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HUFFPOST HILL - Romney And Obama Engaged In Game Of Political HORSE

Posted: 04/23/2012 6:22 pm Updated: 04/23/2012 6:35 pm

Jingoistic voters were on edge after Mitt Romney gushed about France but calmed down when he called a famous Parisian park the "Jardin of Luxembourg." Ron Paul continues to amass delegates and money, so expect President Romney to put him in charge of the Department of Please Stay Away From Me. And John Boehner predicted that the GOP has a "one-in-three" chance of losing the House. That sound you hear is a thousand spooked Republican bundlers frantically scheduling Capitol Hill Club fundraisers. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, April 23rd, 2012:

BOEHNER: 'ONE-IN-THREE' CHANCE THE GOP LOSES THE HOUSE - Translation: There's a two-in-three chance anxious Republican donors will get off their lazy bums and write a check to the NRCC if they realize we have a one-in-three chance of actually losing this thing. Luke Johnson: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) admitted there's a '1 in 3' chance that the Republicans will lose their majority in the House of Representatives in an interview to be aired Tuesday on Fox News' 'America's Newsroom.' 'I would say that there is a 2 in 3 chance that we win control of the House again. But there's a 1 in 3 chance that we could lose. And I'm being myself, frank, we've got a big challenge and we've got work to do,' he said Monday to Fox News' Bill Hemmer." [HuffPost]

Speaker Boehner is doing a much better job at sounding excited about Mitt Romney, bless his heart. From the same interview: “You know I think he's doing fine after coming through what was clearly a pretty bruising primary. For his numbers to be in close proximity to the President I think is a very good sign... Well listen, Mitt Romney has a great story to tell. His success story is an American success story and I would go out there and talk about his story and how what he wants to do is to make those opportunities available to every American. But to do that we've got to reign in the size and scope and reach of Washington D.C…. He has certainly done an awful lot of it, but I think his economic background -- his background in creating jobs and creating investment that would help create more jobs -- is exactly the right message that the voters want to hear this November."

ROMNEY NOT GETTING MUCH BUCK FOR HIS BANG - According to Sam Stein, Mitt Romney doesn't get much return on investment from the states where he makes campaign stops. Maybe he should restructure those states and send half of the citizens packing to go live somewhere else? Those states are clearly super inefficient. #lamebainjokes Sam: "During the month of March, Romney received just 112 reported contributions for a total of approximately $17,000 from sources who listed Iowa as their home state, despite having spent months of time and millions in resources participating in that state's caucus. By contrast, President Barack Obama, who maintains staff in the state but has himself visited irregularly, raised $95,269 from 897 Iowa donors last month. The same dynamic held true in New Hampshire, where Romney has a vacation home. In March, the likely Republican presidential nominee received just 118 reported donations for a total of approximately $35,000 from sources inside the Granite State, despite having campaigned heavily to win the first-in-the-nation primary there. Obama raised $124,313 from 735 donors in New Hampshire during the same month. South Carolina, which follows New Hampshire on the primary calendar, was only slightly more lucrative for the Romney campaign last month. A total of 188 reported donations were made to Romney from that state for a total of $61,000. Obama, by contrast, raised $92,836 from 900 donors inside the state." [HuffPost]

WOMEN LESS LIKELY TO BE CONNED INTO DONATING TO CAMPAIGNS: REPORT - Or, put another way, women are feeling disconnected from politics, which is totally crazy, seeing how well they and their interests are represented in Congress and whatnot. Amanda Terkel: "After the 2010 elections, the number of women in Congress dropped for the first time in more than 30 years. A new report shows that it was also a weak cycle for political giving from women, which decreased when compared to the previous two election cycles. In 2010, women's contributions made up just 26 percent of recorded federal political giving to candidates, political action committees (PACs) and political parties, according to a new study called 'Vote with Your Purse' by the groups She Should Run and the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). The amount fell from 31 percent in the 2008 cycle and 30 percent in the 2006 cycle." [HuffPost]

EARMARKS ARE BACK, BABY!... KINDA - In tomorrow's Roll Call from Meredith Shiner: "Though the Congressional earmark might be dead — or at least in a tea-party-induced coma — lawmaker boasting about funds secured for their states is alive and well as appropriation season kicks into full gear. Banning earmarks in the traditional sense was a top priority for Republicans when they won back the House in 2010 and reinforced by the president’s call for the ban in his State of the Union the following January. But prohibiting pork has not stopped lawmakers from asking the administration to protect their parochial interests. Just last week, Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Daniel Akaka (D-HI) blasted a release celebrating a $250 million railway project for Honolulu and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Murray) praised a $65 million appropriation for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, $15 million above the proposed Obama budget. And sources in both parties say the press put forward last week is likely just the beginning. Even with momentum against government spending on an ideological level, lawmakers looking to show their constituents they’re attentive to their needs likely will brag about budget wins back home -- especially in an election year."

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed a law last week that will soon require welfare applicants to pay for drug tests and pass them in order to be eligible for benefits. In a release, Deal's office cited Florida's recent experience with the same requirement: "Florida passed similar legislation back in 2010 decreasing their welfare applicant pool by 48 percent and saving their state $1.8 million." Deal's assertion is based on bad research by the Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank in Florida. The notion that drug testing reduced the welfare applicant pool is directly contradicted by the state government's evaluation of its own law. [HuffPost]

DOUBLE DOWNER - The annual report from Social Security's Board of Trustees came out today. Bad news: "The projected point at which the combined Trust Funds will be exhausted comes in 2033 -- three years sooner than projected last year. At that time, there will be sufficient non-interest income coming in to pay about 75 percent of scheduled benefits." The upside is that all you have to do to fix it is tax rich people more. [Social Security Administration]

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NEWS FROM THE WAR-FOR-YOUTH-VOTERS FRONT - Mitt Romney (in a completely heartfelt way, we're sure) came out in support of President Obama's student loan relief plan. T-minus 10 days until Romney's campaign releases a totally earnest "Yo! MTV Raps"-themed youth outreach video. Sam Stein: "[L]ikely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said on Monday that he supported President Barack Obama's proposal to extend current interest rate levels on federal student loans. The former Massachusetts governor made his remarks during his first press availability in well over a month. He returned to the podium to offer his support for the idea, after the event ended without a reporter having asked him about it. 'Particularly with the number of college graduates that can't find work and can only find work well beneath their skill level, I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans," Romney said. "There was some concern that that would expire halfway through the year and I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates on students as a result of student loans, obviously, in part because of the extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market.'" [HuffPost]

A few months ago, Mitt was this close to suggesting America's kids eat soup out of boots -- now he's firmly in the anti-boot soup camp. "It would be popular for me to stand up and say, 'I'm going to give you government money to pay for your college,' but I'm not going to promise that," he said. "And don't expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on." [Ibid.]

@BenjySarlin: Tom Harkin, on campaign call on student loans, notes he, POTUS, and FLOTUS all took on debt to go to college #CoughRomneyCough

ROMNEY REMINDS VOTERS HE'S RICH - During a press conference in Pennsylvania on Monday, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney gushed about his vacations in France and said he looked forward to visiting again. "I have a lot memories of France," Romney said in response to a reporter's question. "The best memories were with my wife on vacations from time to time in France. The last vacation we had there, walking around the city of Paris and walking not just [on] the Champs-Elysees but also over to the Jardin of Luxembourg and around the city -- one of the most magnificent cities in the world. And I look forward to occasional vacations again in such a beautiful place." Would you be surprised if we told you Romney previously said something about the propriety of presidential vacations? [HuffPost]

Rudy Giuliani, who once said that Mitt Romney "has no core," endorsed Mitt Romney. At least he didn't compare Romney to a squeegee man? The Hill: "Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who had backed Newt Gingrich's presidential bid, formally endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Monday. 'If things had worked out I would have been very happy and honored to support Newt, but it never really got to that point,' Giuliani said Monday on 'Fox and Friends.'... Speaking in December on MSNBC, Giuliani called Romney 'a man without a core,' 'a man without substance' and 'a man that will say anything to become president of the United States.'" Heh. Never change, Rudy! [The Hill]

LEFTIST MEDIA CAN'T STOP BEING NICE TO MITT ROMNEY - The elite, East Coast, liberal media -- uh -- elite, which has spent most of the last few months pouring all its resources into Francois Hollande's election, has also been using its less essential assets to guarantee Willard Mitt Romney's victory. Michael Calderone: "During the past several months of the Republican primary campaign, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney received a mix of positive and negative coverage, while President Barack Obama got 'consistently negative' coverage, according to a new study from Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism. The PEJ study, which examined coverage from the period between Jan 2 and April 15, found that 'Obama's negative coverage exceeded positive coverage in 14 or 15 weeks studied, while positive coverage outweighed negative coverage for Romney in six of the 15 weeks and was fairly evenly divided in four more.'" [HuffPost]

SHELDON ADELSON SURPASSES SOROS IN PAC DONATIONS - Take a break, conservative conspiracy theorists! Kick back! Read your favorite printouts from World Net Daily! Go grab a Gatorade or something! It's time for your liberal cousins to tap in. Paul Blumenthal: "Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino tycoon, and his family topped the all-time list of disclosed individual donors to independent spending groups in a single election cycle when they gave an additional $10 million to super PACs in March. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday, Adelson and his family increased their total super PAC giving to $26.5 million, pushing them past the $23.7 million contributed by billionaire businessman George Soros to 527 groups in the 2004 election cycle. Adelson, of course, donates to conservative interests, while Soros supported progressive causes." [HuffPost]

THORN-IN-SIDE UPDATE: RON PAUL STILL FIRMLY ENSCONCED IN MITT ROMNEY'S LOVE HANDLE - Slate: "Over the weekend, Minnesota held congressional district conventions. Now, the state's February caucus -- one of the trio of non-binding contests Santorum won early that month -- went 45 percent for Santorum, 27 percent for Paul, and only 17 percent for Romney. The Associated Press and other groups went on to estimate that Santorum would win 17 of Minnesota's delegates, Paul would win 10, and Romney 6. Wrong. Ron Paul dominated the CD conventions. According to a tweet from RNC committeewoman Pat Anderson, Paul took 20 of the 24 delegates available in the CDs." [Slate]

TODAY IN 'MACHINATIONS, SCHEMES AND INTRIGUES' - Roll Call: "Rep. Peter Roskam's decision to stay out of the messy Illinois primary that pitted a freshman incumbent against a veteran lawmaker was a prescient strategy for a rising leader, Members and political observers said of the GOP's Chief Deputy Whip. While some Illinois junkies complain of Roskam's cautious style when it comes to state politics, others noted that the three-term Republican is wisely picking his spots and building goodwill in a diverse Conference that widely views his future as bright. 'I think he's trying to build, especially from a Whip position, all the way through, a way of keeping people united,' Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) said of his chief deputy. 'He's one who unites; he doesn't divide in the process.' Another Republican lawmaker was more direct, noting that Roskam's decision to stay out of the primary between Reps. Don Manzullo and Adam Kinzinger, the latter of whom won the messy March contest, 'will pay him dividends down the road' as he tries to climb up the leadership ranks. Whereas Majority Leader Eric Cantor(Va.) caught heat for endorsing and financially supporting Kinzinger, Roskam emerged from the contest in his own home state unscathed." [Roll Call]

HAMID KARZAI GETS INTO FIGHT, NATURALLY, WITH LAWMAKER IN CHARGE OF INVESTIGATING HAMID KARZAI - Dana Rohbacher, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, is in a little bit of a squabble with America's best frenemy, Hamid Karzai. Max Rosenthal: "On Friday, Karzai barred Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) from traveling to Afghanistan with his fellow congressmen. Rohrabacher, a longtime critic of Karzai, called the move a "pretty desperate" attempt to prevent his views from being aired in front of the Afghan people... Rohrabacher was scheduled to visit Afghanistan as part of a congressional delegation, which he joined at the last minute when another member of Congress dropped out. But according to Tara Setmayer, Rohrabacher's communications director, Karzai threatened to bar the entire group if the California Republican attempted to make the trip. '[Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton personally relayed Karzai's message and personally petitioned Dana not to continue on with the delegation. Out of respect, he obliged and stayed behind in Dubai. This took place on Friday,' said Setmayer. Rohrabacher put his attacks on Karzai into action last month, calling for an investigation into the finances of the Karzai family. He told The Huffington Post on Monday that he would continue that push when he returned to Washington." [HuffPost]

SCOTT WALKER RECALL: WISCONSIN GOP CAMPAIGNING FOR FAKE DEMOCRATS - You mean they're canvassing for Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman?!? Ba-dum tish. Thank you, thank you, we're here all night! Amanda Terkel: "At least two top Republican legislators in the state are now urging GOP voters to cast ballots for fake Democratic candidates in upcoming primary contests, hoping that their own party will benefit in the general election. 'We are encouraging Republicans to vote in the Democratic primaries,' state Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), who is expected to serve as speaker of the Assembly next year, told the Associated Press." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a polar bear doing an underwater handstand.

ATTENTION METROBUS RIDERS - HuffPost DC: Did you ride the 52 or 54 bus on Friday morning? "Metro has issued a viral meningitis alert."

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TWITTERAMA

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TONIGHT

2:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Rep. Andrew Harris (R-Md.) is on a boat, fishing for money from 2 till 8 p.m.

TOMORROW

8:00 am: Women Winning Breakfast with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Where do women win? On K Street, of course.

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