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HUFFPOST HILL - After Six Years, America To Finally Meet Mitt Romney

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Tonight's convention theme is "We believe in America," though we were hoping the GOP would stick with the Obama knock-offs and make it "Ahhhhhhhhh Ahhhhmmmm sooooo in loooooveee with yoooou." Mitt Romney's campaign is trying to prove he is an imitable American businessman by launching a website whose name has a type of foreign currency in it. And Clint Eastwood will speak to the convention tonight and we guess he'll ask the crowd if it's feeling lucky and how -- um -- it's the two-minute warning in America? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, August 30th, 2012:

ROMNEY'S TASK: DON'T BE MITT ROMNEY - Jon Ward on what Mitt needs to do tonight, aside from defragmenting his hard drive and making sure there isn't too much dust in the fan: "The former Massachusetts governor and former private equity executive has trouble opening up. It's not just that he won't talk about himself. To put it that way makes it sound like he refuses to humble brag. It's different. It's that he won't reveal himself. It's not part of his ethic. One of the most important things for Romney in his speech Thursday night may be less what he says, and more how he says it...A new Gallup poll out Thursday morning showed Obama with a huge 54 percent to 31 percent advantage in who is most likable, and a 16-point edge (52 percent to 36 percent) in who 'cares about the needs of people like you.' But perhaps more importantly, Romney also was behind 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent, in who is 'honest and trustworthy.'" [HuffPost]

The Romney campaign is launching its own Attack Watch, but this one has more references to quarterly returns. Politico: "Months after the ads attacking his experience at Bain Capital went on the air, Mitt Romney's campaign is, on the day of his convention speech, unveiling a new website based on -- wait for it -- Bill Clinton's praise of his business career to lay out his experience in his own terms. The site, SterlingBusinessCareer.com, is 'so the American people can learn more about Gov. Romney's success in the private sector where he built, fixed and grew businesses,' according to a statement from the campaign." Rolls right off the tongue. [Politico]

TAMPA BUSINESSES UNAWARE THEY GOT STIMULUS CASH - With Sam Stein: "Jay Catalani didn't know the $22,550 contract he received to electrify water meters inside veteran cemeteries throughout Florida came from the government. 'I had no idea. I was a subcontractor bidding a job through another company,' Catalani said. 'My check didn't come from the government. It came from the company we were working for.' Catalani owns two companies near Tampa. The website for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act said the contract went to Light Vision of Tampa Bay, but Catalani recalled that the money went to his other company, called Electric Eels Inc. It was a subcontract from TL Services, a government contractor that received more than $13 million in stimulus funds.... 'I ended up adding two employees,' he said. 'I didn't know it was a stimulus, but it stimulated my company. And I still have them today. Even though it was only $20,000, but ... we were right on the cusp of, 'Hey, should we bring more people on or shouldn't we?' We brought two guys on and ended up keeping those two people.'" [HuffPost]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST WILL DIE SOON - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who holds the Guinness world record for most number of hand sanitizer dispensers in a single residence, is upset by alleged racial hypocrisy in the media. "After watching MSNBC coverage of minority inclusion by their almost all white and wealthy analysts (Brokaw, Gregory, Matthews, Maddow, Schultz "insert commercial flight line here", O'Donnell, Hayes)," PSLGOPL writes, "I decided to go on a hunger strike to bring some transparency to the most important issue in journalism - lack of diversity within liberal media. I will deny myself food until MSNBC or the HuffPost releases salary data of their minority workforce. Specifically, I'm looking for minority salary as a percentage of the operating budget." Make sure to stay hyrdrated, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - BRADENTON, Fla. -- Mitt Romney had failed to win Richard Wood's support after meeting with him in January. The former governor of Massachusetts listened as Wood described his business woes and his tentative plan to file for bankruptcy. "That's tragic," Romney said, during a meeting with Wood and several other Florida home and business owners who were also struggling. "In some cases, if the debt is not in something you can service, it's like you have to move on and start over away from those debts." While Wood believed the Republican presidential candidate showed true sympathy -- he said at the time that Romney "felt our pain" -- it wasn't until Romney stood up to Newt Gingrich during a debate in Tampa that Wood decided to vote for Romney in the Florida primary.... Wood, 62, owned a title insurance company until 2010, when he folded the business as the economy slowed and housing values crashed. Wood said he's in foreclosure and not making payments on several investment properties worth half as much as when he bought them. But even though Romney himself endorsed moving on and starting over, Wood doesn't love the idea of walking away from debt, and almost teared up when discussing it. "I've never been a deadbeat," he said during an interview Tuesday inside his near-empty office, a suite on the first floor of a two-story building in Bradenton, about an hour from Tampa... Wood's desk is gone, and boxes of files sit on the floor, awaiting a trip to the garage at his nearby home. A sign on the door says the office is closed today, but it's really closed every day. [PUBLICATION]

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PAUL RYAN'S SPEECH WAS... ER... OFF - Last night the Republican vice presidential nominee, among other dubious claims, said then Senator Obama vowed to protect a GM plant in Ryan's hometown of Janesville had closed in a year, making it seem like President Obama's first act in office was to inflict economic hardship on all the guys Paul Ryan went to Rush laser shows with way back when. Except Obama didn't promise that. And the plant closed in December 2008 -- while George W. Bush was president. Ryan, for his part, slammed the president for not supporting a deficit commission report without mentioning that he himself had voted against it, helping to kill it. He also made a cornerstone of his argument the claim that Obama "funneled" $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. But he didn't mention that his own budget plan relies on those very same savings. Ryan also put responsibility for Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. government debt at Obama's doorstep. But he didn't mention that S&P itself, in explaining its downgrade, referred to the debt ceiling standoff. That process of raising the debt ceiling was only politicized in the last Congress, driven by House Republicans, led in the charge by Paul Ryan." [HuffPost]

The AP has an interesting way to call something a lie: " FACT CHECK: Ryan takes factual shortcuts in speech. We would've gone with "Paul Ryan has elastic relationship with reality" but no one asked us. :-(

@jennyrogresdc: I'm hearing from several restaurants, cafes that business hasn't been nearly as good as expected during the RNC

JEB BUSH TO DEFEND BROTHER IN SPEECH - Well, it could be worse, he could find himself defending Todd Akin, Snooki, um... that Chicago Cubs fan who caught that ball? "I just feel compelled to do this because almost every day I hear the current incumbent feeling compelled to push down the past to make himself look better," he said during an appearance on "Fox and Friends" this morning. "When I was growing up, we were spanked when that happened." He added that "I'm going to start off with just a recognition that my brother is a person of courage and integrity and honor, and we need people like that in public life." As Politico notes, George W. Bush is the only ex-president with an approval rating below 50 percent and 44 percent of middle-class American blame Bush "a lot" for the country's economic malaise. Anyhoo, Happy Katrina Anniversary, everybody! [Politico]

Jan Brewer accidentally endorsed President Obama today, which totally makes up for that whole finger wagging episode: "I know that if President Obama is elected in November, which I hope that he is, that he will be able to come together with all of us and come up with a solution and I believe he will secure our borders and therefore we can resolve all those other issues, it's a simple matter," she said on MSNBC. [WFMY]

CLINT EASTWOOD THE MYSTERY GUEST - The Republican National Convention's organizers had been teasing the appearance of a mystery guest, leading observers to scratch their heads because the party had already brought out the seven Republicans people like. We look forward to Clint being far less exciting than anyone expects. [HuffPost]

THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION: WHITER THAN A BLIZZARD IN CLARENDON - It's common knowledge that the Republican Party is about as diverse as Georgetown's lacrosse team, however this week's convention, judging by the speakers and crowd shots, made it look like, well, a Democratic convention. Gene Denby: "One hundred forty-three -- That's the tally of black people that comedian and author Baratunde Thurston said he'd counted at the Republican National Convention as of Wednesday afternoon, since landing here earlier this week. Many of them, he said, weren't delegates or attendees, but he counted them anyway. He was sure two besuited men were Republican officials or party members, but it turned out they were state law enforcement. But Thurston said visitors kept asking them to carry their bags. 'So they learned to stop standing by the entrance,' he said. 'We had a good laugh about that.'" [HuffPost]

While we're on the topic of prejudice... "Tom Smith, the Republican Senate candidate from Pennsylvania who said earlier this week that pregnancy from rape was similar to "having a baby out of wedlock," made another sexist remark to two women at a campaign event for vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. A video released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Democrats shows Smith, who introduced Ryan at an event last week, greeting two women in the crowd and asking them what they're talking about. 'We're talking about the power of petite women,' one of the women says. 'Oh," Smith responds. 'My guess would have been you were talking about shoes.'" [HuffPost]

Yeah, he's not going to win

A new poll suggests the Democrats' most able fundraiser might soon leave them: "A new poll shows Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is statistically tied with Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy. Murphy actually has a narrow edge in the poll, released Thursday by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. A survey of 400 likely general election voters in Florida's 18th Congressional district found that 47 percent would vote for Murphy if the election were held today versus 46 percent voting for West, with 7 percent undecided." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

POLL: MISSOURI VOTERS WANT AKIN TO STAY IN - The Hill: "A new poll from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) puts the race at a dead heat, with McCaskill barely edging Akin 45 percent to 44 percent. That's only a slight shift from a PPP poll last week that showed Akin ahead by a one-point margin. Fifty-four percent of voters in the PPP poll said Akin should stay in the race, compared to only 37 percent who said he should withdraw... And while Akin is still seen unfavorably by 56 percent of voters, his favorability numbers jumped 9 percentage points since the last poll, to 33 percent, indicating voters might be ready to move on." [The Hill]

Eric Ferhnstrom, doing his part for the economic recovery: "Months after an aide to Mitt Romney made his now infamous 'Etch A Sketch' gaffe, the company that makes the iconic toy is still trying to cash in on it. The Ohio Art Company has started selling limited-edition election versions of its Etch A Sketch for $19.99. The products come in two colors: red and blue, with a cover sticker showing a donkey and an elephant in a tug of war in front of the White House." [CNN]

BECAUSE WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW - Business Insider: "Ann Romney made her grand entrance to the Republican National Convention in a bright red Oscar de la Renta gown. Fashion buffs see her choice of designer as a jab at Michelle Obama. That's because Oscar de la Renta has a longstanding beef with the First Lady for not wearing more American designers." [Business Insider]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Twin baby girls really enjoy dancing to dad's guitar.

Et tu, Donkey? "A small town Texas mayor was killed in an apparent attack by his own donkey Monday. Hollywood Park Mayor Bill Bohlke was found dead Monday evening on his farm in Atascosa County, Texas. According to MySanAntonio.com local law enforcement officials believe that Bohlke's donkey attacked him." [HuffPost's John Celock]

COMFORT FOOD

- Honey Badget does provides play-by-play to the source of so much recent internet snark, "Honey Boo Boo." [http://bit.ly/PSzUbz]

- Footless child is a soccer phenom and, to a much lesser extent, way better than us. [http://bit.ly/SXTPZS]

- Better names for things (Pizzas are now "yum circles"). [http://bit.ly/RurA4F]

- What's it like to fly first class on Emirate Airlines from Bangkok to Hong Kong? This boastful jerk shows us. [http://bit.ly/RuydnI]

- "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose." Teddy Roosevelt's chest x-ray. [http://bit.ly/OLKfGR]

-A supercut of apocalyptic scenes from movies, for those of us who can't get enough of our one and only Earth being smashed to bits. [http://bit.ly/NZ0ROv]

- The best images created for, during and after President Obama's Reddit chat. [http://bit.ly/NZ3zUa]

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: After last night, amazed there hasn't been a concerted effort to brand him "Paul Lyin'." Seems like a missed opportunity.

@indecision: Paul Ryan is already helping the economy by creating jobs for fact checkers.

@elisefoley: If you go across the Bridges of Madison County, you didn't build that. Someone else made that happen. (I'm sorry.)

ON TAP, CONVENTION EDITION

TONIGHT

9:00 pm: Google's more sociable employees (re: not the engineers and a whole lot of government relations folks) mingle with various Republican operatives and officials at their party honoring "American innovation." YG Network co-hosts. Unclear if it'll bring its makeup. [Tampa Museum of Art, 120 Gasparilla Plaza]

9:00 pm: 1 Oak Entertainment pop-up tent hosts a concert for the Wounded Warrior project. [Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 North Ashley Dr]

10:00 pm: JUST A SMALL TOWN GIRL, TRYING TO SKIRT OBAMACARE.... The whole thing comes to an end, thank God, with the official "Wheels Up" party featuring a performance by Journey. [Liberty Plaza]

TOMORROW

7:30 pm - 10:30 pm: In Charlotte, Second City comedy troupe performs a politically-themed set with yucks at the expense of both parties. [Community Performance Center, 249 East Main Street]

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