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HUFFPOST HILL - Santorum Pulled A Romney

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Rick Santorum is pretty sure President Obama is practicing Christianity wrong, unless Jesus had a car with a Coexist bumper sticker (then he's practicing it right). A man tried to mitigate the culture wars by installing a gun rack on a Chevy Volt, but didn't dare to take the next, even more reckless step: adding truck nutz to a Prius. And Americans won't be able to keep a meal down now that Carl Levin and the word "thong" have been uttered in the same sentence. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, February 21st, 2012:

RICK SANTORUM WAS 'BASICALLY' PRO CHOICE FOR A LONG TIME - Is it just us, or do 50 percent of modern political gaffes contain the word "basically"? We can't blame politicians for ODing on the term -- it makes any gaffe exponentially more hilarious ("President Obama was basically born in Kenya and basically adopts and anti-colonial worldview"). Sam Stein: "Prior to entering public office, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum was a self-admitted pro-choice Republican unwilling to dabble in the cultural conservative politics that now defines his presidential campaign, a review of old campaign documents and interviews shows... But Santorum didn't always have such conviction on social policy. In his first run for office in 1990, his campaign put out an issue statement on abortion that, by today's standards, would put him among the moderates of the GOP. Abortion, he wrote, requires "a sensitivity to the genuine concerns of both sides." While "government must be on the side of human life" he recognized that " it is very difficult to criminalize any activity once a large portion of society comes to see it as a 'right.'" [HuffPost]

Fantastic anecdote from Russ Feingold about the Clinton impeachment trial, from his book, "While America Sleeps," which comes out today: "I was engaged in casual conversation with Paul Wellstone of Minnesota and Bob Kerrey of Nebraska at the back of the chamber. We became aware that Carl Levin of Michigan, one of the most senior and distinguished members of the Senate, was slowly making his way up the steps toward us. Carl is a meticulous, lawyerly member of the Senate who does a superb job of carefully examining both proposed statutory language and facts. Carl approached us and, as he lifted his ubiquitous 'readers' from his face, said, 'Listen, I am a little embarrassed to ask you guys this, but what's a thong?'"

WHITE HOUSE FILLED WITH ENEMIES OF PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST - HuffPost Hill's favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist was flabbergasted to learn that New York Times reporter Eric Dash is heading to Treasury where he will work in the public affairs office. PSLGOPL -- who has experience himself with revolving doors (both the metaphoric, ethically dubious kind and the kind that allows him to easily and quickly pass between the various wings of of his McMansion-sized panic room) -- wrote us to weigh in. "I wonder if there are more lobbyists or reporters working in this Administration," PSLGOPL writes. "I bet it's close." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

Political theater gold star: "In case it wasn't already apparent how politicized women's health has become on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Tuesday that a Democratic panel will meet this week to hear testimony from just one witness: Sandra Fluke, the woman that House Republicans refused to let testify at their hearing on birth control last week." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - David Arrieta is about to discover what happens when unemployment insurance runs out. He would rather not know. "Hopefully I'll get hired," Arrieta said. "Hopefully we can rebound." In case that doesn't happen, Arrieta, 48, said he cashed out his retirement account and is in the process of selling off personal possessions. He said his family is preparing to move into more affordable housing. Arrieta said he lost his job as an office manager in August of 2010. He said he received his final unemployment check for $214 last week. The job search has been terrible, and Arrieta suspects his age his part of the reason. "I have applied for security, janitorial, oil rig positions and all have replied back thanking me for applying but will be seeking other candidates."

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AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CASE HEADING TO SUPREME COURT - The Supreme Court is set to decide later this year whether institutions of higher learning will foster the diversity that inspires innovation and creates a more empathetic citizenry, or whether our nation's universities will be populated entirely by dudes named Nate and young women named Jaclyn who all major in finance and/or fashion studies and study abroad in Australia. God those kids are the worst. NYT: "The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a major case on affirmative action in higher education, adding another potential blockbuster to a docket already studded with them. The court's decision in the new case holds the potential to undo an accommodation reached in the Supreme Court's 5-to-4 decision in 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger: that public colleges and universities could not use a point system to boost minority enrollment but could take race into account in vaguer way to ensure academic diversity. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who wrote the majority opinion in Grutter, said the accommodation was meant to last 25 years. The court's membership has changed since 2003, most notably for these purposes with the appointment of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who replaced Justice O'Connor in 2006. Justice Alito has voted with the court's more conservative justices in decisions hostile to the use of racial classifications by the government." [NYT]

Seriously, what the hell do you gain by studying abroad in Australia???

You have the right to remain silent... You have the right to learn firsthand how game theory will send your ass to jail: "The Supreme Court said Tuesday investigators don't have to read Miranda rights to inmates during jailhouse interrogations about crimes unrelated to their current incarceration. The high court, on a 6-3 vote, overturned a federal appeals court decision throwing out prison inmate Randall Lee Fields' conviction, saying Fields was not in 'custody' as defined by Miranda and therefore did not have to have his rights read to him." [AP]

ROMNEY SPENDING MONEY. FAST. - Mitt Romney is burning through cash like a Russian oligarch's kid on Turtle Island. However, unlike oligarchic progeny, Romney is not spending daddy's cash on turquoise-colored liquor, Maseratis and super complex graphic tees from Saks...as far as we're aware. Politico: "Mitt Romney is burning through cash more than twice as fast as he's raising it, new reports filed Monday show -- a clear sign that a protracted GOP primary fight could leave the front-runner limping into a general election fight with President Barack Obama. Romney's presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting him pulled in $13.1 million in January, but spent $32.7 million in the same month -- an astounding burn rate more than double any of his rivals' campaigns or super PACs. The filings also show Romney's fundraising operation is struggling to pick up momentum, seeing a minimal surge in cash after his big New Hampshire win and a plunge after his South Carolina loss...About half of Romney's haul last month came from supporters giving at least $2,500, the maximum donation for an election -- meaning they can't give again to Romney's primary campaign -- likely forcing the campaign to try to expand its donor base. Romney raised only 15 percent of his $7.7 million in January from small donors." [Politico]

SANTORUM'S FUNDRAISING NUMBERS WAY UP - Fans of sweater vests, narrowly defined family values and people with irrational fears of man-on-man love are opening their wallets. "Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who has emerged as the chief rival to Mitt Romney, more than doubled his fundraising after winning the Iowa caucuses last month... Santorum raised $4.5 million in January after collecting $2.2 million in the entire last year, Federal Election Commission financial disclosure reports posted yesterday show. He took in 57 percent of his money last month in donations of $200 or less, according to FEC records. Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3 and the Feb. 7 contests in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota, reported having $1.5 million in the bank at the start of February, FEC records show." [Bloomberg]

Paul Blumenthal: "The Republican presidential class of 2012 is slacking in one of their key duties. The candidates, including those already fallen by the wayside, have combined to raise only $174 million through the end of January. That's $75 million less than the 2008 Republican presidential field had raised through January 2008." [HuffPost]

In case you missed it, Santorum insists that President Obama worships Gaia, not Jesus: "Senator Rick Santorum told voters recently that President Obama adheres to 'some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible.'...Santorum says it is 'a world view that elevates the earth above man.' On CBS's 'Face the Nation' Santorum said, 'I was talking about the radical environmentalists. [T]his idea that man is here to serve the earth.'" [Daily Beast]

ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SEES IF LAME SANTORUM CRITICISM WILL STICK, IT DOESN'T - Mitt Romney's campaign sent out an email blast this morning featuring an attack on Rick Santorum that equates the former Pennsylvania senator to Newt Gingrich. "IF YOU LIKED NEWT GINGRICH, WAIT 'TIL YOU GET TO KNOW RICK SANTORUM," read the subject line. "Mitt Romney offers something different. He is not a creature of Washington. He offers the kind of private sector and chief executive experience that career politicians can't match," Andrea Saul, Romney spokesperson, wrote in the email. Yeah, lame. We're 90 percent positive Gingrich's two biggest signifiers are his three marriages and the way he views people that aren't him the way most people view pesky car salesmen. Compare that to Santorum who has bred a small village with his only wife and reminds everyone of the kid with the overly-combed hair who raised his hand one too many times at Sunday school. Fail. [HuffPost's Jon Ward]

Gingrich is skipping Michigan: "Gingrich is spending Tuesday and Wednesday in the other Feb. 28 primary -- Arizona -- but that is mostly for the sake of Wednesday night's debate, and his public schedule will be light. It's a sign that the campaign does not anticipate doing well in the two states. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are in a tight struggle for Michigan, where Romney was born and his father was governor. Romney has an edge in Arizona as well, thanks in part to the support of Sen. John McCain." [AJC]

Slideshow of the day: "'Fun' Things Sen. Charles Schumer Has Tried to Destroy"

Contra Newt Gingrich, this dude put a gun rack in the back of a Chevy Volt

Adventures in human interest reporting. "The Los Angeles Times and reporter Tina Susman took a little ribbing over the weekend for interviewing notorious 'regular guy' publicity seeker Greg Packer. You remember him, right? He's the guy who's always first in line for the latest iPhone or iPad, and made the Wall Street Journal in 2003 for being possibly 'the world's most successful 'man on the street.'... So how did Packer get into Los Angeles Times's weekend story on Whitney Houston's funeral?" [Romenesko]

@peterhambyCNN: Brewer finger wag t-shirts for sale at Maricopa County GOP luncheon lockerz.com/s/185923886

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA - "Responding this morning to a question about the NYPD's reported surveillance of Muslim student groups, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, 'I don't know why keeping the country is safe is antithetical to the values of Yale.' 'Yale's freedoms to do research, to teach, to give people a place to say what they want to say is defended by the law enforcement throughout this country,' said the mayor during the question-and-answer portion of a press conference at the Brooklyn Public Library's main branch this morning." [Capital New York]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby sloths wearing pajamas.

PROPOSED DC LAW IS TOTAL SHIT - On HuffPost DC: "As the D.C. Council considered an anti-profanity measure, one councilmember said he wouldn't apologize for calling Marion Barry a 'despicable human being.'"

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- Dog and pony show. [http://bit.ly/A69FrA]

- Since you were wondering: How to comment on YouTube. [http://bit.ly/A3WXv3]

- Who got Santorum all over the echo chamber? [http://bit.ly/zueRnN]

- Shut the f*ck up, Donny Worf. [http://bit.ly/w6rYS1]

- Ageless Jefferson wants none of our politics. [http://bit.ly/x0sRjJ]

- Best trick shot video to date. [http://bit.ly/xhpjUr]

- This dog was made to stand on things. [http://bit.ly/A3nrBX]

- Pretty video of the American southwest (of SXSW fame). [http://bit.ly/Ao9JHy]

TWITTERAMA

@DamonLindelof: Dow passes 13,000. This is either: A. A fluke. B. Obama's fault because 13 is an unlucky number. C. Look over there! Family values!

@reidepstein: For the first time since five minutes ago.... RT @samsteinhp: The DOW is now below 13,000. EVERYONE FREAK OUT

@jbendery: Oh, Yahoo.... http://pic.twitter.com/9OlBI7Y5

@AmSpec: Is Media Matters Obama's Watergate?

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT
5:30pm: The Women's Congressional Staff Association hosts a depressing update seminar from the trenches of women's lib: Hemlines, Haircuts and High Heels: How Your Wardrobe Affects Your Career. [SVC 208-09]

5:30pm - 9:30pm: The annual St. Jude Gourmet Gala offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance for non-lobbyists to eat little tiny bites of the dishes "served in Washington's best restaurants." [401 F St. NW]

7:00 pm: Free private concerts with Mick Jagger, B.B. King and Keb Mo at your house = Reason #2,398 why its good to be the president. [The White House]

TOMORROW
6:30pm: Young, pro-choice, Democratic women are honored at the . See? Liberals can be exclusionary, too. [1530 P St. NW]

6:30pm: The Motion Picture Association of, ahem, America inexplicably screens a Canadian Oscar-nominated film, "Monsieur Lazhar." Just wait until Harvey hears about this. [1600 I St. NW]

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