Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Mean White House Insults Poland, Wisconsin

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"Let's talk about the president doing blow" isn't an underappreciated Salt-n-Pepa B-side -- it's what Allen West told a group of constituents earlier this month. Mitt Romney produced his birth certificate, which shockingly wasn't a tiny sticker with a manufacturing date stamped on it. And a Washington Times columnist decried the "socialist metrosexuals" who use Capital Bikeshare but hypocritically didn't mention the Marxist dandies who opt into that other DC transpo co-op: the Metro. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, May 30th, 2012:

ALAN SIMPSON ACCEPTS CHALLENGE TO DEBATE SOCIAL SECURITY SOLVENCY - One of the most vexing elements of the Social Security debate, for both sides, is that so much of it comes down to basic math that it seems like it ought to be an easy thing to solve. We're not talking about the cost of an MIR here. Yet the two sides can't agree on much of anything. (Now, HuffPost Hill thinks that's because the private-equity-funded side is just lying, but whatever.) So Daniel Marans, a young whippersnapper with the liberal Social Security Works, challenged Simpson to debate the program. We called up Simpson, and he quickly agreed. "All they have to do is read the [Bowles-Simpson] report and it tells you exactly what we plan to do with Social Security. It's very clear. If they'll read the report, then I'll talk to them. I want them to read the 67 page report, especially what it says about Social Security and making it solvent for people their age," he said. "But if they want to know how to save the system so that when they're 65 they won't get a check for 25 percent less, yes, I can try to help them." (Under Simpson's plan, which would raise the retirement age, they'd actually get zero at 65, but whatever.) Simpson said he worried the debate was "just gonna be a bunch of emotional claptrap," but he said he was up for it nonetheless. HuffPost is happy to host, but we need a venue. Maybe the American Legion on Capitol Hill? We're still working out the details, but we're looking forward to this one. Video of the challenge is on YouTube.

WHITE HOUSE FOCUSED LIKE A LASER ON THE WISCONSIN RECALL - Amanda Terkel: "White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Wednesday that he did not believe President Barack Obama had made an endorsement in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race -- even though he did, on May 8. At the White House press briefing, a reporter asked Carney whether Obama had endorsed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), who is vying to unseat Gov. Scott Walker (R) in a recall election on June 5. 'You might ask the campaign,' Carney said. 'Not that I'm aware of, but I'll take the question.'" [HuffPost]

Polls like this might have something to do with the White House's blase attitude toward the recall: "The latest independent poll in Wisconsin shows Republican Gov. Scott Walker maintaining his lead over his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, in the gubernatorial recall election set for June 5. The new poll of 600 likely voters, conducted by Marquette University Law School from May 23 to 26, shows Walker leading Barrett by seven percentage points (52 to 45 percent). Two weeks earlier, another Marquette Law School poll had Walker leading by six points (50 to 44 percent)... Although it is just one poll, it also found candidate favorability ratings consistent with its voter preference results: The Marquette poll shows Walker's personal rating essentially unchanged at 51 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable (it was 48 percent favorable, 48 percent unfavorable two weeks earlier). Meanwhile, Barrett's name recognition has increased, leading his favorable rating to rise by four points (from 37 to 41 percent) and his unfavorable rating to rise by seven (from 39 to 46 percent)." [HuffPost]

JOE WALSH WORRIED ABOUT LATINOS BECOMING BLACK - Elise Foley: "Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) went on a tear last week during a town hall, caught on video provided by CREDO SuperPAC: 'I am scared. I really am scared, Patrick, that we're past the point -- we have so many people now dependent on government, so many people want handouts,' he told constituents. 'The Democratic Party promises groups of people everything. They want the Hispanic vote, they want Hispanics to be dependent on government, just like they got African Americans dependent on government. That's their game. Jesse Jackson would be out of work if they weren't dependent on government. There'd be no work for him.'"

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Emails of the Jobless: "Through the years my family and I have striven to live within our means by living in a modest house, not going out to eat, few nights out at the movies, many missed vacations, and making due with what little we have, but because of this recession we have been forced to put housing repairs, appliance replacements, and car repairs on credit cards. Now with my unemployment being cut so drastically in dollars and length of eligibility I fear that I will have a hard time keeping up with the bills. I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I can't find a job." [Hang in there!]

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ROMNEY SUPPORT AMONG WOMEN GROWS: POLL - A quick survey of the HuffPost newsroom indicates that Mitt Romney has yet to make a major women-centric gaffe (not counting Ann Romney's stay-at-home-momgate). So until American Bridge digs up some company that trimmed its maternity leave at Bain's behest, these numbers might hold. Laura Bassett: "A new ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted from May 23-27, shows female voters' support for Romney spiking a full 13 points this week, from 27 to 40 percent. President Barack Obama's favorability ratings fell from 58 to 51 percent in the same poll, further narrowing the gender gap between him and the GOP hopeful. Most of Romney's gains, the poll finds, are among unmarried women -- a bloc of voters who have overwhelmingly registered their disapproval of Romney in polls conducted throughout the past several months." [HuffPost]

YES WE CAN'T, PT. 15,211 - Amanda Terkel: "In July 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama promised that public service would be 'a central cause' of his presidency. The pledge excited thousands of his young, inspired supporters who were eager to follow their passions and make a difference. On April 21, 2009, President Obama moved forward on this cause, signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law. Passed with strong bipartisan support, the legislation put AmeriCorps, the federal program that provides service opportunities at the local, state and national level, on a path of expansion from 75,000 annual positions to 250,000 by 2017. But four years later, there is funding for only 82,500 AmeriCorps spots, meaning the program will fall far short of its goal of reaching 170,000 members in fiscal year 2013. It's not because of a lack of a desire to serve: In the last two years, around 1 million AmeriCorps applications were denied." [HuffPost]

President Obama and Mitt Romney pretended to like each other for a few moments today. Elise Foley: "President Barack Obama called Mitt Romney on Wednesday to congratulate him on clinching the Republican nomination, after the former Massachusetts governor received more than 100 delegates in the Texas primary the previous evening. 'President Obama said that he looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America's future, and wished Governor Romney and his family well throughout the upcoming campaign,' Obama for America spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement. A Romney campaign aide, who asked not to be identified, said in an email that the call 'was brief and cordial.'" That the Obama aide went on the record and the Romney aide didn't says everything about press relations in this campaign. [HuffPost]

'I'M STEVE DOOCY AND I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE' - HuffPost: ""Fox and Friends" aired a remarkable four-minute video on its Wednesday show. The video, which the hosts of the show advertised as taking a 'look back' at President Obama's four years in office, could easily be mistaken for a Republican attack ad. It was aired multiple times throughout the show. (UPDATE: Fox News later issued a statement disavowing the ad and attributing it to an associate producer. See the statement below.) 'We decided to take a look back at the president's first term to see if it lived up to hope and change,' host Gretchen Carlson asked at one point, introducing the video. In the video -- which is labeled as a 'Fox and Friends Presents' production -- viewers see images of Obama talking about jobs contrasted with footage of homeless people. There is dark, foreboding music, and statistics about the unemployment rate, the rise in the number of food stamps, and the national debt, among other things. The hosts heaped lavish praise on the producer of the video saying that it had taken a 'tremendous amount of research' to put together." [HuffPost]

OBAMA CAMPAIGN RESPONDS TO SOLYNDRA ATTACK WITH BAIN ATTACK - Doesn't this remind you of the golden era of politics when bigwigs from opposing parties would meet in smoke-filled clubs, sip top shelf bourbon and yell the names of businesses at one another? Politico: "President Obama's campaign is pushing back against comparisons between Mitt Romney's time at the private equity firm Bain Capital and the Obama administration's clean energy loan programs... 'The president's not picking winners and losers, he's making strategic investments in clean energy,' Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said on MSNBC Wednesday. 'Mitt Romney's role at Bain capital was to make profits for his investors and for himself. But it's not about job creation.'" [Politico]

Mitt Romney released his birth certificate, putting to rest all those rumors about his eligibility stemming from his Mexican-American heritage. Reuters: "Finally, there is definitive proof: The presidential candidate was born in the United States, and his father was not. Yes, Republican Mitt Romney appears eligible to be president, according to a copy of Romney's birth certificate released to Reuters by his campaign. Willard Mitt Romney, the certificate says, was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947. His mother, Lenore, was born in Utah and his father, former Michigan governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate George Romney, was born in Mexico. So on a day when real estate and media mogul Donald Trump was trying to help Mitt Romney by stirring up a new round of questions about whether Democratic President Barack Obama was born in the United States, Romney's own birth record became a reminder that in the 1968 presidential campaign, his father had faced his own 'birther' controversy." [Reuters]

PRESIDENT ANTAGONIZES THE LAST COUNTRY IN EUROPE THAT DOESN'T HATE US - The Hill: "Poland's leaders are outraged over President Obama's reference to Polish death camps. Poland's prime minister said Wednesday that a statement from the White House expressing 'regret' over the president's reference to Nazi death camps in the country as 'Polish' was insufficient, and the faux pas threatened to further strain relations with Warsaw. 'I am convinced that our American friends can today allow themselves a stronger reaction than a simple expression of regret from the White House spokesman -- a reaction more inclined to eliminate once and for all these kinds of errors,' Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday, according to AFP." [The Hill]

PETE HOEKSTRA WANTS TO EXPAND GOVERNMENT - The Michigan congressman and Senate candidate this month proposed the formation of a three-person team dedicated to verifying presidential candidates' birthplaces. We nominate the "magnifier eye guy" from the Bush-Gore recount to run this office (you know... him). Luke Johnson: "Responding to a questioner, Hoesktra said in early May, 'With this president, the book is closed. I hate to say it but I think the debate's over.'... Hoekstra then proposed something new. 'I'd like to establish a three-person office in Washington, D.C., knowing it would grow to five,'It should be an FBI person, maybe a CIA person and one person managing those two people. And just if you want to run for president, you've got to go with the right, proper documentation and go to that person and get it certified that you meet the qualifications to be president of the United States.'" [HuffPost]

ALLEN WEST REALLY UPSET BY PRESIDENT'S PAST DRUG USE - Is it just us, or do you ever get the sense that Allen West is tired of legislating and would rather be giving "scared straight" tours at his local morgue? ThinkProgress: "Rep. Allen West (R-FL) revived President Obama's drug use from three decades ago during a town hall yesterday, imploring the crowd to discuss 'the president doing blow.' West was asked by a constituent in Boca Raton about charges that he'd assaulted an Iraqi police officer while serving in 2003. He deflected the question and then proceeded to bring up the fact that then-college student Barack Obama had once done drugs. 'So if you guys want to go back and talk about what happened nine years ago for me, let's talk about the president doing blow, and smoking dope,' West said, to applause." [ThinkProgress]

VIRGINIA DEMOCRAT IDENTIFIES NEWEST 'SANTORUM' - Greg Rosalsky: "A Virginia state senator gave Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) a new nickname on Tuesday, resurrecting a fight over McDonnell's support for legislation that would have mandated women have a transvaginal ultrasound before getting an abortion. '[I]n Virginia ... we refer to Gov. Bob McDonnell as 'Governor VP' -- and that's not vice president, that's vaginal probe,' said state Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) on a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee. It's not the first time Lucas has mocked McDonnell and the ultrasound bill. In a speech on the Senate floor in March, Lucas lamented that Virginia was becoming a 'Punanny State' -- a reference to a 'Daily Show' segment that made fun of the pending legislation." [HuffPost]

If a swarm of locusts descend on Springfield, Illinois, this is why: "A Republican Illinois state lawmaker on Tuesday screamed and threw papers into the air while decrying the state's Democrat-led pension reform bill that could be en route to passage thanks to the support of powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan. 'Total power in one person's hand -- not the American way!' screamed state Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) before throwing a stack of papers into the air. His tirade came on the heels of a new pension reform proposal -- Senate Bill 1673 -- being approved by a state pension committee and heading to the House floor for discussion within a matter of hours -- before lawmakers could even read it, Bost argued, according to WSIL. 'These damn bills that come out here all the damn time, come out here at the last second. I've got to figure out how to vote for my people! You should be ashamed of yourselves! I'm sick of it!' Bost screamed. 'Enough!' Bost continued. 'I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt. Let my people go! .. I'm trapped by rules that have been forced down our throats.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Dog gets back at its owner for naming it "Cantaloupe."

PROFILES IN STUPID - HuffPost DC: "Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt wrote a really dumb op/ed about Capital Bikeshare and riled up all the socialist 'metrosexuals' who use the system." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- We hate when this happens. [http://bit.ly/MYJwmN]

- Here is 8 minutes of a baby monkey eating fruit. [http://bit.ly/NfUQsi]

- Oh, come on. Parking is already hard enough in 2d scrollers. [http://bit.ly/NfVlCF]

- T-cells hunt parasites in your brain like penguins hunt for food. [http://bit.ly/NfWjin]

- "Ten Great Moments In Political Mispellings" [http://bit.ly/NfWsCm]

- All of the Mad Max, none of the post-apocalypse. [http://chzb.gr/N8ozTU]

- You got this, kitty. Believe in yourself. [http://bit.ly/MYK77S]

TWITTERAMA

@RyanLizza: Official WH photo of Obama-Romney phone call. pic.twitter.com/wLHCIyjn

@mbaram: Birther ally? When asked if Obama was really born in Kenya, Siri can't make up her mind and tells me to search the Web

@BenjySarlin: A law banning ads that autoplay with sound seems like the perfect Sunday presser for Chuck Schumer

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

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.]

TOMORROW

12:00pm: Gospel singing, FEC law-breaking Rep. Steve Fincher (Tenn.) raising $$$ @ Bob Ney/Tom DeLay-crony Tim Rupli's townhouse = Match Made in Heaven Washington. Sigh. [ 446 New Jersey Ave SE]

7:00pm: Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), better known as the guy who skipped his swearing-in to host a fundraiser in the Capitol (ridiculously big no-no) hosts a fundraiser clear across town from the Capitol at Casa Nonna in Dupont. [1250 Connecticut Ave, NW]

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