Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - President Takes Over As Chief Republican Appeaser

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President Obama joked about robots taking control of the government in a speech that apparently had nothing to do with Mitt Romney. In the bowling lane that is the free market economy, Senator Ron Johnson had the proprietor install moral hazard gutter bumpers. And the drippy hippie House Republicans took a break from practicing human chains and making pacifist seashell art so they could condemn war. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, June 24th, 2011:

PRESIDENT TO MEET WITH SENATE LEADERS ON DEBT TALKS - A day after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that he was leaving the debt ceiling negotiations, the White House announced that President Obama will meet separately with Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell on Monday in an attempt to resolve the current impasse. The move suggests that the White House is stepping into the fray and taking control of the negotiations. We don't know how, but this can only end with President Obama somehow giving up on the public option a fifth time.

@ariannahuff: With Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo and Michelle Kwan at Special Olympics in Athens http://yfrog.com/kjl8ucj

NEW YORK LAWMAKERS BREAK GAY MARRIAGE IMPASSE, VOTE LIKELY TONIGHT - Andrew Cuomo and leaders from both parties in the New York legislature have reportedly reached an agreement over the contentious issue of whether religious institutions will be required to recognize same-sex marriages in the state. The current framework would exempt such institutions from having to acknowledge same-sex marriage and the new language would have to be voted on again by the Assembly. [NYT]

Chatter suggests that it may very well pass: @JoshRobin: wow RT @leslie_mayes: RT @TUCapCon: Confirmed; "The bills will come out," on #samesexmarriage, Sen. Carl Marcellino says. Tonight.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS JUST WANT TO GIVE PEACE A CHANCE - House Republicans today collectively stuck a flower into the barrel of our war-crazy president's rifle. The lower chamber attempted to send a message to President Obama by voting on two bills aimed at curtailing the U.S.'s war military involvement in decision to fire ammunition in the vicinity of Libya. The first bill, providing congressional authorization of the campaign, was defeated 123 to 295 with Republicans voting overwhelmingly against the measure, 8 to 225. Democrats mostly voted in favor, 115 to 70. The second measure, which defunds the mission, was narrowly defeated, 180-238, a surprise result that undermined Speaker John Boehner and mitigates the political damage the votes will inflict on the White House. Only 144 Republicans and 36 Democrats voted for the defunding bill. Did we dream the Iraq war debate? [AP]

ENORMOUS SHOCK: SOROS RAINS MONEY ON DEMS - Our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist said in yesterday's newsletter that he suspected hedge fund billionaire George Soros was funnelling money to Democratic super PACs. In today's Politico, Ken Vogel delivers the goods: "In an encouraging sign for Democrats hoping to counter big-money conservative groups and their impact on the 2012 campaign, a host of wealthy liberals -- including billionaire financier George Soros -- contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to a new Democratic group supporting House candidates that aired ads in last month’s special election in New York." Says PSLGOPL: "I didn't predict it. I knew it." You win again, PSLGOPL! [Politico]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Being the subject of a story about unemployment can really suck. Kathryn Treadway of Goldsboro, N.C., who did yard work for her state representative for one hour before quitting, did not enjoy receiving nasty emails or reading the biting comments readers made on the stories she was featured in. "People just anonymously tell you that you suck and you're a lazy bum. I was physically unable to do what he was asking me," she said. "I was totally humiliated. It was not cool at all." [HuffPost]

DELANEY DELIGHT! Paul Mann, profiled in the Dec. 6 DDD, reports that after sending out something like a thousand resumes, he scored a job as a national sales manager for a small manufacturing company. He'd lost his job as a product and business development manager nearly an entire year ago. "It's a crazy market out there," he said. "It's not easy. I was lucky." [HuffPost]

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WAS RON JOHNSON'S CAMPAIGN BANKROLLED ENTIRELY BY HIS OLD COMPANY? - You know you're rich when you can call a mulligan ... with money. The Journal-Sentinel's Daniel Bice reports that freshman Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson received $10 million in deferred compensation from Pacur, the plastics company he ran, shortly before being sworn into the upper chamber. The total cost of Johnson's self-financed campaign was -- wouldn't you know it -- just under $9 million. OK, a forgiving person might say, maybe that's just what executive compensation is at that company? Sorry, forgiving person, although he wasn't salaried by Pacur, records show that Johnson earned no more than $2.3 million annually from corporate earnings and other revenue sources tangentially related to the company from 2005 to 2008. OK, forgiving person retorts, he's not at Pacur anymore, so maybe the company's executives were just being nice? Wrong again, forgiving person, Johnson HIMSELF set the $10 million figure. Uh-oh. "You take a look in terms of what would be a reasonable compensation package, OK?" a clearly annoyed Johnson told the Journal-Sentinel. "It's a private business. I've complied with all the disclosure laws, and I don't have to explain it any further to someone like you." [Journal-Sentinel]

TIM PAWLENTY POSTS DISMAL FUNDRAISING NUMBERS - Tim Pawlenty's ongoing quest to be the next secretary of transportation continues unabated. The former Minnesota governor's campaign is expected to announce that it only raised about $5 million in April and May. To put that in perspective, Mitt Romney's campaign raised $10 million ... in one day, and Ron Paul raises twice that online when he sneezes. [HuffPost's Jon Ward]

The sign outside of Anthony Weiner's office has a typo. The plaque now reads "OFFICE OF THE NINETH DISTRICT OF NEW YORK". A shame, really, as the previous occupant could have warned the person who drafted the words about the dangers of writing with one hand.

RICK PERRY ADVISER DENIES 2012 DECISION - The Texas governor's top political aide, Dave Carney, pushed back on reports that his boss had decided on a 2012 White House bid. However, as Jon Ward notes, Tim Pawlenty's anemic fundraising totals might further incentivize Perry to jump in. "This is all a figment of people's imaginations," Carney said. "We haven't had a serious sit-down conversation about it yet." Then he got a little "billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia"-y. "All this talk is crazy, to think that you would do this and run your family and your reputation through this Cuisinart blender, just because a few people are cheering you on." Carney added that Perry will huddle with his aides next week tot decide on whether to run and that a decision is still "weeks away". [HuffPost's Jon Ward]

More background on just who Rick Perry is, from the Dallas Morning News: "Gov. Rick Perry’s veto of a statewide ban on texting while driving is unprecedented, bucking a national trend that has seen most states enact such laws." perry 4 prez: b/c ths tyrnical govt has 2 B dfeatd!

AMERICAN CROSSROADS PLANS MASSIVE 2012 SPENDING SPREE - Dan Froomkin and Paul Blumenthal: "The leaders of two behemoth Karl Rove-associated unlimited donation campaign fundraising groups on Friday promised to spend $120 million against Democrats in the 2012 election cycle, much of it in the form of attack ads. At the same time, the leaders of American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies (GPS) tried to cast themselves as underdogs to a Democratic apparatus they predicted will spend $2 billion between now and November 2012. They spoke at a breakfast briefing with reporters organized by the Christian Science Monitor. 'We're going to have $2 billion spent in the suspension of reality'" said American Crossroads chairman Mike Duncan." [HuffPost]

American Crossroads is fighting accusations that it secretly favors Mitt Romney's nomination. Carl Forti, an adviser to the organization, was the political director for Romney '08 and is currently on the board of Restore Our Future, the super PAC which aims to elect the former Massachusetts governor president. Moreover, both Forti and spokesperson Jonathan Collegio made public statements this week praising Romney as a formidable candidate. As such, questions have been raised about the group's impartiality. Crossroads Chairman Mike Duncan today cried poppycock, insisting that Crossroads "will not be involved in the Republican presidential primary." [Politico]

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That Sarah Palin documentary you've probably heard about will premiere next week in the Pella Operah House in Pella, Iowa. "The Undefeated" traces the former Alaska governor's rise from mayor of Wasilla to vice presidential candidate to her current position as, um, er, uh, you know, whatever it is she does now. The filmmaker wanted to screen the film at the farm where Field of Dreams was shot but, he told ABC News, "they just don't do these things." Hey, there's always the What's Eating Gilbert Grape? farmhouse? [ABC News]

Oh, and then we got this press release quoting the Opera's chairman, Larry Peterson : "For over 100 years [The Pella Opera House] has served as a symbol that has exemplified American values and continuation of our city's Dutch heritage." Dutch??? This is an AMERICAN documentary, goddamnit.

JOKING ABOUT THE OVERTHROW OF OUR SOCIETY BY SELF-AWARE ROBOTS IS NOT A LAUGHING MATTER, MR. PRESIDENT - "I just met with folks from some cutting-edge companies and saw some of their inventions here in your National Robotics Engineering Center. But that's not the only reason I'm here. You might not know this, but one of my responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief is to keep an eye on robots. (Laughter.) And I'm pleased to report that the robots you manufacture here seem peaceful -- (laughter) -- at least for now." [Post-Gazette]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Truck Nutz but for, you know, kids. [http://huff.to/iAmR1b]

Have you read Fran Dresher's op-ed in The Hill?

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT Tonight: Some rain popping up around the area, but mostly isolated showers. It shouldn't put a damper on more than 20-30 minutes on your evening. It's the cold front moving through, bringing much cooler weather on Saturday. Highs in the low-to-mid 80s tomorrow, with some cloud cover keeping the heat down. Sunday: A lot less humid, like Saturday, but a bit warmer. Your best bet of the weekend. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- French postcards from 1910 imagining what life would be like in the year 2000. [http://huff.to/mIqukV]

- British postcards, these from 1969, featuring famous Britons through the decades. Retro goodness. [http://huff.to/mcowDQ]

- Like a 21st century tuxedo shirt, this shirt that can convert sound into electricity will blow your mind, if not the minds of the ladies. [http://bit.ly/l6veua]

- An Antarctic penguin made its way to New Zealand...some [http://bit.ly/msn9zf]

- The Boston Bruins spent $156,000 in Foxwoods Casino... in one night. Here's a friendly infographic to tell you how that happens. [http://huff.to/jOZodq]

- Some striking vintage Olympics posters. [http://on.vh1.com/jyD6yp]

- South Boston residents react to the arrest of Whitey Bulger. It's everything you'd think it will be. [http://huff.to/maR5bj]

- A really bizarre motorcycle accident. Behold, the beauty of motorcycle dance. [http://huff.to/l5yfPC]

TWITTERAMA

@mikemadden: Exact same number of recent @wcp visitors arrived by searching for "Michelle Rhee" as for "biggest penis."

@fredthompson: DC bar now serving a giant 48-ounce cocktail. One of these, and Obama's economic policies start sounding like they might actually work

@delrayser: Are your ears bleeding? Would you like for them to be? Here's a video of Michaele Salahi "singing." tbd.ly/lU3dYU

ON TAP

Tonight, 8:00 pm: A group that bills itself as "The Worlds #1 Michael Jackson Tribute Band" is playing 9:30 Club tonight. That they're playing 9:30 club and not Velvet Lounge at eight on a Tuesday would seem to support that claim [9:39 Club, 815 V Street NW].

Tomorrow, 8:00 pm: Heavy alt-rockers Dinosaur Jr. perform at 9:30 Club. For those of you unfamiliar with the group, think of Dinosaur Jr. as My Bloody Valentine but with less fuzz [9:30 Club, 8:!5 V Street NW].

Today - Sunday: Ben Cardin takes his donor on a golf retreat weekend. Why do they always golf? People like other stuff, too, y'know. A bird watching weekend could be lovely. [The Inn at Perry Cabin & Harbourtown Golf Course, 308 Watkins Lane, St. Michaels, MD]

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Filed by Eliot Nelson