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Scott Walker appealed to voters by referencing Ronald Reagan's death, probably because namedropping Dee Dee Ramone -- who also died on June 5th -- wouldn't have resonated as well. Don't expect President Obama to ever appear at a beer pong table alongside the founder of the now defunct Bros for Obama ("Re-rack, Mr. President"). And John McCain admitted that he is, in fact, a zombie. Here's hoping his reelection campaign slogan is "My friends.... BRAAAAAAAIIIINS." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 5th, 2012:
JOHN KERRY AND SCOTT BROWN IN THE POCKET OF BIG BOG - Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown, along with Reps. Reid Ribble and Bill Keating, are the co-chairs of the brand new Cranberry Caucus, which is also a great name for an Eastern Market dad band. During an event tomorrow, a release says, "Caucus members who represent cranberry growing and manufacturing regions will sign a letter to the USDA urging the inclusion of cranberry juice and dried cranberry products in the USDA's food and nutrition programs, so that cranberry products -- which have dense nutrients and well-document [sic] health benefits -- are the exception in sugar policy recommendations that are targeted at the consumption of soda, and other high sugar snack foods with little to no nutritive value." Here are some interesting facts: Eight ounces of Coke has 27 grams of sugar. Eight ounces of OceanSpray 100% Juice Cranberry Blend has 36 grams of sugar. Cranberry juice also has more sodium than soda, and light cranberry juice has more sugar than diet soda. We asked for comment from Kerry and Brown's offices, didn't hear back. Good luck to you, Cranberry Carveout Caucus!
Here's what OceanSpray's hired guns have to say: "The comparison of cranberry juice to soda is not necessarily a fair one. It's important to note that cranberry products are not empty calories. Calling them 'unhealthy' based only on items like sodium or sugar content ignores the fruit's dense nutrients and well-documented health benefits." OceanSpray, a cooperative that has a strategic alliance with Pepsi, sends $400,000 to Cassidy & Associates every year. As Robert Kaiser wrote in So Damn Much Money, Big Bog teamed up with Cassidy, innovator of the modern earmark process (God rest its soul), in the '80s to put cranberry juice into school lunches.
WISCONSIN EXIT POLLS: UNION TURNOUT UP - NYT: "Preliminary exit poll results indicate an uptick in turnout among voters from union households -- something Democrats were hoping for in their effort to oust Gov. Scott Walker today. But whether that holds as voters continue to head to the polls, and whether it is enough to give Mr. Barrett the edge, are open questions at this point. About a third of voters in preliminary exit poll results say they or someone in their household belongs to a labor union. That is an increase from 2010 and 2008, when 26 percent of voters in each of those elections were from a union household. High union turnout is key for the Democrats. In 2010, 63 percent of voters in union households supported Mr. Barrett, compared with 37 percent for Mr. Walker." [NYT]
Madison might break 100 percent turnout for today's recall, because the state allows same day voter registration. We'll see how long that law lasts. Reserve election officials have been called out to deal with overflow crowds. [Journal Sentinel]
LAWMAKERS COMING TOGETHER IN SUPPORT OF TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE HABIT - No, we don't mean cranberry juice. Running in tomorrow's Roll Call from Janie Lorber: "What do Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill) and tea party firebrand Allen West (R-Fla.) have in common? They both dig a good premium smoke. Nearly 200 lawmakers -- from National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Steve Israel (N.Y.) -- are backing a bill that would block the government from regulating high-end cigars. The Food and Drug Administration, which currently regulates cigarettes and chewing tobacco, is poised to assert its power over premium cigars, among other tobacco products like cigarillos and hookahs. Cigar companies worry that such regulations could require the producers of high-end cigars to include health warnings on packaging, force sellers to store cigars in a separate rooms accessible only to employees, and bar shopkeepers from making sales over the phone or recommending a particular product."
Roger Stone, who appeared in our office today -- yeah, that happened -- is building a Gary Johnson SuperPAC. Yeah, that's also happening. Sam Stein: "Stone met with various news outlets on Tuesday to publicize a nascent effort he is running to help build a super PAC to support Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who dropped his Republican primary bid to run as a libertarian candidate for president. Tonight, Stone is scheduled to meet actual moneymen. Decked out in a three-piece seersucker suit, with circular green-shaded sunglasses, he remains enthralled by the campaign game." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - DDD first spoke to Robert Lovejoy during the summer of 2010, when his unemployment insurance lapsed for several weeks because Congress went on vacation without reauthorizing federal benefits. Lovejoy and his wife have since moved to a trailer in North Carolina to save money. They still haven't found work, and now the unemployment insurance is gone for good. "The good news is that I am receiving my Social Security benefits, albeit at a fraction of what they would have been had I not been laid off just short of my 63rd birthday. At just over $1700 a month, my wife and I will remain just above the poverty line," Lovejoy wrote. "Every day of the week I am searching for jobs both locally and across the nation. As I was a television engineer, I have been trying to find jobs across the country not just in my specialty (which was postproduction color correction and enhancement) but in related fields such as broadcast master control, blu-ray quality control, or even videotape operator.... I have yet to be offered a job though I'm certain that over the past two years I have sent out over 300 applications. There have been perhaps ten actual expressions of interest, but never the joy of a voice on the other end offering a job. I can only suspect that being sixty-five may have something to do with it." [Hang in there!]
Clarification: We left out a bit of context for yesterday's rant by the Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who wanted to draw attention to the irony of Native American groups seeking payday lending loopholes from fellow Native American Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We forgot to link to this Bloomberg article. So there you have it. Please stop emailing us about it, PSLGOPL!
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WISCONSIN: WALKER AND BARRETT TOUCH OTHER PEOPLE'S HANDS AND CONSUME LARGE QUANTITIES OF TUBED MEAT IN LAST MINUTE PUSH FOR VOTES - Amanda Terkel: "Barrett's rally on Monday was at the Local 72 UAW Hall in Kenosha, Wis., where union members were serving cheese bratwursts before the event started and there were occasional outbursts of 'This is what democracy looks like!' and other chants. Walker's, held later in the evening, was at the American Serb Memorial Hall in south Milwaukee -- a banquet facility with eight chandeliers, a professional sound system and a slightly dressier crowd... At Walker's event, the only other speaker was Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R), who also faces a recall. On stage with them were their families. (Barrett said his wife could not be with him at the UAW event because she had to work, since she is a teacher.)... Walker kept the focus on jobs in his speech, as he does at most of his campaign events, arguing that his controversial reforms were successful... Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board, which oversees state elections, predicts that turnout could be from 60 percent to 65 percent. That means nearly 3 million people could cast absentee or regular ballots -- more than in the 2010 elections, but not quite as high as in the 2008 presidential race." [HuffPost]
If the Wisconsin Senate flips Democratic, it'll be the fourth time a legislature was recalled in U.S. history, according to a person who emailed us.
@daveweigel: Kinda grim. RT @ScottKWalker: President Reagan died on June 5, 2004. Let's win one for the Gipper!
PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT BLOCKED IN SENATE - Politico: "The Senate on Tuesday failed to advance a bill that its backers say would help close the vast pay gap between men and women - an effort that was part of a broader election-year strategy by congressional Democrats and the White House to woo female voters. The vote Tuesday was 52-47, falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster and proceed to debate on the bill. It failed to attract any Republican support, with key moderates such as Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown -- whose reelection battle this fall is one of the most closely watched in the nation -- warning of potential adverse effects on businesses... Like much of Congress's work these days, Tuesday's vote was more political than substantive policymaking. The White House and Hill Democrats waged an aggressive public relations effort to whip up support for the legislation. Obama popped in on a press call on Monday and talked up his administration's efforts to help ensure equal pay for women, such as a task force to investigate violations of equal-pay laws and a Labor Department initiative that gives women more information on pay equity issues." [Politico]
ELECTION YEAR A BOON FOR PEOPLE WHOSE BELIEFS ARE MALLEABLE - Howard Fineman and Paul Blumenthal: "A survey of federal spending reports by The Huffington Post, the most comprehensive of its kind this year, shows that the top 150 consulting companies -- media, fundraising, digital/social, direct mail and others -- have grossed $465.76 million so far in the 2011-12 electoral season, out of a total of $1.24 billion spent. The totals reflect presidential campaigns, super PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission, party committees, House races and some data on Senate races. These figures presage an eventual take for the consulting industry of as much as $3 billion if, as some expect, total spending on all levels of campaigns tops out at some $8 billion this time (compared with $6 billion in 2007-08 and $4 billion in 2003-4). The top 15 payees in the consulting business this year have already received $214.47 million, even though they won't get the bulk of their payments -- 57 percent of the total, if the 2008 Obama campaign's spending is any guide -- until the last three months of the campaign. In the 2008 elections, the top 15 took in $400 million for the whole cycle. At their current pace, they will exceed that by at least $100 million." [HuffPost]
@ZekeJMiller: Romney on 7ft tall man: "You'd think he'd be in sport, but he wasn't in sport!"
THERE ARE OTHER ELECTIONS TODAY, REALLY - Ariel Edwards-Levy: "California's presidential primary turnout could set a state historical low, according to a Field Poll report released Tuesday. The report estimates that, at most, 35 percent of California's registered voters will cast ballots on June 5, undercutting the state's previous low of 41.9 percent in the 1996 presidential primary... The four other states with Tuesday presidential primaries -- Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota -- also foresee lower turnout... In New Jersey, Monmouth University political analyst Patrick Murray predicted the state would likely see voter turnout below 20 percent. South Dakota pollster Brian Sanderoff told the Associated Press to expect turnout slightly lower than the state's average of 28 percent of voters." [HuffPost]
Here are the rest of the races worth watching tonight.
PROP 8 CASE HEADING TO SUPREME COURT - The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today refused to review the Prop 8 case, meaning the Supreme Court will likely take up the matter and you'll just maybe have to start responding to ornately written letters with your middle name on the address, visiting registration websites and purchasing people nonstick grill pans. Reuters: "The top U.S. court could agree to hear the matter in the session beginning in October, putting it on track to decide the case within a year. It could also decline to review Prop 8... The U.S. Supreme Court would set national precedent if it decided to take the California case. Appeals courts have so far declined to rule broadly on whether marriage is a fundamental human right for same-sex couples as well as heterosexuals." [Reuters]
@elisefoley: Rubio on fashion: "Some of the stuff on the runways in New York is hideous."
AS IF ON CUE, THE CANNIBAL 'DEAR COLLEAGUE' LETTER - Title: "Cannibal in Florida Allegedly Under the Influence of Synthetic Drugs: Support HR 4205, the SAD Act" From: The Honorable Andre Carson" Thanks, Congress!
ZOMBIE JOHN MCCAIN POLITELY EATS BRAINS - Greg Rosalsky: "Sen. John McCain jokingly confirmed to reporters Tuesday that his daughter believes he is a zombie. The topic was a recent government statement assuring the public there is no known disease that reanimates the dead and turns them into bloodthirsty cannibals. In response to a reporter's question, the Arizona Republican added a personal twist. 'She does, in fact,' think I'm a zombie, McCain quipped about his daughter. 'But she thinks I'm a nice zombie.'" [HuffPost]
BROS FOR OBAMA ICED, BRO - But it's not associated with the Obama campaign and was taken down. Weak, bro. Ethan Klapper: "A new Facebook page, Bros for Obama, briefly popped up today, targeting, well, bros. The page highlighted what could be called some of President Barack Obama's 'bro' moments, including his 2009 beer summit and a fist bump gesture with Vice President Joe Biden. A mashup of clips from the president's speeches results in an Obama rendition of the LMFAO song 'Sexy and I Know It.' The popular picture of Obama fist bumping a janitor served as the page's cover photo. The page indicated 'likes' of some fraternities and sororities, particularly ones in the Washington, D.C., area. An Obama campaign official said the Facebook page is not affiliated with the Obama campaign despite a statement on it to the contrary." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - This is probably the best collection of photographs of small animals sticking out their tongues we've seen recently.
MEANWHILE AT CITY HALL... - HuffPost DC: D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown apologized to a reporter he shoved in a hallway on Tuesday after being asked a question about the federal investigation into his 2008 campaign. [HuffPost]
- Strong passwords keep you safe on that scary, adorably cute internet. [http://bit.ly/NfEmDc]
- BuzzFeed reminds us that not-learning can happen outside the classroom, too. [http://bit.ly/NfEZwt]
- We predict an adaptation of The Wire about sugary drinks. [http://bit.ly/NfF7Mg]
- Six-year-old's story adorably adapted to YouTube. [http://bit.ly/L7lxyR]
- Gotta get that good good. [http://bit.ly/NfFKpf]
- Here's a better way for George Lucas to spend his time than that "remastering" of the Star Wars movies. [http://bit.ly/KdGLbb]
- Venus and the sun are doing crazy stuff right now and the next time it happens we'll all be dead so go look at the sun. Or at least watch this video. [http://bit.ly/KdGYv9]
@delrayser: Venus is supposed to move across the Sun today, but I assume WMATA will screw it up like it does every other kind of transit.
@elisefoley: Free Beacon out of context: "But the president has demonstrated a strong preference for all-male foursomes..." bit.ly/IRhin5
@FakeJimVandeHei: I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my birthday, put me in Playbook maybe?
5:00pm: Get your party hats ready, folks, because nothing says fun like a congressional reception for the propane lobby. [CVC]
6:30pm - 8:30pm: Acclimate yourself to the nonstop Olympic talk you'll be hearing the next three months with an Olympic reception sponsored by those health nuts over at BP. [Ronald Reagan Building]
7:00pm: GOP Freshman Bill Huizenga passes the hat at "An Evening of Wine and Cigars" Which is basically Capitol Hill shorthand for "check your politically correct hippie shit at the door." Lovely. [419 New Jersey Ave, SE]
1:00pm: Upstart-Tea-Party-Lugar-Cannibalizing-Republican Richard Mourdock has the audacity to host a fundraiser in the Senate's unofficial dining room, the Monocle. [107 D St. NE]
5:30pm - 7:30pm: Ever wondered about all those early morning workout classes Paul Ryan leads for other House members? (and you know you have) To find out what it's all about, swing by the free, outdoor P90X demonstration with founder Tony Horton. [The Yards Park - 10 Water Street SE]
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What we need is a Four Loko Caucus.