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HUFFPOST HILL - Hollywood Hero Eric Cantor Cuttin' Deals At Spago

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George Allen loves ALL of Virginia, except that part in the north where the yuppies congregate at the Barnes and Noble, Starbucks and Tandoori Nights Indian restaurant. President Obama took a break today from being the guy who hired Larry Summers so he could compare himself to Teddy Roosevelt. And Eric Cantor has developed a niche following in Hollywood, so if you haven't already registered the "Actors Who Can Portray Eric Cantor In His Biopic" Tumblr, what are you waiting for? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, December 6th, 2011:

YOU KNOW THE SAYING: HOLLYWOOD IS WASHINGTON FOR ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE...AND ERIC CANTOR - Hi-yooo! From Jonathan Strong's forthcoming Roll Call article, "Cantor Quietly Finds Success in Hollywood." "Politically, Hollywood is known for glitzy fundraisers for Democrats, like Steven Spielberg and David Geffen headlining events with hundreds of A-list celebrities to benefit President Barack Obama, or Michael Eisner's famously lucrative backing of former Sen. Bill Bradley in the 2000 Democratic presidential primary. But over the last decade, a prominent Republican, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, has made a play for financial and other support there, tapping into a network of secretive conservatives and finding quiet success. 'Eric has been really incredibly attentive and has a deep personal interest in better understanding this industry,' said Craig Haffner, an Emmy award-winning television writer and producer. 'I know that there are plenty of friends here which is why I try to come here and say, 'listen, we need your help.' There's no better place for someone interested in selling ideas than this town. This is where the professionals are,' Cantor told PJTV in an obscure 2009 interview. Haffner is a member of "Friends of Abe," a network of Hollywood conservatives organized by CSI: NY star Gary Sinise."

Eric Cantor strongly resembles Egon Spengler from the Ghostbusters movies.

MANLEY, FRANKEN JAM - A friend of HuffPost Hill who keeps our kind of company tells us former former-lefty-now-corporate-guy Jim Manley was at Friday night's Dark Star Orchestra concert in Washington. Dark Star, if you aren't fluent in 1970s backwash, is the most famous Grateful Dead cover band around and recreates entire Dead shows note for note. Introducing the band for the second set? United States Senator Al Franken. Hey Al, isn't that breaking some copyright law or something? Manley, Reid's former top flack, tells us the band played a setlist from October 8, 1989 at Hampton Coliseum." Manley "was hoping for some early dead, say circa 1972, but it was good." Thanks, Jim! [Video evidence]

GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN OBAMA AND PARTY THAT DOESN'T WANTS THEM TO EXIST, AFSCME BRAVELY CHOOSES OBAMA - First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. / Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I am a member of No Labels, etc. Sam Stein: "The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees formally endorsed President Barack Obama's reelection on Tuesday, beginning an extensive and expensive process to, in part, shore up the president's support among white working class voters. AFSCME officials said they're looking to spend more on the 2012 elections than the $93 million spent in 2010, hinting that the figure would top $100 million. The early plans, according to those officials, are to capitalize on the politics of the moment -- centered on the issue of income inequality and propelled by important victories for union workers in Ohio and Wisconsin -- and undertake one of the more comprehensive field operations in election history." [HuffPost]

OCCUPY OUR HOMES - Bobby Hull is scheduled to be evicted from his Minneapolis house in February, but he won't leave without a fuss. He's invited 100 people from the local version of the Occupy Wall Street movement on Tuesday to protest his foreclosure. Hull said he doesn't know if the attention will help him win back his home, which Bank of America sold at a sheriff's sale in August, but he considers the effort worthwhile no matter what. "If I lose it, I lose it. But I might be able to open the door for somebody else," Hull told HuffPost. "It might inspire somebody else to stand up and say, 'Yeah, you're right, what the banks are doing is wrong.'" [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Today's Downer is brought to you by the Government Accountability Office. It's about vacant homes. "According to Census Bureau data, nonseasonal vacant properties have increased 51 percent nationally from nearly 7 million in 2000 to 10 million in April 2010, with 10 states seeing increases of 70 percent or more. High foreclosure rates have contributed to the additional vacancies." Empty homes burden neighborhoods: "Vacant and unattended residential properties can attract crime, cause blight, and pose a threat to public safety." [GAO]

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RNC CONFERENCE CALL: VOTERS MIGHT SYMPATHIZE WITH CHARISMATIC FAMILY MAN - Yahoo News: "Republicans on a private Republican National Committee conference call with allies warned Tuesday that party surrogates should refrain from personal attacks against President Barack Obama, because such a strategy is too hazardous for the GOP. 'We're hesitant to jump on board with heavy attacks' personally against President Obama, Nicholas Thompson, the vice president of Tarrance Group, a Republican polling firm, said on the call. 'There's a lot of people who feel sorry for him.' Recent polling data indicates that while the president still suffers significantly low job approval ratings, voters still give "high approval" to Obama personally, Thompson said. Voters 'don't think he's an evil man who's out to change the United States' for the worse--even though many of the same survey respondents agree that his policies have harmed the country, Thompson said. The upshot, Thompson stressed, is that Republicans should 'exercise some caution' when talking about the president personally. On the call--which Yahoo News was invited to attend because of a mistake by someone on the staff of the Republican National Committee--Thompson noted that Obama may be boxed in by similarly strong personal approval numbers for Republican lawmakers as he ponders attacking the GOP House majority during the 2012 campaign." [Yahoo News]

Somewhere, a bunch of unfinished "WHERE IS THE LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIF---" signs are sticking out of a trashcan.

TRUST BUSTER...ER...NUDGER: OBAMA DELIVERS VERY LONG SPEECH, PROMPTS NATIONAL CONVERSATION ABOUT ECONOMIC INEQUALITY - And, not unlike the recession that inspired it, President Obama's speech dragged on much longer than it should have. Both Fox and MSNBC carried the address, and the two networks' coverage couldn't have been any more different. Shorter MSNBC Chyron: "Obama: America is pretty gosh darn great." Shorter Fox Chyron: "Obama: TAXES... NEW DEAL... NEW WORLD ORDER... BOO!" Fox cut out early to a Michele Bachmann interview. U.S. News: "Adopting the populist tone of Theodore Roosevelt, Obama said the middle class is at a 'make or break moment' during a speech today in Osawatomie, Kansas, where in 1910, Roosevelt called for a 'new nationalism' that would end corporate greed...Obama criticized a 'crowd in Washington' who stands by the idea that the market can operate without regulation and blamed Republicans in Congress for not confirming a consumer watchdog, Richard Cordray, to protect the American public's interests. He also said he'd veto any effort to 'delay, defund or dismantle" banking regulations that have been put in place.'" [U.S. News]

@SaraLibby: "Gingrich, as a football-playing youth, had such a big head that he couldn't wear a regulation-size helmet." bit.ly/tIrJ95

George Allen is back, and trying really hard not to offend anybody. In a WaPo puff piece (WaPuff?) today, George Allen and his Dem opponent Tim Kaine are asked innocuous personal questions. Allen's answer to his "favorite place in Virginia" is a gem: "Anywhere in Virginia with my family, especially if there are mountains, rivers or beaches." Our first reaction was that this is possibly the most non-offensive politician-y generality we've ever encountered. But, wait, what is the ONLY part of Virginia that doesn't neatly fit this description? God-forsaken Northern Virginia! Yeah, okay, the Potomac runs through there, but we don't think that's what Allen meant. So NOVA residents, prepare to be bombarded by Kaine radio spots ("George Allen says he loves Northern Virginia, but George has NEVER even visited a Cheesecake Factory! Tim Kaine loves Northern Virginia and its families. Tim Kaine For Virginia: Security. Family. Whole Foods.").

GOP REALIZES IT'S BEEN A WHILE SINCE IT HAD A GOOD OL' FASHION JUDGE FILIBUSTERIN' - AP: " Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked President Barack Obama's nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, partly as payback for the Democrats' past opposition to Republican nominees. Republicans portrayed Caitlin Halligan as a liberal activist, while Democrats argued she had outstanding qualifications for the seat that has been vacant since John Roberts was elevated to the Supreme Court. The vote was 54-45, short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules to break a filibuster. Halligan is general counsel in the Manhattan district attorney's office and formerly was the New York State solicitor general...Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said 'there is a lot at stake with nominations to this (D.C. Circuit) court' because its judges have frequently been considered -- and elevated -- to the Supreme Court. Halligan is 44." [AP]

White House not happy: "I am deeply disappointed that a minority of the United States Senate has blocked the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ms. Halligan has the experience, integrity, and judgment to serve with distinction on this court, and she has broad bipartisan support from the legal and law enforcement communities. But today, her nomination fell victim to the Republican pattern of obstructionism that puts party ahead of country. Today's vote dramatically lowers the bar used to justify a filibuster, which had required 'extraordinary circumstances.' The only extraordinary things about Ms. Halligan are her qualifications and her intellect."

Mitch McConnell: "Ms. Halligan has time and again sought to push her own views over and above those of the courts or those of the people, as reflected in the law. Ms. Halligan's record strongly suggests that she wouldn't view a seat on the U.S. Appeals Court as an opportunity to adjudicate, even-handedly, disputes between parties based on the law, but instead as an opportunity to put her thumb on the scale in favor of whatever individual or group or cause she happens to believe in."

UPPER NORTHWEST WASHINGTON #SELFPARODY - "A lunch that will live in infamy? That's what at least one parent at elite Sidwell Friends... wondered upon seeing what the school cafeteria listed as its 'Pearl Harbor Day' menu Wednesday: A heavily Japanese-inspired lineup, including teriyaki chicken and edamame (as well as more generically Asian delicacies like tofu, fried rice, fortune cookies and 'oriental noodle salad'). A school rep told us this was just a fluke ---not a meal intended to commemorate the 1941 Japanese attack on U.S. forces: The contractor that prepares school lunches randomly assigned an Asian menu to Dec. 7, and the subcontractor that prints the calendars automatically marked Wednesday at Pearl Harbor Day. 'It was completely coincidental,' said Ellis Turner, associate head of the school." [WaPo]

Jason Linkins weighs in: "Believe us...when we INTEND to commemorate the 1941 Japanese attack on U.S. forces, you'll know."

BLUNT OFFICIALLY CHALLENGING LEE FOR GOP LEADERSHIP SPOT - Do you think this will end with nasty messages scribbled on the wall of the GOP cloakroom's walls? Also, on a totally unrelated point, does anyone know when the Senate Republican cloakroom is empty and unguarded? Anyhoo, Roll Call: "Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) is running for Republican Conference vice chairman, setting up a head-to-head contest for the No. 5 leadership position with Sen. Ron Johnson(Wis.), who announced his candidacy weeks ago...Blunt, who serves on Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-Ariz.) Whip team, has been quietly exploring a bid for Conference vice chairman since Sen.Lamar Alexander's (Tenn.) decision to step down as Conference chairman caused a shake-up in the GOP leadership team. Blunt previously served as House Majority Whip and, briefly, as House Majority Leader. Johnson, after announcing his bid for Conference vice chairman, unveiled a slate of about 10 endorsements, including from stalwart conservatives such as Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Marco Rubio(Fla.), another freshman elected in 2010. However, it is unlikely an experienced leadership hand like Blunt would run if he didn't think he could corral votes." [Roll Call]

"Strange Bongfellows? Newt Gingrich and Marijuana"

DEAR SANTA: PLEASE BRING ME HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MEMORABILIA - Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is trying to pay down its debt with a "fire sale of campaign memorabilia like posters, buttons, t-shirts and a DVD 'with Hillary's historic speech at the 2008 Denver convention, the inspiring video that introduced her, and President Clinton's speech -- some of which are signed by President Clinton himself.'" WOWOWOWOW [Politico]

RICK SANTORUM REALLY PLAYS TO HIS STRENGTHS - "Jason Kornelis, a 23-year-old recent graduate of Dordt College, asked the former Pennsylvania senator about his anti-same sex marriage stance comparing it to when interracial marriage was illegal in this country. Clearly agitated, Santorum seemed astounded when Kornelis said he couldn't contemplate how this would 'be a hit to faith and family in America. 'You can't think of any consequence?' Santorum asked. Kornelis answered that he did not. Santorum then said that if same sex marriage was legalized then 'their sexual activity' would be seen as 'equal' to heterosexual relationships and it would be taught in schools. 'Really- wow- um okay, well let's see if we can have a discussion. We can flesh out some, well, let's look at what's going to be taught in our schools because now we have same sex couples being the same and their sexual activity being seen as equal and being affirmed by society as heterosexual couples and their activity,' Santorum said." Never change, Rick! [ABC News]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - "Civil Disobedience Dog" protests quadrupedal movement, or something. [http://bit.ly/tlh1s3]

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT -Quick! Look up! What's that, you ask? It's rain. Lovely rain. It's something that's going to happen for the next -- oh, 48 hours or so. I'd love to say there's some good news for tomorrow, but no. Just more rain. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Well, this picture of Mark Zuckerberg holding a dead chicken exists... [http://huff.to/t69Phf]

- Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is hypnotic and kind of beautiful. Meanwhile, traffic in DC continues to be ugly and awful. [http://bit.ly/ugBrsi]

- The sun is rising on the new digital age, but these old electronics don't care. [http://bit.ly/uAX2e9]

- A bunch of awkward, mostly homoerotic, moments these bros think you should know about. [http://bit.ly/vLl03O]

- "Cat People vs. Dog People: An Actual Study" [http://huff.to/uHvSZq]

- First-person video of a LSU cheerleader during a football game. It's...dizzying. [http://huff.to/uvdt1c]

TWITTERAMA

@FakeJimVandeHei: Tweeps, looking for an intern. Responsibilities include playing "All Of The Lights" from shoulder mounted boombox whenever I enter a room

@HotlineReid: Not naming names, but apparently to older people from Pennsylvania, TMI means Three Mile Island, not too much information.

@TheInDecider: Obama said, "This isn't about class warfare. This is about the nation's welfare." See? Obama wants us all on welfare!

ON TAP
By @tylerkingkade

TONIGHT

5:00pm - 6:30pm: Niki Tsongas, Democrat from Massachusetts, wants you to bring a few thousand bucks for her to Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough LLP. [101 Constitution Ave NW 9th Floor]

5:00pm - 6:30pm: Bruce Braley will have specialty holiday cocktails at the COB. [201 Massachusetts Ave NE]

Oh, and #HuffPostHillfail: John Boehner lights the Capitol Christmas tree TONIGHT, he did not do that last night, as we said in yesterday's newsletter. In the spirit of the holidays and the War on Christmas, we hope you forgive us. The lighting is at 5:00pm tonight. [West Lawn, US Capitol]

5:30pm - 7:00pm: Sonoma will serve as the spot for Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger's holiday wine tasting. [223 Pennsylvania Ave SE]

5:30 - 7:30pm: House Dems jump in line to raise money for Committee for Hispanic Causes Bold PAC tonight. Cornerstone Government Affairs will host Ruben Hinojosa, Xavier Becerra, Nydia Velazquez, Grace Napolitano, Henry Cuellar, Raul Grijalva, Silvestre Reyes, Rep. Ed Pastor, Albio Sires, Jose Serrano, Luis Gutierrez, Dennis Cardoza, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Jim Costa, Charlie Gonzalez, Joe Baca, Ben Ray Lujan, Pedro Pierluisi (PR) and Gregorio Sablan.

6:00pm - 7:30pm: Steny Hoyer, Donald Payne and Donna Marie Christensen help Charlie Rangel raise money a half block from Freedom Plaza, where both Occupy DC and Occupy Washington DC are camping out. [555 13th Street NW, Suite 400]

6:00pm - 8:00pm: Mark Warner is hosting a Bluegrass & BBQ Bash, yee-haw! At Hill Country BBQ. [410 7th Street NW]

TOMORROW

8:00am - 9:00am: Barney Frank may be retiring, but that's no reason why you shouldn't still give $1,000 to the Barney Frank for Congress Committee! [15 E Street NW]

8:00am - 9:00am: Dems are keeping busy with fundraising this week; James Clyburn hosting a breakfast cash grab for Bridge PAC. [101 Constitution Ave. NW Suite 500 West]

8:30am - 9:30am: We could go for some pancakes with Vermont maple syrup. Not sure if it's worth paying a few thousand bucks at the Liason Hotel with Patrick Leahy though. 415 New Jersey Avenue, NW]

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Filed by Eliot Nelson
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