As is often the case in the lead-up to an election, tactics trumped substance today. "October Surprise" now refers to both Obama's reelection strategy AND something mind-altering you cover in coffee beans to sneak through airport security. Christine O'Donnell, disappointed that her nose-wiggling doesn't magically generate $100 bills, instead used it to charm benefactors in D.C. And Joe Miller is selling Palin 2012 the way you sell an unappealing blind date to your friends. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, October 6th, 2010:
YOU VISITED DC, IN CASE YOU WEREN'T AWARE - Specifically, you visited the Hart Senate Office Building, according to two Democratic Senate staffers who ID'ed Christine "I'm You" O'Donnell on their way to lunch. "We didn't see the broomstick," quipped one of the aides. A Heritage Foundation official said that she was scheduled to come for a candidate briefing with the conservative think tank and activist organization, but canceled. @PoliticalBrief also spotted her headed into the Catholic church nearby.
PELOSI PREPARED FOR SOCIAL SECURITY FIGHT - Nancy Pelosi will be prepared to beat back a run on Social Security or Medicare if the deficit commission recommends cuts to the popular entitlement program following the November election. The House Speaker deliberately avoided appointing House chairmen with jurisdiction over Social Security and Medicare to President Obama's commission, House staffers involved with the commission tell HuffPost Hill, so that she could retain the option to sidetrack the panel's recommendations. If the commission recommends cuts to Social Security or Medicare, the Speaker would have the option of referring the recommendations to the Ways and Means Committee or elsewhere. None of the chairs of the committees or subcommittees with jurisdiction over Social Security or Medicare are on the deficit panel. If the panel recommends hiking the retirement age, Pelosi told us yesterday, it will "get a very negative response." http://huff.to/d7ZXLd
DEM LEADERS TELL CANDIDATES TO CALL CHAMBER ATTACK ADS "FOREIGN FUNDED" - Conventional PR wisdom says that the thing to do is blast a story out in the morning. But HuffPost Hill wonders, entirely selflessly, is that true anymore? ThinkProgress bucked the CW and fed us the Chamber story, which we led with two days ago. It's still going strong. Just sayin'. Dem leaders are now advising candidates to describe attack ads against them as "foreign funded." Sargent: http://wapo.st/b7E69r
There's one way the Chamber could put all this to bed: Publicly release a list of donors. Send that on over to firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks, JP!
Sam Stein on the Chamber's foreign problem: http://huff.to/d3AfFL
A list of the people who cut HuffPost Hill in line for the bar at last night's party for Arianna's "Third World America": Balding guy in tortoiseshell glasses, person we thought was Geena Davis but wasn't (she was someplace else), man blathering about Chris Matthews, very blond woman, another balding guy in tortoiseshell glasses, lady with a fancy polka-dotted bow in her hair, Dylan Ratigan's date (?), a third balding guy in tortoiseshell glasses, some foreign-sounding dude and Margaret Carlson.
The Hill has a better, more informed rundown of last night's festivities, complete with a bold-named explosion: http://bit.ly/aQ5Kn6
As part of his front door duties last night, Jeremy The Intern approached Chris Matthews and asked for his name. "Chris," the Hardball anchor shot back as he stormed by. Thanks, JB!
REPORT: WHITE HOUSE KNOWINGLY COVERED UP BP SPILL FINDINGS - It takes a herculean effort to bury crucial facts about an incident that made half of the Gulf Coast resemble a train station toilet but -- God bless 'em -- the White House pulled it off. "The White House blocked efforts by federal scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could have been. That finding comes from a panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the worst offshore oil spill in history. In documents released Wednesday, the national oil spill commission reveals that in late April or early May the White House budget office denied a request from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make public the worst-case discharge from the blown-out well. BP estimated the worse scenario to be a leak of 2.5 million gallons per day. The government, meanwhile, was telling the public the well was releasing 210,000 gallons per day - a figure that later grew closer to BP's figure." AP: http://yhoo.it/aZ1lge
SEIU BUDDYING UP TO THE BOSS - The SEIU's strategy of expanding membership by allying with corporate America is on full display in San Francisco. If you fear for the future of the working man and woman, this very good Bay Guardian piece won't make you feel any better: http://bit.ly/dhocqG
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DCCC PULLING OUT OF HOUSE RACES - This does not portend well for the ruling party. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, chaired by Chris Van Hollen, has reduced its ad buys for Betsy Markey (Colo.-4), Harry Teague (N.M.-2), Chet Edwards (Texas-17) and Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.-24). The D-trip has also cut funding to Democratic campaigns in open seats that are currently blue. Ken Spain, the NRCC flack who e-mailed HuffPost Hill the news, gleefully declared the aforementioned candidates the "walking dead." http://bit.ly/cFKxVm
The one thing that could actually make Democrats giggle at their current electoral predicament might be the same thing that will extricate them from it in two years. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Democrats hope to use marijuana ballot measures to drive the youth vote in 2012. "Democratic strategists are studying a California marijuana-legalization initiative to see if similar ballot measures could energize young, liberal voters in swing states for the 2012 presidential election.Some pollsters and party officials say Democratic candidates in California are benefiting from a surge in enthusiasm among young voters eager to back Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in certain quantities and permit local governments to regulate and tax it. Party strategists and marijuana-legalization advocates are discussing whether to push for similar ballot questions in 2012 in Colorado and Nevada--both expected to be crucial to President Barack Obama's re-election--and Washington state, which will have races for governor and seats in both houses of Congress." http://bit.ly/9nK3kS
Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz kicked in $50,000 to support the pot campaign, even while Facebook won't run legalization ads that include a pot leaf. Which is kind of like saying you can put the Hope poster up, but it can't show Obama's face. http://huff.to/avznqD
JOE MANCHIN SUES OBAMA ADMINISTRATION - In what is absolutely not an attempt to revive his lagging poll numbers (no, sir), West Virginia Governor and Senate candidate Joe Manchin announced today that the state Department of Environmental Protection is filing suit against the EPA in an attempt to stop its efforts to moderate mountaintop removal coal mining. "The EPA's illegal actions unfortunately will hurt the West Virginia economy," he said in a press conference this morning. "It's a shame when you have to sue your own government." Emphasizing that this was in no way, shape or form a politicized event, Manchin evoked Robert Byrd -- the late Mountain State senator whose name has practically no emotional resonance back home -- by pulling out a copy of the Constitution (a patented Byrd move) during his discussion of states' rights. AP: http://bit.ly/9yNUgp
Jennifer Martinez, formerly with the LA Times, has been hired by Politico to cover Tech policy.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From Arthur Delaney: "S.C. GOP gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley wants to drug test the unemployed. 'There will not be any beneficiaries if they do not pass a drug test,' Haley said." There you have it.
HUFFPOST HILL ACTUALLY BLUSHING AT THIS ONE - There are all these pictures of Krystal Ball, progressive congressional candidate in Virginia ... *deep breath* ...
JOE MILLER: PALIN 'CONSTITUTIONALLY' QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT - File alongside "I think Stacy would make a great girlfriend, she has a functioning parietal lobe" and "Bob is the man for the Northwest region system administrator job...he can spell." Sam Stein: "A day after internal emails leaked showing that Sarah Palin's political team, led by her husband Todd, was furious about Senate candidate Joe Miller's failure to endorse her hypothetical presidential ambitions, Miller was granted a chance to make amends. Appearing on Fox News, the Tea Party backed candidate declined to answer a yes or no question as to whether Palin is qualified for the office of president. When he relented, it was with noticeable nuance. 'We know what qualified means don't we? We know we have a constitutional requirement for somebody that's going to run for president. Of course, she is qualified.'" http://bit.ly/9nK3kS
NEW HARRY REID AD BRINGS SHARRON ANGLE JUICE TO THE MASSES - Frankly, the sleep-deprived drunks who bring you HuffPost Hill would much prefer Sharron Angle Joose, but we're not the ones running for office. The Reid campaign has a mock video out highlighting a snippet from that Sharron Angle tape in which she claims to have "juice" with prominent conservative lawmakers in D.C. It's the most innovative video we've seen from a leadership politician since Nancy Pelosi's office completely ruined an otherwise hilarious Rick Roll video about her cats by explaining what a Rick Roll is. Point being, it's still a low bar. We're waiting for a Lolcat from Jim Clyburn explaining "Made in America." http://bit.ly/cLn3l2
SHARRON ANGLE PASSES THE TRICORNE AROUND AT DC FUNDRAISER - Despite the tape of her trashing the D.C. Republican establishment that recently surfaced, Angle, along with Marco Rubio, was in town last night for a Georgetown function benefiting her campaign. Hotline: "Guests paid $5,000 apiece for a chance to mingle with the candidates in an apartment owned by Bob and Suzy Pence. Pence is a real estate developer and board member for the Washington, DC branch of the World Affairs Council. He's also a major campaign donor who has contributed more than $117,000 to GOP candidates and campaign committees for this election cycle, according to the non-partisan watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics. Angle, who pulled up in the backseat of a white Chrysler 300, waited in the car a few minutes before hustling into the building. Apparently uninterested in talking into another (unconcealed) recorder, Angle blew right past a reporter on her way into the fundraiser." http://bit.ly/cxJx4e
DEY TERK ERR JERBSSS!!!! - ThinkProgress notes that both Sharron Angle and David Vitter have used the same B-roll and stock photos of menacing-looking Mexicans in campaign spots in order to emphasize their views on immigration. In the most recent iteration of Angle's THEY CAME FROM BEYOND THE BORDER video series, Harry Reid is taken to task for providing tuition tax credits to college students that reside in this country illegally. What's more impressive about the claim made in Angle's ad is the astonishing way these evil Mexicans are transcending the spectrum of our nation's ill-defined economic classes, crossing the border for unskilled jobs (the B-roll of that really looks like a clip from the Mexican version of "The Dirty Dozen") AND graduating from college. Real examples of the American dream, if you ask us. http://bit.ly/cPwL6c
HuffPost Hill has acquired exclusive footage of the secret planning session behind the ads: http://bit.ly/KimkX
A new survey from Public Religion Research indicates that Tea Party supporters possess much more...ahem...colorful views on race and America. "Almost two-thirds - 64 per cent - of people who identify as members of the movement agreed "it is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others", compared with 41 per cent of the general population. Almost as many - 58 per cent - said that African-Americans and other minorities were getting too much attention from the government, much higher than the national average of 37 per cent, the poll found...People who declared themselves part of the movement were overwhelmingly white (80 per cent) and Christian (81 per cent), the institute found." http://bit.ly/doIrJd
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Bunnies in cups. http://bit.ly/9rCheh
HILLARY CLINTON: I DON'T WANT TO BE VEEP - Lucia Graves: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed rumors on Wednesday that she will replace Vice President Biden on the 2012 ticket. 'I have absolutely no interest and no reason for doing anything other than dismissing these stories and moving on. We have so much to do and I think we're both happy doing what we're doing,' Clinton said at Fortune magazine's 'Most Powerful Women' summit." By the end of the day, it was clear that Bob Woodward, who started the rumor, had more-or-less made it up. In an e-mail to The New York Times Woodward said the possibility was "on the table" in as much as "any legitimate vote-getting strategy is always on the table in politics...I am sure Axelrod is correct. It is not being discussed at this time in the month before the 2010 elections. Obviously, as the book points out, the political conditions in 2011-12 would determine whether it gets raised then. Shaking things up or re-potting the plant often works in politics--and journalism. Best, Bob Woodward." Okay, then. http://huff.to/ddL6xp
STEVE PEARCE: OBAMA'S BIRTHPLACE A QUESTION THAT NEEDS TO BE ANSWERED - Republicans continue to treat crazy town hall attendees the way New Yorkers treat racist cabbies swerving in and out of their lane while railing against Chinese people: with a fear-induced nod of approval. Amanda Terkel: "During a recent town hall meeting, Candidate for Harry Teague's New Mexico House seat Steve Pearce cast doubt on President Obama's citizenship and said that while the economy should be on the top of Republicans' agenda, he would be 'in the fight' if the issue is taken up in Congress. At the Sept. 30 event in Los Lunas, New Mexico, a woman stood up and asked Pearce if he would 'be agreeable to subpoenaing and making him show a birth certificate.' 'Because if he is not eligible, because of everything he signed, every bill he signed, every executive order, his czars, our whole government, everything we're doing is invalid and unconstitutional and illegal,' she said, adding, 'I just want to know what is your position on Barack Obama if he is in fact a Kenyan-born, Indonesian Muslim. What is your position on all of this?' In his response, Pearce said that were still 'significant questions' surrounding the birther issue." http://huff.to/a2D08G
PAT QUINN: ILLINOIS COULD LEGALIZE CIVIL UNIONS THIS YEAR - In what might be the biggest gay bomb to come out of Illinois since Abraham Lincoln, Governor Pat Quinn told the Daily Herald that there are enough votes in the Illinois legislature to legalize marriage-lite for gays and lesbians. Soon our homosexual friends in the land of homosexual Lincoln will have the right to select a Roland Burris-style achievement mausoleum for their dearly-departed loved ones! Hooray! Tribune: http://bit.ly/9wmyIk
Joe Trippi, who is advising Cook County Sheriff and potential Chicago mayoral candidate Tom Dart, has released a video that compiles negative local coverage of Rahm Emanuel's "neighborhood tour." Set to the theme from "Welcome Back, Kotter," a sequence of clips of news anchors discussing Rahm's rocky arrival are splashed on the screen. Good stuff. NYT: http://nyti.ms/drGRlK
Bill White equating Rick Perry to a child: "[O]ne of the things that teachers teach, and parents must teach their children, is acceptance of individual responsibility.,One of the things that classroom teachers confront, and that they teach young people to do, is don't always blame somebody else - 'I forgot my book, or so-and-so didn't give me the assignment' - but to accept personal responsibility for those things that you are supposed to be responsible for. I have yet to hear Rick Perry in nine and a half years claim any responsibility for the many, many management shortcomings and lack of results that he's brought. He blames others." CNN: http://bit.ly/c1pvGe
Justin Elliott is getting sued for doing his job. http://bit.ly/cTj8CK
If Chuck Schumer wins his Yankees-Twins bet with Amy Klobuchar, he might get to eat his 423rd favorite Schumwich ingredient for free. From a release sent out by Klobuchar's office: "If the Yankees win, Klobuchar will deliver 10 bags of fried cheese curds from Target Field, a Minnesota specialty, to Schumer's office while wearing a Yankees cap. If the Twins win, Schumer will deliver 10 pizzas from Roma Pizza, a New York favorite in Brooklyn, to Klobuchar's office while wearing a Twins hat."
JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight It'll remain cloudy, and may rain. Tomorrow Expect sunny skies and mid 70s. Should be a pleasant Fall day. Thanks, JB!
Do you remember those annoying Brooklyn tornado guys? The ones that screamed? Well, with the latest tornado outbreak in Arizona, we have what may be the Southwest's answer to them. What's the difference? Well, for one, the screaming is replaced by a drastic onslaught of "dude." It's why I call these people "tornado dudes." My favorite guy has to be the one who keeps saying "I think it's a tornado." Yeah, we get it. And Gawker, when you pick up on it, I want the hat tip. http://youtu.be/2lSp_15t8bY Intense, JB!
- Really one of the most knee-jerk liberal 1970s TV weather ladies we've EVER seen. http://bit.ly/aSAGiQ
- This dog's opposition to a bath could not be more absolute. http://bit.ly/b83aRe
- To be fair, if we were news anchors, we would probably laugh hysterically at the name Dikshit too. http://bit.ly/d4jbBY
- The bastardization of the rodeo. http://bit.ly/aCbeTo
- A collection of AWESOME facts about Iceland. http://bit.ly/aBhKkI
- Here is the Star Wars trilogy condensed, animated with paper, and scored with low-fi emo music. http://bit.ly/9CgjsW
- Speaking of budget Star Wars, here how to make a stormtrooper helmet with milk jugs. http://bit.ly/9b3FdK
- We don't know what this is, but it really should be an Olympic sport. http://bit.ly/a78hRy
@davidcorndc: BREAKING: Biden denies he's resigning as VP to work in a marine mammal rescue shelter in Akers, Louisiana.
@amieparnes: I just learned a new DC catch phrase: "first time cool." Guys who were total nerds until they arrived in DC. @kendramarr loves it too.
@pourmecoffee: Looks like Christine O'Donnell's greatest spell is going to be turning Chris Coons into a Senator.
@delrayser: Just want to point out that by registering mitt.ly, Mitt Romney actually was importing Sharia law. http://j.mp/9exigL
7:00 pm: Watchdog group Common Cause is celebrating its 40th anniversary tonight with a dinner at the Mayflower Hotel. Featured speakers include Bill Moyers, Robert Reich, and Dorthy Heights [The Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue NW].
7:00 pm: Here's your chance to experience the adrenaline rush that only eight (EIGHT!) U.S. poet laureates can provide. The poets in question will be reading at the Library of Congress. 202-397-7328 or 703-573-7328 for tickets [Library of Congress, Coolidge Auditorium, 10 First Street SE].
12:00 pm: The DC Curbside Cook-Off features a plethora of food vendors, performances and art exhibits [Old Convention Center Parking Lot, 1100 H Street NW].
7:30 pm: The DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival gets underway with a screening of Au Revoir Taipei [E Street Cinema, 555 11th Street NW].
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