Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Delta Throws Tea Party Down Emergency Chute

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Our plan to invite Hilary Rosen and every single stay-at-home mom in America to a massive White House beer summit isn't catching on. A foreign politician is throwing so much money at K Street you'd think he was a multinational fossil fuel conglomerate-slash-arms manufacturer. And Senator Ron Johnson will temporarily shrink the size of the federal government when he fires most of his staff. Starve the beast! This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 12th, 2012:

RON JOHNSON DOES A LITTLE SPRING CLEANING - And by "spring cleaning" we mean "indiscriminately shitcanning a bunch of his staffers." The rest of the Senate is taking a two-by-four to Johnson's head for it. Unrelated point: A McKinsey & Co. analysis of a congressional office would be a hilarious read. Great Meredith Shiner story: "Freshman GOP Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) is looking to purge nearly his entire Washington, D.C.-based legislative team, according to multiple Republican sources familiar with the situation. Johnson's frustration with his legislative staff has been one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington for months, those close to Republican Conference politics said. But the situation in Johnson's office has escalated in recent weeks...GOP sources not affiliated with the campaign or Johnson's office said former staffers had indicated the Wisconsin Senator was frustrated with his operation in the days following the election and informed his staffers they would not be coming with him to D.C...“He's an interesting case study of someone who has talked more than he has listened, lectured more than he has developed relationships with his colleagues, and now he's having a tough time because of that behavior in advancing his policy goals,” one senior GOP aide said. “It's kind of like watching a temper tantrum by a 2-year-old in the middle of the grocery store....The Senate is still about relationships, and he doesn't seem to get that." [Roll Call]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST HAS THOUGHTS ON THINGS AND STUFF - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist -- who just today removed his own fillings with a pair of pliers because he's convinced Hilary Rosen transmits subliminal radio waves through them -- is bursting at the seams with opinions obnoxious even by his standards. "Obama/Holder oppose voter ID laws," PSLGOPL writes, "but you can't get into the Obama campaign HQ without showing a driver's license." He continues: "Obama wants Romney to release 23 years of tax returns but won't release his college transcripts." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

TEA PARTY LIES DOWN WITH DOGS, SURPRISED TO GET FARTED ON - We've been enjoying every minute of this holy alliance of Delta Airlines, Jim DeMint and the Club for Growth. The trilogy has been warring against reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, calling it corporate welfare at its worst. That coalition collapsed in a pile today when Delta's CEO said at a Chamber of Commerce speech that he's fine with all sorts of corporate welfare, just as long as Boeing doesn't get it: "Our focus is narrow, very narrow. We don't object to that kind of financing for other manufacturers outside of airplanes. We don't object to that financing on narrow body airplanes. But I just gotta have an answer...to how do I compete against people that have a $4 million advantage on Jan. 1 of every year, when I start to fly that airplane against them. And that's what happened to us with Air India." Never change, Corporate America! [Our Primer On This Fight]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Unemployment claims went in the complete wrong direction on Thursday: up. And in this newsletter, claims going up is a downer. "In the week ending April 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 380,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 367,000," the government says. "The 4-week moving average was 368,500, an increase of 4,250 from the previous week's revised average of 364,250." [HuffPost]

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IN AMERICA, ELECTION BUYS YOU! - Politico: "A Georgian billionaire has taken Washington by storm, hiring more than half a dozen lobbying and public relations firms over the past three months. Bidzina Ivanishvili wants to become an official candidate in the country's first prime minister race and he hopes that U.S. pressure for free and fair elections will help, since that could be a step toward Georgia's long-held goal of being recognized by NATO. The lobbying push is massive -- going beyond what most countries spend trying to influence Washington lawmakers, much less an individual. Venerable firms like Patton Boggs, National Strategies, Downey McGrath Group, Parry Romani Deconcini & Symms and BGR Group have all signed on to lobby for Ivanishvili. KL Global and Democratic communicator Peter Mirijanian have also recently done proactive press outreach for him." [Politico]

ANN ROMNEY RESPONDS TO LONE WOLF ROMNEY SURROGATE - We give it a month until Mitt names "your mother" as his running mate. "Ann Romney forcefully but cheerfully responded to Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's comments about her being a stay-at-home mom Thursday on Fox News. 'She should have come to my house when those five boys were causing trouble,' said Romney, laughing, 'it wasn't so easy.' Rosen said in a discussion of the so-called war on women on CNN Wednesday, 'his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.' Rosen subsequently tried to clarify her comments in another appearance on CNN Thursday morning and in a HuffPost blog post." [HuffPost]

Jason Linkins summarizes Rosengate: "This would obviously be a real setback to Hilary Rosen's campaign, if she were in a campaign or affiliated with a campaign."

If you're poor, btw, the government doesn't let you count raising kids as work: http://huff.to/IZvri5

Dogs Against Romney has been doing some serious, Andrew Kaczynski-level oppo. The online protest group upset with how Mitt Romney treated his dog in 1983 wants the world to know the Mitt Romney campaign will benefit from a fundraiser hosted by "fellow dog abuser" Fred Malek next week. In 1959, when he was 22, Malek and a group of friends were arrested for animal cruelty after they killed and barbecued a dog. The Washington Post reported in 2006 that charges were dismissed against Malek and three other men when one of their friends testified that he alone was responsible for the incident. [HuffPost]

NEWT GINGRICH 'PROBABLY' DOESN'T WANT TO BE A CABINET SECRETARY - Though we hear he's open to heading up the recently established Department of Unwieldy Diatribes Peppered With Random American History Factoids. NBC News: "Given the opportunity to work in Mitt Romney's cabinet, Newt Gingrich says he would pass. Asked by a radio host inside a small diner whether he would work for a Romney administration if given the opportunity, Gingrich answered 'probably not' but 'not because I am opposed to Mitt.' 'Look, if the choice does end up being Romney versus Obama, I can be very, very enthusiastic for Romney, that is a huge choice. But I had a very good life doing a lot of fun things,' the former House speaker said. 'I am very happy to be an adviser. I did a lot of that in the Bush administration both on health care and national security.' Romney seems to have all but sealed the nomination -- he still has not reached the 1,144 delegate count threshold - but Gingrich says he has more explaining to do." [NBC News]

@michaelscherer: Just saw Foster Friess at J Press on L Street, as amiable as ever.

WHITE HOUSE CONTINUES ITS BUFFET RULE DEFENSE - New White House Rule: everything is now a rule. Politico: "Vice President Joe Biden was calm but combative Thursday as he pitched the Buffett rule by assaulting Mitt Romney for being 'out of step with basic American values' when it comes to the economic realities that most people face... Biden focused his attention on what he called the 'Romney rule,' the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's plan to cut taxes by $1 trillion over a decade with most of the benefits going to the same wealthy Americans who would see their income tax rate set at a minimum of 30 percent under the Buffett rule that's headed to a Senate vote next week. Biden said the Romney rule relies on a simple principle: 'Let's double down on the tax cuts for the wealthy' though they didn't work during the Bush administration." [Politico]

PRESIDENT POLITELY ACKNOWLEDGES REPUBLICAN OPPONENT - Fundraising email from POTUS: "We now know who our opponent is. But what we're really fighting against is what our opponent has pledged to do if elected. He would shower billionaires with more huge tax breaks, oppose setting a timeline to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, starve investments in clean energy research, and make it harder for students to afford to go to college. He'd outlaw a woman's right to choose and completely cut funding for Planned Parenthood."

Barbara Bush offered her two cents on the Hilary Rosen thing, thank God: "Former First Lady Barbara Bush appeared on Fox this afternoon to weigh in on comments made by Hilary Rosen and her subsequent apology. 'Well God bless her, good girl,' Bush said, when Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly informed her of Rosen's apology. 'I'm sorry she took a knock at us who chose -- or were able to -- stay home and take care of our children,' she added. 'Forget it' Bush closed. 'Women who stay at home are wonderful. Women who go to work are wonderful. Whatever.'" [TPM]

@TPM: Barbara Bush on Fox: "Raising George Walker was not easy; trust me."

CONTROVERSIAL, LEADERLESS MOVEMENT FRACTURING... SOMEHOW - Paul Blumenthal: "A split is opening up between two forces that helped to launch the Tea Party in 2009. FreedomWorks, a free market/limited government advocacy group, released a statement Thursday criticizing the move by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch to sue for majority control of the libertarian Cato Institute...FreedomWorks worked hand-in-glove with the Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity to help rally the Tea Party movement in 2009. The two groups teamed up to sponsor the Tea Party Tax Day Protest that followed a televised rant against government support for homeowners facing foreclosure by CNBC's Rick Santelli. Thursday's statement calls the Kochs' move a 'hostile takeover' of Cato, echoing words used by Cato President Ed Crane, who has vocally opposed. Supporters of Cato suspect that the Kochs, who are shareholders in the institute, want to seize majority control to pull Cato into their partisan political infrastructure. The fear is that this move will turn Cato away from its support for and research on positions outside the conservative mainstream, including issues of the war on drugs, civil liberties and militarism." [HuffPost]

CHARLOTTE CONVENTION REMINDING DEMOCRATS THAT NORTH CAROLINA IS STILL IN THE SOUTH - Jason Cherkis and Rhiannon Fionn-Bowman: "Whatever the considerations in the choice, a lot about Charlotte goes unmentioned: double-digit unemployment, overflowing homeless shelters and North Carolina's notorious restrictions on labor unions. Although unions are participating in the convention, more than a dozen unions have announced a boycott of the event. 'We find it troubling that the party so closely associated with basic human rights would choose a state with the lowest unionization rate in the country due to regressive policies aimed at diluting the power of workers,' wrote Mark Ayers, president of the building trades unit, to DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz last summer. Even in the age of Occupy Wall Street, Charlotte boosters say they see little irony in Obama taking the podium to accept his party's nomination at Bank of America Stadium." [HuffPost]

Jen Bendery: "Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) may make an appearance at the Democratic National Convention this summer, according to a local TV station in Charlotte, N.C., where the convention is being hosted." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Rise of the Planet of the Aquarium Fish.

FOODIE REALITIES: HuffPost DC: A George Mason University economist says"I think as individuals, people overrate the virtues of local food.."

COMFORT FOOD

- Corgi is vacuumed, has a great time. [http://bit.ly/IFpmMG]

- Infographic: The Titanic versus today's largest cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas[http://huff.to/IFiOh2]

- Guy too busy texting to notice that he's about to RUN INTO A BEAR. [http://huff.to/Ijn7Ls]

- How an iPad is made, complete with dehumanizing work conditions...and iPads. [http://huff.to/IFrDHK]

- Krispy Kreme s'mores will make you smile, die sooner. [http://huff.to/IFjanY]

- someecards gets super topical... even by someecards' standards. [http://huff.to/IjlSvX]

- A supercut of celebrities playing exaggerated versions of themselves. [http://huff.to/IFsyIp]

TWITTERAMA

@whitneysnyder: bit.ly/HOsj8e MT @samsteinhp: now wasserman schultz, flotus, messina, axelrod, and stephanie cutter have condemned rosen. who's left?

@Andy_Richter: RT @JoeBiden: The Vice President's speech will be live-tweeted on @WaffleHouse // that seems odd to me

@drgrist You think it's easy to get teenage boys to wash a car elevator?!

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

5:30pm - 7:30pm: The invitation to this hill reception says it's "your chance to meet beef cattle veterinarians knowledge in cattle medicine." Can you say awesome Thursday night?? [1300 Longworth]

TOMORROW

12:00pm: Free lunch today includes a lecture on the importance of family planning to low-income women. Depressing? Yes, but at least it's not some toxic chemical lobby. [CVC South Mtg. Rm.]

8:00pm - 12:00am: Clowns Without Borders plans to transform a Dupont mansion into a Clown Circus Party with a house DJ and fire eaters. This could either be awesome or horrifying. Your call. [2017 I St. NW]

All Weekend: GOP Sen. Pat Toomey (PA) hosts a luxurious weekend fundraiser on Sea Island for his PAC, Citizens for Prosperity. Expect to see only citizens who already enjoy ample prosperity. [The Cloister and The Lodge at Sea Island, Ga.]

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