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HUFFPOST HILL - Rick Perry Flies The (Especially) Friendly Skies

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Jon Huntsman has only raised $1,000 dollars in New Hampshire, which is roughly what other candidates save by not having to pay a sales tax there. The media has cast President Obama in such a negative light that you'd think he had participated in a Zuccotti Park drum circle. And Herman Cain's pizza-centric cover of "Imagine" is the worst food-based musical development since the Ohio Express thought "Yummy Yummy Yummy/I've got love in my tummy" was an acceptable chorus. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, October 17th, 2011:

RICK PERRY LIKES HIS PLANES LIKE HE LIKES HIS EVERYTHING ELSE: PRIVATE - Christina Wilkie: "Forms filed Saturday with the Federal Election Commission reveal that Perry's campaign spent $276,424.03 on private chartered jets during just six weeks from the August 13 launch of his campaign to the end of September. That figure is nearly nine times the $33,657.25 his campaign spent on commercial air travel during the same period. The sum also dwarfs the private jet spending of GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, who reported $135,083 in private jet expenses during the three months ending September 30. Another high-flyer, Michele Bachmann, spent over $130,000 with D.C.-area based Moby Dick Airways, Ltd. Perry has positioned himself as a belt-tightening fiscal conservative, and in his 2010 book Fed Up! he railed against lawmakers who 'see no problem with spending other people's money.'" [HuffPost]

ROMNEY'S CHRISTIAN FRIEND COMES TO HIS DEFENSE - Jon Ward: "A top evangelical Christian adviser to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Monday said he believes Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign may be intentionally injecting the issue of Romney’s Mormon faith into the Republican presidential primary. "' week ago I would have said there’s no way, I can’t conceive of a major candidate’s campaign intentionally using such tactics,' Mark DeMoss, an Atlanta-based public relations executive who works primarily with evangelical leaders and is an unpaid adviser to Romney, told The Huffington Post. 'It was inconceivable to me that that could be the case, just because I think it’s just not smart politically.' But Demoss said that the actions of Texas Baptist pastor Robert Jefress -- who first thrust the Mormon issue into the campaign 10 days ago -- have given him 'doubt' about whether the Perry campaign is as removed from attacks on Romney’s faith as it has tried to appear."

HITCHENS: "Unless he is to succeed in his dreary plan to borrow from the playbook of his pain-in-the-ass predecessor Michael Dukakis, and make this an election about 'competence not ideology,' he should be asked to defend and explain himself, and his voluntary membership in one of the most egregious groups operating on American soil." [Slate]

WHITE HOUSE PUSHING TEACHER, FIREFIGHTER AND POLICE FUNDING BILL - Now that the Republicans in the House won't allow an up-or-down vote on the American Jobs Act, Senate Democrats are retaliating by bringing up its most feel-good components for a vote. Harry Reid will bring up a section of the AJA that focuses on teacher, firefighter and police retention, probably because there's nothing in there about WW2 vets and their puppies. Jen Bendery: "Senate Democratic leaders have settled on which piece of President Barack Obama's jobs plan they want to move on first: $35 billion for state and local governments to rehire teachers, police and firefighters...In terms of timing, [White House Press Secretary Jay] Carney would only say he expects a Senate vote 'very soon' and that scheduling is up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Reid is holding a conference call on Monday afternoon to unveil The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, which Democrats say would keep 400,000 teachers and first responders on the job." Bendery adds, via Twitter, that "the $35B teacher aid bill would be paid for by 5 percent tax on millionaires." [HuffPost]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST WANTS YOU TO #OCCUPY THE WEST WING - HuffPost Hill's very own Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, currently #occupying the panic room inside his first panic room, wants to remind the unwashed liberal masses that some of the most Scrooge McDuck-y one-percenters actually work for the president. "To the Occupy Wall Street protesters: It's worse than you think," PSLGOPL writes. "Mark Patterson, Treasury CoS: Mr. Patterson was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs from 2004 to 2007, and a Managing Director from 2007 to April 2008. George W. Madison, General Counsel U.S. Department of the Treasury: Before joining the Department, Mr. Madison served at the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of TIAA-CREF and a member of its executive management team. Kim Wallace, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Legislative Affairs: Before coming to Treasury, Wallace was a Managing Director and head of the Washington Research Group at Barclays Capital. Jeff Goldstein, Under Secretary for Domestic Finance: Prior to joining the Treasury Department, Mr. Goldstein was Managing Director of Hellman & Friedman LLC and helped lead the firm's New York office. At the firm, he focused on investments in the financial sector. Timothy Massad, Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability: Prior to joining Treasury, Massad was a partner with the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York. He had a diverse corporate practice, with an emphasis on corporate finance, international transactions and representation of some of the firm's corporate clients." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From next to the dead tree in his backyard, Ernie Soto can see the big house where he used to live. It's perched on the side of a mountain overlooking Alamogordo, a town of 36,000 on the eastern edge of New Mexico's Tularosa Basin. In 2007 Soto moved downhill to a smaller house with his wife and son. They needed fewer rooms since their grown son and daughter had moved out, and Soto wanted to sell the big house and use the proceeds to start a mechanic business. He figured he'd be better off as an entrepreneur in case the economy worsened. Their downward mobility has continued, thanks to both mistakes and misfortune. "We just couldn't backpedal fast enough," he says. A guy moved into the bigger house in a rent-to-own situation, Soto says, but the guy died. Then Soto's daughter got sick. He gave up trying to start his business when financing fell through. Then he lost his job. And now he's fighting to keep the smaller house. Soto's congressman, Rep. Steve Pearce, also a conservative Republican, helped Soto apply for a federal loan program Pearce previously voted to repeal. [HuffPost]

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POLL: ROMNEY IN STATISTICAL DEAD HEAT WITH CAIN, REPUBLICANS DON'T WANT YOU TO HOLD THEM TO THAT - A CNN/ORC International survey released today finds the Republican primary field holding steady this week: Mitt Romney's got a statistically insignificant lead over Herman Cain, 26 percent to 25 percent. Rick Perry comes in third with 13 percent, Ron Paul at fourth with 9 percent and Newt Gingrich at fifth with eight percent. Only 33 percent of respondents say their mind is made up on whom to support. So don't be surprised if we're telling you in a month about how frontrunner Thad Cochran sincerely regrets some previous policy positions. Oh, then there's this: "Two thirds of all registered Republicans say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting next year, compared to less than half of all Democrats. In the 2008 election cycle, the Democrats were more enthusiastic that then GOPers, a major advantage that helped elect then Sen. Barack Obama." [CNN]

The makers of SimCity are lowering the game's price to $9.99 in honor of Herman Cain's tax plan, which may or may not have been lifted from its default settings. The company, Electronic Arts, has also released a parody video featuring the Republican field and President Obama rendered as The Sims avatars (President Obama combing Bo, Mitt Romney dancing with the ghost of that dog he tied to the roof of his car, etc). "The team behind the famous city management game are having fun with this possible connection and have created this video in good natured fun," the company said in a statement. [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

"One man running for president has suffered the most unrelentingly negative treatment of all, the [Pew Research] study found: Barack Obama. Though covered largely as president rather than a candidate, negative assessments of Obama have outweighed positive by a ratio of almost 4-1. Those assessments of the president have also been substantially more negative than positive every one of the 23 weeks studied. And in no week during these five months was more than 10% of the coverage about the president positive in tone." Pew has apparently been studying HuffPost Hill. [MoJo]

HUNTSMAN ONLY RAISED $1,000 IN NEW HAMPSHIRE - So despite all the press coverage and all the debate appearances and all the campaigning, Jon Huntsman has only raised $1,000 (!!!!!) in New Hampshire to date. "According to campaign finance data released this week, Huntsman has received just two donations from New Hampshire residents, totaling $1,000. One $500 donation was from James Conway of Hollis, whose occupation is listed as an investor in Dead Cat Investment Fund. The other $500 donation was from Peter S. Voss, a retiree from Sunapee." So, yeah, if you're looking for poetry, look no further than the 50 percent of his New Hampshire donations paid-for in part by "Dead Cat Investment Fund." [Salem Patch]

HIGH COURT TO RULE ON WHETHER LIVING, BREATHING CORPORATIONS CAN BE CHARGED WITH CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY - The Supreme Court today agreed to weigh whether Mitt Romney's favorite people, corporations, can be found guilty of human rights violations. Mike Sacks: "The case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, arises out of a suit by a dozen Nigerian plaintiffs claiming that Royal Dutch and two of its Shell Oil subsidiaries worked with the Nigerian government to torture and extrajudicially execute individuals protesting against the companies' oil exploration. The plaintiffs filed suit in United States district court under the Alien Tort Statute, which empowers the federal courts to hear cases by 'an alien' bringing a civil suit for wrongs committed 'in violation of the law of nations.' The first Congress passed the ATS into law in 1789. While the ATS indicates who can sue, it does not say who or what can be sued. In Kiobel, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals held, by a 2-1 vote, that only natural persons, and not corporations, may be held liable under the ATS. 'Corporate liability is not discernible' under the ATS, wrote the majority, because 'no corporation has ever been subject to any form of liability (whether civil or criminal) under the customary international law of human rights.'" [HuffPost]

It's good to be the king a duly-elected representative of Florida's Fourth Congressional District: "Tired of lousy customer service from your cable company or the airlines? Maybe you should run for Congress. Despite increasingly strict rules governing gifts for Members and administration officials, some companies still provide special customer service perks to lawmakers, staff and top officials in Washington, ranging from quicker response when the cable goes out to free parking at the airport." Tonight in Roll Call from Janie Lorber.

HERMAN CAIN'S MUSICAL COLLABORATION WITH JOHN LENNON IS LIKE A PARTY IN YOUR EARDRUMS - The weekend is over. Monday has come and gone. You're feeling a little down. It's alright. The Mondays is a DSM IV-recognized condition [Editor's note: No it isn't]. What you need right now is Herman Cain singing "Imagine" -- John Lennon's pacifist, atheistic anthem -- reconfigured as an ode to pizza. Cain gifted the world his visionary song craft at a 1991 Omaha Press Club meeting, but not before asking for a round of applause for the opening act (the "Godfather Girls" dancers), praising the freedoms Americans enjoy and donning a preacher's robes. "Imagine there's no pizza/I couldn't if I tried," he begins, "Eating only tacos/Or Kentucky Fried/Imagine only burgers/It's frightening and sad/You're lucky you have pizza/To feed for kids for you/Only frosting or cookies/And no dishes you must do/Imagine eating pizza/Each and every day". [Slate]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Dog plays fetch with itself.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORTTonight: Oh, it's beautiful. The crispness of the evening will be offset by somewhat clear, and a nice moonlight night. Sure, take a jacket, but make sure to enjoy the view. Tomorrow: Clear in the morning, but clouds and rain developing by afternoon and into the night. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- "The Walken Dead" mixes up "The Walking Dead" and Christopher Walken impressions. [http://bit.ly/pznfxC]

- Lionel Richie tea set wins the "Best 1980s Pop Culture Play On Words" award for today. [http://bit.ly/pj4nPQ]

- These ping-pong-playing robots will one day find ways to use their paddles for evil and rise up against us. [http://bit.ly/pj4nPQ]

- Some board games seamlessly lend themselves to movie adaptations, as this collection of mockup movie posters demonstrate. [http://bit.ly/q1TEpM]

- An overview of fictional TV children who only serve as props. [http://bit.ly/p0Xk88]

- Cat watches video of itself. Makes us think of that scene from Truman Show when Truman realizes he's been on TV the whole time. [http://bit.ly/nTYSbT]

- Patton Oswalt hilariously deconstructs religious arguments against social issues. [http://huff.to/oS6cAv]

- A collection of color photographs taken in Moscow in 1956. [http://bit.ly/qeFuep]

TWITTERAMA

@mark_bruno: Another One Bites the Crust #HermanCainPizzaJams

@daudig: Give Pizza Chance #HermanCainPizzaJam

@MattCover 8675999 #hermancainpizzajams

ON TAP

TOMORROW

8:30 am - 9:30 am: When we heard that Mitch McConnell will be the guest of honor at a breakfast fundraiser at law firm/lobbying shop Wiley Rein, we were reminded how much we want to hear McConnell -- with his Kentucky drawl -- recite "Green Eggs and Ham." Just think about the guy saying the lines "I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am." [Wiley Rein, 1776 K Street NW]

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: John Barrasso raises funds for his "Common Values" PAC at with a "Margarita HAPPY HOUR" (Yes, "Happy hour" is capped). What, exactly, are American "Common Values"? Discount beer? Is John Barrasso fundraising for discount beer?!? Vote Barrasso! [La Loma, 316 Massachusetts Ave NE]

6:30 pm: David Vitter -- and, hey, remember how that guy is STILL in Congress? -- is the man of the hour at a dinner fundraiser on Capitol Hill. Seriously, remember that time you entangled your entire company in a prostitution scandal and you kept your job? Good times. [11 D Street SE]

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Thad Cochran raises funds at a campaign function hosted by the American Trucking Association. Can you think of two things more socially different than Thad Cochran and truckers? Lisa Murkowski and quincinera caterers? [American Trucking Association, 430 First Street SE]

6:30 pm: John Thune rasies money for his "Heartland Values" PAC at Acadiana, a restaurant that describes itself as a "high-end downtown restaurant." Heartland! [Acadiana 901 New York Ave 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 Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

Filed by Eliot Nelson