POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Guy Who Replaced Rahm Leaving

01/09/2012 06:23 pm ET | Updated Mar 10, 2012

A super PAC that supports child labor-friendly Newt Gingrich caused a stir when it labeled Mitt Romney an enemy of working people. If we analyze White House chiefs of staff using Rahmetrics, the outgoing Bill Daley is a dead fish *sender* and incoming CoS Jack Lew is a dead fish *receiver*. And what are Mitt Romney's favorite things? If we had to guess: raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings... AND FIRING PEOPLE. This is HuffPost Hill for Monday, January 9th, 2012:

WATCHDOG SAYS TREASURY NOT UPFRONT ON BAILOUT COSTS - The Government Accountability Office says the U.S. Treasury Department could be more upfront about the costs of the ongoing Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as the Wall Street bailout. "Although Treasury regularly reports on the cost of TARP programs and has enhanced such reporting over time, GAO's analysis of Treasury press releases about specific programs indicate that information about estimated lifetime costs and income are included only when programs are expected to result in lifetime income," GAO says. "For example, Treasury issued a press release for its bank investment programs, including [the Capital Purchase Program], and noted that the programs would result in lifetime income, or profit. However, press releases for investments in AIG, a program that is anticipated to result in a lifetime cost to Treasury, did not include program-specific cost information." In its response to the GAO, the Treasury Department promises to link to reports with the full info. The GAO doesn't mention it, but other watchdog reports have pointed out Treasury is similarly sneaky about the total number of homeowners helped by the anti-foreclosure programs that are part of the bailout. In its releases, the department trumpets the total number of mortgage modifications offered to homeowners without subtracting canceled mods. [GAO]

BILL DALEY, THE GERALD FORD OF CHIEFS OF STAFF, IS STEPPING DOWN - Daley is stepping down from his campaign fundraising position within the White House to take a fundraising position for the campaign itself. He'll be replaced by OMB Director Jack Lew. L.A. Times: "Daley gave his letter of resignation to the president in a private meeting in the Oval Office last week, recounting the administration's successes of his one year on the job and saying it was time for him to return to his hometown of Chicago. Obama plans to announce the change in leadership in a public event Monday afternoon. The official shift will take place at the end of the month, giving Lew time to complete the administration's budget proposal while Daley leads the team through the crafting of the State of the Union address due in two weeks. The choice of Lew puts a veteran staffer of the White House, Capitol Hill and State Department in a critical position at a difficult time for the president. Obama hopes he can work through tough budget and economic issues with Congress this year despite fierce opposition from Republicans in the GOP-led House. Having a strong team captain who can deal with lawmakers, staffers and business leaders is considered crucial to their strategy. But aides say Obama had faith in Daley to lead that effort, and that he had not been discussing making any changes prior to last week. Daley's letter took the president by surprise, said three officials familiar with the personnel discussions that followed. They requested anonymity to speak about the internal talks in advance of the public announcement." [LA Times]

Jen Bendery: "A senior administration official dismissed the idea that something specific was driving Daley out now, whether it be burnout or pressure from Democratic critics on Capitol Hill (see below for more here). Instead, this official suggested, it was a natural window to go if Daley had decided not to stay for another year on the job. Daley took the job almost exactly a year ago and originally said he planned to stay on for two years, but his decision to leave this month means he'll have been on the job for just over a year and that he leaves at the start of the 2012 election season."

"'No one in my administration has had to make more important decisions more quickly than Bill, and that's why I think this decision is difficult for me,' Obama said to a nearly empty State Dining Room, other than mainly the assembled media."

@froomkin: At Sen hearing, new WH CoS Jack Lew insisted that deregulation didn't lead to the financial crisis. is.gd/7DFmgT

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Alec Johnson of Delaware, Ohio paid close attention as Congress fought in December over a bill that would reauthorize the federal unemployment benefits he'd relied on for the past year. He was annoyed when he learned that even after all that fussing, whether his benefits continue is still up to a bunch of politicians. Turns out Ohio is one of several states where the local legislature needs to take action in order to keep the final 20 weeks of benefits, which for Johnson would kick in come February. He hopes they do because his job search hasn't been too good. "I've applied for lots of things, just recently came back with application to be a Taco Bell manager," Johnson, 59, said in an interview. He's spent his adult life working for progressive causes and would rather not have to fill out that application, but he'll do it if he must. "It just seems like a very poor use of my skills and abilities." According to the Labor Department, the following states will lose those final 20 weeks of "Extended Benefits" after Jan. 28 unless their general assemblies move: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

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

NEW HAMPSHIRE POLL: HUNTSMAN SURGES FROM 'EMBARRASSMENT' TO 'POOR SHOWING' - Jonmentum! Mark Blumenthal: "Four new polls released over the weekend continue to show Mitt Romney heading for a comfortable victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, with some uncertainty remaining about the ultimate size of that margin and the race for second through fifth place. All four polls show increasing support for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, with some suggesting that Huntsman might close in on Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) for second place... estimated Romney's support [is] between 35 and 41 percent of the likely primary voters. They also gave him leads over his nearest competitors ranging from 15 to 24 percentage points."... All four polls measured upticks of 3 to 4 percentage points for Huntsman, the one candidate showing late momentum, though the three most recent surveys still put Huntsman in third place behind Paul. The tracking polls also indicate no further gains for former Sen. Rick Santorumn (R-Pa.), whose support had increased significantly in the immediate aftermath of his virtual tie with Romney in the Iowa caucuses last week." [HuffPost]

Ehhh Mitt: "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me... You know, if someone doesn't give me a good service that I need, I want to say, 'I'm going to go get someone else to provide that service to me.'" [CBS News and YouTube]

Ahhh Mitt: "Things can always be taken out of context and I understand that that's what the Obama people will do...But as you know, I was speaking about insurance companies, and the need to be able to make a choice, and my comments entirely reflected that discussion, which is we should be able to choose the insurance company of our choice; we should not have to have one foisted upon us by the president and Obamacare." [LA Times]

Ooof "Rick Perry's campaign set up a fundraising website with a downloadable file of Romney's quote to be used as a ringtone. The site references Romney's time at Bain Capital when asking for donations."

Socialist Party ticket or buddy comedy? You decide.

DEMOCRATS TO EMPLOY OBAMA'S SIGNATURE 'CRAPPY OPPONENT' STRATEGY NATIONWIDE Right, Alan Keyes? Mike McAuliff: "Mitt Romney could help Democrats keep control of the Senate by sewing up the Republican presidential nomination quickly, some Democratic strategists hope. Chief among those are advisers to Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who is running to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Lugar and who sees a better shot at winning that Senate seat if the well-known Lugar loses a May primary to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a Tea Party candidate. A Donnelly campaign memo obtained by The Huffington Post notes that Lugar's job approval rating has hovered around 42 percent lately, making him vulnerable to a primary challenge. But being better organized and more established than Mourdock, Lugar likely retains the edge if the Indiana primary becomes a high-interest, high-turnout affair, pushed along by an ongoing presidential nomination contest. That's where Romney comes in, should he trounce his opponents in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary and ride the momentum through the next several states. By the time the later primaries occur, the presidential nomination contest could be all but over, leaving behind only those voters who care the most about electoral politics. They tend to be activists, and on the GOP side, they include Mourdock's Tea Party base." [HuffPost]

NEWT GINGRICH GETS HIS PITCHFORK ON - Winning our Future, the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC, has a new anti-Mitt Romney video out that accuses the former Massachusetts governor of pilfering the middle and working classes. "A group of corporate raiders led by Mitt Romney more ruthless than Wall Street. For tens of thousands of Americans, the suffering began when Mitt Romney came to town," the deep-voiced, "Nightline"-like narrator says. The documentary/advertisement features a number of normal folk opining on Romney. "'He's for small businesses'? No he isn't. He's--he's not." One woman contends. Her friend is alarmed: "You gonna be on a hit list! You know that." Oh, snap! [WaPo]

The typically anti-Mitt Club for Growth is miffed: "Newt Gingrich's attacks on Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital are disgusting. There are a number of issues for Mitt Romney's Republican opponents to attack him for, but attacking him for making investments in companies to create a profit for his investors is just wrong."

@HuffPostHill: But what of the tensions between Rahm and Bo? cc: @jodikantor

@jodikantor: Actually @jonathanalter says Rahm used to drop f-bombs at Bo the dog. The Promise, p. 150. cc @jbendery @HuffPostHill

NEVER become a politician: "A Smart Politics analysis of non-verbal communication patterns during Saturday's GOP presidential debate finds that Rick Santorum blinks at a rate of 61 times per minute while speaking, which is more than twice the average rate of the remaining five members in the field." [Political Wire]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Puppy eats a (very) light snack.

Actual headline today: "Elizabeth Warren Stands Outside Fenway, in the Cold, Shaking Hands": Mother Jones: "A little more than two years ago to the day, while locked in a tight race with Republican Scott Brown for the vacant Massachusetts Senate seat, Martha Coakley, the state attorney general, offered up the quote that no number of foreclosure fraud lawsuits will be able to wipe from her obituary. Asked about her hands-off campaign style, she pushed back: 'As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?'" [Mother Jones]

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- Canada proposes a solution to our pitiful political plight. [http://bit.ly/ykd2iO]

- A very creative Rube Goldberg machine. Ultimately pointless, like everything. [http://bit.ly/xuKX5y]

- The Shins' new album is coming out in March, but here's a sample track. [http://bit.ly/wkg8tg]

- Bees versus hornets: the battle for supremacy. [http://bit.ly/Avsn4p]

- Kitty is watching... waiting... biding its time. [http://bit.ly/yH22Jr]

- Send this primary elections primer to your family, so you don't have to explain the madness to them yourself. [http://bit.ly/Aevwnk]

- Five people play a pretty solid cover of "Somebody That I Used to Know" on a single guitar. [http://bit.ly/w1LEO2]

- "Rappers doing normal shit." [rappersdoingnormalshit.tumblr.com/]

TWITTERAMA

@DukeStJournal: In January? You're kidding. Somewhere, Al Gore must have ordered a cheeseburger. RT @kathrynlopez: I do believe it is snowing in #dc

@AndrewKroll: Left Nashua @MittRomney event to Rascal Flatts' version of "Life is a highway"; showed up at next event to same song. #fitn

@pourmecoffee: OMB Director position now open. Obama should appoint Hunstman. He fell for it once.

TONIGHT

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Newt Gingrich ruins a perfectly good night in Concord with a BCS championship party at the Draft. Patrons of the sports bar who want to avoid condescending questions from reporters should watch the game elsewhere. [67 South Main Street, Concord, NH]

All Week: It's winter DC Restaurant Week, seven days when the rest of Washington gets to eat like lobbyists do all year round. Celebrate by getting hammered and bribing a public official. [Click here for locations]

TOMORROW

6:00 pm - ??: All five GOP campaigns host election night parties in the same tiny area of Manchester. If you're still in New Hampshire, maybe pack your brass knuckles for this one. Brawls pretty much guaranteed. [Machester, N.H.]

7:30 pm: Angelina Jolie will make DC look pasty and fat at the premiere of her new flick "In The Land of Bread And Honey". Given that it's recess, expect to see congressional staffers in place of their invited bosses. [United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW]

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