The RNC featured a stock photo of Asians on its Latino outreach webpage, an especially tragic development considering Mitt Romney's Mexican heritage. Mitch McConnell signaled that the upper chamber will enter a period of scheduled gridlock, implying that the Senate was functional sometime recently. And Donald Rumsfeld testified before a congressional committee today, so in case you were wondering why all those woodland creatures were fleeing the District and why those black storm clouds suddenly swirled above the Capitol… there you have it. This is HUFFPOST Hill for Thursday, June 14th, 2012:
RNC WEBSITE CONFUSES ASIANS AND LATINOS - And, much to our chagrin, this isn't being called "Bering Strait-gate." Elise Foley: "The Republican National Committee corrected an embarrassing mistake on Thursday after the children in a picture used on its RNC Latinos website turned out to not actually be Latino. A blog post on U.S. News & World Report quickly spread after the reporter found the stock photo used in the site's header had been tagged with 'asia,' 'asian,' 'japanese' and 'thailand' -- but nothing to indicate that the children were Latino. 'An outside vendor developed the site and it is being corrected immediately,' RNC Spokesperson Alexandra Franceschi told HuffPost in an email." [HuffPost]
RALPH REED DESERVES A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR RATIONALIZING MITT ROMNEY SO WELL - Jen Bendery: "Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed said Thursday that conservatives are excited to support Mitt Romney as their Republican presidential nominee, in part because he changed his views on abortion. During a three-day Faith & Freedom Coalition event in Washington, D.C., Reed said that contrary to talk of conservatives being underwhelmed by Romney, he and many others are eager to back the former Massachusetts governor. 'He's come our way, you know?' Reed told The Huffington Post." [HuffPost]
VAGINAGATE - Laura Bassett: "Two Democratic woman lawmakers in Michigan, Rep. Lisa Brown (West Bloomfield) and Rep. Barb Byrum (Onondaga), said Republican House leaders refused to allow them to speak on the House floor Thursday after their emotional remarks opposing an anti-abortion bill the day before. Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas (R-Midland) gaveled Brown out of order on Wednesday afternoon after she told her colleagues, 'I'm flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina, but no means no.'" [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Unambiguously bad news on unemployment claims: "In the week ending June 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 386,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 380,000," the Labor Department said this morning. "The 4-week moving average was 382,000, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 378,500" [DOL]
DOUBLE DOWNER - A pair of professors took the trouble to actually document just how badly the press fails at vetting "job killer" claims. Of the 381 stories in big papers that contained the phrase since 1984 -- usually in a source's quote -- fewer than 10 percent substantiated it. [HuffPost]
Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill
SENATE GOP BEGINS TIME-HONORED TRADITION OF GRIDLOCK - Roll Call: "With less than four and a half months until Election Day, Senate Republicans are shutting off the bipartisan spigot when it comes to confirming President Barack Obama’s nominees to the nation’s top courts and will present a unified front against his circuit court picks through November. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) made the decision to blockade nominations official Wednesday when he informed his colleagues that he would invoke the 'Thurmond Rule' from now until after the elections. Named after the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) -- and alternately called the 'Leahy Rule' by some Republicans after Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) -- the doctrine holds that within six months of a presidential election, the opposition party can, and typically does, refuse to allow votes on circuit court judges." [Roll Call]
ROMNEY AND BOEHNER TO APPEAR TOGETHER, INGEST COW - The Republican presidential and House speaker will meet for burgers this weekend ("Gosh these patties are very brown and circular!" "...Yes" "Hey, John, can you pass the ketchup? I need it for my... uh... potato sticks?" "...Uh huh."). It'll be great! Jen Bendery: "Mitt Romney will hold his first joint rally with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Sunday, the Dayton Business Journal reported. Romney and Boehner will team up for a rally in Troy, Ohio, which is just outside of Dayton. They will also grab hamburgers together at K's Hamburger Shop in town. The burger joint has a history of political visits: Rick Santorum stopped by ahead of Ohio's presidential primary earlier this year, and Dan Quayle stopped by for a burger when he was vice president, the paper reports." [HuffPost]
OBAMA DELIVERS DULL SPEECH - AP: "President Barack Obama said November's election will give voters the chance to break a stalemate about America's direction, declaring Thursday in a campaign speech in battleground Ohio that he and Republican Mitt Romney offer 'two fundamentally different views' about how to grow the economy and create jobs... Obama cited a litany of domestic spending cuts that would affect Americans if Romney and GOP lawmakers succeed in adopting their ideas. The president acknowledged that 'of course the economy isn't where it needs to be' but said the election-year debate will pivot on how the nation grows faster and creates jobs." [AP]
@daveweigel: Revenge for "Democrat Party" or something? RT @FixAaron: All of a sudden, Gov. Romney is "Mr. Romney" to Obama. bit.ly/MDy1w1
Romney staffers drove a campaign bus around the venue where Obama delivered his speech and repeatedly honked the horn. If Romney staffers steal the Obama campaign's mascot (Joe Biden?) we'll let you know.
ROMNEY COUNTERS WITH TEDIOUS SPEECH - Actually, it was a prebuttal, which sounds like an awful old-timey elixir ("Influenza? Sore back? Mumps? Measles? Gout? Prebuttals!"). AP: "Mitt Romney on Thursday said President Barack Obama is "long on words and short on action" when it comes to fixing the economy. Speaking in battleground Ohio, before the president's planned economic speech in a different part of the state, the likely Republican presidential nominee assailed his Democratic rival's policies. 'Don't forget, he's been president for three and a half years. And talk is cheap. Actions speak very loud,' Romney said. 'If you want to see the results of his economic policy, look around Ohio, look around the country.'" [AP]
RUMSFELD TESTIFIES ON THE HILL - The Hill: "Rumsfeld will argue against Senate ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty, a stance that pits him against President Obama, the U.S. military and President George W. Bush's administration, which also sought to move the treaty. The former Defense secretary and other critics of the treaty argue it would be overly restrictive on the U.S. Navy and allow a U.N. body to directly tax American companies. In addition to the military, the oil and gas industries support the treaty, saying it’s in the U.S. interest to be able to help write international maritime law. Rumsfeld was President Reagan’s emissary to oppose the treaty back in 1982." [The Hill]
Kilmeade is on it: "In an interview Thursday morning with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who on Wednesday co-sponsored a resolution calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to name a special counsel to investigate the recent leaks, Fox & Friends’ Brian Kilmeade cut right to the chase. 'Senator, you think it was Tom Donilon?' he coyly asked." [TPM]
BAD OPTICS **SIREN**: REPORTERS ESCORTED FROM ROMNEY EVENT AT NEWSEUM - We're pretty sure this incident won't be described in glowing detail and framed under a giant rectangular slab of plexiglass. "Reporters were kicked out of Mitt Romney's talk at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night. The candidate was there to speak to executives at a meeting of the Business Roundtable. The Boston Globe's Marty Baron tweeted Thursday, 'Press escorted out of #Romney event at, of all places, #Newseum.' (Baron was rightly noting the irony of barring journalists from what is essentially a shrine to journalism.)... The Los Angeles Times noted that the same thing happened when President Obama spoke to the group at the Newseum in March — making such actions part of a pattern for the Business Roundtable." [HuffPost]
@jbendery: COINCIDENCE?: "Papa Don't Preach" playing quietly on hotel speakers as Faith & Freedom Coalition (i.e. hugely pro-life group) event wraps.
DRONES SUCK: REPORT - iWatch News: [U]ntil recently, the deployment of drones by the government inside U.S. borders has attracted little attention or critical oversight. Now a new internal audit from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has raised concerns about the utility of those drones, focusing on their high costs and how they have been managed. DHS has spent more than $250 million on its program in the past six years, and currently has nine Predator drones on call. While each drone is purchased at a cost of around $18 million each, the GAO estimated that the hourly charge is $3,234 -- or almost $65,000 per 20-hour mission... The program has had a series of operational troubles, the IG report reveals. For example, the drones have required an hour of maintenance for every hour they fly, for example, significantly increasing their expense. Additionally, inspectors found that the drones were often grounded by bad weather." [iWatch News]
[Topical "Call Me Maybe" joke]
RINO ALERT, GEORGETOWN GROUP HOUSE EDITION - Christina Wilkie: "In Georgetown's exclusive, high-rent real estate market, sometimes it can be tough to stick to Republican principles of free markets and deregulation. Especially when there's a 'fabulous three-story row house' that was 'recently painted in Restoration Hardware colors" at stake, and it just happens to be rent-controlled. Cherie Short is the national finance director of the Young Republican National Federation and director of development and coalitions at the conservative Christian advocacy group Concerned Women of America. On Monday, she sent out an ad for a new roommate on the private Yahoo listserv 'Ladies DC,' which was forwarded to The Huffington Post by an eagle-eyed listserv lady. A similar ad for the same house was also posted on Craigslist as of Thursday morning. 'Rent controlled, heart of Georgetown rare find!' Short writes, boasting how 'the row houses on each side of us rent for double.' She notes that the place even comes with bragging rights: 'Same block as Sen. Kerry's DC home and across the street from the Chairman of the American Red Cross.'" [HuffPost]
RICK SCOTT IS NOT DEAD: RICK SCOTT - Even though he looks like the self-duplicating warlock from "Game of Thrones"'s House of the Undying, Rick Scott is not dead. AP: "Florida Gov. Rick Scott knows what it's like to be told that he's dead and not registered to vote. The Republican governor said in a radio interview Thursday that he was forced to cast a provisional ballot because election officials said he had been taken off the voter rolls. 'They said I had passed away,' Scott said on Tallahassee-based radio station WFLA. 'I said, 'Here's my driver's license. I'm here, I'm really alive.' So they allowed me to vote provisionally.' Collier County election officials confirmed that Scott was required to cast a provisional ballot in two elections in 2006. Scott was not in politics at the time." [AP]
NANCY PELOSI/MC HAMMER UPDATE - Elise Foley: "Want to see MC Hammer live? It'll cost you at least $100, and the money will go to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The '90s star will perform at a fundraiser on June 25 for Pelosi, to be hosted by the Democratic political action committee Bay Area Democrats. Tickets range from $100 for Bay Area Democrats to $5,000 for co-host duties, with most tickets going for $250. The Mickey Hart Band will also perform, with MC Hammer slated as a 'special guest.'" [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a four-day-old giraffe, current frontrunner for Most Awkward Baby Animal.
'FAMILY MATTERS' AND DC POLITICIAL CORRUPTION: UNITED AT LAST? - HuffPost DC:"It's a provocative question: Did Kellie Williams, who played Steve Urkel's girlfriend Laura Winslow on the TV sit-com 'Family Matters' in the late 1980s and '90s, give a $25,000 kickback in the scheme that sent former D.C. Council Chairman Harry Thomas Jr. to federal prison?" [HuffPost]
- Ha ha! Dying industries are funny. [http://bit.ly/Lpc5oR]
- Matthew O'Brien: "Hey, she's a popstar, and this is crazy, but is Carly Rae Jepsen a euro crisis genius, maybe?" HuffPostHill: "No." [http://bit.ly/Lp8Uxy]
- Polar bears are so cute when they're not 1500 pounds and hunting you across an otherwise-barren icescape. [http://bit.ly/Lp8eIv]
- Voyager I is really, really, really far away. [http://bit.ly/MTaLOC]
- Trailer for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," the best forthcoming movie without a release date. [http://bit.ly/Lp91Jq]
- Unexpected twist in the debate on whether form should follow function: a table that can follow you. Kind of. [http://bit.ly/LpaMX0]
- It's Flag Day! Here is an old film about the US flag. [http://chzb.gr/Lp9YRV]
@radleybalko: Romney-Thune 2012 motto: "Remember when you voted us prom king?"
@delrayser: "I can't HONK a HONK HONK, I'm HONKing for HONK for HONK's sake!"
@elisefoley: Where's the proof??! RT @BuzzFeed: It's @realDonaldTrump's birthday.
6:30pm: After a few stops in blue-collar towns this week, Obama lands back in Manhattan for a swanky fundraiser at Sarah Jessica Parker's house. His campaigner-in-chief, Anna Wintour, is a co-host. Air kisses are a must. [Some cavernous loft in Tribeca]
8:00pm: Mariah Carey gets crazy(er) for Obama at a black-tie fundraising gala at The Plaza. [Fifth Ave & 59th St., NYC]
9:00pm - 10:00pm: It's intern season again, which means Georgetown bars are rolling in allowance money from Mummy and Daddy. If that's what you're spending this summer hit up the Redneck Yacht Club Summer Solstice Shindig at George. You won't
go home alone regret it. [3251 Prospect St., NW]
4:30 or 5ish: Esteemed members of HuffPost's DC bureau start in on the Natty Lights a little earlier than most weekdays. It's our summer kick-off par-tay, so if you know the secret handshake, swing on by.
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