POLITICS
03/09/2012 05:38 pm ET | Updated May 09, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL: Don't Worry, The Dumbest People In America Are In Charge..

Sometimes life gives you lemons, and sometimes news of a gradually improving economy hits you kinda hard. Don't worry about the course of our ship of state: Its compass is the Peter Principle. And Mitt Romney is doing the "Southern Strategy" all wrong. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, March 9th, 2012:

BOEHNER CALLS REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES SOME OF THE DUMBEST PEOPLE IN AMERICA - Really. Peggy Noonan: "'It's just a slice of America, it really is ... We got some of the smartest people in the country who serve here, and some of the dumbest. We got some of the best people you'd ever meet, and some of the raunchiest,' and he said he has to deal with potential scandals and hopefully stop them before they get too big. 'I've gotta be the big brother, the father, I gotta be the disciplinarian, the dean of students, the principal, the spouse..." Get this man a Merlot! [Wall Street Journal]

ROMNEY: THE GRITS ARE THE RIGHT TASTE - HuffPost: "The former Massachusetts governor said during a speech in Pascagoula, Miss., that he is turning into an 'unofficial Southerner.' He also joked, 'I'm learning to say 'y'all' and I like grits. Strange things are happening to me.'" Romney is also under fire from an Alabama radio host for saying he likes cold cereal at the end of the day. "There's no such thing as 'cold cereal,'" the host told The Daily caller. "It's just cereal! If you want 'hot cereal' in Alabama, you order oatmeal or grits." [HuffPost, The DC]

LOUIS C.K. DOESN'T FEEL LIKE SEEING YOU - Comedian Louis C.K. canceled on the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner, a day after Greta Van Susteren called for media to boycott the dinner because he was hosting. "He just didn't want to do it anymore," according to his agent. Thanks a lot, Greta. [Mediaite, Peter Hamby ]

ROMNEY USED PRIVATE EMAIL AS GOVERNOR, BUT IT WASN'T AOL - Apparently unaware that an AOL email address is a status-marker for elites, then-Gov. Romney and his aides used a Hotmail account for state business. AP: "Some of the emails obtained by AP describe Romney's internal deliberations on his health care policy and the state's 2006 budget crisis: 'I hate appearing as if I am just playing national politics,' Romney wrote in November 2006 during sensitive negotiations on state budget cuts, when he was preparing his 2008 presidential campaign. Romney chose to use his full name as his Hotmail username." [AP]

SANTORUM: GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE MORE LIKE MAURY - Jason Cherkis reports that Santorum said in 1994 that the government should demand the name of children's fathers if their mothers wanted welfare, in part to discourage promiscuity. "If Mom knows that she isn't gonna receive welfare if she doesn't tell us who Dad is, y'know maybe she'll be a little more careful, maybe," he said. "Or maybe she gives us a list, say 'Well it could be one of five.'" He said later: "We say to Mom that you tell us the wrong name, and we'll bring that guy in and we'll do a blood test and that's not Dad, you lose your welfare benefits." [HuffPost]

SHAME OF UNEMPLOYMENT PREVENTS ROMNEY RESPONSE TO JOBS NUMBERS - Long-suffering unemployed person Mitt Romney couldn't muster a comment on the positive jobs report released Friday, opting instead for the "say stuff I've said before" strategy. Here's what we got from the campaign's press shop: "How many months ago was it, 37 months ago, [President Obama] told us that if he could borrow $787 billion, almost a trillion dollars, he would keep unemployment below 8 percent. It has not been below 8 percent since. This president has not succeeded, this president has failed -- and that's the reason we're going to get rid of him in 2012."

Cantor, Boehner, Priebus all said "meh." No really, that's basically it. [http://ti.me/y65sDq]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The unemployment rate for workers older than 55 held steady at 5.9 percent in February, lower than the level for all of last year and also below the overall rate of 8.3 percent. But the average jobless spell for workers older than 55 is the longest of any age group. In February, the average older worker had been unemployed for 54.1 weeks, down a tad from from 56.1 weeks in January but still more than the 52.2 weeks mark in December. For the population as a whole, the average unemployment spell is 40 weeks. Even before the Great Recession, older workers were more likely than younger ones to be unemployed for six months or longer, but their prospects have worsened. While roughly a quarter of older jobless people passed the six-month mark in 2007, in 2011 more than half did, according to new report by the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group. And for 2011, 4 in 10 older workers were unemployed for a full year, which is still the case, according to the latest data for February. HuffPost]

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

GLORIA ALLRED: SUE RUSH - A high-profile attorney is calling for Rush Limbaugh to be prosecuted on a defamation charge, saying an obscure Florida law can be used to punish him for calling a college student a "slut" and a "prostitute" on the air. Gloria Allred, the famed celebrity lawyer, sent a letter to the Palm Beach County Attorney's Office on Thursday saying prosecutors should consider a charge under an 1883 law making it a misdemeanor to question a woman's chastity. "He has personally targeted her and vilified her, and he should have to bear the consequences of his extremely outrageous, tasteless and damaging conduct," Allred said in a phone interview Friday. [AP]

WHITE HOUSE GETS DUMB STORY IT ASKED FOR - In 2009, a smug Norm Eisen blog post announced "Transparency like you've never seen it before" -- the White House would begin posting all of its visitor records. But it would unhelpfully include the hundreds of thousands of tourists just passing through, resulting in dozens and dozens of false positives for anyone trying to find out who visited administration officials and basically making the records much, much harder to use. So the White House got what it deserved this week when the Heritage Foundation ran an idiotic story about how the late Derrick A. Bell visited the White House twice in 2010, presumably to promote anti-white racism in the oval office. ABC's Jake Tapper points out that this particular Derick A. Bell's visits were on tours with hundreds of people, and the White House confirmed it was a different guy. Norm Eisen, meanwhile, is in Prague for an ambassadorship. Heckuva job, Norm! [ABCNews]

The New Republic is now owned by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. It's unclear what will happen with former owner Marty Peretz, but if goes we'll sure miss his long, ranting blog post headlines!

ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: HEY! LOOK OVER HERE! - The Romney campaign has a habit of leaving out parts of newspaper endorsements that say bad things about him, because they bum him out. The New Yorker: "A review of Romney's original newspaper endorsements side by side with the versions e-mailed out by the Romney campaign reveals that the eager folks in Boston most often removed references to sensitive areas in Romney's record: health care, his wealth, his inconsistencies, and more. ... Here is a list of the top nine omissions, which together form a story of their own: The Redacted Romney. ... 9. 'That has been just one example of some of the shape-shifting Romney has done to appeal to conservative primary voters who believe he is too moderate. So, it's not unfair to wonder who the real Romney is.'" [The New Yorker]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Lucille Bluth and Mitt Romney, the Tumblr.

SPLC NEGS PICKUP ARTISTS - Southern Poverty Law Center put out its latest report on hate groups, which gets shipped around to law enforcement agencies. On the list: a DC-based pickup artist who goes by RooshV and apparently seduces foreign women but never calls them again. [Reason]

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- These people have an opossum for a pet. Oh, and it can snowboard. [http://bit.ly/xWDkWu]

- You should all be ashamed of yourselves for being so interested in someone else's private photos. [http://bit.ly/xctxa0]

- Here is a cat riding in a basket. [http://bit.ly/wEoDgn]

- Foto Friday: Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors. [http://bit.ly/ww7JRm]

- Foto Friday: Paint drying, like you've never seen it before. [http://bit.ly/znGLjY]

- FotoMotion Picture Friday: A brief documentary on photojournalists. (23m) [http://bit.ly/Aj2qSN]

- Foto Friday: Editor's picks, via Reuters. [http://reut.rs/zW2Ow4]

- In case you thought ISPs were universally evil... [http://bit.ly/xBPdAH]

TWITTERAMA

@toddzwillich: cc: @barackobama RT @JoseCanseco Everyone who joins me will get a hug

@pourmecoffee: Romney trying to hard down south with his "Catfish are people, my friend."

@mollyesque: Speaking of gloves, I've been trying for some time to get my too-clever Romney nickname "Big Glove" to catch on. (Mitt + Mormon! Get it?)

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT
5:00pm - 7:00pm: Obama 2012 fundraiser @ South by Southwest: This youth favorite has become increasingly corporate in the past few years. Same goes for the festival. [117 W. 4th St., Austin Texas]

6:30pm - 9:00pm: People who are rich and/or preppy enough to live in Georgetown convene to celebrate Georgetown's anniversary, slap each other on the back, air-kiss. [The Dumbarton House]

7:30pm - 12:00am: Journopalooza's slogan is "1 night. 1 stage. 7 bands." Which adds up to a Level 9 hangover. [600 14th St. NW]

ALL WEEKEND

John Thune heads to sunny Naples, Fla., to work on his tan and raise some cash. In that order. [Naples, Fla.]

Sen. John Hoeven (the one from North Dakota, remember??) makes like Thune and ditches his crushingly depressing home state for a weekend fundraiser. Hoeven opts for skis over surf, though. Tough call, right? [Big Sky Resort, Montana]

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