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HUFFPOST HILL - GOP Candidates Prepare For CNN-Sponsored Yelling Match

First Posted: 01/26/2012 6:42 pm Updated: 01/26/2012 6:47 pm

President Obama took a break from a three-day, five-state tour of swing states to insist that he isn't campaigning yet. Sudden bestseller Jan Brewer's finger is the Oprah's Book Club of political non-fiction. And sales of herbal tea and lozenges skyrocketed as the Republican presidential candidates prepared for tonight's pro-screaming, pro-audience participation CNN debate. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 26th, 2012:

TONIGHT'S REPUBLICAN DEBATE WILL BE EN FUEGO - The audience will be allowed to jeer, it's being co-anchored by a CNN en Espanol reporter and Newt is losing ground in the polls. 5:1 that Gingrich rips his podium off of the ground and uses it as a weapon against Wolf Blitzer (GINGRICH SMASH). 25:1 someone starts the second Mexican-American war. 8:00 pm on CNN.

BANK OF AMERICA 1, NORTH CAROLINA 0 - Rep. Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat who's been banging the subprime lending drum since he came to Congress nearly a decade ago, and who beat up his home-state bank over their $5 debit fee (which they have since retracted), announced this morning that he won't be running for reelection. When the North Carolina GOP redrew the congressional lines, it was to nobody's surprise that BofA's foe wound up without a seat. He was crammed in with David Price, a New Dem who's a college professor, so Democratic voters just assume he's liberal. Up against that -- Price backed deregulation all through the '90s -- Miller withdrew, leaving the seat to his mentor. (Isn't the old mentor supposed to step aside in cases like this? Price really needs two more years of backbenching in his 70s?) DailyKos is peeved and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which had been slow to raise him money, is now drafting him to run for governor. [HuffPost]

That's our Joe!!!! [Cue studio audience applause/cheers]: "The vice president, at a jobs event Thursday in New Hampshire, appeared to drift into an Indian accent while imitating a call center worker. But before he reached the end of the sentence, he went back to sounding like plain ole' American Joe. 'How many times you get the call, 'I'd like to talk to you about your credit card'?' he asked the audience, switching back to his natural voice by the time he reached the last two words. 'Or that ad on TV, what is it? 'Nancy, this is Nancy, can I talk to a supervisor?' Right? OK? Well, it's a little overdone, but the truth of the matter is these jobs now are paying about $19.50 an hour, if memory serves me.'" [Fox News]

OBAMA INTRODUCES 'ALL-OF-THE-ABOVE' ENERGY AGENDA, INCLUDES MORE THAN ONE PROPOSAL - President Obama today introduced his "all-of-the-above" energy agenda that absolutely should notbe viewed as a microcosm of his larger approach to governing and campaigning. Lucia Graves: "After facing an onslaught of attacks from Republicans for his energy policies, the president appears to have stolen their lines, pledging to expand drilling and increase other forms of domestic energy production as a way to create more American jobs... He also announced the opening of a new natural gas corridor between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, which will grant trucks running on natural gas a convenient way to refuel. The administration will keep working with the private sector to develop another five natural gas corridors along American highways, the president said...The president has vowed to incentivize manufacturers to make energy upgrades, as well as to green the carbon footprint of the nation's military. He announced on Tuesday that the Department of Defense will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history, with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes per year." [HuffPost]

@samsteinhp: RC Hammond v. Jason Chaffetz. Dorkiest showdown eva bit.ly/xFRUgQ

Best part: While Hammond's calling Chaffetz a member of the establishment, Chaffetz asks about Newt Gingrich's address. "He's a Virginian," Hammond says, trembling.

GOP BOYCOTTING CORDRAY HEARING - Sen. Roger Wicker says he'll boycott Richard Cordray's Consumer Financial Protection bureau hearing, as he and other Republicans object to his recess appointment. But having attended our share of empty hearings, we're curious what the difference is between boycotting a hearing and the standard practice of skipping it for a fundraiser or an afternoon nap. For fun, check out the GOP side when the CFPB's Holly Petraeus came to testify in November about consumer protections for soldiers. Not a soul after Richard Shelby. [PHOTO]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - South Carolina Republicans are coming at this unemployment drug testing thing from every possible angle. First there were the bills to test people applying for benefits. Now comes a measure that will allow businesses to tell the state when a job applicant flunks a drug test so the state can then cut off benefits. "We need to take that information, deny benefits and say if you're going to be using drugs in South Carolina and you're not offered a job you're not going to continue to draw employment benefits," said the bill's sponsor. Man, if we could just win that Drug War, all this unemployment would probably go away, right? [WSPA]

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

ROMNEY DIDN'T INCLUDE SWISS BANK ACCOUNT IN ETHICS FILINGS - "Some investments listed in Mitt and Ann Romney's 2010 tax returns -- including a now-closed Swiss bank account and other funds located overseas -- were not explicitly disclosed in the personal financial statement the GOP presidential hopeful filed in August as part of his White House bid. The Romney campaign described the discrepancies as 'trivial' but acknowledged Thursday afternoon that they are undergoing an internal review of how the investments were reported and will make 'some minor technical amendments' to Romney's financial disclosure that will not alter the overall picture of his finances. A review by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau found that at least 23 funds and partnerships listed in the couple's 2010 tax returns did not show up or were not listed in the same fashion on Romney's most recent financial disclosure, including 11 based in low-tax foreign countries such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg." [LA Times]

GINGRICH GOES ALL IN ON THIS 'INTERNET' THING - Look, give the guy some credit: He's catching up to modern tech trends, albeit slowly. We give him a year before he's asking the Hamster Dance hamsters for their endorsement. Sam Stein: "The former House Speaker unloaded on his chief rival during an address to a gathering of Tea Party supporters in Mount Dora, Fla. He called Romney's attacks on his record 'the desperate last stand of the old order,' and accused the former Massachusetts governor of having directly profited from the housing crisis in the Sunshine State. He derisively called Romney a 'money-making independent' during the era of Ronald Reagan -- not that there's anything wrong with making money, Gingrich added -- and once again went after his diverse and lucrative financial portfolio...'He won't tell you that now, because he is counting on us not having YouTube,' Gingrich said. 'That's how much he thinks we are stupid. And we are not stupid. The message we should give Mitt Romney is: we aren't that stupid and you aren't that clever.'" [HuffPost]

Romney is up in Florida. Mark Blumenthal: "After a remarkably turbulent week, a handful of polls released Thursday brought a new twist to surveys on Florida's Republican presidential primary: a consistent finding. The new polls conducted by Monmouth University and SurveyUSA, Rasmussen Reports and NewMax/Insider Advantage all show Mitt Romney leading Newt Gingrich by margins of 7 to 8 percentage points among likely Republican primary voters in Florida. All three find Romney with 39 to 40 percent of the vote and Gingrich with 31 to 32 percent. The new polls also continue to show Rick Santorum and Ron Paul running far behind in single digits, with Santorum a few percentage points ahead of Paul." [HuffPost]

Newt is up in the latest Gallup national tracking poll. "The two candidates are now essentially tied, at 29% for Romney and 28% for Gingrich. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have significantly lower levels of support, at 13% and 11%, respectively." [Gallup]

GINGRICH DOES NOT COORDINATE WITH HIS CAMPAIGN VERY WELL - Jon Ward: "When CNN's John King asked Newt Gingrich about his past infidelities during a South Carolina debate last week, Gingrich's thunderous response helped him win that state's primary. The former House speaker dismissed the question, decrying media bias. But it turns out that for all his theatrics, he lied when attacking ABC News for reporting on allegations by his second ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, that he asked her for an 'open marriage.' 'Now, let me be quite clear. Let me be quite clear. The story is false,' Gingrich said last Thursday night in the debate. 'Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period says the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren't interested, because they would like to attack any Republican.' Yet King reported Wednesday night that the Gingrich campaign had acknowledged that it had not offered ABC News interviews with anyone beyond the candidate's two daughters from his first marriage, Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman. Lubbers and Cushman sent an open letter to ABC News on Thursday before the report with Marianne Gingrich aired, decrying the timing of the story." [HuffPost]

Bob Dole: Bob Bole doesn't like Newt Gingrich. Bob Dole. Bob Dole: "I have not been critical of Newt Gingrich but it is now time to take a stand before it is too late. If Gingrich is the nominee it will have an adverse impact on Republican candidates running for county, state, and federal offices. Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself. He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway...In my run for the presidency in 1996 the Democrats greeted me with a number of negative TV ads and in every one of them Newt was in the ad. He was very unpopular and I am not only certain that this did not help me, but that it also cost House seats that year. Newt would show up at the campaign headquarters with an empty bucket in his hand -- that was a symbol of some sort for him -- and I never did know what he was doing or why he was doing it, and I'm not certain he knew either." [Political Wire]

Shut up, Davos.

OBAMA: I WILL PROJECT A SKEWED UNDERSTANDING OF REALITY UNTIL THE GOP CHOOSES A NOMINEE - The day after President Obama invoked the better angels of our nature at his State of the Union address, he went on TV and -- let's be honest here -- lied profusely. Jen Bendery: "President Barack Obama insists he is not in campaign mode and won't be until after his Republican presidential challenger is chosen, despite being in the middle of a three-day tour of five states that all happen to be key for his reelection campaign. 'Until the Republicans have a nominee, we don't have a campaign,' Obama said in a Wednesday interview with Univision, his first sit-down since Tuesday's State of the Union address. He also said he has not even thought about who would be a more challenging GOP contender, Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney. 'You know, I don't really think about that,' Obama said. 'What I can say is this. That whoever their nominee is, they represent ideas that I think are wrong for America.'" [HuffPost]

Awwwwwwwwwww: "Retiring congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will marry his longtime partner, Jim Ready. Frank and Ready plan to wed in Massachusetts. Frank's home state is one of six states, in addition to the District of Columbia, that permits gay marriage...In 1987, Frank disclosed that he was gay, becoming the first openly gay member of Congress. Ready and Frank have known each other since they met in 2005 at a fundraiser in Maine, and began a relationship in January of 2007 after Ready's partner died. Ready works as a photographer and has a small business doing custom awnings, carpentry, painting, and welding according to Frank's office." [The Hill]

FORGET DYING, GETTING IN AN ARGUMENT WITH BARACK OBAMA IS THE BEST WAY TO BOOST YOUR SALES - It's official, the 2Pac method of personal branding has been replaced by the Joe the Plumber method of personal branding. Mediaite: "Want to sell a book? Get into a heated discussion with the President. It worked for Arizona governorJan Brewer. Sales of her book Scorpions for Breakfast have gone up a over 1,350,000 percent on Amazon.com over the past 24 hours -- going from 285,568 to 29! You'll recall that President Obama is upset over a passage from the book which characterized his attitude towards Brewer as being patronizing during a 2010 meeting at the White House. When he told Brewer as such last night on an Arizona tarmac, the two became embroiled in a discussion. Reporters snapped a photo of Brewer wagging her finger at the President and, lo, history was made." [Mediaite]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Dormouse is exhausted.

NORTHWEST WASHINGTON BIDS FAREWELL TO AN ICON OF CORPORATISM - On HuffPost DC: "The first Starbucks on the East Coast, on Wisconsin Avenue, is getting ready to close down. (It also shared a building with an alleged Ponzi schemer!)"

You can visit HuffPostDC.com for all the news that's fit to print about this God forsaken city.

COMFORT FOOD

- This guy raises a question we should ask ourselves more often. [http://bit.ly/wfMHCo]

- Sh*t Samuel L. Jackson Says. [http://bit.ly/wicCan]

- Not bad, ad: The Star Wars video game you've always dreamed of is on its way. [http://bit.ly/wKkwl3]

- Not bad, ad: Let us not forget the dangers of microwaves. [http://bit.ly/xn6RHo]

- Not bad, ad: Strangely humorous commercial for a very impressive iPad gadget. [http://bit.ly/AyFfng]

- Not bad, ad: Here is a very creative commercial for Spanish-English dictionaries. [http://bit.ly/AqKeXc]

- Hey girl, it's Rachel Maddow. [rachelmaddowheygirl.tumblr.com/]

- Pretty pet portraits. Be sure to click through to the fur-- uh, full gallery. [http://bit.ly/wZBsSq]

TWITTERAMA

@FakeAPStylebook: When quoting from a news release, pick the most nonsensical sentences to let people know what it's like to have to read those things.

@brianbeutler: Is the moon considered an off-shore tax haven?

@elise_foley: Romney looks up at plane noise. "Is that the sound of freedom? That's good."

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

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]

6:30 - 9:30pm: The Washington Biz Journal celebrates their 30th annual Book of Lists. [$150, National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW]

8:00 - 10:00pm: The CNN Espanol GOP Debate will settle the question of whether "self-deport" sounds just as ridiculous in Spanish. [CNN]

TOMORROW

All weekend: ApocalypTOON 2012 is an exhibit of top political cartoonists and their forecasts for 2012. It's this weekend only and it's free, so there's really no excuse. [Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.]

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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Filed by Eliot Nelson  |