week MORE (R-Ala.) is confident his colleagues would come around. http://bit.ly/21tGIC0

THE HILL TO EXPAND AS DIGITAL TRAFFIC GROWS: “Few [news organizations] have lapped up [the political season] with more gusto than The Hill,” writes USA Today’s Roger Yu.

– Jimmy Finkelstein, the New York-based businessman who owns The Hill, told USA Today he plans to accelerate the momentum by boosting staffing by 25 percent this year. Video production also is a priority, and he has thought about expanding it beyond politics and policy. And its print product, he speculates, will likely be gone in five years. Read the Q&A with Finkelstein here: http://usat.ly/1T9vCRy 

IF YOU WATCH ONE VIDEO TODAY: Here’s an interview with a 15-year-old Swedish girl who explains why she joined ISIS and why she regrets it. http://bit.ly/1mY8Z47

AN INTERESTING TAKE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE: FiveThirtyEight’s David Wasserman has a fascinating piece about how Marco Rubio could ultimately win more delegates than Donald Trump in the race, even with fewer overall primary votes. It’s worth reading. http://53eig.ht/21tyhGI

GUYS, IT’S OFFICIALLY THE FUTURE: Via Time magazine’s Anand Shah and Theodore Waddelow, here’s how close we are to driverless cars and what it will still take to make them a success. http://ti.me/1RpP7l9

OBAMA’S “SCOOP” ON LINKEDIN: President Obama posted about his first job as an ice cream scooper on LinkedIn. “Scooping ice cream is tougher than it looks. Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can be brutal on the wrists.” http://bit.ly/1OxfUHL

ANNOUNCED TODAY – PLANNED PARENTHOOD PUMPS IN THE CASH: Planned Parenthood is launching an ad buy worth at least $1 million in support of Democratic presidential front-runner 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 MOREHow so: The ads will target Michigan, Texas and Virginia ahead of their March primary elections. Watch: http://bit.ly/1WLn1lL  

 

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Donald Trump
Signing a recent tax return- isn't this ridiculous? http://bit.ly/20Xd6uF

Politico’s Gabe Debenedetti
With Reid's endorsement, just four Senate Dems are left not endorsing Clinton: Menendez, Merkley, Tester, Warren. http://bit.ly/1Q3Dgc1

ABC News
WATCH: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Sasse: RNC help for Roy Moore 'doesn't make any sense' Sasse calls RNC decision to resume support for Moore 'bad' and 'sad' MORE's convoy charged by elephants during trip about poaching: http://bit.ly/1QHB5hT 

 

ON TAP:

1 p.m. EST: Howard University holds a Black History Month discussion with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.

1:30 p.m. EST: The McCain Institute holds a discussion on human trafficking. Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE (D-N.D.) will be speaking.

1:45 p.m. EST: The Senate will vote on a resolution honoring the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. EST: The House votes. 

3 p.m. EST: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will discuss his latest book, “The Court and the World:  American Law and the New Global Realities” at the Newseum with NBC justice correspondent Pete WilliamsDetails: http://bit.ly/1WJr8ik 

5:35 p.m. EST: President Obama delivers a statement from the State Department.

6 p.m. EST: Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (I-Vt.) participates in the MSNBC college tour with anchor Chris Matthews in Chicago.

6:30 p.m. EST: The International Spy Museum holds a book discussion on "United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists."

6:30 p.m. EST: The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between Albania and the U.S. Albania Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati will speak. Details: http://bit.ly/1oCASj7 

8 p.m. EST: The Washington Press Club holds its 72nd annual congressional dinner. Participants include Sens. 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.), and Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBarbara Boxer recounts harassment on Capitol Hill: ‘The entire audience started laughing’ 100 years of the Blue Slip courtesy Four more lawmakers say they’ve been sexually harassed by colleagues in Congress MORE (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante and retired Associated Press special correspondent Linda Deutsch.

8:30 a.m. EST tomorrow: The Bureau of Economic Analysis releases its second estimate of the U.S.’s fourth-quarter GDP. 

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

8:30 p.m. EST: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ben Carson participate in the CNN, Telemundo and Salem Radio Republican presidential debate in Houston. CNN's Wolf Blitzer will moderate.

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF ...

Today is National Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day and National Clam Chowder Day!

“FULLER HOUSE” TO BE RELEASED: Netflix’s follow-up to “Full House” will premier at 3:01 a.m. EST tomorrow morning, midnight Pacific Time. http://lat.ms/1XOAlH8

TRUMP LOVES THE POORLY EDUCATED: No, actually. That’s a Trump quote. Anyway, Jimmy Kimmel had a ball with that line. See for yourself: http://bit.ly/1oCGFoS

A FEW OF US HAD TO RUIN IT FOR EVERYONE, HUH? To celebrate gaining their 1 millionth Twitter follower, the Montreal Canadiens are creating a Twitter promo that automatically tweets a photo of a jersey featuring new followers’ names. Now apply this to a few immature people who then (obviously) created obscene Twitter handles ... Head smack. http://cbsprt.co/1S3pYyT

And with that, here’s a paralyzed bunny that got a homemade wheelchair. It’s the talk of Facebook right now – for good reason. It’s adorable. http://bit.ly/1mZtai5

 

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