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: Trump hits 'Crooked Hillary' over North Korea | The two senators who could decide ObamaCare repeal | Jimmy Kimmel slams Cassidy over bill | What to know about the GOP bill | Trump says he's 'decided' on Iran deal | Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico | Amazon's baby registry fail

THEY HAVE THE POW-UH: The fate of the ObamaCare repeal all comes down to two senators -- John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game Arizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiKavanaugh accuser set to testify Thursday Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Murkowski says she’ll wait until Ford testifies before making decision on Kavanaugh MORE (R-Alaska) -- as Republicans try to approve a new ObamaCare repeal bill in the next 11 days. Don't forget: They were two of the three senators who tanked the last ObamaCare repeal bill.

If, like everyone else, you're confused about what's in this bill: Here are the five things to know about the latest ObamaCare repeal bill:

The odds it'll pass: Much higher than before. It's picked up a lot of momentum in recent days. What changed: "The deal President Trump struck with Democrats earlier this month to fund hurricane relief and postpone a battle over federal spending and the debt limit until December. Republicans at the time panned Trump for cutting GOP leaders out of the loop, but now his decision looks like a master stroke as it has created time on the schedule to take a second shot at health-care reform."

Kimmel vs. Cassidy: Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel accused Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care: Opioids package nears finish line | Measure to help drug companies draws ire | Maryland ObamaCare rates to drop Overnight Health Care: HHS diverts funds to pay for detaining migrant children | Health officials defend transfers | Lawmakers consider easing drug company costs in opioids deal Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens MORE (R-La.) of lying about his intentions on health care. This morning, Cassidy shot back. "I'm sorry he does not understand," Cassidy said on CNN's "New Day," referring to Kimmel. He added that the bill protects "those with pre-existing conditions."

It's Wednesday -- Rosh Hashanah starts at sunset today! 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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.


THIS FEELS LIKE A REALITY SHOW TEASER -- DID HE SAY YES? DID HE SAY NO? FIND OUT ON THE NEXT 'REAL WORLD: WEST WING!': This morning, President Trump said he made a decision on whether to pull the U.S. out on the Iran nuclear deal. The catch: He won't say what he decided. Pressed about his decision, the president responded to reporters, "I'll let you know what the decision is." 

UGH, STAY SAFE PUERTO RICO: Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico around 6 a.m. this morning. It's currently a Category 4 storm. Latest updates:

Power outages: The director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority predicts that some parts of Puerto Rico will be without power for four to six months.

Damage: Via CNN, the executive director of Regional Security Service estimates that 70 percent of the buildings in Dominica have been damaged. "There's no electricity. There's no communication." The director called the damage "horrific." "A lot of the bridges have been destroyed."

Winds: Gusts of 177 mph have been reported.

Rain: Five to seven inches of rain an hour.

HURRICANE JOSE -- latest path: While the storm is off the coast, it could still impact the East Coast today.

LATEST IN MEXICO — EARTHQUAKE DEATH TOLL OVER 200: Via CNN, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit southeast of Mexico City yesterday. More than 200 people have been killed. What to know:

GET OUT THOSE HOOP EARRINGS, PASTEL-LENSE SUNGLASSES AND LAYERED T-SHIRTS BECAUSE ... IT'S 2004!: Former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryRubio wants DOJ to find out if Kerry broke law by meeting with Iranians Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation Pompeo doubles down on criticism of Kerry: The Iran deal failed, 'let it go' MORE downplayed rumors that he could run for president in 2020. But he definitely didn't rule it out. "I don't have any plans right now, honestly," Kerry said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."  "That's not a denial," Joe Scarborough said. "Well, I'm not thinking about it," Kerry tried to continue over the other hosts. "Very funny. You're a troublemaker," he added to Scarborough.

IT WOULD BE LIKE THE PATRIOTS STILL ARGUING WITH THE FALCONS OVER LAST YEAR'S SUPER BOWL: President Trump is taking aim at Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump Fox News poll shows Dems with edge ahead of midterms Poll: Democrats in position to retake the House MORE, blaming her time as secretary of State for North Korea's nuclear advances. Why: She ripped Trump's maiden speech at the United Nations yesterday. Trump's tweet: "After allowing North Korea to research and build Nukes while Secretary of State (Bill C also), Crooked Hillary now criticizes," Trump tweeted this morning, referring to Clinton's husband, former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonSexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not MORE, as well.

WELL THAT'S AWFULLY PERSONAL: Via The Verge, an Amazon email glitch is informing people that a gift from their baby registry has been purchased. This includes people who don't have registries and aren't even pregnant.

Reactions: Some of the reactions are pretty funny, like Dustin B. Schwartz, "Amazon email: 'A gift from your baby registry is on its way.' Umm. This would be a helluva way to let me know, Atalie. :-P"

AND IN OTHER 'BAD DAY FOR AMAZON' NEWS: Amazon said it will review its website after a British news report found that the company's algorithms have been recommending combinations of items that can be used to make bombs.

INTERESTING READ -- SO WE SHOULD ALL GET A GLASS OF GOVERNMENT-FUNDED WINE IS WHAT I'M READING?: The Hill's Reid Wilson writes how fury and anger are fueling the modern political climate in the United States. "Last November, voters faced a choice between the two least-popular major-party presidential nominees ever to appear on a ballot ... Congress is at a standstill. The two major political parties are both dealing with identity crises."



CBC News Alerts (That sounds kinda nice, tbqh.)
Six NASA-backed research crew, cooped up in Mars-like habitat on a remote Hawaii volcano since January, emerge after 8 months of isolation. Photo:

Lol, The Atlantic's David Sims added: "who wants to tell them"

Politico's Burgess Everett
Just heard a senator tell another senator: "have a nice weekend"
It's Tuesday.



The House and Senate are out for Rosh Hashanah. They'll be back next week.

This morning: President Trump met with the king of Jordan and the president of the Palestinian Authority.

1:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with African leaders.

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the prime minister of the United Kingdom. Vice President Pence joins.

4:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the president of Egypt. Vice President Pence joins.

7 p.m. EDT September 26: The National Press Club's 5th annual Spelling Bee with journalists vs. politicians. Details:

This fall: Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaNational security leaders: Trump's Iran strategy could spark war The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE will host an event for Phil Murphy, the Democrat running for governor of New Jersey. (h/t The Hill's Amie Parnes)



Today is National String Cheese Day. It's also National Punch Day.

GUYS, THIS IS SO CRINGEWORTHY BUT I CAN'T STOP WATCHING: On Friday, President Trump spoke at Andrews Air Force Base. First lady Melania Trump introduced him and it turned painfully awkward. Why: Just watch.

TRENDING -- THE BEST PLACE TO VISIT IN EUROPE: Florence, Italy, was voted the best city in Europe in this year's Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards. Nothing new: Florence has taken the top spot 10 of the past 11 years. Full list of awards:

I'M SO GLAD THIS STORY IS STILL AROUND: A few years ago, The New York Times published a recipe for brownies. One woman responded with what has been pegged, "the greatest internet comment of all time." Anyway, The Cut's Gabriella Paiella interviewed that woman and got more of the story.

The recipe comment that started it all: "This has been my go-to brownie recipe for 30 years. In the '80s, an acquaintance in Germany to whom I brought some of the brownies, and who considered herself a great cook, asked for the recipe but was never able to get it to work. She kept asking me what she was doing wrong and I was never able to solve her problem. Eventually, she moved to the U.S. and stole my husband!"

And because you read this far, here's an impressive father-daughter choreographed dance to "Aladdin":


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