Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Romney Fills Kind Old Man With Sadness

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John Mica threatened to "destroy" his opponent, which sucks for Sandy Adams but sucks even more for the LA to whom he'll probably staff out the destruction (Or is that a Hatch violation?) In 2011, the White House approached Arnold Schwarzenegger about a position in its cabinet, which is funny because the idea of Arnold Schwarzenegger serving in government is COMPLETELY PREPOSTEROUS!!! And Mitt Romney doesn't want to the Obama campaign to focus on his business record and family, a position we can accept so long as Rafalca and Seamus aren't included in the "family" category. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, August 10th, 2012:

ROMNEY: PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT MY QUALIFICATIONS - In an interview with NBC News, the candidate said he wants the Obama campaign to shift its focus from frivolous things like his taxes and business dealings to more pressing matters like tree height and the ample number of baby changing stations at the 2002 Olympics. "[O]ur campaign would be helped immensely if we had an agreement between both campaigns that we were only going to talk about issues and that attacks based upon -- business or family or taxes or things of that nature," he said. "[W]e only talk about issues. And we can talk about the differences between our positions and our opponent's position." HuffPost's Sabrina Siddiqui didn't get much clarification from Romney flack Andrea Saul: "The governor was expressing his view that he hopes we can have a campaign focused on the issues rather than one of desperation and lies as we've seen from the Obama campaign," she wrote in an email. Count us in the pro-desperation-and-lies camp, fwiw. [HuffPost]

Jon Huntsman Sr., a longtime supporter of Romney (save for a recent break during his son's campaign), wants the candidate to release his tax returns. "I feel very badly that Mitt won't release his taxes and won't be fair with the American people," he told the Washington Post. "Mr. Romney ought to square with the American people and release his taxes like any other candidate." [WaPo]

ERIC FEHRNSTROM: WADDA GUY! - Some choice bits from Jason Cherkis and Christina Wilkie's in-depth look at Mitt Romney's colorful media guru: "He even stood up his own [Boston Herald] goodbye party. After realizing he wasn't going to show, state politics reporter Jon Tapper said, 'We just finished our beers and talked about what an asshole he was.'... Fehrnstrom's co-workers said he could be just as hard-nosed with them. 'Nobody in my life has ever treated me as unprofessional as Fernie -- ever, ever, ever,' said Denise Jillson, [Fehrnstrom boss Joe] Malone's campaign manager. One incident still stands out for Jillson. Fehrnstrom had been on an overseas call with an adviser when the call abruptly dropped. 'He pulled out the phone from the wall and knocked down his computer at the same time,' Jillson said. Fehrnstrom marched out of his office with the phone in his hand like a dead limb. He went to where Jillson sat, and 'threw it at my wastepaper basket,' she said. 'This is a fucking piece of shit!' Jillson remembered Fehrnstrom yelling at her. 'Get rid of it! Do something about this!' When they inspected the phone, they realized it wasn't broken. Fehrnstrom had inadvertently pressed the do-not-disturb button." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Womp womp. "The self-help computer kiosks that have replaced three dozen Iowa unemployment offices do not adequately provide access to services for job seekers, an unreleased report by the U.S. Department of Labor shows. A federal review of the program in March and April found the kiosks are limited to informational descriptions of services and do not aid self-help or staff-assisted services that an unemployed person may need, according to the report, which was obtained by The Des Moines Register." [Des Moines Register]

UPSIDE DOWNER - Two journalists fired by the New Orleans Times-Picayune have a plan to escape a struggling industry and the unemployment into which it is dumping them. The paper announced in June that it would lay off 200 or so employees, including photographers Susan Poag and Rusty Costanza. Their jobs will end Sept. 30 as the paper, a New Orleans institution for more than a century, shifts focus from its print product to its website. "We kind of knew this was coming. Everything's been pointing this way the last couple of years," Poag said in an interview. "Anybody who works in the newspaper field right now, it's kind of like you're living under the ax day to day." [HuffPost]

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ROMNEY CAMPAIGN BANKING ON PEOPLE TO COMPLETELY LOSE IT OVER ROB PORTMAN - Mitt Romney has been underperforming in the polls -- recent surveys from Fox, CNN and Reuters have Obama leading by strong, non-margin-of-error amounts -- but campaign aides are confident that one of the milquetoast shortlisters whose personalities are virtually identical to Romney's will provide a much-needed boost. Jon Ward: "Mitt Romney's campaign is hoping its candidate's polling numbers follow historical trends after the Republican convention later this month. 'We're looking at getting a VP, slash, convention bounce,' said one senior campaign adviser. 'It gives us an opportunity to tell a little more about who Mitt is, his background, what he wants to do and then how that's going to differ from what Obama does.' Looking at data from past election years, the Romney campaign found that while incumbent presidents usually receive a 7 point "bump" in polling numbers after their convention, the challenger has gotten, on average, about an 11 point bump. The findings were outlined in a memo previewing the candidate's bus tour scheduled for the next few days, the full text of which is available below." [HuffPost]

OBAMA CAMPAIGN PREPPING FOR POSSIBLE ROMNEY/RYAN TICKET - With speculation that Mitt Romney could name Paul Ryan as his number two mounting -- a ticket that on the surface would look like a Hollywood casting director's idea of Republican White House candidates -- the Obama campaign's Wisconsin staff is furiously canvassing records and Ryan associates to see if the Badger State lawmaker ever invested in an aggressive outsourcer, made derisive comments about Mitt Romney... or attended an Ayn Rand convention dressed as a train. Journal Sentinel: "But one source close to the Obama campaign explained that the Wisconsin staff has worked for weeks with top Obama officials to prepare for the possibility that Romney will chose the Wisconsin policy wonk as his running mate. The anti-Ryan plan covers both messaging and tactics, said the source, who described it as being 'an almost a minute-by-minute plan.' Obama campaign surrogates will then speak out against Ryan not just here but also in other battleground states." [Journal Sentinel]

Fehrnstrom denounced the Obama campaign's tactics today in a tacky manner. "They are accusing the governor of being a felon. They are accusing him of culpability in killing a woman. These attacks are so outrageous and over the top that it has squandered one of the most vital attributes that Obama had," he said at Romney campaign headquarters in Boston. "I don't think a world champion limbo dancer could get any lower than the Obama campaign right now." That's a notch better than stuttering "I don't think the Obama campaign could get any lower if it... if it... if it... dug a really deep hole and... uh... and...... went prone," but it's a squeaker. [HuffPost's Jon Ward]

ROMNEY BEMOANS PLIGHT OF FARMERS ALONGSIDE ECCENTRIC WEALTHY FARMER - When Mitt Romney toured a parched Iowa cornfield this week, he was led around by Lemar Koethe, a gentleman presumably mired in an ever-worsening crisis of low yields and substandard market conditions. As it turns out, Koethe isn't a salt-of-the-earth, hardscrabble type as one might suspect, but is, rather, the owner of 54 soy and corn farms. What's more, he runs a concert promotion business on the side and, as you will see in the ThinkProgress link attached to this blurb, he lives in what appears to be a giant steampunk replica of the Cloud City from Empire Strikes Back. [ThinkProgress]

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS NOW TALKING LIKE DIE HARD VILLAINS - Buried near the bottom of a Times piece about the Republican primary between Florida California Reps. John Mica and Sandy Adams is a scene reminiscent of a palace intrigue-style soap opera: "The two no longer speak, in large part, Ms. Adams said, because when she went to shake Mr. Mica's hand at a recent event, he pulled her close and said, 'You will regret this for the rest of your life. I'll destroy you.' Mr. Mica remembers the conversation differently. 'I told her that she would regret personally attacking my family for the rest of her life. I think that's something that stoops to a whole new level.' (Ms. Adams once said in a statement that Mr. Mica had 'recklessly requested $4 billion in earmarks and even secured a $13 million earmark for a family member's client.')" [NYT]

THE SCHWARZENEGGER CABINET POST THAT WASN'T - n 2011, the White House approached Arnold Schwarzenegger about a position in its cabinet, not knowing that had a love child with the woman who cleaned his cabinets. "The entreaty to the centrist Republican governor wasn't completely out of the blue. Mr. Schwarzenegger, who was in office for more than seven years and continues to promote his vision of 'post-partisanship,' acknowledged earlier in his career that he'd welcome a cabinet post. In July 2008, on ABC's 'This Week' with George Stephanopoulos, Mr. Schwarzenegger was asked whether he'd consider an energy-related cabinet position with the Obama administration, were Barack Obama, then a candidate, to win the presidency. Mr. Schwarzenegger said he would, replying: 'I'd take his call now, and I'd take his call when he's president, anytime.'" So, instead of an action star, former world champion bodybuilder and international symbol of brutishness, the Obama administration stuck with Steven Chu. [WSJ]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Russian superhero cat is masked, in space and totally ambivalent.

COMFORT FOOD

- A mariachi version of The Stranglers' classic "Golden Brown" with vocals from the group's lead singer, Hugh Cornwell. Sadly there are no horns. [http://bit.ly/MHs2Hr]

- What fonts might sound like if they had voices -- naturally, comic sans' is tremendously grating. [http://bit.ly/OPJNpI]

- Vintage video of Washington, D.C. from 1936, courtesy of socialism's greatest blow to the country, the Works Progress Administration. [http://bit.ly/NkhDFw]

- Guy drops cats in front of a barn, brings along a slo-mo camera. [http://bit.ly/NkaCVi]

- Professional actors reading Yelp reviews. The power is in the pauses. [http://bit.ly/PJFHOu]

- We don't usually include late night show segments here, but we just saw Jimmy Fallon Jim Morrison impersonation from last week (singing the theme from "Reading Rainbow," no less!) and were awestruck. [http://bit.ly/QzYS4f]

- An hour-long documentary about Pink Floyd's classic 1975 album "Wish You Were Here." [http://bit.ly/OPCgXK]

TWITTERAMA

@luke_johnson: This is awkward. MT @marcorubio MT @reppaulryan RT @luke_johnson: RT this if you are Mitt Romney's vice-presidential pick

@brianbeutler: My latest VP rankings: 5. Phyllis Diller 4. Tom Cruise 3. Tupac 2. Lebowski 1. A single plum, floating in perfume, in a man's hat.

@meredithshiner: OH in the newsroom: "I think Romney's gonna pick Alan Keyes, you guys. I can just feel the Alankeyesmentum." OK maybe I said that.

ON TAP

Today - Tomorrow: 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]

Tomorrow, 11:00 am: First Lady Michelle Obama follows the migration of heat oppressed rich people to Wyoming for a luncheon fundraiser with a bunch of people whom we suspect own absurdly large log cabins at the base of very large mountains. [Snow King Resort, JAckson, WY]

Tomorrow, 3:30 pm: Michelle Obama continues her western tour -- presumably not by bus, though that is all the rage these days -- to Denver for another high-dollar campaign event. [Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO]

Tomorrow, 6:30 - 8:30 pm: There must be something about lolling about in the Rocky Mountains in the summer months that inspires feelings of political patronage. Orrin Hatch also has a fundraiser in Park City (yeah, yeah, he lives there...) [Park City, UT]

Sunday: "Please join members of No Doubt and their families for a Sunday of Fun with First Lady Michelle Obama in Beverly Hills" is a sentence we'd never thought we'd read. [Beverly Hills, CA]

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