POLITICS
05/08/2012 06:26 pm ET Updated Jul 08, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Primary Night: Dick Lugar To Fake Smile A Lot

Not many House members have tattoos, which is unexpected, given how much Jason Chaffetz wants that "TUPAC 4 LIFE" illustration inked across his shoulder blades. A surprising new poll finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney. And experts think the CIA was mostly responsible for apprehending the second underwear bomber, and not the TSA screener who rummaged through your suitcase and now knows you took a label maker to your unmentionables (HAHA! NERD!!!). This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, May 8th, 2012:

REPUBLICANS NOT GETTING SMALL DOLLAR DONATIONS - If money is speech, as the GOP believes, then poorer Republicans need a mighty big lozenge. Paul Blumenthal: "In the first quarter of 2012, [Allen] West raised more money from donors giving less than $200 in aggregate than any other member of the House of Representatives. West's grassroots haul -- $857,265 out of a total $1.8 million -- came despite a big drop in small-donor giving to both House Republicans and the party's House campaign committee. According to the first-quarter campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the House Republican candidates raised only 8 percent of their total campaign contributions from donors chipping in less than $200. That's down from 11.5 percent during the first quarter of 2010, which was the first quarter of the previous election year." [HuffPost]

ELECTION NIGHT: DICK LUGAR STARING INTO THE ABYSS - And he's pretty sure he can just make out the letters "M-U-R-K-O-W-S-K-I." A preview, via the AP: "The face of Indiana politics for nearly four decades, Republican Sen. Richard Lugar is battling for political survival against a tea party-backed GOP challenger who says the senator has become more interested in compromising with liberals in Washington than representing conservatives back home. Although polls in Indiana signaled momentum for the challenger, Lugar hoped a heavy turnout would propel him to victory against Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock. 'If they come, we will win,' Lugar said. However, absentee voting lagged nearly 40 percent behind that of four years ago, when Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton crisscrossed Indiana in their clash for the Democratic presidential nomination." [AP]

Lindsey Graham on where Lugar went wrong: "ABCs of politics: stay involved, communicate with your constituents and be prepared to embrace a 21st century campaign. And own a house."

In Wisconsin, Democrats are choosing which candidate will run a woefully underfunded recall campaign against Scott Walker. WaPo: "Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) will likely be chosen today by Wisconsin Democrats to take on Gov. Scott Walker (R) in a June recall election... Polls show Barrett with a solid double-digit lead over former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk in the recall primary, with state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout and Secretary of State Doug La Folette far behind... Barrett's name recognition -- prior to his current post he served in Congress and was the party's 2010 nominee against Walker -- along with the perception that he was more electable, quickly gave him the lead. The race has also shifted away from the fight over collective bargaining, which is what prompted the recall election in the first place, to focus on jobs and unemployment." [WaPo]

North Carolina voters are deciding whether to ban gay marriage, something that won't at all come up during the Democratic National Convention. The Root: "If Amendment One passes, then partners whose unions are recognized as civil unions will lose all legal protections provided by law, including employee benefits granted to same-sex and unmarried male-female couples. The amendment will block any future legislature from giving partners some or all the rights granted automatically to married couples in matters such as inheritance, child custody, property ownership and health care decision making. To add fuel to the fire, GLAAD recently publicized documents uncovered by the Human Rights Commission in which the National Organization for Marriage developed a strategy for defining marriage between a man and a woman that requires 'fanning the hostility' between the LGBT community and the black community." [The Root]

FRESH BATCH OF SCANDAL - A developing story out west threatens to rope in everyone from old lion George Miller to Young Gun Ricky Gill is only getting messier, one of the few U.S. Attorneys apparently not assigned to cracking down on medical marijuana told a judge in Oakland. Keep an eye on this one: "A prosecutor told a federal judge Thursday that more indictments are expected in the coming months in the widening probe of developer Seeno Homes and its affiliates stemming from a 2010 FBI raid of the firm's Concord headquarters. During a hearing for Seeno sales executive Carey Hendrickson, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hemann told the judge that the federal government in two to three months expects to add more defendants in related cases showing a 'broader scheme to defraud.' He added that federal prosecutors collected thousands of emails from Hendrickson and about 5,000 pages of bank documents related to three counts of felony wire fraud lodged against her. The government alleges that Hendrickson, 36, of Martinez, who still works for Seeno Homes, participated in a scheme that inflated the value of four homes she tried to buy in a struggling Pittsburg development owned by her employer." [Contra Costa Times]

OBAMA OBSESSED WITH WEED - Look, Obama campaign people: When these stories stop going viral, we'll stop writing them, k? "In its official party platform, the Colorado Democratic Party endorses the legalization of marijuana. In March, 56 percent of the Denver County Republican Assembly voted to support legal and regulated pot, a question which will be on the November ballot. And the state's Department of Revenue has announced it is seeking reclassification of marijuana to allow doctors to prescribe it as medical treatment. The state has embarked on an ambitious effort to regulate its thriving medical marijuana industry. When it comes to marijuana policy, Colorado's voters, businesses, tax collectors, doctors and policy makers are moving forward. The lone holdout: President Barack Obama. On Sunday, 25 medical marijuana centers across Colorado closed their doors in response to a Department of Justice crackdown which did not appear rooted in state or local law, as the administration had previously promised it would be. [HuffPost]

@RalstonFlash: Tonight's F2F: The pot legalization effort comes to Nevada. Take our poll:http://bit.ly/JcnLMt Don't forget -- 7:30 in LV, 6:30 up North.

Mike Enzi on Liz Cheney running for his seat: "She can run for anything she wants to."

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ARE INKED UP - That's right. They have tats. Running in tomorrow's Roll Call from, naturally, John Stanton: '"I believe in body art,' [Rep. Jesse] Jackson said, explaining that he tries 'to get a new tattoo every year.' On tap for Jackson this year is a collage celebrating the centennial of his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi... an informal poll of lawmakers turns up relatively few who are willing to admit being in the Tattoo Caucus. There's Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who's had numerous sessions with tattoo artists... A Marine, he says he started getting tattooed at the beginning of each deployment... Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) -- the only known female member of the caucus -- went to a tattoo shop shortly after the 9/11 attacks to get 'a tattoo of a cross, which is a reflection of her strong faith,' spokesman Ken Johnson said. Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) has a Kappa Sigma tattoo in honor of his fraternity -- but wouldn't necessarily want to see his children follow in his inky footsteps. Del. Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa)... [is] the only Member of Congress to sport a tatua, the traditional form of Polynesian tattooing that is performed when a boy enters manhood." [Roll Call]

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SENATE REPUBLICANS BLOCK STUDENT LOAN BILL, HANDING DEMOCRATS A VICTORY - Sorry, America's students, that Etsy side business simply won't cover this rate hike (but we love the needlework on that throw pillow!). Jen Bendery: "Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that would have frozen student loan interest rates before they are set to double on July 1. In a partisan vote of 52 to 45, the Senate failed to reach the 60 votes needed to begin debate on the Democratic bill. Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) was the lone Republican to vote 'present.' A Snowe spokesman told The Huffington Post her vote was related to her practice of voting 'present' on legislation that contains the potential or appearance of association with the private business activity of her husband... Republicans have been signaling they would filibuster the bill because of its cost offsets. Democrats would cover the $6 billion cost of keeping student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent for another year by raising Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes on certain high-earners. By contrast, Republicans have called for nixing a preventive health fund to pay for it. Ultimately, the vote gives Democrats another chance to try to frame Republicans as favoring the wealthy over the middle class in the midst of intensifying election-year politicking." [HuffPost]

LEFTY FIGHT! PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS CHOOSES SIDES IN PELOSI V. FEINGOLD - On a not entirely unrelated note, "Tempeh Brass Knuckles" would be a great band name. Also, "Soy Wars." Anyhoo, a number of Congressional Progressive Caucus members are coming to the defense of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after Russ Feingold challenged her commitment to protecting Social Security and Medicare."Let's remember that we are on the same team," reads a letter being circulated by progressive House Democrats. "We need to focus our efforts on the true targets, which are the 228 House Republicans who voted to end the Medicare guarantee, reduce benefits and increase costs for seniors." The letter has so far been signed by CPC Co-Chairs Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), as well as Reps. Jan. Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), who sit on the CPC committee that deals with aging issues. [HuffPost]

MITT ROMNEY, CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT, STILL DEVELOPING AN OPINION ON IMMIGRATION - To be fair, when no one in your family has emigrated anywhere in decades, it takes a bit longer to dust the cobwebs off this particular issue. Elise Foley: "So far, [an RNC Latino-voter outreach program] doesn't have a message on what Republicans would do on immigration reform themselves, and specifically the plans of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. In fact, coordinator Bettina Inclan told reporters, Romney didn't have his immigration policy mapped out and the RNC would not yet be able to talk about it to Latino voters. The RNC quickly tried to take back the statement, telling reporters who tweeted it that Inclan's words were misunderstood -- or that she was misquoted. Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the RNC, said message coordination between the RNC and the Romney campaign is still in its early stages because challenger Rick Santorum only dropped out of the race two weeks ago." [HuffPost]

On that note, the Obama campaign rolled out its second batch in a series of TV and radio advertisements aimed at Latinos today. The latest handful of ads focuses on the president's most significant and controversial legislative accomplishment -- the passage of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare -- and how it will affect the Latino community (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't strike it down, in whole or in part, come June). In a press release explaining the ads, the Obama campaign claims the law will bring health care coverage to "up to 9 million previously uninsured Hispanics by 2014." [HuffPost]

POLL: GUY WHO HASN'T WRECKED THE ECONOMY AND WHO KILLED BIN LADEN LEADING AMONG INDEPENDENTS - Reuters: "President Barack Obama extended his lead over Republican Mitt Romney to seven percentage points because of increased support from independent voters and some optimism over the economy, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday. Obama was backed by 49 percent of registered voters in a telephone poll conducted from May 3-7, compared to 42 percent who supported his likely rival in November's presidential election...The poll showed a jump in the number of independent voters who approved of the way Obama is doing his job. Forty eight percent approved and 40 percent disapproved in May compared to 37 percent who approved and 57 percent who disapproved in April." [Reuters]

@delrayser: Love that "2002 Bartlet v Ritchie" is one of the presets on HuffPo's interactive Electoral College map: http://t.co/Fxw6Ycsu

Woooooosh Goes the Revolving Door: Lefty Edition: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is tapping a prominent progressive blogger well schooled at the intersection of opposition politics and online reporting to serve as head of her online operations. Faiz Shakir, the editor-in-chief of Think Progress, the highly influential blog for the think tank Center for American Progress, is leaving to become Pelosi's director of new media and senior adviser." [HuffPost's Sam Stein]

KANSAS LAWMAKERS SIMPLY CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOUR PAPERS - John Celock: "The Republican-controlled Kansas House of Representatives voted Tuesday to pass legislation requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration starting June 15, in time for the 2012 election... Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) asked legislators to change the effective date from Jan. 1, 2013 to June 15 back in January. Kobach had said at the time that he wanted the new rules in place for this year's presidential election...Under the terms of the law... voters will need to present proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. Among the 13 proofs of citizenship that the state allows are birth certificates and driver's licenses, if a birth certificate was presented when the driver's license was obtained. As part of the bill to push up the date, lawmakers also want to expand the proof list to include tribal identification cards. They additionally want to extend the state's free birth certificate program to 17-year-olds who are seeking to register to vote and do not have photo ID cards." [HuffPost]

RAHM SOMEHOW FINDS WAY TO BE COMBATIVE WITH THE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL PROSECUTORS AND THE STATE OF MINNESOTA - Jeffrey Young: "Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants his Democratic colleague Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson to lay off hospital debt-collector Accretive Health, which is based in the Windy City. Accretive Health is under fire from state and federal officials for allegations that it improperly pressured and harassed patients for money -- even going so far as stationing aggressive debt collectors in hospitals to pursue patients. The company has mounted a campaign against the charges, including hiring federal lobbyists and hinting that it may sue Swanson. The firm says it helps patients find health coverage... By seemingly siding with the debt-collection company at the center of the controversy, Emanuel aligns himself against other Democratic officials who have targeted Accretive Health since Swanson's reports and publication of a New York Times article detailing the company's actions. Accretive Health is based in Chicago and employs more than 2,700 people, according to Yahoo Finance." [HuffPost]

SECOND UNDERWEAR BOMBER NOT FOILED BY THAT GUY WHO PATS YOUR CROTCH AT DULLES: SECURITY EXPERTS - Andrea Stone: "The foiling of an al Qaeda plot to place an underwear bomber on a U.S.-bound airliner has focused attention on whether the more sophisticated device would have gotten past airport screening. But security experts say the case also highlights the only surefire way to stop terrorism: a multi-layered approach led by good intelligence. 'Has any terrorist or terrorist-planted bomb ever been caught during screening inside an airport since 9/11?' a U.S. counterterrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity said rhetorically when asked whether the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could have thwarted the suicide bomber if the CIA had not." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Cats playing tetherball.

WASHINGTON TOURISTS: IRRITATING, NECESSARY - HuffPost DC: "You may dislike tourists but tourism accounts for half of the District of Columbia's sales tax revenue."

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- This is a great way to start a web series. [http://bit.ly/IXnNoK]

- 14-year-old with 1.5 arms pitches no-hitter in Little League game. [http://chzb.gr/IJf8vC]

- The least merry merry-go-round we've ever seen. [http://bit.ly/IJfWQX]

- This music video is the death of fun. [http://bit.ly/IJfDFV]

- Some tips for surviving the robot uprising. [http://bit.ly/IJfClp]

- Disney Research touts the touch technology of tomorrow. [http://bit.ly/IXnkCN]

- Colbert remembers Maurice Sendak on "Live With Kelly." [http://huff.to/IJfTEU]

TWITTERAMA

@lizzwinstead: Rick Santorum inserted his initial endorsement of Romney in the Terms of Service Agreement on iTunes.

@pourmecoffee: Celebrating National Teacher Day by not calling them union thugs.

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

4:00pm - 6:00pm: If you've missed the sound of Thad McCotter's screaming guitar riffs since he stopped running for president, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's reception offers you a great big dose of McCotter and his band, the 2nd Amendments. [1300 Longworth]

6:30pm: I guess it was inevitable. The Obama Victory Fund is passing the hat tonight in Brooklyn, where all the hipsters have been replaced by bailed-out banksters. Sigh. [The PowerHouse Arena - 37 Main Street, Brooklyn]

TOMORROW

5:00pm - 8:00pm: Insofar as Congress ever can be, It's ladies night, courtesy of the Professional Beauty Federation's Annual Shindig. There are free samples, free salon services (a little risky, eh?), and cocktails. [Cannon 345]

6:00pm - 8:00pm: Once in awhile, a lobbyist reception doesn't suck, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Reception is one of them. Besides being outside, there are animals to play with. If you're lucky, you might even see a Newt. [Rayburn Cafeteria and Courtyard]

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