Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Ron Paul Drops Out (Ron Paul Was Still Running?)

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President Obama established a National Women's Health Week and delivered a commencement address at Barnard, underscoring how much he's relying on the working class white male vote. Allen West probably didn't gain any female support when he compared his wife to his favorite possession. And Ron Paul effectively dropped out of the Republican primary, a fate he could've avoided had he taken our advice and changed his campaign slogan to "Ron Paul: America's Gold Standard." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, May 14th, 2012:

DOES STABILIZING CREDIT RISK TICKLE YOUR FANCY? THEN DO WE HAVE A STORY FOR YOU! - AP: "The Senate is nearing a final vote on legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for three years and raise its lending cap from the current $100 billion to $140 billion. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would take up five Republican amendments before taking a final vote on Tuesday. If, as expected, the Senate passes the bill after defeating the amendments, the bill goes to the president. The House easily passed the measure last week despite opposition from some conservative groups that argued that the government should not have a role in the market place." [AP]

WHERE'S THE RE(LOVE)UTION, MAN? - Running in tomorrow's Roll Call from Jonathan Strong: "A libertarian organization that paid for plane tickets and other expenses for Rep. Ron Paul says after an audit that the Texas Republican defrauded the group for around $20,000. The group and is pushing Paul for repayment and is exploring legal remedies. The Liberty Committee, a nonprofit group headed by former Paul aide David James, said in an April 16 letter that around two thirds of the 63 airline tickets the group reimbursed Paul for were also paid for by taxpayers. 'In short, this practice of double or duplicate billing enriched you while draining funds intended for legitimate projects,' the letter read. Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said James, who worked for Paul for 18 years and says he still supports the lawmaker's political message, is 'pursuing a personal grudge' against the Texas Republican. Benton said Paul will be 'happy' to review the allegations."

RON PAUL TO OFFICIALLY STOP TRYING TO BE PRESIDENT WHILE STILL TRYING TO BE PRESIDENT - What we'll miss most is the intense distrust of government... and the gummy smiles. Ahhhhh, those gummy smiles. Jon Ward: "Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Monday that he will no longer campaign in primary states that have not yet voted, but urged those who support his candidacy for president to continue organizing in states that have voted, in order to win delegates to the national convention... Though it is clear that Romney will be the nominee at the national convention in August, Paul could make waves in Tampa if large numbers of delegates from states that Romney won vote for him instead. In Iowa, for example, Romney came in second to former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Paul came in third, but Republicans in the Hawkeye State say Paul will likely have more than 20 of the state's 28 delegates." [HuffPost]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST CONTINUES ANTI- DEMOCRAT HYPOCRISY CAMPAIGN - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist -- who has a hard time installing appliances because most of his home's electrical sockets are used up by night lights -- is frustrated by President Obama's new campaign ad that targets Mitt Romney's work for Bain. "Bain Capital is completely carved out of Dodd Frank. Just sayin." PSLGOPL writes. Thanks PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The long-term jobless will be eligible for fewer months of benefits as congressional cuts take effect this month. By June, the federal Extended Benefits Program will be phased out in most of the states that used it, according to an analysis by the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group. The program, fully funded by the federal government since 2009, gives the long-term jobless their final 13 or 20 weeks of benefits, depending how the unemployment rate is in a given state. "The final 13 to 20 weeks of jobless insurance that workers in high-unemployment states have been relying on is now being stripped away as a casualty of the legislation Congress passed in February reauthorizing the federal unemployment programs," NELP director Christine Owens said in a statement. "These cuts are coming faster than the economy is improving, which means more workers will have to survive without any jobless assistance and families will have less money to put back into the economy." [HuffPost]

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OBAMA ADMINISTRATION INSTITUTES STRICT EMBARRASSMENT AUSTERITY MEASURES - Politico: "The Obama administration is cracking down on federal conferences and travel in an effort to prevent future embarrassments like the GSA scandal. White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients issued guidelines Friday instituting high-level review of proposed conference spending and prohibiting spending of more than $500,000 on a conference without special permission... The new guidelines also come after another federal agency tried to book a magician as a motivational speaker for a conference in Maryland. NOAA had placed an ad earlier this month -- later pulled -- for a magician to provide 'a unique model of translating magic and [principles] of the psychology of magic, magic tools, techniques, and experiences into a method of teaching leadership.'" For the record, we're in favor of magician-based learning whenever possible. [Politico]

ROMNEY CAMPAIGN DEMONSTRATES ITS FAMILIARITY WITH GOOGLE, UNFAMILIARITY WITH THE BARNARD COMMUNITY - The Romney campaign wants reporters to know that it bought Google ads to coincide with the president's address at Barnard. This is either a lame stunt aimed at demonstrating the campaign's technological prowess to the media (Oooh! Google ads! Can't wait to read about their Geocities page!) or a complete misunderstanding of the types of people associated with Barnard College. Jon Ward: "Mitt Romney's campaign is running Google search ads targeted to New York City users who go online looking for information about the commencement ceremony at Barnard College, where President Barack Obama is speaking Monday. 'Obama's Wasteful Spending,' the ad blares, arguing that the president is 'leaving graduates with an economy not creating the jobs they deserve.' The ads show up when a user in New York City and its environs searches for any number of terms. Searches for 'Barnard commencement,' 'Barnard College,' 'commencement' and 'directions to Barnard' all yielded the ad." [HuffPost]

POLL: PRESIDENT'S GAY MARRIAGE ANNOUNCEMENT IS GRADE-A GOTV - Boston Globe: "President Obama's endorsement of legal same-sex marriage is likely to resonate with young voters and women, two blocs where Obama is already strong, a new Gallup poll indicates. Gallup on Monday published more detailed results of its annual Values and Beliefs survey, which last week showed 50 percent of Americans believe gay marriage should be legal. Support among voters between the ages of 18 and 34 is at 66 percent -- 19 points higher than in the 35 to 54 age group. The gap between men and women is 14 points, with 56 percent of female voters saying they support legal same-sex marriage...The Gallup poll revealed other divides. While 53 to 56 percent of voters in the East, West and Midwest say gay marriage should be legal, only 40 percent say the same in the South." [Boston Globe]

PAT ROBERTSON WOULD RATHER HAVE NOMINATED JESUS - Luke Johnson: "Pat Robertson offered faint praise for Mitt Romney on the 'The 700 Club' Monday, while indicating that he is the best alternative to President Barack Obama. 'It looks like the people who were worried about his Mormonism, at least that crowd is diminishing somewhat,' said Robertson, 82, after the show aired an interview with Romney. 'The question is, if you have two candidates, you don't have Jesus running against someone else. You have Obama running against Romney.'" [HuffPost]

David Cameron might meet with Mitt Romney, the only politician on Earth who looks more British than he does. Also Jon Ward: "British newspapers are reporting that GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney and UK Prime Minister David Cameron may meet in late July or early August, on the sidelines of the Summer Olympics in London. Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom gave this response when asked about the reports: 'Nothing to confirm or discuss at this point.' That's not a denial. It is a statement that seems to suggest conversations have indeed taken place between Romney's campaign and aides to Cameron." [HuffPost]

Rep. Steve King has finally endorsed Mitt Romney, precisely at a time when Mitt Romney doesn't want to be seen with the guy. ABC News: "Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King told reporters Mitt Romney will campaign in his state Tuesday, giving a 'major policy speech on out-of-control spending and debt' at Drake University in Des Moines. He also announced his endorsement of Romney - something he had been expected to do before the Iowa caucuses in January. So what took him so long? King's endorsement carries a lot less weight now than it would have then. 'I've said all along I'll be an enthusiastic supporter of our eventual nominee,' King said on a Republican National Committee conference call. 'It's clear Mitt Romney is our nominee and it will happen in Tampa. I'm predicting that that is the result and I'm an enthusiastic supporter of Mitt Romney.'" [ABC News]

"Roseanne Barr makes VP offer on Twitter"

PRESIDENT OBAMA PROCLAIMS 'NATIONAL MAKE SURE MY BASE SHOWS UP WOMEN'S HEALTH WEEK' - Laura Bassett: "Women's health has emerged as such a major theme of the 2012 elections that President Barack Obama has dedicated a week-long celebration to it. The president proclaimed on Monday that May 13 through May 19, 2012, will now be known as National Women's Health Week. The proclamation marks the latest in a long line of efforts by Obama and his campaign to court female voters. Earlier this month, his campaign released an online tool called 'The Life of Julia,' which walks users through the life of an average, middle-class woman and shows how she will benefit from Obama's health and education policies. The president released a video on Mother's Day that played up the role of 'strong, responsible women' in his life, and he is giving the commencement speech on Monday at Barnard College, an all-women's school." [HuffPost]

WISCONSIN DEMOCRATS WAITING FOR A CALL FROM THE DNC - WaPo: "Top Wisconsin Democrats are furious with the national party -- and the Democratic National Committee in particular -- for refusing their request for a major investment in the battle to recall Scott Walker, I'm told. The failure to put up the money Wisconsin Dems need to execute their recall plan comes at a time when the national Republican Party is sinking big money into defending Walker, raising fears that the DNC's reluctance could help tip the race his way. 'We are frustrated by the lack of support from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association,' a top Wisconsin Democratic Party official tells me. 'Scott Walker has the full support and backing of the Republican Party and all its tentacles. We are not getting similar support.'" [WaPo]

SEN. DAVID VITTER (R-LA...STILL) POSITIONING HIMSELF FOR A GUBERNATORIAL BID? - Times-Picayune "[M]uch of Gov. Bobby Jindal's attention remains trained on the national scene...U.S. Sen. David Vitter can't seem to tear himself away from Baton Rouge. He helped Republicans win a long-sought legislative majority and weighs in on occasional state policy matters like the showdown over legacy lawsuits. Now he is inserting himself into the heated, high-stakes debate over whether Jindal can put one-time revenue toward recurring expenses in order to avert painful cuts to health care and higher ed. While his profile isn't on the rise in D.C., Louisiana voters have proved willing to overlook his call girl trouble, and lawmakers clearly recognize and appreciate his strategic sense and aggressive tactics. If he craves a formal leadership role, a future run for Louisiana's powerful governorship might be his best bet. Not that he's bothering to wait. As it stands now, Vitter is already acting like a shadow state party leader, a role that normally falls to the governor in a Capitol where the job's traditional spoils include an extraordinary level of leverage over legislative appointments and agendas." [Times-Picayune]

ALLEN WEST COMES OUT AS PRO-MAN-ON-MOTORCYCLE LOVE, ALSO DOESN'T BUY AMERICAN - Jen Bendery: "Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) spent part of Mother's Day weekend talking about motorcycles -- and how if someone went for a ride on his bike, it would be like that person was 'touching [his] wife.' West was talking about his plans to ride his motorcycle to the Republican convention in Tampa this summer when, during an interview with a California radio show, the host asked West if he could take a ride on West's Honda VTX 1800R retro. 'That would be like touching my wife,' West said, according to a report in Sun-Sentinel, a South Florida newspaper. When the radio show host said it wouldn't be quite the same thing, West doubled down. 'Yes,' he said. 'It would be.' A request for clarification by West's spokeswoman was not immediately returned." [HuffPost]

ROCK MUSICIANS DON'T LIKE REPUBLICANS, PT. 323,811,764 - Amanda Terkel: "On Saturday, Wisconsin State Assembly Leader Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon), a U.S. Senate candidate decided to walk onstage to 'Shipping Up To Boston' by the Dropkick Murphys at the Wisconsin Republican Party convention... On Sunday, the Dropkick Murphys put up a Facebook message, mocking and condemning Fitzgerald for using the song. 'The stupidity and irony of this is laughable,' the band wrote. 'A Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate - and crony of anti-Union Governor Scott Walker - using a Dropkick Murphys song as an intro is like a white supremacist coming out to gangsta rap!' Fitzgerald told The Huffington Post on Monday that he was surprised the band was even aware that he had used the song at the convention over the weekend, chalking it up to the power of social media. And as a fan of the song with an Irish last name, he said he meant no harm. 'I like their music, and that's the song from 'The Departed.' I always liked the beginning of that song. My last name is Fitzgerald,' he said. 'We Republicans don't have a lot of songs we can choose from. I thought I'd bring a little energy to the convention, and obviously it's causing quite a stir. So I was a bit surprised by it actually." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Puppies on a skateboard.

IS THIS FOOD TRUCK RACIST? - HuffPost DC:On Friday, disgruntled D.C. area resident Drew Franklin posted an "Open Letter to the 'Fojol' Bro-dawgs" on Facebook. The letter concerns the Fojol Brothers food truck, whose proprietors sell decently-reviewed Indian, Thai and Ethiopian food while wearing fake mustaches and brightly-colored turbans, and whose fictional "traveling culinary carnival" origin story has the Fojols coming from the country of "Merlindia" to "share their family traditions with the world." These traditions are "over-the-top racist," Franklin wrote in his letter. The "brothers" themselves are "worthy ambassadors of poor taste" and "well-meaning (if woefully misguided) white boys with a contemptible sense of humor." The food truck's owners disagree.[HuffPost]

CAPITOL SOMEHOW GETING MORE YUPPIEFIED - HuffPost DC:After nearly two years of stops and starts, security concerns and logistical hurdles, Capital Bikeshare could be coming to the Capitol campus in about a month. [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Darth Vader sat in on a Disney World brainstorming session. [http://bit.ly/KaE4Xh]

- The human .gif is good at being repetitive, making fun of memes. [http://bit.ly/K2js3e]

- Speaking of, here's 26 .gifs of clumsy animals!!!!!!11111 [http://bit.ly/JSgyQg]

- It's a dreary, gray day on the East Coast. Let these color photographs of early 20th century Mongolia brighten your day. [http://bit.ly/KniUd1]

- Twitter is now being annoying by spamming you with email updates about your feed. Shut up, Twitter. [http://tcrn.ch/JYxwx2]

- Don't. Mess. With. Monkeys. [http://bit.ly/IUtcxt]

- Kittens playing tetherball to funny music. Thy bounty is plentiful, internet. [http://bit.ly/L3VSu7]

TWITTERAMA

@pourmecoffee: Ron Paul has suspended his active campaigning and will go back to The Shire and tell tales of his adventures.

@thestalwart: With gold tanking and Bitcoin getting hacked, it's not surprising that Ron Paul's fundraising wasn't going well.

@GovernorOMalley Great meeting Ivana McMcmorris-Santorno and the delegation from the Huffington Post today!

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

5:00pm: Ricky Martin's Obama fundraiser benefits from brilliantly accidental timing. At HPH press time, Obama had just told everyone to go see Martin in "Evita." [The Rubin Museum, New York, NY]

5:15pm: Bending the laws of campaign physics, Obama raises significant cash at a Boston fundraiser with Arne Duncan, at exactly the same moment that he raises millions in person in NYC. [Home of Rebecca & Charlie Ledley - 129 Charles Street, Boston]

TOMORROW

6:00 - 8:00pm: Apparently sitting on your ass and watching TV has its own lobby, theSports Fans Coalition, whose Spring Kick-off Reception honors "policymakers who have fought for fans." God help us all. [144 Constitution Ave SE]

6:00pm - 9:00pm: To the list of lobbies you didn't think existed, you can add Clear-Cutting Loggers "Forest Owners," and you can join them for a Spring Congressional Reception. We can't hardly imagine what they would want from Congress.... [902 Hart]

7:00pm: If you were a congressman whose shady financing and reputed mob ties were currently under investigation, would you throw a fundraiser in a cigar club? Yeah, well apparently no one told Rep. Michael Grimm about that. [CXIII Rex Cigar Club, 113 King St., Alexandria]

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