The Southern primary -- that special time when Northern politicians pretend to like the South and Northern bloggers are reminded how much they hate it -- is over. After today, we wouldn't be surprised if New Hampshire's Tea Party-controlled House passes a bill that warns of the relationship between abortion and palm hair. And Megyn Kelly was so amazingly insensitive to Mitt Romney that her first "WE'll DO IT LIVE!!!" moment is undoubtedly months away. Paging Roger Ailes: someone is ready for primetime. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, March 14th, 2012:
OLD MCDONALD HAD A JOINT - EE-I-EE-I-joint. HuffPost's Matt Sledge: "Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), along with Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) sponsored an amendment to the just-passed transportation bill to get rid of a nettling problem for agribusinesses: farm workers who cross state lines have to get commercial drivers licenses and adhere to other rules. The federal government takes away CDLs for everything from driving drunk to 'using a commercial motor vehicle in committing a felony.' In addition to exempting some farm workers from having to get CDLs in order to drive trucks, the amendment also gives them a pass on drug tests.. Merkley touts support from the the American Farm Bureau, the Oregon Farm Bureau and the Oregon Wheat Growers League. Safety advocates weren't so thrilled: 'Underage, inexperienced or unfit drivers are no safer or better prepared to drive a large vehicle that would otherwise be classified as a commercial motor vehicle simply because it is used in a farm operation,' Joan Claybrook, ex-chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told the AP in a statement." Thanks, Matt!
JESSE JACKSON JR. GOING FOR CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION NUMBER 9 - Rule of thumb: If you're a politician, the moment you're referred to as "Number [x]," your professional prospects immediately diminish. Prisoners are also referred to by numbers. Bad optics, man. Shira Toeplitz in tomorrow's Roll Call: "As disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich begins his 14-year sentence at a Colorado prison on Thursday, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., forever known as 'Junior' in Chicago, is a couple days from surviving the toughest re-election race of his career. After the fallout of being identified as 'Senate candidate Number 5,' Jackson was forced to come home and campaign in a redrawn district that now includes some of the state's most rural territory. He faces his longtime nemeses, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, in Tuesday's primary, which the Congressman is expected to win. 'I wouldn't call it complacent. I've been real busy,' Jackson cackled in an interview outside his Kankakee campaign office. 'Mr. Fitzgerald kept me pretty busy. I wouldn't call that complacent. When Mr. Fitzgerald's got you in the general purview of a process, there's no complacency there.'"
TRAGIC METAPHOR ALERT SYSTEM RAISED TO 'ORANGE'
[1940s newsreel voice]News from the War on Women front![/1940s newsreel voice]: "New Hampshire's Tea Party-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would mandate a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion and require doctors to tell women that abortion causes breast cancer. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack), was immediately condemned by Democratic leaders, who said it would require false information to be spread by doctors to patients. There is no proven breast cancer link to abortion, according to the World Health Organization and the American Cancer Society." [HuffPost's John Celock]
SANTORUM BEMOANS MITT ROMNEY'S NERD-ISH LOVE OF MATH AND NUMBERS AND THE WAY THEY FORM LOGICALLY COHERENT THINGS - Poor guy, he's really in a corner... y'know? Luke Johnson: "Rick Santorum laughed off Mitt Romney's Wednesday campaign memo which said that in order to overtake the former Massachusetts governor, Santorum or Newt Gingrich needs to start netting an 'impossible number of delegates.' 'It's pretty sad when all you have is to do math instead of trying to go out there and win it on substance and win it on what Americans want to hear about,' Santorum told CNN at a town hall in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Despite his dismissal, Romney does have a commanding lead. Even though former Sen. Santorum (R-Pa.) won in Mississippi and Alabama Tuesday, with Romney finishing in third in both states, Romney ended up winning the most delegates in the day's contests, thanks in part to late results in Hawaii and American Samoa. Romney won at least 41 delegates, while Santorum won at least 35, according to the Associated Press. To date, Romney has 495 delegates while Santorum has 252, by the AP count. To win the GOP presidential nomination, a candidate needs 1,144." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - American workers are sad about their retirement prospects. Twenty-three percent are not at all confident they'll have enough money, according to the latest from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Sixty percent say they have less than $25,000 saved, and 30 percent have less than $1,000. [EBRI]
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THE SENATE SURE DID A LOT OF BIPARTISAN STUFF TODAY! - And this is in addition to the transpo bill, to boot! Did it recently hold a team building retreat in Colonial Williamsburg that no one sent us the Paperless Post to? The Hill: "Senate leaders on Wednesday reached an agreement on a group of President Obama's judicial nominees, avoiding a showdown that could have brought the chamber to standstill. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cancelled cloture votes on 17 of Obama's nominees set to begin on Wednesday afternoon after reaching the deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Under the agreement, the Senate will put 14 of the 17 judicial nominees up for a vote by May 7th at a pace of two per week, according to a Senate Democratic aide." [The Hill]
ROMNEY CAMPAIGN, FRESH OFF OF MAJOR LOSSES, TRIUMPHANTLY DECLARES THAT 'NOTHING HAS CHANGED' - Don't worry, the campaign is securely fastened to its winning strategy's roof and its messaging operation is air tight. Mitt isn't going anywhere. Jon Ward: "The Romney campaign is out Wednesday morning with a memo once again emphasizing its delegate lead. The campaign says they have 'at least 511 delegates to Senator Santorum's 256 delegates... The fact remains that nothing has changed or advanced [Santorum's] chances of getting the Republican nomination,' writes Romney's political director Rich Beeson. 'Tuesday's results actually increased Governor Romney's delegate lead, while his opponents only moved closer to their date of mathematical elimination.'" [HuffPost]
Short of Dick Gephardt traveling back in time and endorsing Gerald Ford you won't find a MORE EXCITING endorsement than this. Elise Foley: "Mitt Romney announced an endorsement Wednesday from former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who had previously backed then-candidate Jon Huntsman. Ridge's endorsement of Huntsman didn't help much; the former Utah governor gained little traction and dropped out a few months later. Romney, though, needs all of the help he can get in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary, where 72 delegates are at stake and which heavily favors Rick Santorum, who lived in and represented the state." Wild!!! [HuffPost]
TODAY IN 'VOTE FOR MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE' - Subhead: "Why Barack Obama Couldn't Be A Shrewder Politician If His Father Were Henry VIII And His Mother Were A Copy Of 'Master Of The Senate.'" Dayton Daily News: "President Barack Obama discussed energy policy with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and gave British Prime Minister David Cameron basketball tips Tuesday at an NCAA tournament game at UD Arena, during a brief election-year trip to a crucial swing state. 'Sometimes when we have foreign visitors, they're only visiting the coasts,' Obama said during a halftime interview. 'They go to New York, they go to Washington, they go to Los Angeles, but the heartland is what it's all about.' Obama, Cameron and Kasich attended an NCAA First Four game at UD Arena as part of Cameron's three-day visit to the United States to discuss foreign policy in Afghanistan, Iran and Syria." [
City Obama BADLY Wants To Win Daily News Dayton Daily News]
The Dayton Daily News' ACTUAL subhead: "Obama: 'The heartland is what it's all about.'" Goddamn he's good.
If you have any idea what President Obama's approval rating really is, please, PLEASE let us know. Emily Swanson: "Although two polls released Monday suggested that President Barack Obama's approval rating might be dropping, several surveys released Tuesday and Wednesday have found that rating remains steady. A new Pew poll, released Wednesday morning, found approval of Obama at 50 percent and disapproval at 41 percent. That's slightly better than Pew's February poll, when the firm found his approval rating at 47 percent and his disapproval rating at 43 percent. The improvement was within the poll's 3 percentage point margin of error. An Ipsos/Reuters poll, released Tuesday evening, also found 50 percent of respondents said they approved of Obama, while 48 percent said they disapproved. That's essentially unchanged from the last Ipsos/Reuters poll in early February, when a survey found 48 percent approved of Obama's performance and 49 percent disapproved." [HuffPost]
@feliciasonmez: Half-hour before start of Gingrich event here in Rosemont, Ill., and ballroom is nearly empty
BEST MEGYN KELLY/MITT ROMNEY INTERVIEW... EVER? - First there was this: "No, no, no, no -- we don't win a million more votes than anyone else in this race by just appealing to high-income Americans," he said. "I've been able to have support ... from Tea Party supporters, men and women ... those aren't all wealthy people." Then he got snippy toward Rick Santorum: "I understand the economy not because I've debated the economy in a subcommittee of Congress, I understand the economy because I've lived it." For the record, "a subcommittee in Congress" is the presidential campaign rhetorical equivalent of "I'm just saying he has small feet! That's all!" And then, best of all, Kelly cut the interview off as Romney was saying this: "People have looked at this topic 100 times, more than 100 times, I have agreed that a state should be allowed, if it wants to, to have a health care mandate," he said, sounding annoyed. "Time and again I've pointed out I'm not in favor of a health care plan that included a national mandate." "Got it," Kelly said, cutting to commercial. [HuffPost's Elise Foley]
SANTORUM AIDE DROPS THE S-BOMB - That's right, Seamus. "Quite frankly, I'm not sure I'm going to listen to a value judgment of a guy who strapped his own dog on the top of a car and went hurling down the highway," Santorum adviser John Brabender said, not at all desperately, on CNN's "Starting Point," in response to a question about Romney's allegation that the Santorum campaign is "desperate." Thankfully for us, he continued: "For Mitt Romney to be out there, saying that this is desperate," Brabender continued, "is an insult also to the voters in places like Mississippi and Alabama who evidently didn't get the Romney desperate memo." Political theater fever: Catch it! [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Red Panda uses ATTACK on Pumpkin. It is not very effective.
CUE THE OMINOUS MUSIC - HuffPost DC - Just as federal prosecutors are handing down subpoenas to several D.C. Council members, local elections officials are investigating the campaign of At-Large member Vincent Orange, who has admitted that a number of donations given to his 2011 special election campaign via money orders are questionable.
- Why I am leaving the Empire, by Darth Vader. [http://bit.ly/A4TdUQ]
- Here is the world's best banker. [http://bit.ly/zHpKuz]
- Vi Hart unleashes nerd fury on Pi Day. We're on team Tau Day. [http://bit.ly/x71JHU]
- Are you Tournament Challenge challenged? [http://bit.ly/yxDecC]
- Cat plays fetch while making a ridiculous face. [http://bit.ly/Atcb5Y]
- How to pour a proper pint of Guinness. [http://bit.ly/x0pD1o]
- "Metamorphosis" is the weirdest literary-inspired animation you'll ever see. [http://bit.ly/wpZLPX]
- Puma cubs saved from traps, granted second chance at spreading cuteness to the internet. [http://huff.to/yhQQOm]
@igorbobic: Eagerly awaiting @TheRevAl commercial on MSNBC for Pi day.
@pourmecoffee: George Clooney was at White House today, I think for a meeting of the President's Council on Handsomeness.
@JoshuaGreen: Jeremy Lin: player-coach (cc: @GingrichIdeas)
6:00pm - 7:30pm: There's going to be a NASCAR guy downstairs in Rayburn signing autographs. So now you know. [Rayburn B340]
7:00pm - 9:00pm: Bipartisan speed dating at Cap Lounge, just in case you'd like a more organized setting for people you work with to hit on you. [231 Pennsylvania Ave, SE]
6:30pm: Crumpets and mincemeat and Colin Firth and bad teeth are coming!! No, not really, but Obama is hosting a state dinner for visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron. Cheerio. [The White House]
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