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HUFFPOST HILL - American Petroleum Institute Convenes In Charlotte (Also Democrats)

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The Democratic convention is getting under way, though unless it ends with an unscripted Morgan Freeman berating a chaise lounge, we doubt it'll top the Republican one. A truck carrying Joe Biden's campaign equipment was stolen and looted, so his convention speech sadly won't be delivered from a Tommy Lee-style rotating drum kit. And RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared that President Obama has lost his "pixie dust," so the commander-in-chief's renomination speech sadly won't be delivered in the Bank of America Shire. Man, this convention is going to blow. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, September 3rd, 2012:

CONVENTION TO FEATURE EMPLOYEES OF BAIN-OWNED COMPANIES - Unclear whether they will be divided into individuals who worked for Bain-owned companies and individuals who worked for Bain-owned companies AND were given cancer by Bain. Sam Stein: "The speakers are slated to discuss the business practices of the private equity world, likely in order to call into the question the conduct of Romney's former firm while he was CEO. Employees at companies controlled or managed by Bain during Romney's tenure have already had star turns in the campaign, both in Obama campaign conference calls and in television ads run by the campaign and its allied super PAC, Priorities USA Action." [HuffPost]

During a campaign swing in Ohio today, President Obama sung the auto bailout's praises. He told a crowd of union workers in Toledo that "more than one million Americans across the country would have lost their jobs in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In communities across the Midwest it would have been another Great Depression." Romney, if you'll recall, was not crazy about the bailout. [NYT]

HMC Council Meets, Figures Shit Out, One Less Thing To Worry About Now - In Charlotte today, a bunch of lefty activists who've been getting their asses kicked their whole lives convened privately to plot how to maybe not get their asses kicked so much. The three-and-a-half hour (!) gathering of the HMC Council -- which one attendee called "The Tara McGuiness Shadow Government" -- was hosted by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who's awfully progressive except on bank and rich-people issues. According to itself, "The Council brings together, on an annual basis, many of the top progressive leaders born during the Humphrey, McGovern, Carter era--including strategists, entrepreneurs, fundraisers, advisors, elected officials, and activists--to share ideas, brainstorm and strategize, and to support each other." They'll continue supporting each other, and no doubt doing other things with each other, beginning at the Aquavina Wine Room tonight at 9. For more Dem convention happenings, see On Tap below.

ROMNEY BENEFITED FROM INSANE SEVERANCE PACKAGE - The Washington Post reports that the Republican presidential candidate was able to keep his health plan and was allowed to use the Bain gym for another few weeks. Also all this stuff: "He was able to turbocharge the impact of those advantages and other tax breaks in his severance package from Bain in a way that few but the country’s super-rich can ever hope to do...His severance package, for instance, allowed him to continue sharing in the profits of the company as if he were still a partner managing it, according to his 2010 tax return and interviews with present and former Bain executives. And because he benefited from the firm's investments as if he were an active Bain partner, he paid taxes at a lower rate on these earnings than if they were treated as ordinary retirement income." [WaPo]

Also, we wrote a version of this story last week.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Sure, the economy's adding jobs -- crappy ones. Here's a depressing update from the National Employment Law Project: "Two years into the recovery, the majority of new jobs being added to the economy pay just $13.83 per hour or less," NELP says. "While the job losses during the recession were concentrated in mid-wage occupations, the subsequent employment gains continue to come heavily in low-paying jobs, reinforcing a rise in inequality that has been shaping the U.S. economy for decades." Happy Labor Day. [NELP]

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PEOPLE NOT WOWED BY REPUBLICAN CONVENTION - A preliminary survey from Gallup indicates that despite Rob Portman's stemwinder and the ever-seductive nasal tones that emanate from Reince Priebus' mouth, last week's convention wasn't a hit. Gallup: "Republicans overwhelmingly said the convention made them more likely to vote for Romney, although most would likely be voting for their nominee anyway. Democrats as predictably said the convention made them less likely to vote for Romney. Independents, a key group in any presidential election, were essentially split, with 36 percent saying the convention made them more likely to vote for Romney and 33 percent less likely -- although 30 percent said they don't know or that the convention made no difference." [Gallup]

Folks didn't like Romney's speech. Gallup's survey suggests that voters weren't exactly bowled over by the convention's grand finale in which the candidate explained, in painstaking detail, how Barack Obama BAD and Mitt Romney GOOD and small business HURT OUCH. Gallup: "Romney's acceptance speech this year scored low by comparison to previous convention speeches going back to 1996. Thirty-eight percent of Americans rated the speech as excellent or good, while 16% rated it as poor or terrible. The 38% who rated the speech as excellent or good is the lowest rating of any of the eight speeches Gallup has tested since Bob Dole's GOP acceptance speech in 1996." [Ibid.]

D'oh: "A U-Haul truck carrying equipment for Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign event in Detroit Monday was stolen this weekend, ABC News confirmed with United States Secret Service." [ABC News]

VIDEO SCREENING MAKING THINGS AWKWARD IN CHARLOTTE - And it's not just the constant replaying of Clint Eastwood's convention speech over and over in every single hotel and conference room within a ten mile radius of the Time Warner Cable Arena. Jon Ward: "On Monday afternoon, a Hollywood film called 'Won't Back Down' -- which opens in theaters nationwide on Sept. 28 -- will be shown to a select crowd of convention-goers in Charlotte, N.C., just as it was one week prior at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla...the request for a Charlotte screening went to the highest levels of the Obama administration, which passed the decision off to the Democratic National Committee, according to a source with knowledge of the chain of events. According to this source, Valerie Jarrett, Obama's close personal adviser, and David Plouffe, his top political adviser, both saw the request but eventually handed the decision over to the DNC's political director, Patrick Gaspard, who raised no objections...Why all the fuss? 'Won't Back Down' stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a single mother determined to get her daughter out of their failing public elementary school... It's a movie about the push for school choice, a movement that has been gaining momentum around the country for the past several years. It is also a film about teachers' unions, who are one of the Democratic Party's biggest and most loyal sources of political contributions." [HuffPost]

If you actually complete Mother Jones' hilarious convention scavenger hunt, you are almost certainly on acid.

REPUBLICANS CRASHING DEM CONVENTION FROM ANTI-SOCIALIST NERVE CENTER - RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Rep. Jason Chaffetz today launched the "Obama Isn't Working Rapid Response Center," in Charlotte, which makes it sound like the giant mechanical spider from Wild Wild West but is in fact situated in the most Republican part of Charlotte: the NASCAR Hall of Fame (oddly situated on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard). "Here in Charlotte, the president is going to be on defense, desperately trying to paper over the dismal record and make struggling Americans forget about their problems," Priebus said today at the nerve center christening. "The thrill and pixie dust of Barack Obama's presidency is gone," he later said. [HuffPost's Elise Foley]

@TeresaKopec:@PeterHambyCNN Did anyone ask @Reince what happened to that 11point bump he predicted from the RNC?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised a record $1.3 million in online donations last Friday. Rather than use that sum to take an Uber cab during peak hours from DCCC headquarters to somewhere in upper Northwest, we hear they actually plan on using it for a few campaign flyers and stuff. Jen Bendery: "Democrats are eager to tie the fundraising bump to the idea that their party is energized heading into this week's Democratic National Convention, and on the heels of last week's Republican National Convention. 'As of this moment, we are just $18,700 away from the biggest grassroots fundraising month we've ever had!' Pelosi said in a DCCC email that went out last Friday. 'That's definitely not what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan bargained for after their big convention.'" [HuffPost]

REPUBLICANS PLAN FOR END TIMES/OBAMA VICTORY - A number of Republicans are making drastic plans in the event the president is reelected, aside from reactivating the bunker Congress beneath the Greenbrier and stockpiling massive amounts of gold and cans of cheddar broccoli soup, off course. Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel: "[Dr. Ada Fisher, the] North Carolina Republican national committeewoman and member of the North Carolina Women for Mitt leadership team said she would move to Israel if Obama wins a second term...Others promised to join Fisher in her post-election exodus. Lori Hatch, a convention-goer from Oregon, said she would move to the Czech Republic. Sheila, a convention attendee from Tampa who would only reveal her first name, said she would basically disengage from normal society, 'get out of the mainstream of all the things I do for the community and business and all of the charitable things I would do.' Then there was Newt Gingrich, who wouldn't even consider the hypothetical. 'That's a thought so terrible I can't contemplate it,' said the former House speaker." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Kitten's got 99 problems but not having a group of of chicks to crawl all over it ain't one

COMFORT FOOD

- Tiger cub and dog romping around on a couch. We hope that dog knows this friendship has an expiration date. [http://bit.ly/Q10Tld]

- A Jehova's Witnesses video warns deaf people against the perils of self-pleasure. Really. [http://bit.ly/N8NCto]

- Time-lapse video of illustrator Patrick Vale drawing an intricate rendering of the lower Manhattan skyline. [http://bit.ly/UnutnS]

- Bear cub can't stay awake. This is why you don't give bear cubs Lunesta. [http://bit.ly/ORz698]

- Baby hippopotamus is young, a hippopotamus. [http://bit.ly/OMowgl]

TWITTERAMA

@pourmecoffee: DNC delegates get traditional catered luncheon instead of vouchers for concessions you can't afford like at RNC.

@LOLGOP: Paul Ryan. What would happen if Alex P. Keaton had read The Fountainhead.

@brianbeutler: Romney should run on a platform of renaming the holiday Workforce Day. Or maybe Job Creators Day.

ON TAP, CONVENTION EDITION

TONIGHT

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Hey, just because it's the Democratic convention doesn't mean you have to leave your yacht at home. The National Marine Manufacturers Association hosts a "Discover Boating" event at the Peninsula Yacht Club. [18501 Harbor Light Blvd, Cornelius]

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm: If you wanna get in good with members of the various senatorial campaigns and the DSCC staff, try to loiter around the lobbies of the downtown hotels where the DSCC will be hosting its welcome registration.

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm: The DNC Welcome Reception hosted by the Victory Fund.

6:00 pm: A number of Democratic governors will convene for a pre-convention "Governor's Reception" and, we can only hope, discuss their respective senatorial and/or presidential ambitions if you ply them with enough booze. It's sponsored by the DGA.

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm The DSCC hosts a Welcome Reception.

7:30 pm - 10:30 pm: Officials from the Credit Union National Association, Pfizer, United Technologies, the American Gas Association, Public Notice and the American Petroleum Institute all yell MWUHAHAHAHAHA and eat kittens watch the convention. [Mccoll Center for Visual Arts, 7211 North Tyron Street]

8:00 pm - 12:00 am: StartUp RockOn features a headline performance by The Roots. The concert benefits one national and one North Carolina-based start-up and any attendee trying to get drunk and party. [Amos Southend, 1423 South Tryon Street]

8:00 pm: The Impact Film Festival hosts a concert by The Honey Brothers. Jeff Bridges will be there, just being cool. [Butter Lounge, 950 NC Factory Boulevard]

8:30 pm - 11:00 pm: National Journal and host a "Welcome to Charlotte Celebration" featuring barbecue and a performance by The New Familiars. [McColl Center, 721 North Tyron Street]

9:00 pm - 2:00 am: Here's your chance to say you partied into the morning with Martin O'Malley. The DGA hosts a "Democratic Governors Association Late Night." With a title like that, you should ask for your money back if Andrew Cuomo doesn't make raunchy jokes. [Ri Rah Irish Pub, 210 East Trade Street]

10:00 pm - 2:00 am: If your boss takes a lot of tech money you might want to make an appearance at the "Tech Industry Opening Night Celebration" sponsored by Intel and Oracle.

TOMORROW

8:00 am: The California Democratic Party hosts a breakfast for its delegates. [Blake Hotel, 555 South McDowell Street]

8:00 am - 1:00 pm: Some very smart members of Congress get away from the press for half the day at the 2012 DNC Golf Classic. Here's hoping you see Sandy Levin in plaid pants and a newsboy cap. [Charlotte Country Club, 2465 Meckenberg Avenue]

9:00 am - 10:30 am: The DSCC will take a moment to revel in Todd Akin's self-destruction and then realize the sobering task at hand at their "Majority Builders Breakfast." Nothing cancels out the bitter taste of impending failure quite like assorted danishes. [Ballantyne Hotel, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway]

10:00 am: Convention Sports and Entertainment Group lets you catch a glimpse of Dick Durbinin a batting helmet by hosting a batting practice along with Jerry Costello, Daniel Lipinski, Danny Davis, Mike Quigley and . [2280 Deerfield Drive, Fort Mill]

10:30 am: The Podesta Group and Heather Podesta host a "Farmhouse Chic Brunch," because "Farmhouse Real" would involve Tony sitting in a pile of hay and we can't have that. [Mint Museum, 2730 Randolph Road]

11:00 am - 2:00 pm: Anheuser Busch, Walmart, the Coca-Cola Company and Bank of America pretend for a few seconds that they aren't destroying our livers, shuttering our businesses, fattening our children or ruining our economy at their "Latino Leaders Luncheon." [Marriott Charlotte City Center, 100 West Trade Street]

11:30 pm - 1:30 pm : Third Way has a "Convention Kick-off Luncheon" where it tries its best to convince you that Joe Lieberman ain't so bad. [Mert's, 214 North College Street]

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm: The Democratic Lieutenant Governor's Association hosts a "Salute" to its members, where said members will swap tips on how to build donor networks for their eventual run for a better job.

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Big dollar donors gather for a "Majority Trust Lunch" put on by the DSCC. [Fleming's, 210 East Trade Street]

1:00 pm: The CBC hosts its leadership luncheon. No creepy corporate overlords present. Definitely not. [Johnson C. Smith University]

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm: The American Land Title Association tries to convince you that you ain't no man 'less you got land at its "A Vibrant Real Estate Market is the Key to a Vibrant Economic Recovery" event. [Aloft Hotel, 210 East Trade Street]

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