Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Republicans Gather In Den Of Sin To Debate Moral Issues

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President Obama can better relate to the experiences of average Americans now that the people in charge of his bus lost his luggage. In a serious blow to America's pulp producers, Herman Cain is artificially propping up sales of his new book. And, in keeping with a tradition as American as apple pie, seven politicians vying to be the most powerful person in the land will gather at a giant Renaissance castle in the desert and incessantly repeat the number nine. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, October 18th, 2011:

GOP DEBATE IN VEGAS TONIGHT - In no particular order, here are some things to be mindful of: 1. It's going to be a 2.95126654 x 10^94 kind of night (that's nine multiplied by itself 99 times, get it???). 2. Michele Bachmann will likely renew/recycle her "999 is just 666 upside down" attack on Herman Cain's tax plan, because a single-digit sales tax is an instrument of Satan. 3. Rick Perry has taken a laser-sighted pistol to his poll numbers, thanks in large part to his poor debate performances. Unless he spends the entire debate carving a bust of Ronald Reagan from a block of Iowa-produced butter, or he straps a convicted serial killer to a chair and injects him with potassium chloride right there on the stage (or both?), he might be toast. 4. Mitt Romney has mostly avoided stray rounds from the circular firing squad that is the rest of the field. That might change tonight. 5. Brace yourself for a series of awkward, Vegas-centric quips from the moderators and pre/post game talking heads ("Romney sure did roll snake eyes with that joke about the audience participant's birth mark," "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, except for Michele Bachmann's assertion that anchor baby tears are a leading cause of hepatitis B", etc). 6. Rick Santorum said recently that single mothers should get married so they stop caring about politics and voting Democrat (see below). We hope someone brings this up. 7. Odds of the audience booing single mothers: 12-1. 8. A Heritage staffer, here for the conservative conference organized around the debate, has a suggestion for the audience that he shared with HuffPost Hill: "Don't boo. Don't cheer. JUST SHUT UP!". 10. If a graphic of a slot machine coming up "9-9-9" does not appear in the next 24 hours, we have truly matured as a people. [HuffPost]

DARELL ISSA WILL TAKE THIS INVESTIGATION FROM HERE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH - Roll Call's Jonathan Strong: "House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton had been quietly investigating a loan guarantee to the now-bankrupt solar panel company Solyndra since February, reviewing tens of thousands of pages of documents and carefully plotting the roll-out of some of the more damaging revelations. But when the headlines started hitting in late summer, the Michigan Republican soon had company. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) requested internal White House communications about Solyndra a little more than two weeks before Upton and a subcommittee chairman on his panel requested essentially the same thing, and Democrats close to the Obama administration were surprised that Issa had jumped into the fray a full seven months after Energy and Commerce started investigating."

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Older workers are unemployed and they have no money, according to the Government Accountability Office. "While the recession has affected all age groups, older adults -- particularly those close to or in retirement -- may face a greater burden because they may not have the same opportunities to recover from its effects. For example, older adults -- generally those 55 and older -- may have insufficient time to rebuild their depleted retirement savings due to sharp declines in financial markets and home equity, and they may experience increased medical costs." And so on. Bernie Sanders rapped about the GAO report during a class warfare hearing today. [GAO]

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MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGNS AGAINST FORECLOSURE RELIEF IN EMPTYHOUSEISTAN - Moneyed individual Willard Romney thought it was a good idea to appear in one of the few places where people actually like him and basically show up at their door with the local sheriff. During an interview with the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Romney argued against foreclosure relief legislation. This is odd because roughly fifty percent of Nevada's landmass is taken up by abandoned McMansions. "Don't try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom," Romney said when asked what he would do to jump-start the floundering housing market," he said. "Allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up," he continued. "The Obama administration has slow walked the foreclosure process ... that has long existed and as a result we still have a foreclosure overhang." [HuffPost's Zach Carter]

ORIGINAL OBAMA BUNDLERS SITTING THIS ONE OUT - Mike McAuliff: "President Obama's campaign may have just passed its one millionth donor for the 2012 season, but one portion of his 2008 fundraising class remains notably absent: the majority of his original big-dollar bundlers. Of about 189 bundlers who hauled in over $200,000 each for Obama's first campaign, some 108 have not returned to the ranks of his top money team, a review of Obama's latest 'volunteer fundraiser' list finds. It's a continuation of a trend noted in reports on Obama's finance numbers in the previous quarter, including one write-up that found Obama's original idealistic buck rakers fleeing the 'machine' they see his campaign becoming for this election. Still, Team Obama notes that it has more than replaced bundlers it lost from the last election cycle, including scores of power-brokers whose roots go deep in Democratic politics, with many veterans of the Clinton political ATM. And they argue that other new voters and donors are rapidly engaging with the still-new 2012 push." [HuffPost]

CAIN USED CAMPAIGN FUNDS TO BUY HIS BOOK - Bloomberg's Jonathan Salant and Joshua Green combed through FEC records and found that Herman Cain funneled tens of thousands of campaign dollars to his private endeavors, including purchasing copies of his own book from his motivational speaking company. "Although his autobiography was published by a division of Simon & Schuster Inc., Cain paid Stockbridge, Georgia-based T.H.E New Voice Inc. $36,511 for books. His campaign spent $4 million through Sept. 30, including more than $64,000 paid to his motivational speaking company for airfare, lodging and supplies, as well as the books." Cain tells the financial news service that the purchases were perfectly legal, given that the books and supplies are being bought at market value. Still, it's unlikely that university libraries will be buying "This is Herman Cain!" in bulk, so why didn't Cain buy them from Amazon and boost his sales ranking? [Bloomberg]

Romney is getting in on the fun, according to the latest financial disclosure reports for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. "From July 1 to Sept. 30, the former Massachusetts governor paid more than $2.15 million in fees to SJZ LLC, a financial consulting firm that manages the campaign's fundraising efforts nationwide. JZ LLC was founded by Spencer Zwick, the national finance director for Romney's 2008 campaign and Romney's son Tagg's current business partner at the private equity firm Solamere Capital. That's on top of the more than $666,000 the campaign paid SJZ LLC in the second quarter of the campaign, and the nearly $1 million it received from Romney's Free and Strong America political action committee. (It's worth noting that SJZ has done political work for other campaigns in the past. Between March 2009 and January 2011, for example, it was paid $1.4 million by Meg Whitman's failed gubernatorial campaign in California.) [HuffPost's Sam Stein]

RICK SANTORUM PLAYS YENTA FOR SINGLE MOMS EVERYWHERE - Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match/find me a find/reduce my dependency on government social programs. Love that song! During a radio appearance last week, Rick Santorum -- just about the only guy in the Republican field who hasn't enjoyed an "eh, why the hell not"-style poll bump -- blamed Democratic popularity on welfare moms who burn through government resources when they should really be out finding a man. "Look at the political base of the Democratic Party: It is single mothers who run a household," he told Family Research Council's Tony Perkins. "Why? Because it's so tough economically that they look to the government for help and therefore they're going to vote. So if you want to reduce the Democratic advantage, what you want to do is build two parent families, you eliminate that desire for government." You heard him, ladies: Stop trying to feed your kids and go improve America's moral standing by finding a nice breadwinner for yourself. [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]

We did it! "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said Tuesday his agency deported nearly 400,000 individuals during the fiscal year 2011 that just ended in September. Morton announced the numbers in Washington, saying they were the largest in the agency's history." [AP]

iSi se puede!

Donald Rumsfeld is raising money for Allen West. Watch the throne! Jen Bendery: "Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will be a 'special guest' at a fundraiser for Tea Party-backed Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) next week in Washington, D.C. A flyer distributed by West's reelection campaign prominently displays Rumsfeld's name -- in font larger than even West's name -- as the feature guest at a $500-per-plate breakfast on Oct. 27 at Capitol Decisions Inc, on Capitol Hill. In addition to forking over $500 to attend, Rumsfeld is also offering West supporters an incentive to pay the host-level price of $2,500: Anyone who does so will get a free, signed copy of Rumsfeld's latest book, 'Known and Unknown.'" [HuffPost]

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S TELEPROMPTER STOLEN, RATTLING EXECUTIVE BRANCH - A truck accompanying the president's three-day bus tour was stolen this week, briefly depriving President Obama of the Teleprompter that influences his agenda so much it would probably be Senate-confirmable if it had a heartbeat. The truck was later recovered, sparing the Obama administration an uncomfortable discussion about the 25th Amendment. "No classified or sensitive information was in the vehicle," the Defense Information System Agency (that's a thing?) said in a statement. "We take incidents such as this very seriously, and a formal investigation is continuing in coordination with relevant law enforcement agencies." The markets were up this morning, despite the news. [Fox News]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Child completely loses it the first time he plays Angry Birds. [http://huff.to/nfvTxe]

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - It'll be cooler, with more clouds and light rain. Not delightful, but not miserable either, as long as you can deal with a few drops here and there. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Keeping Fit: A 1919 guide on health and well-being for young men. The section titled "The Spirited Horse and the Sex Impulse" is especially ... confusing. [http://huff.to/pIQpHY]

- Haunted house patrons caught on camera at the most hilariously terrifying moment. [http://huff.to/mRUJUU]

- The guy who dressed up like the Pixar lamp didn't have to dress up like the Pixar lamp. But he did, anyway. Good for that guy (or gal, excuse us). [http://huff.to/ptsc9a]

- A hotel worker in Rhode Island quit his job by leading a marching band into the employee entrance and playing at full blast. [http://huff.to/o4BBd1]

- For only $90,000 to $100,000 you can be the proud owner of a Back to the Future-style DeLorean. [http://huff.to/qxRV75]

A group of Apple fanatics in Munich created a portrait of Steve Jobs on the facade of their local Apple store using only Post-it notes. [http://huff.to/mQAomt]

- Israeli scientists found a way to "lock" objects in space using quantum physics or magnets or witchcraft or something. Whatever it is, it's pretty incredible. [http://huff.to/prMSC5]

- "A man in Florida tried the taco trick, handing one over to officers after he was asked for I.D." [http://huff.to/qXGRBR]

TWITTERAMA

@StephenAtHome: McDonald's is launching its own in-store TV channel. I can't wait to watch "Hamburgling, She Wrote."

@KellyO: Can you hear me now? Obama meets young woman in NC , takes her phone to speak to grandmother "Your granddaughter needs a new cell phone."

@amandacarpenter: Shovel ready! MT @toddstarnes: Guy tells POTUS he's in the funeral home business. POTUS replied, "Fantastic. That's important work."

ON TAP

TONIGHT

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 quinciniera caterers? [American Trucking Association, 430 First Street SE]

6:30 pm: John Thune raises 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]

TOMORROW

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm: CQ Roll Call hosts its annual Fall Graduate School Fair. Want to flee this horrendous job market for a few years? Have some money? Or maybe you don't have money and never want to have any ever again? Graduate school! [Columbus Club, Union Station]

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Scott Brown takes a break from playing the "do her, do her, do her, not her, do her" game in his head (and out loud, on the radio) to coax some money from his contributors. [The Dubliner, 520 N. Capitol Street NW]

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Tim Kaine, he of the permanently electrostatic hair, passes the hat for his Senate campaign. [The home of Frank White]

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Filed by Eliot Nelson