HUFFPOST HILL - AUGUST 6TH, 2010

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With the midterms just over the horizon, our jobs are becoming a lot easier. Each day provides us with a fresh batch of lawmakers face-planting as they bend over backwards to appease their constituents. Sharron Angle is attending an event hosted by a guy who thinks Medicare is "evil" and is still is iffy on AIDS. J.D. Hayworth can't stress enough how much he HATES people who make life-threatening treks across hostile landscapes. And down in Florida, Kendrick Meek is so excited about Bill Clinton's support that he's wetting his pants (just a little). This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, August 6th, 2010:

JIM MESSINA MAPS OUT AUGUST STRATEGY WITH SENATE DEMS - Sam Stein: "In a meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, Senate Democrats, senior staff, and an official with the Obama White House charted out an aggressive communications strategy designed, specifically, to avoid the perils of last August recess. According to sources in attendance and those briefed on the meeting, there were three distinct takeaways: The president would be playing an active and public role making a contrast between his agenda and the GOP's obstruction in the months ahead; outside government groups would help earn media coverage and drive the narrative; and there would be intense emphasis on keeping all candidates, offices and parties coordinated on the same message." http://huff.to/crYSPV

EXCLUSIVE: NEW 527 GROUP DEFENDS DEMS AGAINST HEALTHCARE ATTACKS - The recently-formed Americans for Working Families is commencing an ad blitz in response to attacks by conservative groups on health care reform, specifically combatting he Coalition to Protect Seniors, which ran an ad featuring a talking baby (fresh!). The group is helmed by David Strauss, former deputy chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore and former chairman of the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party. The group will run ads in a number of districts, including Texas-23 (Ciro Rodriguez), Indiana-9 (Baron Hill) and Nevada-3 (Dina Titus).

Ad 1, running in defense of Rep. Rodriguez: http://bit.ly/b3lrkw

Ad 2, running in defense of Rep. Titus: http://bit.ly/cIzrAG

David Strauss, the group's director: "Republican shadow groups have started early this election year, making false claims against Democrats who supported reform which makes health care more affordable, insurers more accountable, expands health coverage to all Americans, makes the health system sustainable and helps family budgets. Americans for Working Families won't let these false attacks stand - we're going to make sure every voter knows the truth about the benefits healthcare reform brings to them."

MIKE GEHRKE ON THE MOVE: Former DNC research chief Mike Gehrke, who's probably caused more Republican headaches over the last several years than the entire top shelf at the Capitol Hill Club, is joining the powerhouse Benenson Strategy Group. Gehrke's spent the last several months setting up Change to Win's Chamber Watch project (www.fixtheuschamber.org), which will be taken over by Christy Setzer.

From Michael Scherer's piece on Joel Benenson on Thursday: "Secret Service records show that starting in February, Obama's New York-based pollster Joel Benenson began making near weekly trips through the White House gates. And then there are the Wednesday-night meetings in senior political adviser David Axelrod's Logan Circle living room, where, over pizza or Thai takeout, aides debate ways to re-energize those who voted for the first time in 2008 and put Republicans on the defensive. 'It's basically smart political people who everyone here trusts,' says one insider, a group that can still include departed communications director Anita Dunn, all-purpose wise man David Plouffe and the 2008 campaign's paid media guru, Larry Grisolano. If Benenson can't make it, they pass around a BlackBerry with his disembodied voice." http://bit.ly/d1OT8k

An "administration official" tells Reuters that both Laura Tyson and Austan Goolsbee are being considered for Christina Romer's spot. Tyson was a senior economist in Bill Clinton's White House. http://bit.ly/dygLDL

LINDSEY GRAHAM: THIS 14TH AMENDMENT STUFF IS STRATEGERY - National Review's Daniel Foster, in an interview with Graham on immigration, asks: "Isn't a bit of this, frankly, strategic? Aren't you looking for ways to bring conservatives on board with the more comprehensive immigration reform that you favor? Is that fair to say?" Graham: "Yeah, I think it's fair to say that I need to go home to South Carolina and say: listen, I know we're all upset that we have 12-14 million people illegally. I'm going to have to be practical. We're not going to deport or jail 12-14 million people...But, I have to be able to say, as part of doing that, we looked at all the incentives that led to the 12-13 million coming, and we changed them. That we did secure our border, unlike any other time in the past, that we now have laws that make it possible to verify employment; we now have a temporary worker program that will allow people to come here and work on our terms temporarily, and help our employers with labor when they can't find American labor. I have to be able to say that, because I think most Americans are willing to clean this mess up. They're not willing to perpetuate it." http://bit.ly/96X8Ht

FRANK, MALONEY WANT MEETING WITH OBAMA TO PITCH ELIZABETH WARREN - FDL's David Dayen: "Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Barney Frank (D-MA) have sent a new letter to the President, requesting a personal meeting with him about nominating Elizabeth Warren as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection [Bureau]. This is an escalation of the earlier action spearheaded by Maloney, which resulted in 63 members of the House and 12 senators coming out in support of Warren's nomination. 'I just think that the success of the agency depends on the strength at the top,' Maloney told FDL News before releasing the letter." http://bit.ly/d5ycjP

Google protests its non-evilness too much: http://bit.ly/c7CPL2

** A message brought to you by MoveOn.org: "Stop Steny from leading Dems in the wrong direction. Americans deserve leaders who protect Social Security. Tell him to take benefits cuts off the table." **

TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - Washington Post: David Broder takes on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for "sending a disquieting signal about the prospects that might follow a Republican victory in the midterm election."

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

DOUBLE RAINBOW: TWO GAY MARRIAGE COURT CASES EN ROUTE TO SUPREME COURT - Jason Linkins, all the way: "With U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's decision to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriages, we now have two landmark marriage equality cases wending their way forward through the legal process, with the Supreme Court looming as their potential final destination. The first is the aforementioned Prop 8 decision. The second is last month's ruling by U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro, who ruled that the federal ban on same-sex marriage, more commonly known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was unconstitutional." OH MY GOD WOOOOWWWWW, Jason, but WHAT DOES IT MEAN??? "Taken at first blush, this combination of midsummer rulings seem to represent a wave of support for same-sex marriage. But on closer inspection, it would seem that not all marriage equality cases are created equal." http://huff.to/aDkn7U

Why we love working here. This afternoon's front page splash http://bit.ly/b4QpMa

And yet the Obama administration is standing by its opposition to same-sex marriage. Marcus Baram: "Obama's deputy campaign manager during the 2008 race, Steve Hildebrand, who is openly gay, decried the tendency of prominent Democrats to support civil unions rather than gay marriage, calling it a 'cop-out. Most politicians aren't going to have the courage to be that strong.'" http://huff.to/cdv2do

HOUSE OVERSIGHT PANEL IN TURMOIL - A question that's been nagging at reporters and Hill staffers the past year and a half, while Darrell Issa has made a punching bag out of the White House: What exactly has Chairman Ed Towns' staff been doing? A trove of emails and memos sent to HuffPost Hill finally indicate an answer to the question: Sniping at each other and otherwise acting like an unfunny Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. The discord started as a soft vibration back in the spring of 2008, when Henry Waxman was running the oversight panel, but it has reached a fever pitch under Towns' watch. The full story to come next week. Conference room, FIVE MINUTES!

SEIU WORKERS STEP DOWN FROM UNION - The 48 shop stewards at Kaiser Santa Rosa Medical Center all resigned from the SEIU-UHW to back a rival union, NUHW, ahead of a critical September election to determine which union represents Kaiser's roughly 45,000 California workers, a critical campaign being watched closely by the labor world. An SEIU official dismissed the resignations as a minor development in a major campaign. http://huff.to/92Gvuz

Arthur Delaney was interviewed by the Columbia Journalism Review for his reporting on the politics and day-to-day consequences of unemployment. "The Huffington Post's Arthur Delaney is becoming a prominent voice on the unemployment debate consuming the Capitol. Referred to by his boss, Arianna Huffington, as the site's 'Economic Impact Correspondent,' Delaney has reported extensively on arguments over the extension of unemployment benefits, the movement of related bills through Congress, and the political machinations of D.C., the city in which he was born, raised, and educated." http://bit.ly/a47tiS

MUDCAT SAUNDERS ON STABENOW'S "TIER 5" BILL "I think the politics of it is magnificent. All over the country, the working people have been screwed by our government, so the least they can do is put a few beans on the table....If you look throughout the south, the manufacturing south, we ain't making shit anymore. The proof is in the pudding: The damn Mexicans are swimming across the river. Pretty soon the hillbillies are gonna swim across the river to Mexico." http://huff.to/d3wSfB

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From Arthur: "California's Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board on Thursday announced premium rates for the state's Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan, the Obamacare initiative to provide affordable health insurance to the uninsurable until 2014, when the "exchange" can take care of them. Mary Duffy, 60, an uninsured three-time cancer survivor in Redwood City, Calif. campaigned for Obama because of his promise to reform the health insurance industry. But she discovered she would have to shell out $802 a month for the PCIP. The new program is barely cheaper than California's existing high-risk pool. "I have to have a little chat with Obama bout his concept of affordability," said Duffy. "I don't know what I'm gonna do. I've been three times around the dance floor with cancer."

Bank of America's Whopper Incentive - Why, when you call Bank of America, do they try to sell you their Privacy Assist credit monitoring program? Possibly because there's a Whopper Jr. in it for 'em: http://huff.to/buEhfX

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a cat freaking out at the sight of a laser pointer... and his overweight friend who wants nothing to do with it: http://bit.ly/aI57YL

J-STREET THROW DOWN - A Salon War Room entry this morning caught our attention, attacking progressive Israel group J-Street for not taking a strong enough stand against conservative Israeli organizations like AIPAC. It reads: "But despite the hysterical rhetoric from the likes of Alan Dershowitz and Commentary magazine, who like to claim that J Street is agitating for radical policy change, the new group has done little to broaden the constricted U.S. debate over Israel/Palestine. Instead, J Street has largely given a liberal cover to more right-wing groups like the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, whose line seems to be one of supporting Israel no matter what...This timidity has earned J Street harsh criticism from the left. An Israeli-authored letter circulated on an activist listserv called on the group to 'stop trying to gain political capital at the expense of dedicated peace activists.'" http://bit.ly/a9oT3C

J-Street spokesman Isaac Luria responds to HuffPost Hill: "J Street is proud to be staking out a position smack in the center of the American Jewish community. Accordingly, we expect criticism from our left and from our right. But our essential principles still guide us: achieve security for Israel through a peaceful two-state solution, promote America's vital interest in comprehensive Middle East peace, and speak out when our progressive Jewish and democratic values are challenged by Israeli or American policy."

WEINER TUCKS IT BETWEEN HIS LEGS - Anthony Weiner has equivocated on the Ground Zero mosque like a BOSS, only days after Mike Bloomberg delivered his stirring speech on religious pluralism. Weiner, totally undercutting his carefully-developed reputation as a straight shooter and stubborn defender of liberal principles, provided the New York Times with a statement that couldn't be more watered-down if it were delivered in a can of Natty Light. "Elected officials should endeavor to stay out of the business of deciding where houses of worship may or may not be," Weiner said. He added: "I hope that as this issue is considered going forward, there is a process where those other great hallmarks of democracy are respected -- transparency and tolerance of all view points." Uh-huh. TPM: http://bit.ly/9f4yco

HuffPost SoapBox: HuffPost Hill is 1/3rd New Yorker and that 1/3rd thinks the congressman is doing his city a disservice by failing to champion one of the Big Apple's underlying principles: that people of all backgrounds can live in cramped, poorly-lit apartments and commute each day face-to-face with Dr. Zizmor advertisements, free of intolerance (but burdened by virtually every other inconvenience imaginable). While Weiner correctly states that lawmakers shouldn't choose where houses of worship are built, he ignores the central truth that when people are attacked with impunity for practicing their faith, freedom of religion is compromised. By not denouncing these unfair and narrow-minded criticisms, Weiner is allowing the 1st Amendment to atrophy.

Thanks for putting up with our sanctimony, here's a video of a dog on a trampoline: http://bit.ly/m1H3

SHARRON ANGLE FINDS ONE GUY CRAZIER THAN SHE IS TO HOST CAMPAIGN FUNCTION - Jon Ralston: "As GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle attempts to parry charges from Harry Reid's campaign that she is 'just too extreme,' she is the headliner at an event Saturday promoted by a physician's group that is far out of the mainstream. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which is a major promoter of the Doctors Tea Party in San Diego on Saturday, has given voice to some bizarre theories, believes the advent of Medicare in 1965 was 'evil' and 'immoral' and once published a piece arguing HIV may not cause AIDS. There's more, too, with the group promoting one of Angle's previously expressed theories that abortion may cause breast cancer and it also once argued the FDA is unconstitutional." http://bit.ly/dxEUKE

A Congressman's hometown paper has endorsed BOTH his opponents - Lucia Graves: "Rep. Dave Reichert's hometown paper, which endorsed him in previous elections, has endorsed not one, but both of his challengers. 'We do not do so lightly,' wrote The Seattle Times in its editorial, 'but Former Microsoft executive and Democrat Suzan DelBene and Tim Dillon, a Republican and member of the Yarrow Point Town Council, demonstrate a depth of knowledge and have compelling ideas.' Reichert (R-Wash.) was narrowly re-elected in 2008 and will face a close race again this year." http://bit.ly/cOOmty

J.D. Hayworth is going after John McCain in a new spot which accuses the Arizona senator of lying about his stance on immigration. The ad, which looks more like a preview for "Saw 3D" than a campaign video, assures the viewer that J.D. Hayworth hates people walking around the desert with backpacks much more than his opponent. http://huff.to/bsPKOS

Ann "Al Gore is a 'fag'" Coulter will headline GOProud's "Homocon," a lesbian and gay Republican event in New York City next month (unsure how they feel about the B and T populations). Chairman Christopher Barron: "The gay left has done their best to take all the fun out of politics, with their endless list of boycotts and protests. Homocon is going to be our annual effort to counter the 'no fun police' on the left. I can't think of any conservative more fun to headline our inaugural party then the self-professed 'right-wing Judy Garland' - Ann Coulter. I can promise you, Homocon 2010 will be a hell of a lot more fun than chaining yourself to the White House fence." Daily Intel: http://bit.ly/9Mg4Or

KENDRICK MEEK AND BILL CLINTON EXCHANGE MEMORIES OF URINE - During a meeting with reporters recently, Florida Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek recounted a time as a state trooper when Bill Clinton was president and remarked to then-trooper Meek that he had come a long way from protecting Clinton as a presidential candidate. Meek: "I'm following his Secret Service agents and Gov. MacKay and the president turns around and says, 'Kendrick, We're a long way from the Suwanee Swifty.' At that point, I can just tell you a little bit of pee came out. You know? How could this man remember?" TampaBay.com: http://bit.ly/cmesml

FOX NEWS OFFICIALS LICENSED TO BE THEMSELVES - An item so juicy from the Upshot that it's rich in vitamin C and folate: "Fox News chief Roger Ailes has a license to carry a firearm in New York City on his person at all times, according to the NYPD's newly released list of handgun-permit holders. And he's not alone among his Fox News colleagues: Prime-time shouter Sean Hannity also has a city license to carry a gun. Both Ailes and Hannity have a 'carry business' license from the NYPD, which permits them to carry a concealed weapon wherever they go in the city. It's illegal in New York City to possess a firearm without a license. The 'carry business' permit is the least restrictive one that the city offers." http://yhoo.it/dqruKl

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT, SUBMITTED ORALLY IN A DEPARTURE FROM TRADITION - It's going to be %&@#$! nice all weekend. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- This mini-cannon (we're talking about an inch, here) takes on the world, and wins. http://bit.ly/9LMZNy

- The "say 'what' one more time" scene from Pulp Fiction with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck overdubs. http://bit.ly/dk9Ori

- 11 fictional characters spotted in real life. http://huff.to/acBS8E

- From the HuffPost Comedy folks, a deer stealing a man's wife. http://bit.ly/9VMh8i

- Some Korean girls demonstrate the power of dance...and pizza. http://bit.ly/9xJcCr

- Turtle can't stop saying "wow" while having turtlesex. http://huff.to/blsPXC

- Your tax dollars hard at work: NASA's dancing robot. http://bit.ly/ahU2Z1

TWITTERAMA

@FakeAPStyleBook: voters - The unwitting victims of the Electoral College's mind-control experiments.

@StephenAtHome: Congratulations to Kagan on her confirmation. I'm sure she'll make a fine destroyer of the constitution.

@radleybalko: Pretty sure that's a party foul. RT @AndrewWK I just sh*t and p**sed all over the bathroom walls at this gas station. IT FELT SOOO AMAZING!

@AndrewWK: Just finished cleaning up the bathroom. It was gross, but the initial sensation was worth it. Such a cool rush!

@THE_REAL_SHAQ: I'm at @MyBuschGardens feeding giraffes with the family!! And he kissed aaaaaagh let me kno if u r here wit me

THE TUBE

TONIGHT: Charlie Crist, Gary Peters and Bob Iglis were on Hardball. Tim Pawlenty is on Bloomberg's Political Capital. TOMORROW: Carol Browner AND Lindsey Graham appear on the Situation Room.

SUNDAY SHOWS

Meet The Press: Carol Browner, John Boehner, Harold Ford, Mike Pence, Andrea Mitchell, Todd Purdum.

This Week: General Ray Odierno, General Peter Chiarelli, George Packer, Gillian Tett, John Harris, Michael Gerson.

Face the Nation: Admiral Thad Allen, Tony Perkins, Dan Balz, Jan Crawford.

State of the Union: Jennifer Granholm, Bob McDonnell, Adm. Thad Allen.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:00 pm: It's First Friday again at the Hillyer gallery. $5 donation suggested but as much wine, beer and finger food as you can stomach. Plus great art [Hillyer Art Space, 9 Hillyer Court NW].

6:00 pm: A veritable indie-behemoth, Arcade Fire and Spoon, perform at Merriweather Post Pavillion. Anyone with an extra ticket who wishes to show their apprecition for HuffPost Hill knows what to do [Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD].

7:00 pm: Despite being known far and wide for its AMAZING sense of humor, there aren't enough comedy shows in D.C. Wonderland remedies that with its "Don't Block The Box Comedy show" [Wonderland Ballroom, 1101 Kenyon St NW].

8:15 pm - 10:15 pm: The Rosslyn "I Love the 90s" Film Festival this week presents "Romeo and Juliet" featuring Paul Rudd's 5-foot-high haircut [Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway].

TOMORROW

11:00 am - 4:00 pm: The Corcoran knows how to give great art and on Saturdays it cuts loose and gives it for free. Free Summer Saturdays once again gives you to chance to classy yourself up on someone else's dime [Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th Street NW].

9:15 pm: The Found Footage Festival brings its act to Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse where they screen "Computer Beach Party," which is apparently one of the most awesomely bad movies of all time [Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike Arlington, VA].

SUNDAY

8:00 pm: Here We Go Magic blend indie rock with folk, world and about 10 other styles -- think a more high strung Vampire Weekend. They also do a kick-ass cover of Neon Indian's "Deadbeat Summer." They'll be at Black Cat [Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW].

MONDAY

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm: For those of you lucky enough to get out of work in time, the Cary Grant Film Festival Film Series screens "Bringing Up Baby" [National Theater, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

8:30 pm - 10:30 pm: The Crystal Screen Star Trek Outdoor Film Festival features "Star Trek Nemesis" [18th and South Bell Streets, Arlington].

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Nico Pitney (nico@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e