Mitt Romney will likely secure the Republican nomination today, which is why he's suddenly moved to the center and is campaigning with moderate Donald Trump. If you change lanes on the Beltway without signaling, be careful: Bob McDonnell wants to blow you up with an unmanned drone. And an electric cigarette company is publicly imploring John Boehner to curb his tobacco consumption, meaning a press release from a low-alcohol Merlot producer can't be far off. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, May 29th, 2012:
TEXAS PRIMARY PREVIEW - Although it's mostly being framed as "the one where Mitt Romney secures the nomination," there's still some suspense to today's vote. Lucia Graves: "The Republican Senate primary race to fill the seat left open by retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has been framed as Republican establishment versus Tea Party, but it may simply be a test of how conservative Texas Republicans have become. Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has endorsements from prominent conservatives like Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee, while his opponent, former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, has received nods from such national Tea Party figures as Sarah Palin and Jim Demint. A third candidate, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, while clearly the underdog, could garner enough votes to prevent Dewhurst from receiving the 50 percent necessary to win the Texas Republican party nomination outright on Tuesday. Should he fail, Dewhurst will be forced into a run-off election on July 31." [HuffPost]
ROMNEY ATTENDING DONALD TRUMP FUNDRAISER - The best part is imagining all the awkward things Romney might say when confronted with Trump's conspicuous consumption ("This 20-foot high oil portrait of you and that cheetah smells great!" "This appetizer of gold-dipped lobster and caviar reminds me of baseball!" "This platinum toilet... wow!"). Jon Ward: "'He doesn't want to talk about it.' Or so said Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's spokesman, on the question of where President Obama was born. Cohen, in a phone interview, called the renewed controversy over Trump's questioning of whether Obama was born in the U.S. 'a distraction,' and blamed it on 'the liberal media.' But five minutes after The Huffington Post talked to Cohen on the phone, a call to Trump's New York offices resulted in the casino, real-estate and reality-TV mogul being patched through on the line, from here in Las Vegas. Adding to the surreal nature of the day, Trump openly disagreed with his own spokesman's assessment. 'I don't imagine this is distraction at all,' Trump said. 'In fact, we have a fundraiser that's going to take place in a couple of hours, and I'm just walking through the lobby of Trump international and this place is packed.'" [HuffPost]
@hollybdc: And here's Romney exiting next to the Trump plane (Las Vegas NV) instagr.am/p/LOMPqdIDjL/
Oh, and this: "Hours before hosting a fundraiser for Mitt Romney in Las Vegas, Donald Trump said Tuesday he's renewing questions about whether President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. because 'a lot of people agree' with him and it might help Republicans win the White House." [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Naturally, the Obama campaign is happy about the aforementioned "this": "The campaign's new web video, released on Tuesday and coinciding with a Romney fundraiser featuring Trump at his Las Vegas hotel, highlights Trump's repeated references to President Barack Obama's birthplace and contrasts Romney with previous Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is shown in clips from 2008 denouncing supporters' claims questioning Obama's citizenship." [HuffPost's Sabrina Siddiqui]
NLRB SCANDAL VALIDATES LABOR MOVEMENT'S PARANOIA - Dave Jamieson: "Members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Tuesday addressed the recent resignation of their former colleague Terence Flynn, who stepped down over the weekend after investigators found he'd improperly shared agency information with a former adviser to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. In a joint statement, four members of the five-person labor board said the drama surrounding Flynn, a conservative among a liberal majority, would not 'tarnish' the image of the NLRB, the federal agency tasked with enforcing labor law for businesses and their workers...Pressure had been mounting on Flynn to resign for weeks, ever since an NLRB inspector general report documenting Flynn's leaks became public. According to investigators, Flynn had shared "sensitive" agency information -- including board member's deliberations on pending cases -- with former board members while he was serving as agency counsel last year, prior to his recess appointment to the board." [HuffPost]
IS REP. MICHAEL FITZPATRICK IN THE POCKET OF BIG PIGMENT? - Running in tomorrow's Roll Call from Jonathan Strong: "In early May, Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced 12 bills to suspend importation duties on chemicals like Isoviolanthrone Crude Dry Presscake and 4-Sulfo-1,8-naphthalic anhydride potassium salt. The obscure names and dense bill text, which would amend the 'Harmonized Tariff Schedule,' might leave casual observers perplexed. But according to disclosure forms, eight of the 12 proposals had something in common: they would benefit United Colors Manufacturing, a dyes and pigments firm in Fitzpatrick's district. Thomas Nowakowski, the president of the company, said the 'low six figure' monetary value of the duty suspensions to his company is critical for it to stay competitive with rivals in India, China and Mexico. But Nowakowski and his family have
also been generous campaign donors to Fitzpatrick and the Republican party, giving the Pennsylvania Republican over $26,000 since 2002 and over $150,000 to Republican candidates and party organizations during that same time period."
U.S. NEGOTIATORS GET FIRST AMENDMENT'D - Zach Carter: "For most of last week, the Obama administration worked to block a new global fund to develop drugs for use in poor countries. Then, on Friday, U.S. negotiators suddenly softened their opposition and agreed to a compromise. What happened? HuffPost happened. According to global health advocates at Knowledge Ecology International: 'Stories by Zach Carter in the Huffington Post and Agathe Duparc in Le Monde during the negotiations seemed have to have had an impact on the positions of the US and French delegations.' [KEI]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Emails of the Jobless: "My husband lost his unemployment benefits two weeks ago (14 weeks earlier than expected)," writes an unemployed Marylander. "He has been searching... and has had some interviews, but no success. He has heard that he is 'over qualified.' I also lost a job in January 2010; found work almost immediately but took a very significant pay cut. We have gone from over $150k per year to $45k in less than three years. I am one federal budget cut away from unemployment myself -- I work for a community action agency and my salary comes from a Community Services Block Grant, which is always up for play. We haven't had health insurance for over a year." [Hang in there!]
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ROMNEY NOT ANTAGONIZING CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS - Bloomberg: "[T]he presumed Republican presidential nominee has been able to overcome rifts within his party that might otherwise undermine his chances of winning the White House in November. So far, Romney has harnessed an intense hunger to beat Obama among congressional Republicans willing to paper over their policy differences in pursuit of the presidency...With close message coordination and consultation with lawmakers and their staff on Capitol Hill in twice-daily conference calls and sit-downs with party leaders, Romney and his team are succeeding where past presidential campaigns have sometimes failed to disastrous effect...His political director, Rich Beeson, worked with House Speaker John Boehner's political chief at the Republican National Committee four years ago. Kevin Madden, who is coordinating with the RNC for Romney and was a spokesman for his failed 2008 presidential campaign, is a former aide to Boehner, an Ohio Republican...The links extend to those affiliated with the anti- government Tea Party movement. Romney's campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, not only worked at the RNC with Tim Griffin, now a first-term congressman from Arkansas elected with Tea Party support, he was a member of Griffin's wedding." [Bloomberg]
ROMNEY TARGETS SOLYNDRA... BECAUSE PEOPLE STILL CARE ABOUT THAT - Politico: "Mitt Romney and a super PAC supporting him are giving Solyndra a try on the trail, unveiling ads that wield the $535 million energy loan scandal as a double-whammy: an indictment of big government spending and the answer to Romney's private equity problem. The argument: Solyndra is the best example of President Barack Obama's stimulus at its worst, complete with a cozy donor in deep with a company that got taxpayer money only to file for bankruptcy and lay off 1,100 workers. Forget Romney's record at the private equity firm Bain Capital -- look at Obama's public investment failure." [Politico]
Given the choice between the guy who spent his adolescence hotboxing a VW bus and the guy who committed a hate crime for a laugh, a former classmate of both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is betting on the former. The Daily: "Sidney Barthwell just might be the only person on the planet who went to school with both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Friendly with both men long before they entered political life, Barthwell has contributed money to both campaigns and speaks highly of both candidates. But when his two former classmates face off later this year in a series of presidential debates, he doesn't mince words about what he thinks will happen. 'When they debate, Barack will smoke Romney,' Barthwell, a district court magistrate in Michigan who attended boarding school with Romney and Harvard Law School with Obama, told The Daily." [The Daily]
Bob Dylan received a Medal of Freedom today.
THAD MCCOTTER'S CAMPAIGN IS SO ROCK & ROLL HE'S NOT EVEN ON THE BALLOT - It's like, Imma make music, man, but I don't care if you hear it. Rawk. Luke Johnson: "U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter (R-Mich.) announced Tuesday that he will run a write-in campaign for reelection to his seat, agreeing with Michigan's secretary of state's office that the number of valid signatures on his submitted petitions were insufficient to qualify for the ballot... His campaign submitted 2,000 signatures but his state's Board of Elections reviewed them and determined that fewer than 1,000 -- the number required to get on the ballot -- were valid... 'Yes, a write-in campaign is a difficult hill to climb but, as I am responsible for the hill, I will climb it to the utmost of my ability,' McCotter said." [HuffPost]
Womp womp: "Rep. Thaddeus McCotter turned in 2,000 petition signatures to get on August primary ballot, but >all except 244 have been deemed invalid because of rampant duplicated copies, the Michigan Secretary of State found. A review by The Detroit News of the petition signatures found full copies of a sheet of signatures that were photocopied once and in some cases two times and mixed in with the 136-page stack of signatures. In some cases, a different petition circulator's name was signed to the duplicate copy." [Detroit News]
@adamsmithtimes: '14 Fla Gov race poll: Charlie Crist 48%, Rick Scott 34% bit.ly/M3m9sZ
JERSEY PRIMARY A BOON FOR FANS OF PROXY WARS - John Celock: "The New Jersey primary between Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) and Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Englewood) in a newly created district has turned bitter as the one-time allies accuse each other of having flawed records and no ties to the district. It also is taking on shades of the Obama/Clinton 2008 presidential primary. Former President Bill Clinton announced on Friday plans to campaign for Pascrell, while President Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod is backing Rothman... The two have also fought for the progressive mantle. Rothman claims Pascrell supports lowering taxes for the rich and opposes a women's right to choose. Pascrell is challenging an ad from Rothman on the tax claim that features Pascrell saying, 'Republicans had great ideas. I liked some of their ideas,' during a 2010 Chris Matthews interview. The quotes were excerpted from a longer quote on health-care reform." [HuffPost]
BOB MCDONNELL WANTS DRONES FLYING OVER VIRGINIA - As opposed to the drones who file in and out of apartment complexes in Clarendon and Court House and into the District every workday. WTOP: "Police drones flying over Virginia would be 'great' and 'the right thing to do' for the same reasons they are so effective in a battlefield environment, the state's chief executive said Tuesday. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, says he is open to any technology that makes law enforcement more productive. The use of drones, which was recently endorsed by the police chiefs of Fairfax County and D.C., would make better use of valuable police resources. Increased safety and reduced manpower are among the reasons the U.S. military and intelligence community use drones on the battlefield, which is why it should be considered in Virginia, he says." [WTOP]
COMPANY WORRIED ABOUT JOHN BOEHNER'S LUNGS - The Hill: "A Florida-based seller of electronic cigarettes has offered House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) a starter kit for its product, which the company says is aimed at giving Boehner a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes. 'We appreciate all that Boehner does for our country and the economy and we would like for him to enjoy the satisfying feeling of smoking without the harmful side effects of tobacco,' Eversmoke said Tuesday. 'We understand how much pressure is involved in politics, especially being the House Speaker, and it's important to remain healthy in every way possible.' ... But even if he wanted to try the e-cigarette, current House rules on gifts appear to require Boehner to turn down the offer. According to the House Ethics Committee, members can accept almost any gift from any source that is valued at less than $50, and a limit on these gifts of $100 per year per source." [The Hill]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - No hamsters were harmed in the making of this video.
- "The rabble are fickle, my lord Barack." [http://bit.ly/N8gOgL]
- Pop it like you mean it. [http://bit.ly/N8bTwg]
- Pachelbel's Canon in Zzzz... [http://chzb.gr/N8bGtg]
- "The rabble are fickle, my lord Barack." [http://bit.ly/N8gOgL]
- Best marriage proposal from a soldier "in Afghanistan" after his girlfriend threw the first pitch at a Cardinals game EVER. [http://bit.ly/MW7JKz]
- Side effects may include: ruined movie moments. [http://bit.ly/N8aUMK]
- A slideshow of presidents and the drugs they did. [http://bit.ly/MW8bbA]
- This is the trailer/pledge campaign video for Moses, a feature documentary about a homeless man from San Francisco. [http://bit.ly/N8bTwg]
@elisefoley: Trump would NEVER seek publicity MT @realDonaldTrump: Losers such as George Will and @Rosie use me to get publicity for themselves. 3rd rate'
@RealClearScott: Who would've thought Trump would say something unhelpful while acting as a Romney surrogate, besides everyone?
@johnjcook: Something grates about guy who wrote Masters of War accepting a medal from a guy who has a kill list.
6:00pm: Typically uptown Mitt Romney drops a few notches tonight in Las Vegas, passing the hat at Donald Trump's Casino fundraiser. Expect to see lots of trophy wives engaged in serious discussions about where the president was born. Extra Klassy. [Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas]
5:30pm - 7:00pm: In preparation for this year's highly anticipated Irritable Bowel Disorders Day on the Hill, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation reception gets the fun started early. [Rayburn B-354]
6:00 - 8:00pm: When retired Rep. Barney Frank came out of the closet 25 years ago, few could have imagined that one day it would be a celebrated occasion on Capitol Hill. Tonight's D-Trip Anniversary Reception proves otherwise. Cheers, y'all. [1819 14th St. NW]
6:00 - 8:00pm: Mitt Romney ventures into hostile territory with a sweep of California. First stop: A fundraiser at the 98-room mansion of San Francisco Giants owner Charles Johnson. Look, Mitt has "some friends who are owners of" MLB teams, too! [Carolands Chateau, Hillsborough Calif.]
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