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HUFFPOST HILL - OCTOBER 4TH, 2010

First Posted: 10/04/10 07:06 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:55 PM ET

Huffpost Hill

Even as thousands of congressional candidates feverishly trolled for votes today, one local campaign managed to secure a disproportionate number of column inches -- one local, foulmouthed, nine-and-a-half fingered, possibly-in-violation-of-local-election-law campaign. Yet Rahm Emanuel's mayoral bid wasn't the only thing making waves. ThinkProgress reports the Chamber of Commerce might be getting a little too free-trade in its efforts to promote open markets, a far-right West Virginia group is claiming that Arab = bad and phase one of the promotional campaign for Christine O'Donnell's Manchurian Candidate fan fiction has begun. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, October 4th, 2010:

THINKPROGRESS: CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CAMPAIGN FUND BANKROLLED BY FOREIGN DONORS - In what is either a stubborn, Tiananmen Square-esque act of defiance against campaign finance rules or a surreptitious attempt to circumvent federal election law (or both!?), the Chamber of Commerce has reportedly received contributions from foreign donors. TP gave HuffPost Hill a glimpse at its expose -- to be published in full tomorrow morning complete with a list of the donors: "ThinkProgress has discovered that the Chamber is fundraising for its general fund, which is used to pay for the attack ads, from foreign nationals and foreign corporations, possibly in violation with longstanding campaign finance law. Under [Tom] Donohue's leadership, the Chamber has become very aggressive with its fundraising, opening offices abroad and helping to found foreign chapters (known as Business Councils or 'AmChams'). While many of these foreign operations include American businesses with interests overseas, the Chamber has also spearheaded an effort to raise money from foreign corporations, including ones controlled by foreign governments. These foreign members of the Chamber send money either directly to the US Chamber of Commerce's 501(c)(6) bank account used for attack ads, or the foreign members fund their local Chamber, which in turn sends dues money back to the Chamber's H Street office in Washington DC."

CONSERVATIVE GROUP ACCUSES ARAB-AMERICAN OF BEING ARAB-AMERICAN - The West Virginia Conservative Foundation, a far-right group in the Mountain State, has an ad out against Rep. Nick Rahall. "Against" is a relative term here, as all the ad does is play clips of the congressman proclaiming his support for President Obama and touting his experience as chair of the "Arab Americans for Obama" wing of the President's 2008 campaign (Rahall is of Lebanese descent). What makes the spot so slimy is that it is accompanied by very ominous music and ends with the words "CALL NICK RAHALL AND TELL HIM TO STAND WITH WEST VIRGINIANS" splashed on the screen. The ad, of course, is meant to scare viewers by making "Arab" seem like a bad thing. In HuffPost Hill's opinion, the video would have been much more effective had it been cast as a 50s sci-fi/horror movie trailer (footage of clean-cut jocks in varsity jackets driving their 57 Chevys away from some oncoming terror, cutting away to a pretty girl in a poodle skirt and a bowtie in her hair to answer the phone and hear the words "THE ARAB-AMERICANS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE YOUR HOUSE," etc). Big ups to Amanda Terkel for a great report on the video. Big downs to America for incubating this crap: http://huff.to/aHaX47

CAN RAHM EVEN RUN? - Unfortunately you can't send a carp wrapped in yesterday's Tribune to Lady Justice. Well, you can, but she's blindfolded so she wouldn't see it. Plus she's fictional. And usually made of stone. Point being: it's a worthless venture. Sun-Times: "[T]wo of Chicago's top election lawyers say the state's municipal code is crystal clear that a candidate for mayor must reside in the town for a year before the election. That doesn't mean they must simply own a home in the city that they rent out to someone else. They must have a place they can walk into, keep a toothbrush, hang up their jacket and occasionally sleep, the lawyers say. Another three election lawyers say Emanuel could be thrown off the ballot on a residency challenge. None says Emanuel will have it easy." http://bit.ly/9m4asl

Ben Smith is reporting that Rahm's "I'm glad to be home" video was actually filmed in Washington. After introducing himself, Emanuel says that "I was born here and my wife Amy and I raised our three children here." For what it's worth, it was filmed in a business started by a Chicagoan: David Axelrod's old haunt, AKPD media. http://politi.co/9rQ5h2

Valerie Jarrett won't even endorse Rahm. On "Morning Joe" today, the White House adviser was sidestepping so much that she was yay close to performing the Cha Cha Slide: "I don't think anybody is interested in my choice for mayor of Chicago," she said. "My focus is right here and he hasn't even announced yet. I think this weekend he announced he's doing his listening tour; allowing people in Chicago all around the neighborhoods to tell him what they think. So, we'll be watching closely from afar." Time: http://bit.ly/a6yD33

Ed Rendell, the only man on Earth who employs a fight or flight or gregarious backslap mechanism in response to acute stress, has expressed his interest in the chief of staff gig. However, in an interview with Bloomberg aired this weekend, the outgoing Pennsylvania governor expressed, in really fantastic English, why that might not jive with the administration's ethos. "If I were president, I am not sure that I would offer Ed Rendell the job of chief of staff," he said. Noted! http://bit.ly/a4OP1p

Interestingly, HuffPost Hill just got its first e-mail from Luis Gutierrez's office (with no mentions of mayoral campaigns, for what it's worth): "Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) will convene a briefing that is open to the press and public on efforts to provide relief to homeowners facing foreclosure and the role of government-owned companies (e.g., Freddie and Fannie) in the mortgage and foreclosure crisis."

@meredithshiner: Let the battle begin: "Gutierrez for Mayor" #Rahm #Chicago http://plixi.com/p/48735032

TOMORROW'S PAPERS TODAY - The Hill: Micheal O'Brien on how Senate Republicans are expressing confidence they will pick up at least six seats this fall, but are more careful in predicting results for seven other races that will determine the Senate majority. Roll Call: Republicans kicked off October with several aggressive independent expenditure moves aimed at forcing Democrats further on the defensive with just weeks to go before Election Day, writes John McArdle and Kyle Trygstad.

The Hill will run a 20 questions segment with newly-minted CNN hosts Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker tomorrow.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER From Arthur Delaney: "The paperwork scandal that has prompted several banks to halt evictions and review their foreclosure procedures is reminiscent of the predatory lending scheme that inflated the housing bubble. 'It's the same process, falsifying documents to make them look acceptable to someone," said Tom Domonoske, a lawyer and consumer advocate in Virginia. 'They're falsifying foreclosure documents so judges will look at them and say, 'Here's an affidavit. It's signed.'" http://huff.to/dkOSmM

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DNC POSTS RECORD-BREAKING FUNDRAISING NUMBERS - The Democratic National Committee raked in an impressive $16 million last month, for all the good that's doing....are we right?? Are we right?? Ehhh?? Anyway: "The DNC haul gives Democrats hope that the party and its candidates will have plenty of money in the final month of the election to take on both Republican candidates and pro-Republican outside groups. Business and conservative organizations plan to spend $300 million on their own efforts to help Republican candidates this fall." WSJ: http://bit.ly/dcZeRz

Maybe it's helping? A new Rasmussen survey has Democrats barely trailing Republicans in a generic congressional poll, the closest margin in nearly a year. The poll has Republicans earning 45 percent support while Democrats are polling at 42 percent. http://bit.ly/4sfo9l

Stu Rothenberg says: "Democratic candidates need to go into the elections with 50 percent of the vote or more in most districts to win -- 'surging' to 45 percent of the vote simply isn't enough." Roll Call: http://bit.ly/bMP1ms

Marco Rubio may have inappropriately used election funds from his state campaigns to repair his car. The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that in 2002 the Republican Senate nominee, then a candidate for the state legislature, cut a check for $1,485.55 written out to "Marco Rubio Bank of America Auto Finance Corp." for "auto expense." "It seems to be a pattern with him in which he plays fast and loose with the rules and tries to go back and justify it once it's pointed out," Ben Wilcox, of Common Cause Florida, tells the Times. http://bit.ly/afQPXM

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: THE CHINESE ARE TAKING OVER - Leave it to Christine O'Donnell to at long last make a prescient statement yet still totally bungle it by couching it in conspiratorial nonsense. In a 2006 Republican Delaware Senate primary debate, O'Donnell claimed that the Chinese were plotting to take over (true) America (sort of) and that she had previously had access to (uh-oh) classified (stop, stop stop!) information (nooooo) to support her claim. "There's much I want to say. I wish I wasn't privy to some of the classified information that I am privy to," she said. "A country that forces women to have abortions and mandates that you can only have one child and will not allow you the freedom to read the Bible, you think they can be our friend?" she asked. "We have to look at our history and realize that if they pretend to be our friend it's because they've got something up their sleeve." http://huff.to/aefsxn

HuffPost Huh?: How on Earth did it take this long for someone to go through her debates 2006?

Seeing as how stories of Joe Miller, Sharron Angle, Rand Paul and Christine O'Donnell's wackiness are buffeting journalists with Gatling gun-like regularity, Greg Sargent has done a real public service by anticipating what the next one will be: "By [Joe] Miller's lights, the Constitution reserves the power to regulate minimum wage for the states. Maybe someone should ask Miller whether Federal child labor law is unconstitutional, too. Seems like his answer is likely to make some news. It's hard to overstate how extreme Miller's position is. After the New Deal passed, Republicans ultimately realized that they would have to accept the New Deal's main achievements as permanent pillars of society in order to remain a viable national party. Miller seems to want to relitigate something the GOP already hashed out more than a half century ago." http://wapo.st/dfSJRv

@Wonkette Ben Quayle Points Gun At 'Wife,' Forces Her To Talk Into Camera http://bit.ly/dkBOUD

KRISTEN GILLIBRAND UNDERSTANDS MINUTIAE OF NEW YORK POLITICS - Namely, that upstate residents loathe folks from "the city" and folks from "the city" kind of forget that anything north of White Plains exists (seriously, ask someone from Brooklyn where Utica is. One in three will probably say "near Yonkers."). "I was born and raised here in Upstate New York. It's where my family and I still call home. So I know your economic priorities are different," Gillibrand says in a new ad targeted to Empire State residents up north. She proceeds to explain that, unlike city residents -- too obsessed with building victory Mosques -- people upstate care about being employed and the health of their nation's economy. Observer: http://bit.ly/aSxEsh

Our in-house polling expert Mark Blumenthal notes that the HuffPost Pollster average has Gillibrand ahead by about 10 points The most ground to be gained, of course, is upstate. http://huff.to/9IAchn

ALABAMA POL REJECTS ROMNEY ENDORSEMENT - Zing! "On Friday, Alabama Republican governor candidate Robert Bentley turned down an endorsement from the former presidential candidate. The Birmingham News reported that Mr. Bentley turned down the endorsement. A spokeswoman for Bentley, Rebekah Mason, said Friday that Bentley wanted to concentrate on the race for governor and did not want to give the impression that he was endorsing anyone in the 2012 presidential race." http://bit.ly/apZFt6

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a cat and dog locked in an epic tug-of-war battle: http://bit.ly/cILnk1

POLITICIANS CAN'T STOP TAKING OFF THEIR SHIRTS - A new ad from Ami Bera, who is challenging Dan Lungren in California's Third Congressional District, taking Lungren to task for allegedly going on a lobbyist-funded trip to Hawaii. The Bera campaign emphasizes this point by showing a photo of Lungren, shirtless, that was purportedly taken while he was in the Aloha State. "The economy is in trouble and Dan Lungren goes to Hawaii?" a series of incredulous actors/constituents ask. http://bit.ly/bmOD40

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is shirtless, too. Plus he found his dog: http://bit.ly/bCgqd4

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: JOHN RAESE DEFENDS PINK MARBLE DRIVEWAY - Nothing quite so damning like a West Virginia politician being painted as partial to Liberace-style getaway haunts. "Last week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent e-mails of a story about Raese's 7,000-square-foot home in Palm Beach County, Fla., where the marble driveway was repaved with pink stone. Raese later told Associated Press the color was peach, but not of his choosing. 'Raese leads a lavish lifestyle that's included over 15 cars, boats and motorcycles, a home in Florida where his family lives full-time and where, records show, he paved the driveway with marble in 2008 as the economy was nosediving,' said the article in politico.com by Maggie Haberman." News and Sentinel: http://bit.ly/94ea7t

Veering wildly from people who can afford gaudy homes to those being squeezed out of theirs: David Dayen chronicles a weekend-long event hosted by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America and the plight of individuals on the brink of losing their homes. He quotes one participant, who was rejected from HAMP by Bank of America: "I went to a third party law firm after I got laid off to help with a [loan] modification. Then my husband got laid off and the law firm told me immediately to short sale," the attendee said. "Bank of America rejected me for a loan modification, they refused to work with me. All they said to me was, 'You owe $35,000, how would you like to pay?' At least here I can get a face-to-face discussion...No one knows what anyone else is doing." http://bit.ly/aEnrMS

It would seem that "family values" groups' response to our country's growing openness about sexual orientation is to grab the LGBT community's proverbial arm, slam it against its proverbial face, and ask why it's punching itself. Minnesota Independent: "The Minnesota Family Council (MFC) is pushing back against efforts to improve the climate for LGBT students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, where community members are mourning suicides by four LGBT students in the last year. The real issue is 'homosexual indoctrination,' not anti-gay bullying, says MFC's Tom Prichard, who says the students are dead because they adopted an 'unhealthy lifestyle.'" http://bit.ly/bMMi0k

"John Oliver, British comedian of 'The Daily Show' fame, announced that he's engaged to Kate Norley, an Army medic who spent time in Iraq. The couple met in 2008 at the Republican National Convention. 'It's the most emasculating thing I could possibly do to go out with someone who has actually done something valuable with their life,' Mr. Oliver told People magazine." NYT: http://nyti.ms/9FlNwz

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: The D.C. area seems to be in the center of rotation for clouds. Fun science-y experiment: those south of D.C., call your friends in Maryland and ask them in which direction the clouds are moving. Virginia should see them moving northwest-to-southeast, while Marylanders should see a southeast-northwest rotation. Moisture from Chesapeake Bay will bring rain to Maryland (although, as of now, it's limited to the Baltimore region). Other areas may see scattered showers, especially going into mid-evening. Tomorrow: The clouds should clear. Expect it to be brisk, just like today. By the end of the week, it will warm up a bit more. That's something to look forward to. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- To bring attention to his plight, a homeless man performed "Under Pressure" with two Kermit The Frog dolls. http://bit.ly/b2daGT

- Now you too can add some Michael Bay zest to your photographs. http://bit.ly/9Ot9KY

- Kitty eating pancakes! Kitty eating pancakes! Kitty eating pancakes! Kitty eating pancakes! http://bit.ly/cwyfVX

- Riveting local journalism: the gripping tale of two roommates and their battle against a beehive. http://bit.ly/boqIU9

- What happens with a wedding video meets Dragonball Z, meets Russia and meets a bad acid trip. http://bit.ly/cPIPkY

- The evolution of the Windows operating system in one nifty graphic. http://bit.ly/aBPM4s

- "Dog Judo" is a series of shorts starring two dogs gabbing about who know's what. http://bit.ly/bMW0o4

- Break dancing can be a powerful weapon...literally. http://bit.ly/aYICNQ

TWITTERAMA

@LondonReview: Poor Jonathan Franzen. A man just ran up to him, pulled the glasses off his face, and legged it out of the room... At his own party!

@JeffFlake: How many swear words would it take to pay down our nation's debt? http://ht.ly/2OhTB

@daveweigel: I don't understand this. Must be my Kenyan anti-colonial thinking. RT @newtgingrich: B

@ConanOBrian: Okay, I admit it. I find Meg Whitman's ex-nanny weirdly attractive.

THE TUBE

TONIGHT: Snazzy dresser and HuffPoster Sam Stein stopped by Hardball. Howard Fineman, who cracked us up at a HuffPost meeting today, is on Countdown. Ed Rendell and Barney Frank are on Last Word. TOMORROW: More HuffPost hits as Sam Stein and Arianna Huffington appear on Morning Joe.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

8:00 pm: Give this rainy Monday a needed jolt by attending the World Air Sex Championship. If you know what that is, or even have an inkling, you should go [Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H St NE].
8:00 pm: If you're into nebbish men with skewed views of the world, then you're subscribing to the right newsletter. Why not supplement your connoisseurship of all things weak and peculiar by attending a talk by David Sedaris, who is speaking at GW tonight [GW Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street NW].

TOMORROW
8:00 pm: The Washington Psychotronic Film Society, which is the greatest gift to cinephiles since Citizen Kane, screens Anguish, a Spanish movie about someone's psycho mom [The Passenger, 1021 7th Street NW].

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

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Filed by Eliot Nelson  |