POLITICS
01/12/2012 05:33 pm ET Updated Mar 13, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - For The First Time In Her Life, Michelle Obama Is Proud To Be On Twitter


Rick Perry might not win the Republican nomination, but at least he has a six-foot tall Chia Pet bust of his head to fall back on (literally, we suppose). Republican staffers on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee know that "FIRE HOT" -- it's part of their job description -- but somehow they're just now learning that fire can BURN. And, thanks to a totally inane post by the Times' public editor, someone will soon hand Jill Abramson a memo titled, "Reporting the Truth: Pros And Cons." All the Flack Email Blasts That Are Fit to Print! This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 12th, 2012:

PELOSI TO OBAMA: PLEASE SAY WHAT WE ALL KNOW YOU'RE THINKING - Jen Bendery: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a vocal proponent of same-sex marriage, is nudging Obama to come around on the issue already. In a February cover story with The Advocate, a national gay and lesbian news magazine, Pelosi declined to give specifics on conversations she may have had with Obama on the issue. Instead, she said she has been focused on pressing the Democratic National Committee to fund efforts to reject state-level anti-marriage ballot measures. 'There are more ways to get your voice heard than just speaking,' she said. Pelosi added, 'But I hope the president would just say he supports equality in marriage.' The issue has been an awkward one for the White House, which regularly deflects questions on the matter by pointing to Obama's track record on gay rights outside of same-sex marriage." [HuffPost]

@aburnspolitico: West Virginia has a fever, and the only prescription is - more John Raese bit.ly/zqzDLk

Rick Santorum knows what the people like: "On Monday night, I presented Sean Hannity with an official Rick Santorum for President sweater vest and said that everyone who goes to our website and donates $100 or more could get their own sweater vest. As a result, hundreds of people have requested one [of] my signature vests. I think it is a real testament to our supporters' commitment to our cause, and I want to thank everyone who has shown their support in this fun way. If you would like your own vest, it's not too late, just follow this link to donate $100 or more." [HuffPost's South Carolina Live Blog]

YOU'RE WELCOME, LITTLE MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUNKS - In August, Mike McAuliff and HuffPost Hill reported that Reps. Peter Visclosky (R-Ind.) and Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) were cheating Montgomery County schools by claiming the area as their principle residents, taking advantage of a tax credit they didn't deserve. Visclosky's local paper followed up on it, which probably explains why he has now cut a check to the country government for roughly $10,000, which includes interest. Send finder's fee to Tune Inn/care of HuffPost Hill, please. [HuffPost]

Michelle Obama is now telling your kids how to live via Twitter.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The Labor Department's weekly unemployment claims report is an epic, post-holiday downer today. Claims rose to 399,000, just kissing the 400,000 threshold for continued economic doom and gloom, after claims had fallen for weeks. Ooops! [Da Government]

DOUBLE DOWNER - Republican lawmakers in South Carolina want unemployed people to prove they're not on drugs to qualify for unemployment insurance. And they want the long-term jobless to volunteer part-time to continue receiving benefits.
Proposals to drug test poor and unemployed people have ricocheted from state to state over the past year, even landing in the U.S. House of Representatives. The South Carolina proposals, taken together, thus far represent the strictest measures targeting unemployed people. [HuffPost]

JOB APPLICANT VENGEANCE - The average business-to-customer firm loses up to $28 million from rejected job applicants unhappy with the interview process, according to a Corporate Executive Board survey of 3,000 people who looked for job in the last year. Eighteen percent of candidates surveyed said they'd stop using a firm's products or services because they were pissed about their interviews. Boo-yah, HR.

Old MoveOn Guy Beating Blue Dog In Illinois Primary - Pass the popcorn. Buttered, please. Lynn Sweet: "In the north suburban Illinois Tenth House Democratic primary contest, a new poll taken by a group backing [BOLD AWESOME PROGRESSIVE] Ilya Sheyman shows Sheyman ahead by two points of [DIRTBAG BLUE DOG DEMOCRAT] Brad Schneider but in a statistical tie." "Democratic primary voters overwhelmingly want a bold progressive candidate who will fight for Wall Street accountability and government investment in jobs -- not a conservative Democrat like Brad Schneider," Neil Sroka, spokesman for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, backing Sheyman, said in a statement. [Sun-Times]

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

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES MAKE SHOCKING DISCOVERY: REPUBLICANS LIKE CAPITALISM, ALL FORMS OF IT, EVEN AS IT CRUSHES THEM - The recent decision by most of the GOP field to call for the international proletariat to cast off its shackles of oppression and throw its bodies on the assembly line is ... well ... backfiring. National Journal: "The full-throated attacks on Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital by his rivals for the GOP nomination may be backfiring. Texas Gov. Rick Perry discovered that the hard way on Thursday when a former fundraiser and key supporter said the attacks crossed the line and switched to the Romney camp. 'I think his attacks on Bain are just inappropriate and not part of what the Republican Party should be standing for,' said Barry Wynn, a former Republican state chairman in South Carolina and an investment fund executive who had been helping Perry. 'If you throw hatchets, you're going to get some in the back occasionally,' Wynn said in an interview with National Journal/CBS News." [National Journal]

Thanks to the internet, you, too can have Callista Gingrich's hair.

Mitt Romney is finally breaking the 25 percent barrier. On that note, if Romney changes his official campaign slogan to "Restoring America's Greatness, One Plurality At A Time," we will vote for him, no questions asked. Mark Blumenthal: "Over the past week, Mitt Romney's support in the Gallup Daily national tracking poll on the Republican nomination rose above 30 percent for the first time. Gallup's most recent update on Thursday gives Romney 34 percent of the vote and a better than 2-to-1 lead over Rick Santorum (15 percent), Newt Gingrich (14 percent), Ron Paul (13 percent) and the rest of the Republican field...Now, however, with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary over, the national polls are worth watching closely. An examination of the national primary polls in recent elections shows that the month following the Iowa and New Hampshire contests is critical. That month is when voters make up their minds, often decisively shifting their support to previously lesser-known candidates who have emerged as winners in Iowa or New Hampshire. As a recent Gallup analysis shows, the leader after the New Hampshire primary usually wins the nomination. In short, January is the month when the party decides." [HuffPost]

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT LAWYERS: OUR BOSS IS ACTING LEGALLY - Keep up the good work, gang! "President Obama's decision to issue recent recess appointments is constitutional, the Justice Department said in a legal memo released Thursday that the White House sought as a way to bolster the move. Obama issued recess appointments last week for Richard Cordray to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and for three nominees to serve on the National Labor Relations Board. The move angered congressional Republicans who called the appointments an unprecedented presidential power grab. But Obama's appointments were legal, DOJ said, because recent pro-forma sessions by the U.S. Senate -- some lasting just a few seconds -- didn't constitute legitimate sessions that could block a recess appointment." [WaPo]

This website featuring Eric Cantor in a beret happened.

REP. JERRY LEWIS, THE PELE OF PORK, RETIRING - When he walks out of the House for the last time, do you think he'll turn to his favorite lobbyist, say "Hey, kid. Catch." and throw his tie at him? We would like to see that. "Lewis, 77, is the former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He made his mark in Congress by steering hundreds of millions of federal dollars over the years to a congressional district that includes portions of San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The Justice Department investigated whether Lewis improperly steered federal projects to clients of friends and a former colleague, but it closed its investigation in 2010 without taking any further action. Lewis had hoped the DOJ's decision would help him retain the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee when Republicans retained control of the House, but he lost that bid last year. First elected to Congress in 1978, Lewis has served in Congress longer than any Republican in California history." 'O CAPTAIN! my Captain! your appropriating is done; The ship weather'd every ethics inquiry, the prize you sought is won ::Sob:: [AP]

FYI, we endorse all things Kinky Friedman: @timothypmurphy: Here's Kinky Friedman trimming an Easter Island-sized Rick Perry Chia Pet. bit.ly/Az2WtA

@GroverNorquist: Breaking News: OnionNews exposes my secret life: onion.com/yIrp7B

GODDAMMIT, HILL STAFFERS - The vibe one sometimes gets at Cap Lounge, explained. "Boise resident Lynnette Hamm told the Washington Post earlier this week she was upset to find out Congressional staffers in the nation's capital have an annual office pool on how many acres wildland fire will consume each summer. Lynnette's son, 24-year-old Caleb Hamm, died last summer while working on a Bureau of Land Management hot shot crew battling a fire in Midland, Texas. The Post reports that the pool was run by Republican staffers on the House and Senate energy and appropriations committees that oversee federal firefighting operations, and was done -- since 2003 -- because some politicians are frustrated with how the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies fight wildfire." [Idaho Statesman]

GODDAMMIT, SCOTT WALKER - "A poorly-placed billboard touting Gov. Scott Walker's (R-Wisc.) job creation record has been removed, Wisconsin Radio Network reported Thursday. The billboard, which featured a picture of Walker next to the text 'Creating Jobs for Wisconsin,' was placed in front of a General Motors factory in Janesville, Wisconsin that shuttered in 2008. Thousands of workers at the factory and GM suppliers lost their jobs when the 86-year-old factory closed, and the ripple effects were estimated to cost a total of 10,000 jobs in the area." [HuffPost]

This really upset the oxpeckers: "I'm looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about. ... Is that the prevailing view? And if so, how can The Times do this in a way that is objective and fair? Is it possible to be objective and fair when the reporter is choosing to correct one fact over another?" [The New York Times]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Humans aren't the only ones to enjoy sledding on plastic saucers. This guy doesn't even have to worry about falling.

"THE LONELINESS OF THE PRO FORMA PRESIDING OFFICER" - Touche, Roll Call. Touche. "Though the sessions, which can last as little as 30 seconds, are not exactly time consuming, they tend to come during weeks when the rest of official Washington is gone, making the job a lonely one. The August recess and the days around Christmas are particularly unpopular times to occupy the Capitol, but a few lawmakers, often those whose districts are close to D.C., have volunteered...Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) has been a standout, (briefly) wielding the Speaker's gavel for pro forma sessions at least six times since June, when the House GOP began mimicking a strategy first devised by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) during the George W. Bush administration to block recess appointments." [Roll Call]

COMFORT FOOD
With @bradjshannon

- You'd be amazed at some of the movies/TV shows that have referenced the "napalm in the morning" line from Apocalypse Now (Spoiler: Tiny Toons). [http://huff.to/xf4DgB]

- This is where our economy is... [http://huff.to/xJjXtf]

- A huge surf break in super slow motion. Suuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrfs Uuuuuuuuppppppp. [http://bit.ly/zy16gA]

- North Dakota's attempt to Las Vegas-ize itself is every bit as awkward and misguided as you'd expect. [http://huff.to/xSwgTZ]

- Why is this guy walking backw--OH! [http://bit.ly/yViCjN]

- In preparation for his role in Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro actually got a taxi license. Here it is... [http://huff.to/xBKuzH]

- BBC continues to shoot nature footage so beautiful that you'll think it's fake. [http://bit.ly/wYml21]

- The trailer for Wes Anderson's next movie, Moonrise Kingdom, is out. Extremely Wes Anderson-y. [http://bit.ly/xAVRXv]

TWITTERAMA

@KagroX: Rene Descartes acquired by NYT. Asks, "should I think?"

@mmcauliff: Newt's new campaign song by Pink Floyd: bit.ly/wNUP3r

@dceiver: "I read the Weekender for it's Truth Vigilante section."

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

6:30 pm - If you can't wait for the PBS Bill Clinton biopic next month, just keep your pants on, because there's a sneak preview at the National Press Club. [Holeman Lounge, 14th and F Streets NW]

6:30 pm - If you're chillin' in NYC for recess, swing by Lady Lynn DeRothschild's party for Jon Huntsman at her sweet pad. No, don't do that. Terrible idea. "Release the hounds!" [435 East 52nd Street, New York]

7:00 pm - Author Jodi Kantor discusses "The Obamas" , while the entire White House flails around trying to discredit it. [Sixth and Eye Street Synagogue, 600 I Street NW]

TOMORROW

7:00 pm - The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum hosts the 27th annual Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Program. The venue is a little miseading - the party's nowhere near Anacostia. #DC [National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW]

All weekend - Saxby Chambliss hosts his annual golf getaway weekend in sunny Palm Beach, where he shacks up at the ultra-luxury Breakers Hotel and pretends to ignore the 9.9% unemployment back home in Georgia. [Palm Beach, Florida]

All weekend - Golf with Saxby Chambliss not your cup of tea? How about goose hunting with Collin Peterson? The Minnesota Dem flies south for the winter weekend to shoot Texas-sized geese. [Eagle Lake, Texas]

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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