Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Update: 'Lies' Are Now 'Content Issues'

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Mitt Romney says he is not a business, which is good for him, because otherwise he'd have to ship himself to India. Romney is being followed around by a DNC-sponsored bus, a vehicle we wanted to name "Orthodox Jewish Wedding Party"... but apparently that story was false. And during a conference call with reporters, Rick Santorum was asked to defend Mitt Romney's health care policies, an idea about as preposterous as Rick Santorum defending Mitt Romney. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, August 9th, 2012:

OBAMA CAMPAIGN GETS BEHIND ROMNEY TAX SPECULATION - Did Mitt Romney pay 10 percent in taxes? Did he pay 5 percent? Did he pay zero percent? Did he scribble "DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!" across his tax returns in blood? That's the message (minus the last part) of the Obama campaign's latest advertisement, which picks up on Harry Reid's statement about a Bain investor claim that Romney did not pay taxes for a decade. The ad begins with Romney telling an interviewer that he'd be "happy to go back and look" to see if he paid a tax rate below 13.9 percent -- something he never did follow up on. "Did Romney pay 10 percent in taxes? 5 percent? Zero?" the narrator asks. "We don't know." [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]

GETTING WARMER ON REID'S SOURCE - Jose Parra, a top aide to Harry Reid, provided some clues yesterday as to the identity of Reid's source in an interview with Mario Solis-Marich on KTLK's Diverse LA radio program, according to audio of the show that we got our grubby paws on. The new clues: He's a Republican, he's dealt with Bain for a very long time, and he has "direct knowledge" of Romney's failure to pay taxes.

WIND TAX CREDIT ISSUE DU JOUR IN COLORADO - Colorado, what with its vast surpluses of... air, is a state that benefits greatly from federal tax credits for wind energy production -- a policy that President Obama supports and Mitt Romney opposes. Guess what the president talked about today during an appearance in Pueblo. "At a moment when homegrown energy, renewable energy, is creating new jobs in states like Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers," he said. "Think about what that would mean for a community like Pueblo." Romney has also been subjected to criticism from other Republicans about the tax credit, including Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Chuck Grassley who said Romney's position "was just like a knife in my back" (which, in Grassley Twitterspeak, roughly translates as ":-( ajdfgha;ksdf --- > djalhds;jvd). [NBC News]

Christina Wilkie profiles Jane Roberts, Chief Justice John Roberts' wife, whom a source says exerts a "heavy influence" over her husband.

ROVE'S SUPER PAC PULLS AD WITH FALSE CLAIM - The Crossroads GPS ad alleges South Dakota Democratic Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp, while attorney general in the 1990s, used taxpayer funds for private airplanes that caused people to die from cancer. Heitkamp called the claim "completely false" and asked for the ad to be pulled. Sabrina Siddiqui: "Nate Hodson, a spokesman for Crossroads GPS, told The Huffington Post the group did not receive any notification from Heitkamp or North Dakota stations, but removed the ad of its own volition. 'After we realized a content issue the ad was voluntarily removed from rotation, but the message of the ad remains: Heidi Heitkamp has a long record of supporting tax hikes on North Dakota families and job creators,' Hodson wrote in an email." [HuffPost]

"Content issue"... meditate on that part for a moment...

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Emails of the Jobless: "I lost my last full-time corporate job in 2008 as a Marketing Manager for a small IT firm... I since started freelancing -- offering my communication skills on an ad hoc, per project basis to organizations that need help. While this has helped sustain me, I have no medical benefits and certainly don't earn enough to save for retirement. What I had saved in an IRA account for 20 years is nearly gone -- just trying to pay the mortgage and pay bills and put food on the table." [Hang in there!]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

ROMNEY AD: OBAMA WAGING WAR ON RELIGION - The Romney campaign's latest spot implies that the mandate that religiously-affiliated organizations cover contraception is a prelude to the president summoning an atheist army to undermine Christendom (a force we imagine would primarily consist of of scruffy humanity professors, rebellious teens who just read Richard Dawkins and Reddit commenters -- be afraid). "President Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith," the "concerned dad" narrator warns in the ad. 'Mitt Romney believes that's wrong.' The ad then pivots to Romney praising Pope John Paul II for standing up to communism and highlights Lech Walesa off-the-Solidarity-reservation endorsement of the candidate. [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]

Stop me if you've heard this one: Romney is attacking Obama for doing something very similar to what Romney did as governor of Massachusetts.

The Wall Street Journal editorial staff likes the idea of a Romney/Ryan ticket: "The case for Mr. Ryan is that he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election. More than any other politician, the House Budget Chairman has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline. Against the advice of every Beltway bedwetter, he has put entitlement reform at the center of the public agenda -- before it becomes a crisis that requires savage cuts. And he has done so as part of a larger vision that stresses tax reform for faster growth, spending restraint to prevent a Greek-like budget fate, and a Jack Kemp-like belief in opportunity for all." You heard it here first, Jack Kemp is cool again. [WSJ]

ROMNEY: 'I'M NOT A BUSINESS' - Even though we're pretty sure he's legally insulated his separate organs by registering them as limited liability corporations, the Republican presidential candidate responded to repeated requests for his tax returns by declaring that he is not, in fact, a business. "I'm not a business," Romney told Businessweek. "We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency which candidates are required to meet. I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns." New rule: if your candidate utters the phrase "I have met with that requirement," it might be time to shake things up a bit. [Businessweek]

In the same interview, Romney addressed the infamous 1984 photo of him and his Bain Capital colleagues drenched in money, a scene reminiscent of Aaron Sorkin's depiction of a Harvard supper club kegger. "Oh, that was a moment of humor as we had just done what we thought was impossible," Romney said. "We had raised $37 million from other people and institutions who entrusted us with their funds, and we thought it was a miracle that our group had been able to be so successful in fundraising. And ultimately we were able to yield for them a very attractive return by such investments as Staples (SPLS), which was in our very first fund." [Ibid.]

Terrible news: It turns out an Orthodox Jewish wedding party didn't chase after Mitt Romney's motorcade. The exuberant trailers were merely Romney supporters near the party.

RICK SANTORUM CAMPAIGNS FOR GUY HE HATES, NO ONE FOOLED - The former Pennsylvania was trotted out by the RNC to propagate the not-very-true assertion that President Obama removed work requirements from America's welfare system, telling reporters the president's waiver policy could "potentially gut" the system (a climbdown from the Romney camp's claim the policy would actually gut the requirements). As is often the case with Rick Santorum, past statements caught up with him. Sam Stein: "Former Sen. Rick Santorum couldn't suppress his laughter Thursday morning when reminded that he had once declared Mitt Romney to be the single worst Republican candidate to run against President Barack Obama on the issue of health care... Andrea Saul, a top spokeswoman for Romney, stoked conservative fears on Wednesday by touting the health care law the former governor had passed in Massachusetts during an appearance on Fox News. Reporters wanted to know if Santorum felt a sense of vindication...But even as Santorum ducked the issue, it seemed clear that his heart wasn't entirely in it. He let out a noticeable laugh as he offered a defense against the notion that Saul had given Obama a gift by speaking positively about the universal insurance model that Romney pioneered and the president adopted." [HuffPost]

Newt Gingrich admitted last night there's "no proof" for Romney's welfare claim.

Behold the StalkBus: "The Democratic National Committee is rolling out another bus tour to trail Mitt Romney's own over the weekend through key battle ground states, harping on the Republican candidate's economic policies as throwing 'the middle class under the bus.'... The bus debuted Thursday parked, as a not-so-subtle jab, outside the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington. The tour, called 'Romney Economics: The Middle Class Under the Bus,' will mirror Romney's travel plans over the weekend." [CNN]

WAR ON AMONG WOMEN IN CONNECTICUT - Amanda Terkel: "On Thursday, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC announced that it was throwing its support behind Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in the Democratic primary, which is taking place on Tuesday...Murphy also has the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee... In December, however, the group EMILY's List endorsed Susan Bysiewicz, Murphy's competitor in the Democratic primary. EMILY's List is devoted to electing pro-choice Democratic women... NARAL, of course, is jumping into the race much later than EMILY's List did. The move likely reflects a calculation on NARAL's part that Murphy is more likely to win on Tuesday...A recent PPP poll had Murphy leading Bysiewicz by 17 points." [HuffPost]

Great thinly-sourced accusations, senator! "A group of progressive Nevadans will be making a trip to Sen. Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) district office in Las Vegas on Friday, and they plan on giving the Senate majority leader a pair of commemorative boxing gloves in honor of his high-profile sparring with Republicans over Mitt Romney's tax returns." [HuffPost's Dave Jamieson]

AL FRANKEN MAKES JOKE, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CLOWN CARS OR 'CALL ME MAYBE' - The Minnesota senator broke out the funny in his latest fundraising email appeal, titled "Great Moments in Fundraising Email History." The text, via National Journal: "1808: Charles Cotesworth Pinckney's campaign sends history's first fundraising email, requesting 75 cents to 'help defeat the scourge of the Embargo Act of 1807.' Note: 75 cents would be around $10 in today's dollars. 1828: Andrew Jackson's campaign asks supporters to 'give a Jackson to stand with Jackson.' This failed because Andrew Jackson was not yet on the $20 bill and no one had any clue what he was talking about. 1924: Calvin Coolidge earns the nickname 'Silent Cal' after his web team accidentally sends out a blank fundraising email. (It does surprisingly well.) 2012: (Insert your name here) donates $5, $10, or even $20 to help my campaign raise the $20,000 we need to keep our operation going and growing this month." [NJ]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - This highly focused cat is part gyroscope, part hypno-machine. Beware.

Convention downscaling, pt. 52,118: "Of the eight living past presidents and vice presidents, former President Bill Clinton is the only one who will attend either the Democratic or Republican convention in person." [CBS News]

COMFORT FOOD

- Crazed modern-day Frankenstein creates a Mr. Coffee-slash-Nintendo. [http://bit.ly/N9x8lz]

- Parkour dog runs up walls, stands on tanks, pants. [http://bit.ly/MBhV6U]

- Street performers manage to make their show a bit more user friendly. [http://bit.ly/Na5HrZ]

- An explanation of how the Curiosity rover's landing system came to be, as told by its team leader/rockabilly singer. [http://bit.ly/Nlm7Kc]

- The world's largest gathering of twins is a festival for genetically unoriginal people... but look at the fun these superfluous people are having! [http://bit.ly/N9xclh]

- To promote its new show "Copper. Copper," BBC America lets you create a 19th century-style mugshot of yourself. [http://bit.ly/Qg21zC]

- Putting on a horse mask and prancing about like a dressage horse is the poor man's dressage. [http://bit.ly/Npqanh]

TWITTERAMA

@LOLGOP: 26% of Romney's donations come from a small donor. That small donor? The tiny Sheldon Adelson.

@delrayser: The question on everyone's minds: Who will Mitt Romney pick to be one UNRECOVERABLE BOOT I/O ERROR away from the Presidency?

@BuzzFeedAndrew Next Priorities ad: Romney ran against Kennedy in 1994, 15 years later he died. Coincidence?

ON TAP

TONIGHT

All day: Mike Enzi could've named his PAC "Making Underprivileged Children Excel PAC," but that wouldn't have enticed campaign contributors the his actual PAC name "Making Business Excel PAC," would. Anyhoo, Enzi hosts some of his most generous benefactors for a "Day in the Tetons." [Jackson Hole, WY]

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Man the Merlot, the speaker is coming! Judy Biggert gets a big boost for her campaign event with a John Boehner appearance. The event is being held in Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, which just about sounds like the most magical place in the universe. [Sugar Grove, IL]

TOMORROW

1:30 pm: >Chris Christie alert! And he's in Montana, which sounds a bit like the premise of a TLC show ("Big Guy, Big Sky"). Actually, he's heading to the Northwest to shill for Rick Hill, who's running for governor. [Missoula, MT]

Tomorrow - Saturday: Because there isn't a whole lot to do for fun in North Dakota (except nurse Bud Light Limes at a dreary Indian casino, we suppose), John Hoeven takes his donors to a golf weekend in Park City. [Park City, UT]

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

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