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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Trump's big speech | Left, right react | Zinke confirmed as Interior chief | Trump to remove Iraq from travel ban list | Drudge hopes for Trump vs. Oprah in 2020 | Peak cherry blossom forecast
BREAKING -- WE GOT THE INTERIOR COVERED NOW: The Senate voted this morning to confirm Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to be President Trump's secretary of Interior. Vote count: The final vote tally was 68-31, with 16 Democrats joining all Republicans to support Zinke. He needed a simple majority to be approved. The new job: The former Navy SEAL will now lead the 70,000-employee department with a wide range of responsibilities, from overseeing wide swaths of federal land to supervising offshore drilling and managing the government's relationships with American Indian tribes. Yeah, no, it doesn't mean decorating the White House. http://bit.ly/2m8GnIS
It's Wednesday. We're under a severe thunderstorm watch in D.C. -- and there's already been a thunderstorm today in New York City -- so naturally I'm freaking out with excitement. What a way to start March! http://bit.ly/2lr55QR 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 email@example.com, @CateMartel and on Facebook.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS -- DON'T LET IT FOOL YOU, THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM A STATE OF THE UNION!: President Trump's address to a joint session of Congress last night was the biggest night of his presidency so far.
First, let's set the scene for you:
The social media joke everyone is making: The C-SPAN feed briefly showed President Trump through a rain-streaked window of his car practicing his address. Lots of people enjoyed this: http://bit.ly/2lc1quY
Ryan's line of the night: Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanRepublicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown Trump: 'No doubt' we'll make a deal on healthcare Overnight Finance: WH wants to slash billions | Border wall funding likely on hold | Wells Fargo to pay 0M over unauthorized accounts | Dems debate revamping consumer board MORE (R-Wis.) was overheard on the C-SPAN feed saying, "Look, Mulvaney even got a haircut!" Yes, he's referring to Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. http://bit.ly/2lq5wdU
Best thing you'll watch all day: ...because we all need light, funny things to cling to these days: IJ Review's Benny Johnson asked lawmakers "Who are you wearing?!" as they processed through the media line in the Capitol. Their reactions are PRICELESS. Watch: http://bit.ly/2lTCo24
Spotted on the House floor -- Joe Scarborough?: "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough was spotted in the House chamber, not with media, but sitting next to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). Don't forget: Scarborough was a GOP congressman from Florida from 1995 to 2001. http://bit.ly/2mdhBb7
Spotted in the guest balcony -- Sean Hannity?: "[Fox News host] Sean Hannity watching address in guest balcony. NOT IN PRESS BALCONY WITH REAL REPORTERS." (From congressional reporter Matt Laslo) http://bit.ly/2mEvah3
Also spotted in the visitor section -- err, Cabinet purgatory: "Ben Carson and Rick Perry (both have yet to be confirmed) are sitting together in the visitor section of the gallery." http://bit.ly/2mdlzQW
Spotted in the chamber -- Oh heeey, Alan GraysonAlan GraysonThe Hill's 12:30 Report Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog Could bipartisanship rise with Trump government? MORE: "Former Fla. Rep. Alan Grayson -- clad in a stars and stripes tie -- has a seat on the floor of the chamber." (From BuzzFeed's Alexis Levinson) http://bit.ly/2lWoWZU
Peak inside the White House before the speech: http://bit.ly/2mKryt4
Why there was a section of the chamber wearing all white: Dozens of female Democrats were seen wearing white in honor of the women's suffrage movement. It really stood out. Photo: http://bit.ly/2m7N51F
21st century, man: In the chamber before Trump's speech, "Half the House members are up socializing and chatting with colleagues. The other half have faces buried in their phones." http://bit.ly/2mdi50T
Yikes!: Check out how the extraction team at the Capitol suited up. They are not messing around: http://bit.ly/2mKjV5Q
No. Sudden. Movement.: "House gallery staff warned a Breitbart reporter not to make any gestures from press balcony" http://bit.ly/2lyMGCv
This is like tenting for Duke basketball tickets!: "Prime real estate goes to Louie Gohmert and Billy Long, who had camped out in their aisle seats for several hours leading up to the speech." (From IJ Review's Joe Perticone) http://bit.ly/2mKw9vb
How the speech went:
The gist of Trump's reception: Good! Media on the left and right give Trump's speech thumbs up. http://bit.ly/2lcfbtx
Five takeaways from The Hill's Niall Stanage:
1. Trump's speech was conventional -- to the GOP's relief
2. Out with the grim 'carnage' talk, in with the sunny 'new chapter'
3. Trump is an American nationalist -- love it or hate it
4. He wants healthcare utopia
5. He got a better fact-checker
Good read breaking down each: http://bit.ly/2lWG1TD
Full text of the speech: http://bit.ly/2lbW9na
The moment we'll remember for years: Liberal commentator Van Jones praised President Trump for honoring the widow of a Navy SEAL killed during a raid in Yemen. "He became president of the United States in that moment, period. There are a lot of people who have a lot of reason to be frustrated with him, to be fearful of him, to be mad of him, but that was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics period," Jones said on CNN. Watch: http://bit.ly/2mKt5za
Standing ovations say a lot: Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Overnight Cybersecurity: First GOP lawmaker calls for Nunes to recuse himself | DHS misses cyber strategy deadline | Dems push for fix to cellphone security flaw Lawmakers call for pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities MORE (D-W.Va.) was seen joining Republicans in giving Trump a standing ovation to the "make America great again" line. http://bit.ly/2m7MgpK
IN OTHER NEWS:
NEW -- DETAILS ON TRUMP'S IMMIGRATION ORDER, TAKE II: Via AP's Matthew Lee and Vivian Salama, "President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpManafort-linked accounts on Cyprus probed: report Republican failure Trump's environmental order jeopardizes our national security MORE's new immigration order will remove Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens face a temporary U.S. travel ban, U.S. officials said Tuesday, citing the latest draft in circulation. ... Citizens of six other predominantly Muslim countries -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- will remain on the travel ban list ... those bans are effective for 90 days." http://apne.ws/2lyRqIb
PICK ME. CHOOSE ME. LOVE ME.: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Senate Republicans were expected to pick off red-state Democrats to support their legislative agenda, but two months into 2017, centrist Democrats say they aren't being wooed at all. Who and what: While President Trump has invited centrists such as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jon TesterJon TesterNRA launches M Supreme Court ad Can Trump rebound after failure on healthcare bill? Path to 60 narrows for Trump pick MORE (D-Mont.) and Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillTop Dem: Trump's wall could cost B NRA launches M Supreme Court ad McCaskill investigating opioid producers MORE (D-Mo.) to the White House, Senate Republican leaders have made almost no effort to court them on the president's top priorities: healthcare and tax reform. http://bit.ly/2mEJrKC
TIME TO GET OUT THE CELEBRATORY AX: Via The Hill's Devin Henry, President Trump has launched the opening salvo in his assault on the Environmental Protection Agency. Cuts, cuts, cuts: Trump is tearing into the EPA's budget by a reported 24 percent, which if approved by Congress would slash the agency's $8.1 billion budget to George H.W. Bush-era levels and reduce the EPA's workforce by one-fifth. http://bit.ly/2mt4tyP
FUELING SPECULATION -- THE MAINE GUY IS IN TOWN: Via The Portland Press Herald, Maine Gov. Paul LePage has spent much of his time in the past two weeks in Washington, D.C., not revealing his daily schedule. Hmm: "LePage's activities have fueled some conjecture that Maine's governor could be in the running for an appointment to Trump's administration, but [his communications director] declined to comment on that Tuesday, saying only that Maine's newspapers, a frequent target of the governor's criticism, would be the last to know if LePage is offered a post." Fueling the speculation: "But [comms director Peter Steele] did little to dispel any rumors. 'The president is pretty impressed with all the accomplishments the governor has made over the last six years that the Maine media have ignored,' he said." http://bit.ly/2lU537a
TRUMP VS. OPRAH VS. KANYE, MAYBE WITH CURT SCHILLING AS SENATOR — THE WORLD MAY EXPLODE: Matt Drudge, founder of the conservative Drudge Report, issued a rare tweet Wednesday imploring talk-show star Oprah Winfrey to launch a presidential bid against President Trump in 2020 after she indicated she had reconsidered whether she could be president. "Trump vs. Oprah would be the most epic race in American history. MAKE THIS HAPPEN...," Drudge tweeted. http://bit.ly/2lX5Vqe
Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn
Spotted on the Hill: former Sen. Kent Conrad. It really is 2009 again. http://bit.ly/2mKP3Cq
Morning Consult’s Eli Yokley (Lol)
I wish there was a gif of Sen. John ThuneJohn ThuneMcConnell: ObamaCare 'status quo' will stay in place moving forward This week: GOP picks up the pieces after healthcare defeat Lawmakers want infrastructure funded by offshore tax reform MORE trotting to the Senate subway because it'd look something like this http://bit.ly/2lyWeNP
The House and Senate are in.
Today: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral Biden: I regret not being president Biden: 'McCain is right: Need select committee' for Russia MORE receives the Bipartisan Policy Center's Congressional Patriot Award. http://bit.ly/2lz8HRq
Today–tomorrow: No Labels is hosting 800 citizens from all 50 states on Capitol Hill to demand that both parties in Congress "Fix Not Fight."
12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with House and Senate leadership.
2 p.m. EST: First votes in the House. Their schedule today: http://bit.ly/2mdt8XF
4 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a legislative affairs strategy session in the Oval Office.
6 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House.
6:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has dinner with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
9:15 a.m. EST Thursday: No Labels citizen leaders meet with members of the Congressional Problem Solving Caucus on the steps of the East side of the Capitol.
WHAT TO WATCH:
No on-camera White House press briefing today.
9 p.m. EST: CNN hosts a town hall with Sens. John McCainJohn McCainSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Republicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown Nunes endures another rough day MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Republicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown GOP torn over what to do next MORE (R-S.C.), moderated by CNN's Dana Bash. http://bit.ly/2lWjHte
9 p.m. EST: Oprah Winfrey will appear on The David Rubenstein Show on Bloomberg Television. You can also watch the segment here: http://bloom.bg/2lWXwmv
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is National Fruit Compote Day!
JUST ANNOUNCED -- ALERT TO TOURISTS EVERYWHERE: Via WTOP Radio, "National Cherry Blossom Festival organizers have announced the peak bloom dates to see this year's blossoms as March 14 to 17. Peak bloom -- the optimal period to see the trees around D.C.'s Tidal Basin area -- is when 70 percent or more of the cherry blossoms are open. The blossoms can remain on the trees for around four to 10 days, depending on weather conditions." http://bit.ly/2mFwxMm
MACCHIATOS FOR ONE, MACCHIATOS FOR ALL!: Macchiatos at Starbucks are buy-one-get-one-free tomorrow through Monday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Details: http://bit.ly/2mKEzTj
FOR THE SUPERSTITIOUS ONES IN THE GROUP: Via IJ Review's Sara Vallone, a teen took a selfie with her brother and a mysterious person appeared in the back of the photo -- sorta. http://bit.ly/2lcBOOi
And because you read this far, here are mesmerizing illusions made with thousands of pieces of paper glued together. So. Cool.: http://bit.ly/2me2H40
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