POLITICS
12/21/2011 05:40 pm ET | Updated Feb 20, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - A Very Mark Foley Christmas


Much to our surprise, the drink named after Mitt Romney isn't two parts O'Doul's to one part 7-Up. Old Man Gingrich won't throw your Frisbee back if it lands in his yard, but it's an entirely different story if you toss a gay dude over his fence. And President Obama, accompanied by the press pool, went holiday shopping in Northern Virginia today. National Journal reports that Sasha has been a good girl this year and Santa is bringing her a Wii game for Christmas. Poor kid. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, December 21st, 2011:

MARK FOLEY HAS CHRISTMAS SUGGESTIONS FOR THE GOP FIELD - Really. "That in the spirit of the holidays, Romney accidentally drinks spiked egg nog and admits it. That in his new role as a Catholic, Newt Gingrich abstains from lecturing the baby Jesus that Bethlehem was an invented location. That someone tells Bachmann that Hanukkah isn't special bread you make French toast with. That someone explains to Rick Santorum that he doesn't actually have to pretend he lives in Iowa after the caucuses." [FLDemocracy2012.com]

DSCC OWN GOALS: DISTRIBUTES ENDEARING FOOTAGE OF GEORGE ALLEN BEING A NORMAL PERSON - Video surfaced this week of George Allen bantering with his staffers about a webcam townhall that had just wrapped. Everyone in the room thought the camera had been flicked off but it actually was still recording. "Did that one take?" Allen asks, a little miffed. A staffer replies that they were having server issues, which presumably was what necessitated the second take. "Reindeers in the server?" Allen jokes. "Elves?...Uh, God, torturous," he adds (again, jokingly). Allen comments on the "spontaneity" of the townhall and then yells "take three!!!" It's all very charming and even an emotionally impaired viewer can see that Allen is, in this instance, just a guy letting off steam after a tedious chore. The DSCC, however, isn't giving people the benefit of the doubt: It circulated a Blue Virginia blog post that accuses Allen of whining about the experience ("So George, if it's so painful for you to speak to Virginia voters, if you hate campaigning so much, why on earth are you running?"). Hey DSCC, as Jon Stewart would say, meet us at camera three: C'mon, guys, you're trying waaayyy too hard here. And, hey, you don't have to try that hard when it comes to George Allen. Good job as always, Democratic Party: you keep waiting around for the other side to screw up. [Blue Virginia]

HEH: www.NewtGingrich.com

Today we bid farewell to two HuffPost DC interns. You might know Tyler Kingkade as the guy who wrote "On Tap" for the last month or so, a task he handled admirably. Tyler also did a phenomenal job assisting our reporters and filing copy of his own, as did Jordan Howard, who also departs today. Both are quick around the base paths and can contribute in both the one or nine spots. Solid prospects. Outlets with openings should hit them up: tyler.kingkade@gmail.com and jhow311@gmail.com.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - It seems nobody has noticed that Democrats and Republicans completely agree about cutting 20 weeks of unemployment benefits. It'll happen automatically even if current programs are reauthorized without specific changes that nobody's talking about making. Benefits will stop as soon as January in many states. That means Cynthia Rogers of Minneapolis is out of luck whether Congress gets its act together before next year or not. Rogers received a letter last week telling her she'd be ineligible for benefits after the first week of January. Rogers, 55, has been drawing unemployment benefits since September 2010, after she lost her job as a registered nurse due to an injury. She'll likely miss out on the 13 additional weeks Minnesotans have received since 2008. "I'd be able to pay my medical premium for another month or two, and my car insurance and my rent," she said. "But I still need a job." She said she has already sold her house and is grateful her children are grown. She's applied for pet store jobs as well as nursing positions. She's planning to enroll in dog grooming school and launch a new career in Texas as soon as she can. "At age 55, no one wants to hire you," she said in an email. "So, unless a Christmas miracle happens, I am at the mercy of Congress and the Lord Himself. I place my trust in God, not Congress." [HuffPost]

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

OBAMA CALLS BOEHNER, WATCHES THE BREAKFAST CLUB AT THE SAME TIME TRIES TO REACH PAYROLL AGREEMENT - The Hill: "President Obama called Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday and urged him to allow a vote on the two-month payroll tax extension, calling it 'the only option' to ensure taxes don't go up. In a phone call made late Wednesday morning, Obama urged Boehner to take up the Senate's bill, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. In the call, Obama told the Speaker he was committed to working with Congress on extending the payroll tax for the entire year. He also reminded Boehner that 'the short-term bipartisan compromise passed by almost the entire Senate is the only option to ensure that middle-class families aren't hit with a tax hike in 10 days and gives both sides the time needed to work out a full-year solution,' according to a White House readout." [The Hill]

@StevenTDennis Are Ds forgetting Pelosi turned out lights, turned off mics & cameras in 2008 on Rs protesting for oil drilling?

GINGRICH STAYS TRUE TO HIS CAMPAIGN STRATEGY, FORSWEARS ENTIRE VOTING BLOC - On Tuesday, a self-identified gay voter accosted Newt Gingrich and asked the former House speaker to explain how he expects to dialogue with LGBT voters given his staunch anti-gay views. Gingrich -- uh, to his credit? -- said that wasn't possible, and that gay people who feel quite strongly about being gay should vote for President Obama. Maybe it's just us, but we don't think Newt will be filming an "It Gets Better" video anytime soon. ("Hello, I'm Newt Gingrich. I wanted to make this video to let you know that it gets better. Well, maybe -- honestly, it depends. Are you trying to get it better near me? Then no, it doesn't get better. But, if you'd like, you can get it better over *there*. You see? That area where I'm not? We cool?"). [WaPo]

Gingrich decamped to Virginia to -- get your WTFs ready -- get on the ballot. NYT: "He needs at least 10,000 signatures to get on Virginia's Republican presidential primary ballot, but the state has the steepest ballot requirements in the country. It is not clear how many signatures he has now. The signature-gathering exercise is where Mr. Gingrich's lack of field organization shows; Mitt Romney has been gathering signatures in the state since the summer and has met the goal." He really is the wisest candidate, y'know? [NYT]

THE 'STIFF ROMNEY' REQUIRES 30 TURNS AND AN ALMOND-STUFFED OLIVE - Thing in @Jbendery's inbox: "Nathan DeWitt, professional mixologist and bar manager for Mise en Place in Tampa, FL, has come up with a way to make the GOP debates more enjoyable: A drink for each candidate based on what makes them interesting...1. The Newt Gingrich Waffles 'N Pork Subsidy: 2 oz bacon-infused bourbon, 1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice, 1 bar-spoon Vermont maple syrup, 3 dashes Fee's Cherry Bitters, Cherry/Orange Slice | Stir bourbon, juice and syrup in an iced shaker until syrup is dissolved. Strain into a Collin's glass and add three dashes of cherry bitters and garnish with a cherry/orange flag. Decide whether or not you like the drink and then change your mind. Sell to those you principally oppose. 2. The Stiff Romney: 2 oz Tanqueray Gin, .75 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth, Almond-stuffed Olive | Add Gin and vermouth to an iced shaker and stir for at least 30 turns. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with an almond-stuffed olive. Drink enough to loosen up and relate to normal people." Thanks, Jen's Inbox!

OMG HE'S LIKE US - @jbendery: FWIW: Obama not on the Hill, says Dem leadership aide. WH "telling us he is not coming. We asked because reporters were asking us."...@KellyO: Gone shopping? Not ready for Christmas yet? President Obama left White House for a suburban shopping center... He is traveling with a full press "pool" and motorcade. Not a secret. I would not have posted if it were....The president told reporters at store with him, "this is for the girls."...The president also took First Dog Bo into a pet store that welcomes pets.

OMG PICTURES

ARIZONA REDISTRICTING AFFECTS AMERICA'S MOST BELOVED LAWMAKER, ALSO ITS MOST IRRITATING - John Celock: "Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) could face a tough fight to return to Washington after Arizona approved new congressional districts Tuesday night -- but so could two GOP incumbents. In a vote along party lines, Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission gave final approval to the congressional maps Tuesday, topping off a political soap opera that has consumed Phoenix and set off a constitutional crisis in Arizona. Commission Chairwoman Colleen Coyle Mathis, who was briefly removed by the state legislature at the behest of Gov. Jan Brewer (R) last month, sided with the commission's two Democratic members in approving the final map. Both Republican commissioners voted against the congressional map. The final map -- which increases the state's congressional delegation from eight to nine -- includes four Republican-leaning districts, two Democratic-leaning districts and three toss-up districts. All three toss-up districts have been drawn to include the homes of three incumbents: Reps. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Giffords." [HuffPost]

WE USUALLY DON'T GIVE A SHIT WHAT CELEBRITIES HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ANYTHING, BUT WE'LL GRANT MATT DAMON AN EXCEPTION - This mostly stems from the time he noted that people stop maturing the moment they become famous (think about it, it's totally true) and that tremendous Sarah Palin takedown in 2008. "I've talked to a lot of people who worked for Obama at the grassroots level. One of them said to me, 'Never again. I will never be fooled again by a politician,'" he told Elle magazine (during his We Bought A Zoo PR tour -- hey, no one is perfect). "You know, a one-term president with some balls who actually got stuff done would have been, in the long run of the country, much better." Damn. [HuffPost]

HIGH TECH: IPHONE GETS ITS OWN POT APP - Lucia Graves: "A new iPhone app will help medical marijuana advocates get involved in the fight against the federal crackdown on marijuana, and can even tell them where to locate businesses that support legalization of the drug. The app, launched on Wednesday by the largest medical marijuana advocacy group in the country, Americans for Safe Access, will serve as an information hub for long-time patients as well as political newcomers." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby gorilla and baby human attempt to transcend the Plexiglas that divides them. They fail... adorably.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: The big story is rain. Lots of rain over the next 36 hours, with only a hint of sun tomorrow. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- "I knew Christopher Hitchens better than you." [http://huff.to/rSjlin]

- "Occupy Wall Street: The LEGO set." [http://huff.to/q37txK]

- Lola the Dog would make a great drinking buddy. She totally feels you. [http://huff.to/ssAKJ0]

- "MARIO KART DUBSTEP" didn't have to exist. But exist it did. [http://huff.to/s6lWj1]

- Dubstep on the Great Wall of China also didn't have to exist. But exist it did. [http://huff.to/sHhQZt]

- FedEx delivery man is the honey badger of parcel haulage. [http://huff.to/ufrp3w]

- This is the seventy-first anniversary of F.Scott Fitzgerald's death (he died, naturally, while reading the Princeton Alumni Weekly and eating chocolate). Here's the wonderful PBS American Masters installment about FSF. [http://huff.to/rBpkgI]

- Baby is scared of Chilean nationalism. [http://huff.to/s8o3Av]

TWITTERAMA

@AlexMLeo: "Do you retweet your wife with that handle?" #modernizedprudishreactions

@attackerman: Charts are to bloggers what Autotune is to rappers.

@drgrist: Anyone expect we'll look back in 20 years and think, "wow, those mercury pollution laws were a big mistake"?

ON TAP
By @tylerkingkade

TONIGHT

4:00pm, 7:30pm: The Lincoln Theatre is showing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (the new one, not the Swedish ones). It might be the only time you buy movie tickets through Ticketmaster. [1215 U Street NW]

8:00pm: The Black Cat is going to be screening several South Park Christmas episodes for free. [1811 14th Street NW]

8:00pm: When you go to see "A John Waters Christmas," do The Creep, ahh, do The Creep. [140 W Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore]

TOMORROW

7:00pm - 9:00pm: The Greater Washington Fashion Chamber Of Commerce has a party to raise money for DC fashion, so we can spread horn-rimmed glasses, tweed jackets, and City Sports t-shirts around. [1525 Wisconsin Ave NW]

Evening: The Source has a special holiday Peking duck dinner served with a 15-layer carrot cake for $49 a pop. [575 Pennsylvania 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

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