Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Santorum Poised To Win Primary No One Cares About

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Halftime in America must be over, because Washington keeps dropping the ball and committing 12-man penalties. Proud American Karl Rove managed to find fault with something that incorporated Clint Eastwood, cars and the Super Bowl. Rep. John Fleming mistakenly claimed that an Onion article was true -- though it thankfully wasn't "Suitcase Spends All Year Looking Forward To Carousel Ride." And, in a boon to the tragic metaphor industry, Washington Republicans kept sending birthday wishes to a dead guy. This is HUFFPOST HILL, both THROWING the ball and CATCHING the ball at the SAME TIME for Monday, February 6th, 2012:

ROMNEY PREPARES TO TAKE DOWN GUY WHO PROBABLY WON'T WIN -- BECAUSE *THAT'S* HOW LOADED HIS CAMPAIGN IS - We are about to witness the political equivalent of Ahmad Bradshaw's unnecessary Super Bowl touchdown last night. Jon Ward: "Rick Santorum is suddenly getting a lot of attention from Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, a sign that they expect him to do well on Tuesday in the Minnesota and Colorado primary caucuses. The Romney campaign blasted out an attack Sunday evening on the former Pennsylvania senator's earmark record in Congress, then followed that up Monday morning by sending out a quote from former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has endorsed Romney...But Santorum is expected to do well in Minnesota and Colorado on Tuesday, as well as in a symbolic vote in Missouri that will have no impact on awarding delegates to the candidates. A Public Policy Polling survey in Minnesota released on Sunday showed Santorum leading Romney 29 percent to 27 percent, with Gingrich at 22 percent. In Colorado, Romney was comfortably ahead in a PPP poll, with 40 percent of the vote to Santorum's 26 percent. But Santorum was beating Gingrich, who was the preferred choice of only 18 percent of voters." [HuffPost]

@KellyO: Odd phrase for any lagging candidate. @newtgingrich asks for guidance off stage while still in front of mic "Am I done?"

HERE ARE YOUR DEMOCRATIC SENATE LEADERSHIP WANNABES - Running tomorrow in Roll Call from David Drucker: "Through his large email list of political supporters, Sen. Al Franken has quietly but steadily become one of the most sought-after and prodigious fundraisers among Democratic Senators outside of leadership...But others are stepping up to help the Democrats protect their thin, four-seat majority, including Franken, Finance Chairman Max Baucus (Mont.); Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (Mass.); and Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.); Kay Hagan (N.C.) and, to a lesser degree, Mark Warner (Va.)."

@jbendery: INSANE BIPARTISAN ALERT: SAP: Admin "strongly supports" a bill by Rep. Paul Ryan. Who cares what it is? (Expedited rescissions bill).

WE HEREBY DECLARE KARL ROVE AMERICA'S SOURPUSS LAUREATE - Short of denouncing the Puppy Bowl as some kind of bizarre union thuggery tactic, it doesn't get more stick-in-the-mud than this. WaPo: "A Chrysler ad aired during the Super Bowl Sunday night has inspired ire among some Republicans and admiration among some Democrats -- with both sides seeing a political message that boosts President Obama...'I was, frankly, offended by it,' said Karl Rove on Fox News Monday. 'I'm a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising.'" [WaPo]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Nearly 30,000 people enduring long-term joblessness in Michigan are set to lose their unemployment insurance as a federal program that provides the final 20 weeks of benefits expires there. The lapse of the Extended Benefits program in Michigan is a reminder that, even though Congress fully reauthorized federal unemployment insurance for two months in December, lawmakers sneakily shortened the duration of benefits. Legislators did not announce benefits would be changed, but according to its complex eligibility formula, Extended Benefits will expire over the course of the year in the rest of the 32 states where the program is in effect. [HuffPost]

MONTHLY REMINDER OF OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S FORECLOSURE FAILURE - Mark Gongloff: "The Obama administration continues to make halting gains in its efforts to help struggling homeowners, according to a new self-assessment released today, but those efforts are still falling far short of their initial promise." [HuffPost]

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

LOBBYISTS: IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, LAUGH AT THE PAIN OF OTHERS - National Journal: "While some K Streeters believe requiring political intelligence pros to register under lobbying laws will undercut more sweeping reforms, other lobbyists say, the more the merrier. 'Having to disclose every contact with public officials sounds like Big Brother,' said financial services lobbyist Sam Geduldig. 'But if we're for transparency, I guess I'm for it across the board.' Geduldig echoes the complaints of other lobbyists who have long questioned why, of all the political professionals in Washington, they're the only ones forced to publicly register and disclose their business. " [National Journal]

NEW YORKER VS UNEMPLOYMENT TRUTHERS - It's not really a fair fight, but somebody had to do it. In Friday's jobs report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics used new Census data that changed its population estimates, increasing the size of the not-in-the-workforce population. Unemployment Truthers immediately foamed that BLS was cooking the books in order to push down the unemployment rate. Never mind that as BLS said, "the population increase was primarily among persons 55 and older and, to a lesser degree, persons 16 to 24 years of age" -- groups that tend to participate less in the labor force. The New Yorker's John Cassidy takes on the tedious conspiracists: "Since the monthly jobs report is a bit complicated, let's begin with how it's put together...." [New Yorker]

CONGRESSMAN THINKS ONION ARTICLE IS REAL - Congressman John Fleming (R - Daily Show) has at least one thing in common with that classmate of yours who stayed home after high school and now spends his/her days posting bleak Facebook updates about football, Rachel Ray and why gay marriage is evil: He thinks Onion articles are real. Atlantic Wire: "What's doubly sad about this posting (obviously deleted now) is that The Onion article shared, 'Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex,' is from May 2011 and is something of a viral classic, even inspiring some users of Yelp to 'review' the facility described. So not only did Rep. Fleming (who calls abortion a 'pernicious evil') or at least one of his staffers believe Kansas now has an abortion clinic with 'coffee shops, bars, dozens of restaurants and retail outlets, a three-story nightclub, and a 10-screen multiplex theater,' but it's not even recent fake news. (Though it's a fake news item that's gotten other people who weren't U.S. representatives.)" [Atlantic Wire]

@drgrist: Happy birthday to Ronald Reagan, a man whose cultural iconography has now become entirely unmoored from his actual life & achievements.

ANTI-ABORTION MAGNUM OPUS UP FOR CONSIDERATION IN KANSAS - Look, this might make you angry -- and that's all fine and good -- but please resist the urge to publish out "What's The Matter With Kansas" e-mail blasts/blog posts. You're better than that. Try going the Dorothy route, at least. John Celock: "Kansas lawmakers have been given six days to consider one of the most sweeping state anti-abortion bills to be introduced. A Kansas House committee is scheduled to take up a bill Wednesday that would exempt doctors from malpractice suits if they withheld medical information to prevent an abortion, take away tax credits for abortion providers, remove tax deductions for the purchase of abortion-related insurance coverage, and require women to hear the fetal heartbeat. The bill includes several provisions which have passed in other states and are currently the subject of federal lawsuits and one provision that the medical profession has claimed is false. The bill would require women even be told about potential breast cancer risks from abortions, even though medical experts have discounted such a link."

REDISTRICTING MAP ELICITS STRONG EMOTIONS, INTERESTING ANGLES - If you ask us, any seat-getting strategy that doesn't involve the Democrats devising a strategy is a win for them. Bloomberg: "Texas reached an agreement with the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force over interim maps for the districts of state and federal lawmakers, state Attorney General Greg Abbott said...Three federal judges in San Antonio are creating temporary maps to replace ones drawn by the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature that have been challenged as racially gerrymandered. The six-month redistricting fight has already delayed the state's party primary elections once, knocking Texas out of the influential March 6 Super Tuesday presidential primaries. More Americans vote in primaries or caucuses on that day than on any other." [Bloomberg]

MICHIGAN SENATE CANDIDATE RUNS INSANELY RACIST AD - How can we adequately quantify the Asian-directed racism in Pete Hoekstra's attack ad on Debbie Stabenow? Take Long Duk Dong from 16 Candles, multiply by that kid in the hat from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, add eight and you'll roughly be there. TPM: "Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra's new Super Bowl ad is drawing jeers for its depiction of a Chinese woman thanking his opponent, Debbie Stabenow, for helping to build up her country's economy." [TPM]

@GOP12: Hoekstra on ad: "Thru the creator, this is a young woman in China who's speaking English. That's quite an achievement." #FoxNews.

RON PAUL BLEEDING THE GOVERNMENT DRY, ONE $10 IN-FLIGHT MINI BOTTLE OF ZINFANDEL AT A TIME - Roll Call: "Rep. Ron Paul appears to have been paid twice for flights between Washington, D.C., and his Congressional district, receiving reimbursement from taxpayers and also from a network of political and nonprofit organizations he controlled, according to public records and documents obtained by Roll Call. Roll Call identified eight flights for which the Texas Republican, a GOP presidential candidate and leading champion of smaller government, was reimbursed twice for the same trip. Roll Call also found dozens more instances of duplicate payments for travel from 1999 to 2009, totaling thousands of dollars' worth of excess payments, but the evidence in those cases is not as complete. Paul's office vigorously denies that the Congressman ever intentionally received multiple reimbursements for the same trips." [Roll Call]

GOP PLAN: KEEP AMTRAK'S CRAPPY FOOD, MAKE IT MORE EXPENSIVE - Matt Sledge: "The measure introduced by Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), part of the much larger and controversial surface transportation bill now under debate, takes aim at Amtrak's onboard food and beverage service, which loses some $60 million a year, according to the congresswoman. The measure's language, however, outlines the limits of what even its proponents think privatization can accomplish. The proposed legislation states the federal government would pay out 'any portion of appropriations for Amtrak necessary to cover a net loss from the food and beverage service. So even if the private providers save Amtrak some money, the federal government would still be required to cover any losses from the private businesses' operations. Amtrak has argued that food and beverage services operate not as a money-making proposition, but somewhat as a loss-leader, an amenity to lure passengers to spring for train tickets." [HuffPost]

TWO OF HUMANITY'S MOST DESTRUCTIVE THINGS, GUNS AND CANCER, TOGETHER AT LAST - If the philanthropy world is a bar, then Discount Gun Sales just splashed its drink on the Susan G. Komen foundation, stormed across the room and gave it's number to the American Cancer Society. Also, something about pink hand guns (We don't know how to work that part into the analogy). Jen Bendery: "A gun seller thrust into the spotlight last week over its alleged ties to the Susan G. Komen Foundation is launching another production run of its pink 'Hope' handgun and donating proceeds to a different cancer organization. Discount Gun Sales released an open letter on Monday clarifying that it never had a business partnership with Komen, which also vehemently denied such a partnership last week in the face of reports that said otherwise. The two have had a loose relationship, but nothing formal, said the gun seller." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Polar bears are so cute before they learn to wear armor and/or hunt people.

TODAY IN 'THINGS REPUBLICANS ON THE D.C. OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE WILL BE DINING OUT ON FOR MONTHS' On HuffPost DC: "The D.C. government put nearly 90 city employees on leave as it investigates allegations that employed government workers have been cashing in on unemployment benefits."

@mikemadden: For some reason, "local" version of @washingtonpost site doesn't link to unemployment fraud story, but national does: wapo.st/wFojdp

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- NY Giants flying high. [http://bit.ly/zPadnx]

- Robot learns to pair socks, shine dowel. You can practically see the gears turning in its head! [http://bit.ly/xd1kOb]

- "Improv Everywhere" group introduces the city of Aspen to a black person. "Ma, c'mere! There's a black guy over here!" [http://bit.ly/xWxmZL]

- Coffee and vinyl fuel Japan's recovery. [http://bit.ly/zhbPJd]

- Remember the tightrope walker next to Madonna in the halftime show? Well, that's actually called "slacklining" in the climbing world. Here is that guy's showreel. [http://bit.ly/y8jHOx]

- Know Your Enemy: Procrastination. [http://bit.ly/xrUO3w]

- CollegeHumor.com is collecting incidents of political dickery from all across the internets. [Polidicks]

- North Korean accordionists "Take On" 80s band A-ha. [http://bit.ly/AiJNQC]

TWITTERAMA

@indecision: Donald Trump takes credit for Romney's Nevada win. Which explains why Omarosa took second place. on.cc.com/zaiGMC

@pandagon: TV needs more conservative coastal elites talking about how liberal coastal elites don't understand blue collar Catholics.

@michaelwhitney: Just taking the Obama-Biden campaign survey... yfrog.com/ob1fnqvpj

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

5:30pm - AEI is hosting the author of a new book on "The State of White America." And yes, you read that right. Commence forehead slap. [1150 17th Street NW]

TOMORROW

5:00pm - ?!?: Looking for trouble? Consider a big joint birthday party for the sketchiest guys in Congress: Allen West, Doc Hastings, Michael Grimm and Steve Fincher. Whatever happens, don't say we didn't warn you. [300 First Street SE]

7:00pm: A-list celebrities and models go clothes shopping and sip cocktails in the Meatpacking District. Only this time, it's for Obama! [Theory, 40 Gansevoort St, NYC]

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Filed by Eliot Nelson
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