Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Romney Poised To Drive Stake Through The Heart Of This Wretched, Undying Primary

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President Obama held a high-profile news conference to basically ask Justice Anthony Kennedy to PRETTY PLEASE not overturn his entire health care reform bill. We learned that conservatives are for anything that involves both the military and flags -- so long as the flag in question is NOT flown outside the Stonewall Inn. And Marco Rubio and Chris Christie randomly started to behave presidential-y recently...also Mitt Romney is expected to sweep tomorrow's primaries. How random! This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, April 2nd, 2012:

WILL AMERICA FINALLY BE ABLE TO RID ITSELF OF THIS GODFORSAKEN REPUBLICAN PRIMARY? - Mark Blumenthal looks at the poll numbers and lets us know whether we can all start focusing on something more exciting than this narrative (you know: veep speculation, interesting Mitt Romney FOIAs, Barack Obama's choice of dad jeans, etc). Blumenthal: "New polls released over the weekend show Mitt Romney poised to win the two states, Wisconsin and Maryland, that will hold Republican presidential primaries on Tuesday. Add to those likely wins a probable Romney victory in the District of Columbia the same day, and the frontrunner stands a chance not only of sweeping the three contests but also of winning most of the 95 delegates up for grabs. The most recent polls in Wisconsin all used automated, recorded-voice methodologies. One survey conducted March 31 to April 1 by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling shows Romney leading Rick Santorum by seven points (43 to 36 percent), with Ron Paul (11 percent) and Newt Gingrich (8 percent) running far behind. Automated calling on April 1 by the firm WeAskAmerica shows Romney leading Santorum by eight points (39 to 31 percent), but found far larger totals for Paul (16 percent) and Gingrich (15 percent). And a third survey from Rasmussen Reports, conducted on March 29 but released over the weekend, shows Romney leading Santorum by 10 points (44 to 34 percent), with Paul and Gingrich receiving 7 percent each." [HuffPost]

LGBT folks make some folks nervous, pt. 500,000,000: "The simple raising of a gay pride flag in the U.S. military base in Afghanistan has the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins panicking for the troops' safety. Erroneously claiming that "few of the troops support" the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Perkins went so far as to suggest that displaying this symbol of inclusion is "nearly as incendiary" as Quran burning and it puts the base at risk." [ThinkProgress]

WHITE HOUSE TRYING MAKE THE MOST OF A PRETTY MEH SITUATION - Sam Stein: "President Barack Obama offered his first public comments on the Supreme Court's hearing of his signature health care law, telling reporters that he believed the court will rule that it is constitutional. Appearing at a press conference in the Rose Garden alongside Prime Minster Stephen Harper of Canada and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, Obama explained that he was confident the Affordable Care Act would be upheld for a series of reasons. First and foremost, he made the case that precedent was on his side, noting that two staunchly conservative lower court justices had agreed that penalizing people who didn't purchase insurance coverage was within Congress' power under the commerce clause." [HuffPost]

@jbendery: In other news, the Brady Campaign just launched a new petition titled "The Freedom to Buy Skittles Without Getting Shot." #Trayvon

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - South Carolina lawmakers are the latest to confront the fake scourge of drug use among the jobless. "You are not ready, able and available to be hired and go to work," state Rep. Thomas Young (R-Aiken County) said, according to a local TV station. "We shouldn't be paying unemployment benefits to someone that doesn't meet that definition." Young's bill, which passed the state House last week, will deny benefits to workers who fail employer drug tests. Young is the most recent of dozens of state lawmakers to push drug testing without citing any evidence drug use is contributing significantly to unemployment. [WISTV]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER, COMING TO A NEWSPAPER NEAR YOU!

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SUPREME COURT ASKS NATIONS' PRISONERS TO RELAX (THIS WILL ONLY TAKE A SECOND) - Are you currently navigating America's sizable AND complex prison-industrial complex? Then do we have an article for you! Mike Sacks: "The Supreme Court on Monday decided that jails may perform suspicionless strip searches on new inmates regardless of the gravity of their alleged offenses. In 2005, Albert Florence was riding in the passenger seat as his wife drove him and one of their three children to her mother's house for dinner. A New Jersey state trooper pulled the car over and arrested Florence under a civil contempt order for failure to pay a fine that he had, in fact, paid in full. Over the course of six days, he was taken to two county jails and strip searched upon entry to each, even though there was no reason to suspect that he was carrying any contraband that threatened jailhouse security, let alone that he was guilty of any criminal offense. During the high court's oral argument in October, Florence's lawyer, Thomas Goldstein, urged the justices to adopt a "reasonable suspicion" standard for strip searching upon prison intake, a standard that would vindicate his client's constitutional rights and serve to deter similar situations in the future. The justices rejected that suggestion in a 5-4 decision along ideological lines." [HuffPost]

DISENFRANCHISED MEMBER OF CONGRESS QUITE POSSIBLY THE MOST SHREWD POLITICIAN IN AMERICA - ProPublica: "Last year, as the government of Bahrain violently suppressed an Arab Spring protest movement, an unlikely champion of the small Gulf nation emerged on Capitol Hill in Washington: Democratic Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, the delegate from American Samoa. Faleomavaega, who has been a non-voting delegate in Congress since 1989 and is now the third-ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, typically focuses on more local matters: the tuna industry, Pacific Islands affairs and securing federal funding for American Samoa. But this week he is taking a trip to Bahrain, his second in the past year, both paid by the Bahraini government. It's part of a year-long friendship the congressman has developed with the Gulf nation. In March 2011, just weeks into the crisis, Faleomavaega emerged seemingly out of nowhere -- he has no history of commenting on Middle East affairs -- to enter a 2,500-word statement into the Congressional Record that closely echoed the Bahraini government's spin. "Bahrain is under attack," he said, painting protesters as violent, Iran-backed vandals representing "the worst kind of seditious infiltration from a foreign enemy." He praised the Crown Prince for supposedly meeting protesters' demands for democratic reforms." [ProPublica]

AND THEY'RE OFF: VEEP SPOT/ROMNEY CABINET JOCKEYING UNDERWAY - First up, Rubio awkwardly tried to play down his brief childhood brush with Mormonism during an interview with Fox News' Juan Williams while defending his support of the DREAM act: Rubio "I was eight years old, and obviously, when you're eight years old you do what your parents tell you to do, which is -- by the way -- one of the reasons behind the DREAM Act, right -- behind the concept of the DREAM Act. When you're eight years-old, you go where your parents take you. Our parents took us from Miami to Las Vegas and back, and it's not something we hide from. Bottom line is it was an episode in our life from when I was very young, and it will be more fully discussed in the book." [The Hill]

Rubio also suggested that Mitt Romney pick Jeb Bush as his running mate, which is so kind of him : "He's [Jeb's] my pick," Rubio told Williams. "I want Jeb Bush to be Vice-President. How's that?" [Ibid.]

Adding to the intrigue: Jeb already proposed Rubio as his veep pick

@ethanklapper: As of today, Romney has exactly half the delegates he needs to clinch the GOP nomination, per @AP delegate count huff.to/H9zxb4

"Christie Making Big Overseas Trip". Heh, "Big." The Associated Press sure does have some funny writers: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie kicked off his first official overseas trip Monday, meeting Israel's leader in a visit that may boost the rising Republican star's foreign policy credentials ahead of November's presidential election. Christie, 49, is mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2012 and a possible presidential candidate in 2016. He has brushed aside repeated appeals from top Republican donors about entering this year's presidential race." [AP]

The Boston Globe published an op-ed by former Sen. John Sununu (R-Nakedly Ambitious) titled "An exciting VP? Don't go for it, Mitt." We hear the Globe op-ed editors were thinking about titling it "::Cough:: ::Cough:: ::Cough:: Remember me, Mitt? ::Cough:: ::Cough:: ::Cough::" or "In the market for an agriculture secretary, buddy?" but thought better of it. Sununu: "So let us embrace the obvious: The winning choice is the dull choice -- a running mate the public already knows, warts and all. Mondale, Bush, Gore, Cheney, Biden. These were not picks that lit the world on fire. They were serious, experienced names, vetted by the harsh media glare of a previous run for president or service in the president's cabinet. They weren't from key states, and weren't part of some grand plan to balance ideology. But they all won." [Political Wire]

Sununu really, maybe, quite possibly wants that veep/commerce secretary/ambassador to France spot: "Former New Hampshire Gov. and Mitt Romney surrogate John Sununu -- whose son weighed in on the vice-presidential selection process this morning -- tells the National Review that there's no way Rick Santorum will be Romney's VP choice." [Politico]

RICK SANTORUM MIGHT ACTUALLY BE THE ONLY PERSON IN AMERICA WHO THINKS RICK SANTORUM CAN WIN - That or he really, really, REALLY doesn't care about Mitt Romney's chances in November. Elise Foley: "Rick Santorum's campaign is up with an ad on Monday tying Mitt Romney to President Barack Obama, even morphing the president's face into that of his opponent. 'What if I told you this man's big government-mandated health care included $50 abortions and killed thousands of jobs?' a woman says in front of a green screen showing a picture of the president. 'Would you ever vote for him?' She next asks whether voters would approve of someone who supported 'radical' cap-and-trade legislation, the Wall Street bailout or higher taxes." [HuffPost]

POLL: THE 'LADIES ::HEART:: OBAMA' NARRATIVE IS ACTUALLY IS A THING, NOT JUST A 'NARRATIVE' - A new USA Today/Gallup survey indicates that women seem to prefer presidential candidates who don't make them feel insecure about their fallopian tubes. Reuters: "Women voters helped President Barack Obama take a large lead over Republican front-runner candidate Mitt Romney in a dozen battleground states, a USA TODAY/Gallup poll said on Monday. The results point to difficulties the Republicans could face among a critical bloc in November's general election against Obama. Support for Obama among women under the age of 50 surged from mid-February, the poll found, putting the president ahead of Romney by 51 percent against 42 percent among all voters. Obama led Romney among the women with 54 percent, compared to Romney's 36 percent." [Reuters]

Wisconsin has officially joined the ranks of Kansas, Florida, Maine, Montana, Alaska and California and is now one of our country's most disturbing states. Amanda Terkel and Laura Bassett: "A small bomb exploded outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wis., on Sunday night, and police are investigating to learn who planted the device. According to WGBA-TV, police fire crews found the homemade explosive outside a window sill that they believe had set off a small fire, which burned out before fire crews arrived. The building sustained a small amount of damage. The FBI has joined with the local police department to investigate the bombing. Leonard Peace, a spokesman for the FBI's Milwaukee Division, told The Huffington Post that the agency was notified of the incident on Sunday evening and initiated an investigation on Monday." [HuffPost]

Former labor flack looking very one-percenty, attention grabby.

TAGG ROMNEY ALMOST SPOILED MAD MEN, SEASON FIVE FOR US - We haven't seen the first two (three?) episodes yet, so we have no idea if the following blurb actually explains anything. We hope you enjoy this, uh, Mad Men-related news item: "Tagg Romney isn't happy with the portrayal of his grandfather, former Michigan Gov. George Romney (R), on 'Mad Men.' 'Seriously, lib media mocking my dead grandpa?' Tagg Romney, Mitt Romney's son, wrote Monday on Twitter, responding to a line quoted from the show. "George Romney was as good a man I've ever known,' Tagg wrote. 'Inspirational leader, worked for civil rights, promoted freedom. We need more like him.' Sunday night's episode of 'Mad Men' had Henry Francis, a staffer to the New York governor, saying he wouldn't let his boss go to Michigan because, 'Romney is a clown and I don't want him standing next to him.' George Romney was Michigan's governor from 1963 to 1969." What an interesting piece of news! PLEASE don't tell us anything about it! [HuffPost]

MICHIGAN RECALL: IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, WAIT UNTIL THE POLITICAL SITUATION IS MORE FAVORABLE TO YOU, AND THEN TRY, TRY AGAIN - "For the second time in two years a group of Michigan activists is launching a recall drive against Gov. Rick Snyder (R). With a reworded recall petition focused on actions Snyder has taken rather than actions Snyder is projected to take, the group Michigan Rising believes they can double the amount of signatures they received last year and force a recall referendum in November. The group is focusing the bulk of its attention on Snyder's decision to sign 'emergency manager' legislation allowing the state to take control of local governments and his budget plans...The language submitted to Washtenaw County election officials specifically cites Snyder's education, tax and local government policies. The petition claims that Snyder has hurt school children by taking $400 million out of the state school fund, which caused students to be placed in overcrowded classrooms, and notes his cutting of the state's food stamp program." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby enjoys its father's sneezes.

REDSKINS TO ATTEMPT TO SUPERFICIALLY DE-SUCK - HuffPost DC: "The Redskins' makeover may involve 'new uniforms.'"

COMFORT FOOD

- Photos/video of a beautiful place (Sor-Fron, Norway, if you must know). [http://huff.to/HaYNfv]

- All eight seasons of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" in 80 seconds. [http://huff.to/H9MpPO]

- Five very solid Twitter feeds from someone who knows about these things. [http://huff.to/H9Ngjj]

- Do you live in New York? Do you ride taxis? Are you interested in seeing a strange new taxi? [http://huff.to/H9M0Nd]

- Treat yoself: "5 Reasons to Spend More Than $500 on Your Next Laptop." [http://huff.to/H9NWFu]

- Henry Miller documentary will improve your understanding of Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller. [http://huff.to/HaZxBd]

- For the aspiring nerd who just wants to memorize the periodic table through song. [http://huff.to/H9OH1k]

TWITTERAMA

@samyoungman: Santorum: "What's up with the Kentucky jerseys every day?" It's gameday, Senator. Also, I live out of a suitcase

@timothypmurhpy: I'm just glad the term "liberal media" has now been expanded to include "fictional character on AMC's 'Mad Men.'"

@EliLake: If you are looking to be a pro-labor Islamist folk singer, let me recommend the stage name, Woody Mufti

ON TAP

Until April 29th: The Shakespeare Theatre Company is doing a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Strange Interlude." Put down the smartphone and go take in some theatre (emphasis on the "re"). Seriously, put this down. [Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street NW]

TONIGHT

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm: "Taste of the Nation" brings together "more than 80 restaurants, chefs and mixologists, all coming together to lend their time and talent to help raise the crucial funds necessary to ensure no kid goes hungry in America." We're guessing a lot of the guests are probably going hungry themselves (gotta look good for the society photogs!!!11). [National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW]

TOMORROW

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Nothing screams "good time" quite like the gentlemen Democrats of Delaware. John Daniello and Governor Jack Markell host a "Chairman's Club Reception." Tom Carper, John Carney and Chris Coons are scheduled to appear. Fun. [Harry's Savoy Grill, 2020 Naamans Road, Wilmington, DE]

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