POLITICS
01/25/2012 06:32 pm ET | Updated Mar 26, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Newt Going Home: Proposes Moon Base


Tim Geithner will continue his knockout work for the banks during President Obama's second term, just in an office with a better view of Manhattan. The morning after President Obama failed to mention Gabby Giffords in his address, she quit Congress. And Newt Gingrich vowed to build a base on the moon by the end of end of his first term. Just remember, Newt: In space, no one can hear you pander. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, January 25th, 2012:

THAT'S ONE SMALL SPEECH FOR NEWT, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR HIS CHANCES IN FLORIDA - Politico: "Newt Gingrich took the opportunity of being on Florida's space coast to revisit one of his favorite topics: space exploration. 'By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,' Gingrich said to applause. He said the development would include commercial and private efforts, and will make apparent, 'we clearly have the capacity that Chinese and the Russians will never come anywhere close to us.'...He also said launch areas should be capable of launching multiple spacecrafts in a day, like an airport. 'Does that mean I'm visionary? You betcha,' he said." [Politico]

Did Mitt Romney pay a zero percent tax rate in 2009? That's what David Shuster, filling in for Keith Olbermann on Countdown on Current tonight, is planning to report. It's the 8:00 hour and it's channel 107 on Comcast, 192 on FIOS and 358 on DirecTV.

GEITHNER INFORMS NATION THAT HE WILL LIKELY DROP THE MIC AT SOME POINT - The Treasury secretary to Bloomberg: "He's not going to ask me to stay on, I'm pretty confident. I'm confident he'll be president. But I'm also confident he's going to have the privilege of having another secretary of the Treasury...Something else for me." [Bloomberg]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Anna Staver: "Virginia Republicans are the latest to advance drug testing for the poor and jobless as a half-dozen bills requiring the needy and unemployed to prove they're not on drugs move through the state legislature.More than 30 states in the past year have considered legislation to require drug tests for welfare recipients, and several have also targeted unemployment claimants. Virginia State Sen. Richard Black (R), a supporter of drug testing, told HuffPost he's not surprised by the surge of interest. 'Frankly, I think the use of drugs for some people is the reason they are unemployed,' Black said. 'I don't believe that taxpayers have an obligation to pay for recreational drug use ... And I think if a person has the money to pay for illicit drugs, then they have the money to support themselves.'" [HuffPost]

UPSIDE DOWNER - One of the eight Floridians who told Mitt Romney about hard times this week said the former Massachusetts governor showed genuine compassion. "I felt that he felt our pain," Richard Wood of Bradenton, Fla. said in an interview. "I think he was concerned about what's going on." Not enough concern, apparently, to win Wood's vote. "I'm not decided yet," he said. "I like Santorum. We share the same values, but I don't think he really has a shot ... Newt Gingrich, I like his fire. I've always thought he was brilliant. I think it would be some interesting debates if it were him against the president." [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 SOMEHOW WINS AUDIENCE WITHOUT AL GREEN - CBS: "An overwhelming majority of Americans approved of the overall message in President Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, according to a CBS News poll of speech watchers. According to the poll, which was conducted online by Knowledge Networks immediately after the president's address, 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals Mr. Obama put forth during his remarks...The president had more success convincing viewers that his economic proposals would lead to job growth and increased success on the international playing field: 75 percent of viewers said they thought the president's plans would make America more competitive in the world economy, and 75 percent also said they thought the plans outlined in his speech would create jobs." [CBS]

Shit Hill Staff Say

EVERYONE NON-IRONICALLY LOVES GABBY GIFFORDS - Luke Johnson: "In an extremely moving moment on the House floor, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) submitted her resignation to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Wednesday morning after making the announcement in a video Sunday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) began the process by asking unanimous consent to speak out of order. She then praised Giffords, calling her 'the brightest star this congress has ever seen.' ... Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Giffords' closest friend in the House, then asked her colleagues to join her in the House well. 'I couldn't prepare anything this morning because I knew I wouldn't be able to hold it together very long,' she said, crying. 'We have all been through such a tumultuous year. This is only a pause in her public service she will return. ... She will return one day to public service,' she said." [HuffPost]

CHRIS CHRISTIE. DESSERTS. HEH. - John Celock: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will be speaking to New Jersey's power elite in Washington Thursday night, just prior to a 'dessert extravaganza.' The speech will culminate the 75th annual New Jersey Chamber of Commerce 'Walk to Washington,' an event where the Garden State's business and political leaders take Amtrak to Washington for a dinner with the state's congressional delegation. Chamber spokesman Scott Goldstein said the event got it's name because no one sits on the train. 'We tell people that they can get more contacts in one day than in a month,' he said. Following the walk, the Garden Staters - including state legislators, both U.S. senators and five members of Congress - will converge on the Woodley Park Marriott for cocktails, dinner and after-parties in hotel suites. As part of the festivities - following the governors's speech - the chamber is allowing Christie and others to mingle some more. 'We will continue the networking with a dessert extravaganza,' Goldstein said. 'We'll do a Jersey style dessert.'"

NEWTMENTUM: THE JASON VORHEES OF PORTMANTEAUS - Mark Blumenthal: "Newt Gingrich's improbable late January surge appears to be rolling into Florida, as a new poll confirms that victory in the South Carolina primary produced a 'big jump' in the former House speaker's support with just six days remaining before the Florida primary. The new survey by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney still narrowly leading Gingrich, 36 to 34 percent, in interviews conducted among 601 likely Republican primary voters from Jan. 19 to Jan. 23... Three automated, recorded-voice surveys, by the Democratic pollsters Public Policy Polling (PPP), NewsMax/Insider Advantage and Rasmussen Reports, showed Gingrich leading (by margins of 5, 8 and 9 percentage points, respectively). Two more polls, an automated survey by WeAskAmerica and a poll of undisclosed methodology sponsored by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, showed a roughly dead-even race between Romney and Gingrich." [HuffPost]

CRISIS UNIT? MORE LIKE STUPID UNIT!!!!!! - HuffPost's Sam Stein scooped the news of President Obama's new Mortgage Crisis Unit last night, becoming apparently the only person happy with the announcement. FireDogLake: "Only this isn't a victory at all, at least not yet. Schneiderman may be trying to work from within, but he's saddled with a panel full of co-chairs tied to banks with a history of obstructing accountability. The united front of Justice Democrats has been nicked. Kamala Harris, facing enormous pressure to go along with the settlement (she remains opposed at this point), now must contend with being the main big-state holdout AND having a family member co-chairing the investigation panel! This is a classic Obama move, putting a threat or a rival inside the tent. It happened with Elizabeth Warren and David Petraeus and Jon Huntsman, and it's happening again. It divides the coalition against a weak settlement, which will at the least shut down state and federal prosecutions on foreclosure fraud and servicing issues. It puts hopes in yet another investigation, one with little chance for success." [FireDogLake]

AILING COMMUNIST DICTATORS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS - AP: "Cuba has become an important issue as the candidates court Florida's influential Cuban-American community in an effort to win the biggest electoral prize so far in the primary season. Castro said he always assumed the candidates would try to outdo each other on the issue of Cuba, but that he was nonetheless appalled by the level of debate. "The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is -- and I mean this seriously -- the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been," said the retired Cuban leader, who has dueled with 11 U.S. administrations since his 1959 revolution." We suspect that Fidel is a HuffPost commenter in his retirement, but we're unsure of his handle. [AP]

WHEN IT'S JUST TOO WARM FOR SWEATER VESTS - The Hill: "Rick Santorum could pull out of Florida before its Tuesday primary, exiting a state where he's failed to gain momentum in order to focus on other upcoming contests. Santorum told reporters in the state he was unsure he'd be there on primary night, according to reports, sparking speculation the former Pennsylvania senator was pulling up stakes. J. Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for the campaign, said the final decision was unclear, but said Santorum's campaign is not on the verge of ending. "All our eggs were never in Florida, we planned to continue on indefinitely," Gidley said." [The Hill]

IT DOESN'T COUNT IF THEY DIDN'T BRING A DOG THIS TIME - National Journal: "President Obama's business-as-usual demeanor as he delivered the State of the Union address on Tuesday evening masked a secret known only to him and a few others in the House chamber. Thousands of miles away, a strike team led by the Navy's SEAL Team 6 were completing a successful operation to free two Western aid workers, an American and a Dane, held by Somali kidnappers since October. The U.S. commandos killed nine heavily armed Somali kidnappers and flew the hostages to a nearby American military base in Djibouti, but the operatives were still on the ground as the president took the stage and began his prepared remarks. Only the "Good job tonight" that Obama said to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta upon entering the room indicated something might be up. An analysis of the daring raid highlights two key aspects of the Obama presidency: a willingness to send American commandos on high-risk missions to free American hostages or kill terrorist leaders, and a striking ability to give no hint that such operations were under way while delivering high-profile remarks like the State of the Union. " [NJ]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Boots & cats & boots & cats.

FINANCIAL RULES ARE AWESOME AS LONG AS I CAN IGNORE THEM - With Zach Carter: "Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is touting President Barack Obama's call for legislation banning insider trading by members of Congress as a personal victory, having authored the Senate bill to stop such unscrupulous activity. But Brown is studiously ignoring a similar ethics reform Obama pushed during Tuesday's State of the Union speech -- perhaps because Brown himself has run afoul of it...Brown's bill focuses narrowly on information gained by members of Congress during hearings and meetings, but does not prevent them from holding long-term investments in companies that may benefit from their legislative actions. So long as lawmakers don't sell their holdings while in office, however, they're in the clear. Brown himself performed major legislative favors for big banks during the final round of debate over 2010's Wall Street reform bill. According to Brown's latest personal financial disclosure form, the Massachusetts Republican owns up to $50,000 of Bank of America stock." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

By @BradJShannon

- Just walk away. Panda will give you safe passage in the Wasteland. [http://bit.ly/zomP44]

- Glenn Beck makes some kind of... response (?) to Anonymous. [http://bit.ly/y7RA6u]

- Robin Williams and The Two-Headed Monster explain "conflict." [http://bit.ly/w7wsSj]

- Here's a taste of Here Comes The Neighborhood, a docu-series on street art. [http://bit.ly/x8WpHk]

- This is what it's like to be a hula hoop. [http://bit.ly/wdCUHW]

- Photographer really doesn't like food, blows it up, takes photos. [http://bit.ly/zhWEhK]

- Lots of stuff getting Destroyed in Seconds. [http://bit.ly/zilHvu]

SPECIAL 'CHAD OCHOCINCO AND JOHN BOEHNER HAVE A DIALOGUE' TWITTERAMA

@ochocinco: Anybody notice the guy over Obamas left shoulder doesn't seem very happy and he's not smiling. He's not clapping with joy

@ochocinco: Does John Boehner have a twitter RT @KeithFoster: @ochocincoThat's the Speaker of the House John Boehner,a Republican, he won't clap often.

@ochocinco: @SpeakerBoehner Just read some of your tweets and you seem pretty angry kind sir. I can see you on tv but you're not smiling. Hope you're ok

@ochocinco: @SpeakerBoehner Hello Mr. Boehner, hoping you are in better spirits today. If all else seems bad in life just remember I love you kind sir.

@ochocinco: Wow thanks RT @SpeakerBoehner: @ochocinco: Thanks & good luck in the @SuperBowl we'll see you in the playoffs next year. Go #Bengals #WhoDey

@ochocinco: Totally awesome that John Boehner just tweeted me.

@ochocinco: Well now we are friends you f_cking Pansy RT @healey10:@ochocinco wtf ocho..you didn't even know who he was until last night dummy

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

6:30pm - 8:00pm: The American Bakers Association hosts a reception to celebrate Enriched Grains. Not kidding. [AGC Townhouse, 53 D St., S.E.]

7:00pm: Drew Barrymore attends the world premiere of the whale movie "Big Miracle." It's a fundraiser for TAPS, so she probably won't flash anyone. Sad. [Loews Georgetown 3111 K Street N.W.]

TOMORROW

12:00pm-1:30pm: Free lunch today is courtesy of a handful of research engineers, who have some really complicated stuff to tell you about. [Senate Russell 253]

6:00pm: The 39th annual Roe vs. Wade Dinner offers pro-choice activists a chance to quietly celebrate the terrible Republican field. [1919 Connecticut 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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