Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - GOP Identifies Nation's Biggest Problem: Abuse Victims

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Wiretapping requests were up in 2011, so we strongly suggest you locate America's last remaining payphone if you wish to discuss your Ponzi scheme with someone in England. Mitt Romney campaigned at the home of a villainous coal baron, producing a pool report, we presume, consisting entirely of maniacal laughter. And George Clooney helped President Obama raise nearly $6 million dollars, almost as much as Democratic Strategist Ted Nugent! This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, May 4th, 2012:

CONGRESS UNSURE ABOUT PROTECTING VICTIMS OF ABUSE (HAPPY FRIDAY, EVERYONE!) - With Elise Foley: "The House Republican version of the new Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) would dramatically rollback confidentiality protections for abused immigrant women, make it more difficult for undocumented witnesses to work with law enforcement officials, and eliminate a pathway to citizenship for witnesses who cooperate with police on criminal cases. The provisions are tucked into a bill that reauthorizes the act, and have received scant media attention. But the legislation is picking up steam in the House. The bill, officially sponsored by freshman Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), has the backing of the full House leadership, and is headed for a vote in the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday." Why? The GOP argues that women are fraudulently claiming abuse to obtain citizenship. Right. Because the smartest move for an undocumented immigrant is to entangle yourself with immigration authorities while in pursuit of an elaborate fraud. You could either do that, or wake up and go to work. Wonder which path non-abused women choose. [HuffPost]

@learyreports: Sen. @marcorubio will be on Fox News Sunday, billed as "top surrogate of the Mitt Romney campaign."

WIRETAPPING IS STILL POPULAR, STILL MAYBE THE REASON FOR THE CLICKING NOISE YOU KEEP HEARING - Andrea Stone: "The federal government submitted 1,745 applications in 2011 to a secret intelligence court to investigate -- mostly through wiretapping -- suspected cases of terrorism and espionage, a 10.5 percent increase over the year before, according to a Justice Department report released Friday. The annual report said that 1,676 applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court were solely for electronic surveillance. The rest asked permission to conduct physical searches or a combination of wiretapping and physical searches. The FISA court approved every surveillance warrant. The federal government submitted 1,579 FISA applications in 2010, all but 68 of them for electronic surveillance." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - In April, there were 1.8 million people out of work 99 weeks or longer, compared with 1.9 million this time last year. Hooray?

DOWNER PROGRAMMING NOTE - The Daily Delaney Downer will be suspended because Delaney is getting married. He will return to wreck your days the week after next.

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

ROMNEY CAMPAIGNS WITH A CLIMATE DENIALIST/COAL BARON - Which, at first glance, makes us think Mitt attended a campaign event at a creepy victorian mansion dotted with smokestacks. Apparently that's not the case. Christina Wilkie: "Mitt Romney teamed up with controversial coal magnate Bob Murray for a fundraiser Thursday in the same Wheeling, WVa., hotel where Murray last fall hosted a similar event for Texas Gov. Rick Perry's failed presidential bid. Final reports on the Crandall Canyon collapse cited unsafe practices. Murray blamed an earthquake. The government investigation also singled out Murray's 'volatile behavior' during daily briefings for family members of trapped miners, where he 'frequently became very irate and would start yelling,' sometimes making young children cry, according to the Associated Press... Murray said that 'jobs and family livelihoods are being destroyed as [President Barack Obama] appeases his radical environmentalist friends, the unionists, the liberal elitists on the 'left' coasts and in New England, [the] Hollywood characters and his other constituencies.'" Plus, when the coast floods, Wheeling will be waterfront property. [HuffPost]

@timothypmurphy: Objectively, "Mitt Romney Wearing Jeans" is kind of weird: bit.ly/I7z6j8

POLL: DICK LUGAR MAYBE THINKING ABOUT WHETHER AN INDEPENDENT BID IS WORTH THE EFFORT - Mike McAuliff: "Embattled Indiana Republican Sen. Dick Lugar has fallen behind his Tea Party challenger in a new poll that finds the veteran legislator in danger of losing after 36 years in office. The Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll released Friday puts Lugar a stunning 10 points behind state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, trailing 38 percent to 48 percent. It surveyed 700 likely voters from April 30 to May 1 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Voters go to the polls Tuesday." Lugar would have till July second to run as an independent. [HuffPost]

"Write In 'Dick'" would be history's greatest f-you campaign.

Michele Bachmann, looking forward, not backward. Political Wire: "Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) spoke to David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network about her failed presidential campaign: "Brody: You ran pretty much an impeccable campaign, in terms of a mistake-free campaign. Bachmann: Thank you, it really was. Brody: It pretty much was. Bachmann: It really was, we were extremely careful, and we were almost mistake free, but for those two points, Elvis Presley's birthday and John Wayne's birthplace. I've apologized, and we moved beyond." [Political Wire]

JOBS REPORT IS 'MEH' FOR AMERICA, AWFUL FOR BARACK OBAMA - The scariest part is that people keep dropping out of the job market altogether and, one assumes, onto a friend's/parent's/homeless shelter's extra bed. Mark Gongloff: "Unemployment fell to 8.1 percent in April, the lowest since January 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning. But the decline was mainly due to 342,000 people leaving the labor force, meaning the BLS had stopped counting them as unemployed. The number of employed people in the nation actually fell by 169,000. Nonfarm employers added 115,000 jobs to their payrolls in April, according to a survey of businesses that is different than the household survey that generates the unemployment rate. That job growth was lower than the 170,000 or so economists had expected, though the BLS revised upward the number of jobs that were created in February and March, adding about 53,000 additional jobs to payrolls." [HuffPost]

The White House had Alan Krueger issue a statement, a telltale sign that it's not pleased with the numbers: "Today's employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but much more remains to be done to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and the deep recession. It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began at the end of 2007. President Obama has said that prosperity in America has always come from a strong and growing middle class. He has made clear that getting back to where we were is not enough."

This should've been a layup for Romney but instead he pulled a Bain and talked about... metrics. Sam Stein: "Early on Friday, Mitt Romney declared that a signal of a strong economy would be one creating roughly 500,000 jobs a month... At a campaign stop later in the day, however, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee upped the stakes even further for what constitutes a recovered economy. Reflecting on the April job numbers, which showed the unemployment rate falling to 8.1 percent but roughly 12.5 million Americans still unemployed, he urged audience members to hold their applause. 'Normally, that would be cause for celebration, but anything near 8 percent or over 4 percent is not cause for celebration,' said Romney. [HuffPost]

Bad press for Romney, via the Wall Street Journal: " Romney's Lofty Job Goals Look Tough to Hit"

HANDSOME HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITY RAISES LOTS OF MONEY FOR HANDSOME WASHINGTON CELEBRITY - Click! WaPo: "President Obama's widely publicized fundraiser with actor George Clooney is shaping up to be a Hollywood blockbuster. A May 10 dinner at Clooney's Studio City, Calif., home has sold out at 150 guests, who are expected to jointly contribute between $5 million and $6 million toward Obama's reelection effort, people familiar with the event said. They asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak publicly. In addition, the Hollywood Reporter cites sources saying that the campaign expects to have raised as much as $6 million more in online donations, which were solicited as part of a nationwide contest to win a ticket to the dinner." [WaPo]

Journ(bro)list, via the Examiner: "Luke Russert has treated the audience at the annual Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington dinner to an ill-advised euphemism. Things began innocently enough Thursday night: The NBC correspondent and event emcee asked guests to text donations to a phone number, and all the texts would appear on a large screen during the meal. Donations poured in, along with a few personal messages for Russert... Things got strange when Russert returned to the mic to address the texts. 'I'm happy to raise money off my sex appeal,' he said, to chuckles. 'But I'd be remiss if I didn't say that at my table I've got five upstanding young bachelors who are St. Albans graduates. College graduates. They all have five-year plans.' The audience continued to chuckle until Russert added, 'So there's plenty of meat to go around.'" [Washington Examiner]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is the best TV ad by a candidate for Texas Railroad Commissioner we've ever seen.

WINDOW PAIN - HuffPost DC: "The Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, the Hart Senate Office Building, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and 300 New Jersey Ave. NW are are glassy deathtraps for birds."

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- Something you do not expect to find outside your window. [http://bit.ly/IQIb11]

- Hunter S. Thompson on the K-Derb, from Scanlan's June, 1970 issue.[http://es.pn/Is3PDX]

- Happy Star Wars Day! Yeah, it's a thing. [http://bit.ly/IQKHEe]

- Foto Friday: Previous unpublished pics of The Beatles. [http://bit.ly/Is4MfH]

- Foto Friday: Classical musicians in surreal circumstances. [http://bit.ly/Is3H7y]

- Joss Whedon plays a bird in this Funny Or Die video. NOTE: Weird. [http://bit.ly/IQzvrk]

- Vanilla Ice on CNBC discussing the housing market: "Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery." [http://bit.ly/Is3xx7]

TWITTERAMA

@pwgavin: All Things Reconsidered / MT @romenesko: Juan Williams now says he misses working at NPR "big time" bit.ly/Kl0yLQ

@toddzwillich .@ChuckSchumer has tweeted his tribute to MCA. Your move, @SarahPalinUSA. #PaulRevere #RIPMCA

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

THIS WEEKEND

Friday 6:00pm: The looney-tunes libertarian Cato Institute awards its annual Milton Friedman award at a dinner keynoted by Chris Christie. Don't let the tuxes fool you - it's still a jungle in there. [Washington Hilton]

Sat-Sun.: At least one GOP senator is skipping the NRSC's Spring Retreat in Austin this weekend. Surprise surprise, it's David Vitter, who apparently decided the Kentucky Derby is more to his liking. We can't imagine why. [Austin, Texas and Louisville, Ky.]

Monday: Cocktail waitresses everywhere, take note: Prince Harry hits up DC for the 50th annual Atlantic Council Awards Dinner. Somewhere in the background, former UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-Moon will also be getting an award. [Super-secret location]

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