The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: What to watch for in Trump's address | GOP leader says leaked ObamaCare plan 'no longer' viable | Bush 43 addresses racial tensions | Trump blames Obama for protests, leaks | Conway puts her feet up in the Oval Office

PEW! PEW! PEW! SHOTS FIRED FROM BERNIE: Yesterday, President Trump said that "nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated" as Republicans have been slow to unite around a replacement plan for ObamaCare. Then last night on CNN: Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in after Texas school shooting Voters Dems need aren't impressed by anti-waterboarding showboating Primary win gives resurgent left a new shot of adrenaline MORE (I-Vt.) laughed out loud when host Anderson Cooper brought up that statement. Sanders mocked Trump: "When you provide healthcare in a nation of 320 million people, yeah, it is very, very complicated."

Happy fattest of Tuesdays -- it's Mardi Gras! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to and on Facebook.

BREAKING -- THAT'S ANCIENT HISTORY: Yesterday, House conservatives came out against a leaked GOP draft ObamaCare replacement plan. Well today, a top Republican leader described the proposed legislation as "no longer even a viable draft that we're working off of." That's not ours!: "That draft is not even representative of where we are," said Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.)


THE NOT-SO STATE OF THE UNION: President Trump's speech tonight, while not an official State of the Union, will be an opportunity to outline his legislative priorities. Here's what to watch: 

  1. Will Trump stay dark or go light? His inauguration speech was dark, but White House officials say the address to Congress will present "an optimistic vision." 
  2. Will there be specifics? Trump is not a policy wonk, and the White House says he'll reaffirm his broad goals. But Trump will eventually need to take a side in specific policy debates if he wants to get his agenda passed.
  3. Will Trump challenge the congressional GOP? It's unlikely that Trump will voice his frustrations with the lawmakers he needs to pass his agenda. But they might not like what the president has to say on some issues.
  4. Will Trump break with protocol? Because...well...Trump.
  5. How will Democrats react? I'm picturing an old Airheads commercial of their faces turning red then eventually blowing up -- ;) Thoughts?

WHY RYAN SHOULD TAKE A SOUL CYCLE CLASS WHILE LISTENING TO THE ROCKY BALBOA THEME SONG: Via The Hill's Scott Wong, House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanStudents arrested protesting gun violence outside Paul Ryan’s office Parkland father calls out Trump, McConnell, Ryan after Santa Fe shooting GOP revolts multiply against retiring Ryan MORE (R-Wis.) is about to enter what could be the most critical month yet of his Speakership. How so: Republicans are grappling with intense intraparty divisions over plans to repeal and replace ObamaCare, reform the tax code and build a border wall. Why Ryan has a careful balancing act: He committed to a "bottom-up" approach that empowers committees to handle these proposals, but he's also under enormous pressure to notch some major legislative victories for Republicans -- meaning he may have to take a more hands-on role.


TALK OF THE MORNING -- TRUMP ENTERS THE FOX DEN: President Trump appeared on "Fox and Friends" this morning for a big sit-down interview. Here are some highlights:

#THANKSOBAMA: Trump blamed former President Obama for protests against him and Republican lawmakers at recent town halls, as well as for leaks from the White House.

MY BIGGEST WEAKNESS? I'M TOO HUMBLE: Trump was unable to name a time when he deserved criticism. "Can you give me an example of a time when someone was critical of you and you thought to yourself, 'I deserved that hit, I deserved that column,'" Brian Kilmeade asked. "No, probably I could never do that," Trump responded.

SECOND BIGGEST WEAKNESS? I WORK TOO HARD: "There are those that say I've done more than anybody in the first 100 days," Trump, who was sworn in on Jan. 20, said. "I've saved billions and billions of dollars ... I brought Ford back."

HOW TRUMP GRADES HIMSELF: "I think in terms of, um, effort which means something, but I give myself an A-plus, OK, effort," Trump said. "But results are more important. In terms of messaging, I would give myself a C or a C-plus."

BEING A FORMER PRESIDENT IS AN EASY SIDE TO WATCH THE ACTION FROM: Former President George W. Bush says he dislikes the racial tensions simmering in the early days of President Trump's administration. "Yes, I don't like the racism and I don't like the name-calling and I don't like people feeling alienated," he told People magazine Monday. "Nobody likes that."

WHAT TWITTER IS TALKING ABOUT -- KOMFY KELLYANNE: Social media users circulated a photo of senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway perched on a couch in the Oval Office. Some were quick to criticize Conway for putting shoes on the White House furniture. See for yourself:

MONTHLY WEATHER FORECAST -- GET READY FOR ANOTHER MONTH OF WEIRDLY WARM WEATHER: The Capital Weather Gang is predicting a March similar to February. Expect a warmer-than-normal month with not much precipitation.

YIKES -- WHY YOU MAY BE ASKED TO SHOW YOUR PAPERS GETTING OFF A DOMESTIC FLIGHT: Via The Atlantic's Garrett Epps, "Passengers on a domestic flight deplaning in New York were asked to present ID by Customs and Border Protection agents. ... After days of research, I can find no legal authority for ICE or CBP to require passengers to show identification on an entirely domestic fight. ... Anyone who follows criminal-procedure cases, however, knows that 'voluntary' in legalese does not mean what ordinary people think it means." Fascinating but scary read:



The Hill's Jordan Fabian (Hm. Interesting.)
Overheard over the White House PA from the stakeout location: "It's a good thing there's no witnesses to this!" 

The Baffler's Noah McCormack
I feel confident in saying this guy lives his best life. Photo evidence: 

Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere
Barney Frank and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenElizabeth Warren urges grads to fight for 'what is decent' in current political climate Tomi Lahren responds to genealogist's investigation of her family: 'She failed miserably' GOP, Dem lawmakers come together for McCain documentary MORE chatting it up in the Capitol just now. Photo: 

NBC's Brad Jaffy (Yikes...)
Photos from the bomb threat at the JCC in Birmingham -- they literally wheeled out kids in cribs while evacuating



The Senate is in, working on the confirmation of Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) for Interior secretary. The House is also in. 

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with members of the press.

12:45 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence participates in the Senate Republican policy lunch at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

1:30 p.m. EST: President Trump signs bills into law, including a measure to repeal "an Obama-era regulation aimed at blocking firearm purchases for some people with mental-health issues."

1:50 p.m. EST: President Trump signs executive orders to end an Obama-era water regulation and another to assist historically black colleges.

2 p.m. EST: Former Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHillicon Valley: White House eliminates top cyber post | Trump order looks to bolster agency CIOs | Facebook sees spike in violent content | Senators push NIH on tech addiction | House to get election security briefing Trump picks billionaire military contractor to lead intelligence board Top Dem questions CIA campaign to secure Haspel nomination MORE (R-Ind.) testifies at his confirmation bearing for director of national intelligence.

2 p.m. EST: First votes in the House. Their schedule today:

4 p.m. EST: Singer Rihanna receives an award for being named the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year. Details:

4 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House.

9 a.m. EST Wednesday: The Brookings Institution is holding an event on the future of the European security order. Info:



9 p.m. EST: President Trump addresses Congress. Live stream:

Keep in mind: We'll have a live blog at of key moments and observations from inside the chamber.

9 p.m. EST: The Onion will be providing live commentary on Trump's address, giving the Democratic response through split-screen graphics. This should be entertaining, whatever that means.

Midnight EST: A special edition of MSNBC’s "Hardball" with Chris Matthews breaking down Trump’s address, featuring guests including Bill Maher, Kathy Griffin, Michael Moore and Rob Reiner.

Wednesday morning: Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer: GOP efforts to identify FBI informant 'close to crossing a legal line' Patients deserve the 'right to try' How the embassy move widens the partisan divide over Israel MORE (D-N.Y.) will appear on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" from Capitol Hill.



Today is National Chocolate Soufflé Day!

JUST RELEASED -- FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT NEW ENGLAND IS SUPERIOR ;) : U.S. News and World Report released their rankings of the best states in the country using more than 60 metrics. No. 1: Massachusetts, No. 2: New Hampshire (!), No. 3: Minnesota, No. 4: North Dakota, No. 5: Washington. Full list:

GUYS, I COULD ACTUALLY BE 'ZENON: GIRL OF THE 21st CENTURY': Via The New York Times's Kenneth Chang, "SpaceX, the ambitious rocket company headed by Elon Musk, wants to send a couple of tourists around the moon and back to Earth before the end of next year. If they manage that feat, the passengers would be the first humans to venture that far into space in more than 40 years."

WHY THE INTERNET IS LOSING ITS MIND: Millions of people have been watching a live stream of April the pregnant giraffe about to give birth. But here's the problem: This has been going on since Thursday (!). Face palm. Here's the live stream if you feel like you've been missing out: I really, really hope this is a big prank and April is just overweight. 

And because you read this far, here's a baby polar bear that turned a bucket into a helmet:


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