Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - OCTOBER 29TH, 2010

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America was on guard today as suspicious inbound packages lead to a heightened state of alert AND a group of senators warned against the looming threat of Labatt Blue-drinking extremists and their dirty, Canadian oil money. Yet even in the face of danger, America's candidates intrepidly soldiered on. Kirsten Gillibrand responded to the latest sexist attack hurled at her this month. Ohio Democrats squeegeed the egg off of their faces. And Charlie Crist managed to traverse both the political AND ROYGBIV color spectra by shifting from red to orange and now blue. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, October 29th, 2010:

HARRY REID PLANNING LAME-DUCK DREAM ACT VOTE - Amanda Terkel: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised to bring the DREAM Act, an important piece of legislation for the Latino community, to a vote in the Senate after the November elections -- whether or not Democrats retain their majority. Reid's remarks will air Sunday on Univision in an interview with host Jorge Ramos. On Twitter, Ramos wrote, 'Harry Reid told me that, win or lose, he will present again the Dream Act in the Senate after the elections.'" http://huff.to/dx2LjS

SUSPICIOUS PACKAGES PUT NATION ON GUARD - "President Barack Obama declared Friday that authorities had uncovered a "credible terrorist threat" against the United States following the overseas discovery of U.S.-bound packages containing explosives aboard cargo jets. Obama said both had been addressed to Jewish organizations in the Chicago area. The events 'underscore the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism,' the president said. The packages both originated in Yemen, but Obama did not assign blame to al-Qaida, which is active in the Arab nation and long has made clear its goal of attacking the United States. The events unfolded four days before national elections in which discussion of terrorism has played almost no role." http://huff.to/cwPYeW

BRUNNER TO HUFFPOST HILL: OHIO STRATEGY BACKFIRED ON DEMS - With Lee Fisher getting wiped out in his Ohio Senate race, we checked in with the state's attorney general, Jennifer Brunner, who lost a close primary race to Fisher. Brunner, a progressive, was shutout by the Ohio and DC establishment, which put its weight behind Fisher, reasoning that he'd be able to raise more money than Brunner. Democrats are now getting sliced by the other edge of that sword, said Brunner. "When there's this almost sole emphasis on money, if polling doesn't show that a candidate is doing well enough, then these big money forces turn their backs, including the caucus committee, and if the candidacy was only based on money, and not a good grassroots campaign and the other things that are necessary to get the votes, when the money walks away they have nothing left," said Brunner. "When they make money the apex, they end up campaigning more like Republicans and they disappoint the base." Brunner, meanwhile, has been leading the investigation into foreclosure fraud that has garnered national attention. If she had won the primary, she said, "the tenor of the race would've been very different." Brunner said that word had come to her that national Republicans had considered running ads in the primary to beat her, hoping to elect Fisher instead. But they didn't need to; Democrats did it for them.

GOP HOUSE SHUFFLING - HuffPost Hill hears: John Boehner and Eric Cantor should coast into their roles as speaker and majority leader, respectively, though a Tea Party insurrection isn't out of the question. Kevin McCarthy is expected to get the nod for whip over Pete Sessions for whip, though it remains unclear whether Sessions will get out of the race and remain at the NRCC. Joe Barton, ranking member on Energy and Commerce, is term-limited and unlikely to receive a waiver. He will likely be successfully challenged for the gavel by either Fred Upton or John Shimkus. Similarly, Jerry Lewis, ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, is term-limited and unlikely to receive a waiver. Though he is campaigning for a waiver, he is likely to be successfully challenged by Hal Rogers. Mike Pence is weighing many attractive options right now, but if he steps aside, Jeb Hensarling is the odds-on favorite to take his place as chair of the Republican Conference. Thanks to Lucia Graves for the help on this one.

SHERIFF JOE'S 'ARMY' TARGETING GRIJALVA - Maricopa Country Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- the guy who makes prisoners wear pink and sleep in the bitter cold and lets gangs run his jail-in-a-tent -- may be the one man in Arizona who hates Raul Grijalva more than John McCain does. Today he whipped up a frenzy on right wing blogs by claiming that "more than 65% of the 3,000+ new voters registrations submitted by Mi Familia Vota and One Arizona were found to be invalid" in Grijalva's district. That's false, officials told local press, saying that the groups simply requested that more than 3,000 already registered voters be put on the permanent early voter list. Not letting facts get in the way, Arpaio is marshaling "a grassroots army of VOTER FRAUD PREVENTION VOLUNTEERS." Grijalva tells HuffPost Hill his campaign is expecting and prepared for widespread voter intimidation. Yuma Sun with background: http://bit.ly/9NWs35

LARSON NOT RUNNING, YET - "As far as we're concerned, John Larson is planning to run for caucus chair," says a John Larson aide, responding to rumors that he might make a bid for minority leader if Dems lose the House and Pelosi steps aside. But if he does end up running, these early leaks aren't helping, since it's gotta be driving Pelosi nuts -- the person he'd need to win the race.

CHARLIE CRIST WILL CAUCUS WITH DEMS IF ELECTED - WSJ: "Florida Gov. Charlie Crist would caucus with Senate Democrats if he wins Florida's three-way U.S. Senate contest on Tuesday, a close advisor told Washington Wire Friday. That's a big 'if' Mr. Crist is trailing Republican candidate Marco Rubio in most polls. But the declaration by Florida trial lawyer John Morgan sheds light on one of the many mysteries in the Bill Clinton-Charlie Crist-Kendrick Meek imbroglio. 'Crist is going to caucus with the Democrats,' Mr. Morgan said. 'I don't think there's any ifs, ands or buts about it. It would be, in a very tight year, almost like a Democratic pickup in a solid Republican state.' Mr. Morgan says the question of whether Mr. Crist would side with Democrats had nothing to do with any purported deal under which Mr. Meek would quit the race. Crist spokesman Danny Kanner has denied that Mr. Crist had agreed to caucus with Senate Democrats as part of any deal with Mr. Clinton or Mr. Meek." http://bit.ly/bB0aDn

SENATORS RAISE AWARENESS OF DIRTY CANADIAN OIL - Its addiction to oil already alienating itself from its friends, we're worried that America is going to begin selling its roommate's stuff to get its fix. Reuters: "Nearly a dozen U.S. Senators on Friday raised questions about the need for a proposed $7 billion pipeline that they said will bring 'dirty oil' from Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries and significantly increase the country's reliance on fossil fuels. The lawmakers, 10 Democrats and one independent, said the State Department needs to answer several key questions before deciding whether to approve TransCanada's application to build the 2,000-mile Keystone XL pipeline. 'Approval of this pipeline will significantly increase our dependence on this oil for decades,' the senators said in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." http://reut.rs/a85ExG

SOCIAL SECURITY NOMINEES REVISITED - Yesterday, we reported that, by tradition, when a pair of Social Security trustees are nominated, the president defers to the minority party for one and generally defers to the Senate in the process, which led to Mitch McConnell putting privatizer Charles . A 2006 Robert Pear story reminds us that Bush broke that pattern, recess-appointing two candidates, over the objections of both Sens. Chuck Grassley (R) and Max Baucus (D). http://nyti.ms/awv7L9

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER Bank of America executive Rebecca Mairone, in response to calls for the federal government to put the nation's largest bank into receivership, boasted in a HuffPost blog entry that Bank of America has performed well under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program. "Bank of America has completed nearly 700,000 permanent modifications including more than 85,000 under the government's HAMP program -- the most of any servicer," wrote Mairone. Sure it has. But Treasury estimates that BofA has a pool of 375,168 potentially eligible delinquent loans -- way more than any other servicer. That means Bank of America has granted HAMP mods to about 21 percent of potential eligible borrowers. The other Big Four banks have done better: Citigroup has granted permanent modifications 44 percent of potentially eligible borrowers. For Wells Fargo, it's 37 percent, and for JPMorgan Chase it's 32 percent. http://huff.to/czlk1r

TODAY'S TERKEL TAKEDOWN - From Amanda Terkel: "Revere America is one of the biggest outside spenders this election season, dropping $2.5 million so far in an effort to 'repeal, reform and replace ObamaCare' and elect Republicans who believe in that cause. While it is a politically active nonprofit and therefore not required to disclose its donors, one of its major funders appears to be a Florida real estate developer. What's interesting about the involvement of this developer and major Republican donor, Parker Collier, is that her business interests lie in Florida, but Revere America is especially active in the Northeast, particularly in New York and New Hampshire House races." http://huff.to/968Vos

Sam Stein: "On February 5, 2008, a senior researcher for the RNC filed FOIA requests with the Defense Department looking for 'all correspondence to and from Senator Barack Obama from January 1, 2005 to the present.' On February 20, 2008, that same researcher, Bryant Adams, filed another FOIA requesting 'all correspondence to and from Senator Hillary Clinton from January 1, 2005 to the present...'"

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

HAWAII 5-DOH: ALOHA REP TAKES MONEY FROM BIRTHER - Leading House birther Bill Posey, whose bill to require the president to produce his birth certificate will likely gain a host of co*sponsors* conspirators in the next Congress, kicked in $1,000 to the campaign of Charles Djou, who is running to hold his Hawaii seat. Djou, trailing his Democratic opponent Colleen Hanabusa, doesn't exactly endear himself to Hawaii voters by associating himself with the movement that questions whether the president was actually born in the state Djou wants to continue representing in Congress. FEC: http://bit.ly/bE9fIj

CANTOR SAYS GOP MAJORITY WON'T SHUT DOWN GOVT, SORT OF - Simmi Aujla in Politico: "House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said a Republican House won't shut down the government even if President Barack Obama vetoes spending bills next year. 'I don't think this country is desirous of seeing a government that is shut down,' he told reporters on a conference call. 'People want to see a government that does what people expect it to do, which is to limit it in scope and reduce spending,' he said. 'It is my hope that the president lives up to his commitment when he says he's interested in cutting spending,' he said. 'The people expect leadership that will deliver results. People want to see results. They want to get back to work. And hopefully we can work to that end together,' he said." http://politi.co/dcwkHo

CRIST SPOKE TO WHITE HOUSE ABOUT ENCOURAGING MEEK TO DROP OUT - At this point we're half-expecting Kendrick Meek to come home one day to see Bill Clinton, Bill Nelson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and David Axelrod assembled in his living room, intervention-style. Shanne D'Aprile in The Hill: "Gov. Charlie Crist (I-Fla.) said Thursday he spoke directly with a top aide to former President Clinton about the possibility of Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) dropping out of Florida's Senate race and that he spoke to 'several people' at the White House about the possibility. Crist, who trails Republican Marco Rubio in Florida's three-way Senate contest, made the comments in an interview on Fox News with Greta Van Susteren." http://bit.ly/c38kPP

Bill Clinton: "Kendrick Meek is my close friend. I have supported his campaign from the beginning, though our relationship extends far beyond politics. We did talk last week following a rally in Orlando about the race and it's challenges. I didn't ask Kendrick to leave the race, nor did Kendrick say that he would. I told him that how he proceeds was his decision to make and that I would support him regardless."

LOSING THE HOUSE=BAD - A useful antidote to the flood of counter-intuition declaring a loss of the House a good thing for Obama. It's not. John Sides: http://bit.ly/9f8Jri

HUFFPOST HICCUP - Yesterday, we wrote that the P Street Project was leading the Hill effort to gather support for Net Neutrality. It was the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, P Street's papa.

UGLINESS, NOT AN APP FOR THAT - A guy with the email address mobilemavy@me.com, going by the name David Owens, sent the following note this morning to a Raul Grijalva staffer: "Looking forward to this Mexican greaseball getting defeated - Sent from my iPhone." He didn't respond to an email from HuffPost Hill. Details about him are sketchy, but he appears to be from L.A. and pontificates in many a comment section. One gem following a CBS News item: "I like the idea of 'reporters'-hacks-getting shot in the kneecaps." The CBS story: http://bit.ly/cSWipU

Philadelphia City Paper: "Pat Toomey Will Eat Your Brains and 66 Other Reasons Not to Vote for Him." http://bit.ly/ct5uyp

GDP RISES TWO PERCENT IN THIRD QUARTER - It's morning again in America. Today more men and women with MFAs than ever before in our country's history will rationalize their job at Barnes and Noble by noting that they work around books. With interest rates so low the Fed is putting out like a day-old divorcee at a singles bar, nearly 2,000 families today will buy condos near the airport for the first time, insisting that the "Hartsfield Tech Corridor" is poised to be the next post-college destination. This afternoon 6,500 young men and women will hastily marry, because their health plan doesn't cover a decent ortho tri-cyclen regimen, and with inflation puttering along like the Rascal Scooter their obese child will one day be relegated to, they can look forward with a deep sense of ennui to the future. It's morning again in America. WSJ: http://bit.ly/cXGoQn

@hambypCNN: Haley Barbour says Mary Taylor will be "the best looking Lieutenant Governor in America." Sorry, Andre Bauer.

MEG WHITMAN GETTING ALL OLD YELLER ABOUT HER ILLEGAL MAID - "It breaks my heart, but she should be deported because she forged documents, and she lied about her immigration status," Whitman said on Greta Van Susteren's show lat night. "And it breaks my heart. Gloria Allred pulled off a political stunt. And you know what? On November 3rd, no one's going to care about Nicky Diaz. But the law is the law, and we live in the rule of law. It's important." WaPo: http://wapo.st/dBNBLP

CARL PALADINO ON KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: SHE'S SCHUMER'S 'LITTLE GIRL' - In what is just barely the most sexist thing levied against Kirsten "sexiest member of Congress" Gillibrand this month, Paladino dismissively referred to the junior senator from New York at a campaign rally yesterday. "She does exactly what Schumer tells her to do," Paladino said at an Albany rally. "If that's the kind of government you want, well, she'll probably be very good. She follows in whatever he wants her to do, so she is his little girl." Paladino, known far and wide as an e-mailer with no regard for spam or parental filters, got this response from Gillibrand: "Mr. Paladino's campaign has been a disservice to New Yorkers. His divisive behavior and name calling is offensive to women and unacceptable in any circumstance." Celeste Katz in the Daily News: http://bit.ly/a5R5aS

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - And because we're not Playbook: An iguana farting in a bathtub. http://bit.ly/dsCId9

PATRIOTIC STATE REP ASKS THAT WE SUPPORT OUR TRUPPEN - We're going to power through the Rich Iott references and just tip our hats to Democratic North Carolina state Rep. Tim Spear for giving us this one on a silver platter: "A North Carolina legislator is apologizing after a campaign flier meant to tout his support for U.S. troops featured a photo of World War II re-enactors dressed as German soldiers. The political consulting firm that produced the campaign piece for Democratic state Rep. Tim Spear said Wednesday it is solely responsible for the mistake. The campaign planned to send the flier to about 10,000 homes in Spear's coastal district. It said the legislator is 'Covering Our Soldiers' Backs.' But the photo showed the backs of four advancing re-enactors dressed in German army uniforms." http://bit.ly/a2O8Tq

@romenesko: NPR ombud says she's received 22,769 e-mails about Juan Williams' firing. http://journ.us/cRBexE

READER E-MAILS WE ENJOY - Steven from New York: "I got Schumered in the ferry terminal. He shook my hand and smiled at me with all the warmth of a Siberian winter. It was ghastly. Maybe he and Mike McMahon were trick or treating? Spooooky. (but I will vote for McMahon on Tuesday). It occurs to me that these pols may be built in Stepford." Anonymous in Indiana: "Mike Pence's brother and sister-in-law own an antiques center at Exit 76 on Interstate 65, proudly displaying a huge "Pence for Congress" sign every two years. Several years ago when I stopped there, I noticed that the street running beside the center had a new sign. "Presidential Way" it proudly stated. I knew then that Mr. Pence had higher goals. When I stopped there a few weeks ago, the sign was gone; but, when I asked, I was told that the sign had been blown down but would be reinstated soon. Yep, the boy is indeed running." Thanks, Readers!

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Chillier than yesterday. Expect it to be in the 40s. It's not the night to wear shorts. Heavier coats/jackets recommended. Tomorrow: I guess that's the big question, isn't it? Have no worries. Most of America will be experiencing great weather, and D.C. will be no exception. It will be a bit warmer than today, but as Jon says, "bring a sweater in case it gets a bit chilly." That's the sane thing to do, after all. Will experience a bit of a drop-off heading into the winter. Sunday: A few more clouds, but will be very similar to tomorrow. Thanks, JB!

Weekend Baseball Weather: The World Series shifts to Arlington (Texas). Clear skies for games 3 and 4. Yeeee haw, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- A bunch of comedians and actors making HaHas while promoting the American Jewish World Services. http://bit.ly/b0BBhn

- New SNL cast member Vanessa Bayer once recorded an On Demand video personal. Here it is. http://bit.ly/aRIMbG

- We often forget that it's not just the Mortal Kombaters who are making a sacrifice. So are their families. http://bit.ly/bYxzHf

- We don't know who this person is (we didn't read the article) but we want them to be our next editor. http://gizmo.do/a6ISQs

- Unclear whether this dog is sleeping or connecting to the Matrix. http://bit.ly/9QQfhc

- Most badass child's Halloween costume we've seen...today. http://bzfd.it/b7XOuR

- Wait, no. This is. http://bit.ly/aDDeLL

TWITTERAMA

@samyoungman: wonder how many future candidates will one day have to explain the costumes they wear this weekend

@delrayser: So this time, the "suspicious packages" really are packages? Great, the terrorists have devised a new weapon... irony.

@brianbeutler: sad we've fallen so far out of touch with joran van der sloot. thanks for nothing, midterms.

THE TUBE

SUNDAY SHOWS

Meet the Press: Haley Barbour, Tim Kaine, Tom Brokaw, Charlie Cook, Mark Halperin, Michele Norris, Chuck Todd.

This Week: John Cornyn, Robert Menendez, Dick Armey, Donna Brazile, Cokie Roberts, George Will.

Face the Nation: Pete King, Tim Pawlenty, Amy Klobuchar, Ed Rendell.

State of the Union: Michael Steele, Dick Durbin, William Bennett, Bob Kerrey.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

8:00 pm: Margaret Cho brings her bag of tricks -- and satchel of HaHas -- to the Warner Theatre [Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

8:00 pm: Robert Randolph and the Family Band is the funkiest thing to hit U Street since we spilled our chili cheese fries in front of Solly's [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].

9:15 pm: Those of you looking for laughs in NoVa should head over to Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse where David Allen Grier is performing [Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike].

TOMORROW

10:00 am - 3:00 pm: Some rally is happening. Details are fuzzy [The Mall, we think].

7:30 pm & 9:30 pm: Daily Show co-creator and former lead writer Lizz Winstead performs [Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington].

SUNDAY

10:00 pm: Blonde Redhead bring D.C. a much-needed dose of acid-tinged fuzz rock, whatever that is. Pantha du Prince opens. [9:30 Club, 815 V Street].

MONDAY

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm: National Journal, in what surely must be their last relaunch event, hosts a bourbon tasting lead by Major Garrett. Oh man. [600 New Hampshire Avenue 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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