POLITICS
08/31/2012 05:08 pm ET | Updated Oct 31, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Commander-In-Chair

The day after Clint Eastwood yelled at President Barack Chairbama, Eastwooding took the country by storm (it's basically planking for lazy people). One of the teachers who joined Jeb Bush on stage last night might actually vote for the president, so it must have been a real thrill for him to meet that chair. And Mitt Romney will survey the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast this weekend. We suspect he'll report back that Louisiana. Wet. Bad. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, August 31st, 2012:

SO WHAT THE HELL WAS WITH THE CLINT EASTWOOD THING? - It's like if you took a rambling Oscars acceptance speech, mixed in the all-caps ramblings of of a comment board poster and sprinkled on somebody complaining about a parking ticket. Time: "Convention planners had assumed the Hollywood legend would reprise the powerful and typically gruff/charming performance he delivered at the beginning of August when he showed up out of the blue at a Romney fundraiser in Idaho and said he was backing the Republican. Romney aides played down the impact Eastwood's odd turn might have on Tampa's positive impact, but they acknowledge that the empty-chair monologue came as a complete surprise to them. They simply turned the podium over to an iconic superstar and expected him to stand and deliver." [Time]

More background from the Times: "Finger-pointing quickly ensued, suggesting real displeasure and even confusion over the handling of Mr. Eastwood's performance, which was kept secret until the last minute and offered an off-key message on the night that Mr. Romney accepted the Republican presidential nomination. A senior Republican involved in convention planning said that Mr. Eastwood's appearance was cleared by at least two of Mr. Romney's top advisers, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens. This person said that there had been no rehearsal, to the surprise of the rest of the campaign team. But another adviser said that several top aides had reviewed talking points given to Mr. Eastwood, which the campaign had discussed with the actor as recently as a few hours before his appearance. Mr. Eastwood, however, delivered those points in a theatrical, and at times crass, way that caught Romney aides off guard, this person said. Mr. Eastwood even ignored warnings that he had exceeded his time." [NYT]

Asked about Eastwood's speech, Ann Romney responded the way she might if asked about a hypothetical Romney son who majored in performance art at the New School: "We appreciated Clint's support and he's a unique guy and he did a unique thing last night," she said during an appearance on CBS' "This Morning." [Reuters]

POSSIBLE ETHICS BREACH IN CONGRESS, PT. 712,398,122 - WaPo: "Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) may have violated House rules and federal law by using campaign funds to pay for personal trips to Scotland and Los Angeles and by using a graduation party for his daughter to raise campaign cash, the congressional ethics office said Friday, providing new details in the ongoing investigation of the incidents." [WaPo]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - If you're measuring it by weekly new unemployment claims, the economy will get better....never. "In the week ending August 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 374,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised figure of 374,000. The 4-week moving average was 370,250, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average of 368,750." [Labor Department]

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CONVENTION WORKERS EARNING LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE - Jason Cherkis: "Carolyn Walker said she has been cleaning the convention center for 13 years. She had been making $8 per hour until a few years ago, when the cleaning contract went to another company, Cleanevent USA. The new company meant a new, downsized paycheck. She's now making minimum wage -- $7.67 per hour. But that wasn't the only hit to her wallet. Walker said the company charges her $6 per week for uniforms. 'It stinks to tell you the truth,' she said. 'We work very hard.' It effectively means she's making less than Florida's minimum wage. Larry Gilmore, 32, and Jean Baptiste, 27, recounted similar hits to their paychecks by Cleanevent. Baptiste said he's charged $11 per week for uniforms -- a thin blue short-sleeve shirt and dark pants...Baptiste's rent in Tampa is $575. His electric bill can be as high as $160 per month. If he wants to park near the convention center for work, he -- and the others -- said they would be charged for the privilege. Baptiste said he does not use that parking garage." [HuffPost]

Christina Wilkie reports on another pocket of sadness in Tampa: "Mitt Romney wasn't the only person making a crucial stage debut Thursday night. A few miles from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where Romney accepted the Republican nomination for president, Gloria, a willowy 18-year-old with long, brown hair, prepared to take her first turn on center stage at Alibi, a strip club near the airport...the new mother said she had a $400 electric bill to pay this month, plus what she guessed were an extra $400 to $600 in expenses for her and her 9-month old daughter." [HuffPost]

One of the teachers who appeared beside Jeb Bush on stage last night isn't actually that crazy about Mitt Romney. Politico: "He may have appeared onstage at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, but teacher Sean Duffy of Austin, Texas, isn't necessarily voting for GOP nominee Mitt Romney come November. 'I lean more toward Obama, but I think I'm going to vote for someone who's going to be a strong supporter of education and education reform,' Duffy, 26, told POLITICO in an interview." [Politico]

Next thing you know the Republicans won't be mentioning family: "With America embroiled in its longest armed conflict, Mitt Romney became the first Republican since 1952 to accept his party's nomination without mentioning war." [AP]

ROMNEY VISITS GULF TO SURVEY DAMAGE - We hope he'll express more sympathy to those whose property was damaged than the overturned trees that were previously just the right height. Elise Foley: "Romney was originally scheduled to attend a rally in Richmond, Va., which will now feature only vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Instead, the presidential hopeful will meet with first responders to thank them for their work, talk to Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and visit Laffayette, La., which has felt significant impact by the storm. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Louisiana on Monday ahead of Isaac. Although the storm didn't directly hit New Orleans, it caused power outages and flooding along the Gulf Coast this week." [HuffPost]

CAT GOT YA TALKING POINTS? CANTOR CAN'T REALLY TALK ABOUT ROMNEY/RYAN'S MEDICARE REFORMS - Which is to say, he totally Rick Perryed. Fortune: "The Virginia Republican said his party is laying out a path to salvage the long-term solvency of Medicare... 'At the same time, he is the one who is taking massive amounts of cash out of very popular programs like Medicare Advantage and the prescription drug program,' Cantor said. 'This directly impacts seniors.' It's a point that Ryan himself made in his speech accepting the vice presidential nod on Wednesday night. Attacking Obama's health care reform law, Ryan said its 'biggest, coldest power play of all' targeted seniors for $716 billion in cuts. But Ryan's own budget counted on those same savings, which in fact would be squeezed from reimbursement payments to hospitals and insurers. Asked about the inconsistency of Ryan attacking cuts his own plan embraced, Cantor begged off. 'The assumption was that, um, the, the, ah, again -- I probably can't speak to that in an exact way so I better just not,' he said. [Fortune]

GUY WHO COULD PROBABLY HAVE SOMEONE MURDERED JOKES ABOUT HAVING SOMEONE MURDERED - So a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar and KARL ROVE MURDERS SOMEBODY. Bloomberg Businessweek: "On the final morning of the Republican National Convention, Karl Rove took the stage at the Tampa Club to provide an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican Party's highest-earning and most powerful donors. During the more than hour-long session, Rove explained to an audience dotted with hedge fund billionaires and investors -- including John Paulson and Wilbur Ross -- how his super PAC, American Crossroads, will persuade undecided voters in crucial swing states to vote against Barack Obama. He also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, 'We should sink Todd Akin. If he's found mysteriously murdered, don't look for my whereabouts!'" [Bloomberg Businessweek]

COURT ORDERS OHIO TO MAKE THINGS EASIER FOR OBAMA CAMPAIGN - Luke Johnson: "A federal judge sided with the Obama campaign and ruled Friday to order Ohio to restore three days of early voting before Election Day [EDITOR'S NOTE: Hot damn! Get your misdirecting leaflets ready, ACORN!], a decision that could affect the outcome of the 2012 election in a key battleground state...After a chaotic 2004 election, Ohio passed a law allowing early in-person voting on the weekend before the election. In 2008, some 930,000 Ohioans cast votes in that period. Those who did so were more likely to be African-American. A study by Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates found blacks accounted for 56 percent of all in-person early votes in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, while they accounted for 26 percent of votes overall. In Franklin County, which includes Columbus, African Americans cast 31 percent of early votes and 21 percent of votes overall." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Animals riding turtles.

Dept. of "Took ya long enough": "The Missouri Farm Bureau is reconsidering its endorsement of Republican Rep. Todd Akin for U.S. Senate because of comments he made about women being able to thwart pregnancy in cases of 'legitimate rape,' an organization spokesman said Friday." [AP]

COMFORT FOOD

- Speakerphone absolutely blows cat's mind. [http://bit.ly/NGOGQy]

- Australian beer commercial features a high speed beer-holding chase. [http://bit.ly/UgpYLN]

- Truman Capote discusses the death penalty with WIlliam F. Buckley. [http://bit.ly/PUKRJC]

- This prescient screenshot from "The Simpsons" anticipated Clint Eastwoods address to the RNC last night. [http://chzb.gr/NGzhQp]

- Also, "Eastwooding" is now a thing. [http://bit.ly/RstoqM]

- Twelve hours later, "Clint Eastwood Talking to A Chair," the song. [http://bit.ly/Px1smr]

- Professional actor recites a Yelp review of Olive Garden. [http://bit.ly/OC6fSM]

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: We should scale back the Eastwood mockery. Worried that if we keep it up the Romney campaign may not invite him to future appearances.

@samsteinhp: It's fun to wonder what the reaction wld be If a Hollywood actor basically told Romney to f- himself and Obama didn't mention troops or war

@dceiver: "It belongs in a museum," Indiana Jones growled as Ahmadinejad reached for the Eastwood chair.

ON TAP

Tonight, 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, Charlotte]

Tomorrow, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Joel Pollak gets a major boost to his Illinois congressional campaign with guest appearance by Paul Ryan. Donation levels vary, but the $250 donors probably won't get the P90X demonstration. [Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago]

Tomorrow, 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm: The Democratic National Convention gets into full swing with its Media Welcome event. The invite mentions a lot of stuff about Charlotte, so don't expect to be bombarded with Dem talking heads, though we're sure they'll be available. [North Carolina Music Factory, 1000 Seaboard Street, Charlotte]

Tomorrow, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Delegate-palooza! The Association of State Democratic Chairs host a "Welcome Reception" at Aquavina, which might be the most generic upscale seafood restaurant name we've ever heard. [Aquavina, 435 South Tyron Street]

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