Mitt Romney's "kiss my ass" spokesperson is stepping aside, probably so he can fulfill his lifelong dream of dropping the F-bomb at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A conservative news outlet called our company "the Left's cocaine," which is convenient, because we call all our hyperlinks "balloons." And Jenna Jameson endorsed Mitt Romney. Sadly, we were too distracted by the House Republican who argued on behalf of an erotica store to formulate a lewd joke about "the Jameson bump." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, August 3rd, 2012:
ROMNEY: SERIOUSLY, I AM UP TO MY WELL-FORMED CHIN IN TAXES - Romney pushed back again against Harry Reid's curiously sourced charge that the Republican presidential candidate didn't pay taxes for a full ten years. Romney was adamant, more or less claiming that his money was responsible during that timespan for both the public school teacher who taught your child the three Rs and the filling of every single pothole east of the Mississippi. "Let me also say categorically: I have paid taxes every year. A lot of taxes. A lot of taxes," he told reporters after an appearance in Nevada. Then he started to sound a bit Chris Matthews-y as he directed at attack on Harry Reid: "[B]y the way Harry, I understand what you're trying to do. You're trying to deflect the fact that jobs numbers are bad, that Americans are out of work, and you're trying to throw anything up on the screen that will grab attention away from the fact that the policies of the White House haven't worked." [HuffPost]
2002: TEAM ROMNEY USED TAX RECORDS TO ATTACK OPPONENT - During Mitt Romney's 2002 gubernatorial bid, Eric Fehrnstrom challenged Romney's opponent Shannon O'Brien to release tax returns for her husband, who had lobbied on behalf of Enron. "Her hands aren't clean. She can't claim to be disclosing anything until she discloses the returns of her husband, the Enron lobbyist," Fehnrstrom said at the time. "Under Shannon O'Brien, the state Pension Board lost millions by buying Enron stock when it was collapsing -- what is she hiding?" See, this was 2002, a simpler time when a political operative could use "What is he/she hiding?" with a straight face. [BuzzFeed]
CONGRESS IS OVERPAID - Did you ever hear about the Tea Bag Revolution of 1989? Read all about it in Delaney's story for Huffington, our free iPad magazine. [HuffPost]
TAP TAP: HERE'S SOME LARRY CRAIG NEWS - "Former Republican U.S. Sen. Larry Craig aims to fend off a federal election lawsuit against him by arguing his infamous July 11, 2007, Minneapolis airport bathroom visit that ended in his sex-sting arrest was part of his official Senate business. Craig is hoping to avoid repaying $217,000 in campaign funds the Federal Election Commission claims he misused to defend himself." [AP]
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST PRESCRIBES TALK THERAPY - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, himself the Foursquare mayor of a number of Washington-area psychiatry practices, thinks at least one news anchor needs to have his head examined. "You know what's annoying?" PSLGOPL writes. "Really rich white liberal media anchors denigrating minority Republican politicians like Ted Cruz. It's not alright when our minority team members don't just go along? You'd think Al Franken is wistfully waiting for someone to compromise with listening to these racists. O'Donnell belongs on a couch." Thanks, PSLGOPL!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Jim Gibbons of Green Oak Township, Mich., hopes he has a job next month. He works for the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, which just pink-slipped 177 temporary workers and plans to dismiss as many as 225 more. "We were told about 12 noon this last Monday by our department manager and it just hit every one of us like a ton of bricks," he said. The next day at the office, he said, "It was like we were in a funeral home. Solemn, quiet, very little banter." Gibbons, 61, said he only landed the job two years ago after a six-month unemployment spell. He assumes that his lack of seniority at the unemployment office means he'll be canned. A former auto mechanic and a member of the UAW Local 6000, Gibbons had hoped to retire from Ford, but he'd do any type of work rather than be unemployed. "A job is better than no job," Gibbons said. [HuffPost]
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JOB NUMBERS AMAZING/JOB NUMBERS AWFUL - The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today that the economy added 162,000 jobs in July but the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent. Depending on whom you ask, the numbers signal the coming of an economic utopia where everyone spends their days in pristine white lab coats examining slabs of sumptuously blue solar cells -- or that they are further evidence of America's decline into another depression where the primary means of travel involves throwing yourself and your soot-stained family into a moving freight car. AP: "Investors appeared pleased with the report. Futures tracking the Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average gained about 1 percent. The stock market is coming off four days of losses. Yields on government bonds also rose as investors moved money out of low-risk assets... The job gains were broad-based. Manufacturing added 25,000 jobs, the most since March. Restaurants and bars added 29,000. Retailers hired 7,000 more workers. Education and health services gained 38,000. Governments cut 9,000 positions." [AP]
Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger sent out the administration's glass-half-full response: "While there is more work that remains to be done, today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007."
Meanwhile, Romney took a glass-half-arsenic approach while speaking in Las Vegas: "[I]t's another hammer blow to the struggling middle-class families of America because the President has not had policies that put American families back to work. I do. I'll put them in place and get America working again. You know this. These numbers are not just statistics. These are real people really suffering, having hard times. Twenty-three million Americans out of work, or stopped looking for work, or way underemployed. Twenty-three million. The official unemployment number: 8.3 percent. That's the longest period of time, 42 months, the longest period of time we have had unemployment above 8 percent in American history."
REPUBLICANS SUFFERING BUYER'S REMORSE OVER SEQUESTRATION - Like that skinny belt you purchased a few years back or that Pontiac Aztek you've had on Craigslist for a depressing amount of time, Republicans are reeling from their agreement to $1.5 trillion of automatic budget cuts divided between reductions in defense spending and cuts to other programs. "I thought it was the dumbest idea in a body known for dumb ideas," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. "It was ill-conceived ... and the penalty clause was just crazy. From a Republican point of view, we lost our way. The party of Ronald Reagan would never have allowed this to be on the table." Rep. Kevin Brady palm --> forehead-ed: "I thought the purpose of the original sequester was to incentivize the Super Committee to cut a measly 2 percent off this big massive bloated government operation, and it failed to do that," he said. "Hindsight may be clear, but at the time it seemed like a good incentive for an awfully small spending cut." [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff and Erin Mershon]
While talking about Romney's tax-disclosure problem, Republican Rep. Walter Jones stayed on message the way Aliya Mustafina stays on a balance beam (amirite???). "I don't think this will go away," the North Carolina lawmaker told The Hill. "And if we're still talking about this in September, he's in deep trouble." [The Hill]
ROMNEY'S 'KISS MY ASS' STAFFER STEPS DOWN - Rick Gorka, the Romney spokesman who told reporters covering his boss' appearance at Poland's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to "shove it" and to "kiss my ass," is taking time off from the campaign. We can only presume that Gorka will now pursue some of his other passions, like flipping the bird at Gettysburg tourists. ABC News with more campaign updates: "Additionally, Romney has beefed up his staff presence on the trail today with head of VP search Beth Myers accompanying him to Colorado as well as spokesman Kevin Madden and spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg, who all mingled with reporters prior to Romney's event. Romney's policy director, Lanhee Chen, was also on hand." [ABC News]
Mark Clayton, the Tennessee Democratic Party's sacrificial lamb running for Bob Corker's Senate seat, held a rootin'-tootin' campaign event recently. Clayton's strategy is to run to the right of Corker, and he recently attempted to underscore his take-no-prisoners politics by rounding up a literal posse of gentlemen in cowboy getups and holding a press conference. [Tennessean]
YOU DIDN'T BUILD THAT? LAWMAKER CITES SMUT SHOP DURING FLOOR SPEECH - On Wednesday, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp appeared in the lower chamber to warn of the dire consequences of not extending the Bush tax cuts for high-level earners. "We have a note here from Stan's Two from Rowland Heights, California, a small business," Camp said. "They were asked: How would increased taxes impact your business? ''Less hiring, more struggle to pay for expenses and payroll.'' If rates were allowed to increase, would that affect your ability to hire new employees? ''Absolutely. We've done nothing except cut staff for 4 years now. A tax increase could spell disaster.'" As National Journal notes, the ambiguously named "Stan's Two" is actually a sex shop. Remember: this isn't a laughing matter. Rising corn prices have seriously impacted the price of penis-shaped straws. [National Journal]
On that note...: "Retired porn star Jenna Jameson waded into the 2012 presidential race on Thursday, choosing a San Francisco strip club as the venue to announce her support for GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney...'When you're rich, you want a Republican in office.'" [HuffPost]
The Friday News Gods smiled on us this morning when they delivered unto us this Townhall article: "The Huffington Post: The Left's Cocaine." Although it was tremendously difficult to read the piece over the grating teeth-rubbing squeaks emanating from the White House a block away, it made us smile. The article also wins the lede-of-the-day award: "If Joe Stalin and Joseph Goebbels had a love child, it might be called The Huffington Post." Never change, Townhall! [Townhall]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - This video of a puppy getting itself stuck in a sweater is *so much* more than a video of a puppy getting itself stuck in a sweater -- it's an allegory for the Kafkaesque claustrophobia of our crushing modern lives. Think about it.
- Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis read from "50 Shades of Grey." [http://bit.ly/N83tFM]
- Ireland's olympic basketball announcer gives South American soccer broadcasters a run for their money. [http://bit.ly/QKIA5N]
- Cool things in slow motion: high frame rates, high enjoyment. [http://bit.ly/MnALUP]
- Tired of looking at your friends' babies? This app will morph them into cats. [http://slate.me/OMJIXB]
- It's hard to argue with this top ten list of the ten-most 90s-y song of the 90s. [http://bit.ly/RpxxMS]
- A twee-ishly animated short on how to handle vomiting in public. [http://bit.ly/QzKLvK]
- Twenty endearingly/obnoxiously nerdy wedding invitations. [http://bit.ly/MnDQEB]
@elisefoley: TPM is the Left's Mike's Hard Lemonade.
[Causality tweet: @SabrinaSiddiqui: . @elisefoley tweets about Mike's Hard Lemonade, and lo and behold, check out this delivery. #winningpic.twitter.com/ULtseDST]
@robdelaney: Difference between Jenna Jameson & Mitt Romney? One does disgusting, amoral things for money; one's a porn star.
@brfreed: I've been trying to cut back on my HuffPost habit, but @HuffPostHill keeps pushing that snow, er, I mean, witty analysis.
Tonight, 5:00 pm: It's really easy to picture Mitt Romney wearing early 90s dayglo ski apparel. The presidential candidate's $25,000-per-head fundraiser in Sun Valley, sadly, is taking place in August. [Sun Valley, ID]
Tonight, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Is there anything more wholesome than a barbeque? Is there anything less wholesome than Joe Walsh? Try and survive this discord at the Illinois lawmaker's district fundraiser. [Busse Woods, Elk Grove Township, IL]
Tomorrow, 3:30 pm: Everyone's favorite parenthetical oddity, Minnesota's Democratic Farm Labor party, hosts its first annual Humphrey-Mondale dinner. Bill Clinton and Walter Mondale will attend. [Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis]
Today - Sunday: We're guessing the highlight of Peter Welch's "Summer in Vermont" weekend getaway will be seeing a floppy-hat-wearing Welch in hiking shorts, walking stick in hand, with an LL. Bean fleece tied around his waist... or maybe that's the low point. [Woodstock, Vermont]
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