POLITICS
10/09/2012 06:05 pm ET | Updated Dec 09, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - The Invisible Hanes Of The Market

President Obama's lackluster debate continues to reverberate, meaning all he has to do to win the next one is not appear on stage in pajamas. If a political operative asks you how to get, how to get to Sesame Streeeeeet, its inhabitants would prefer that you don't say. And Bo Obama turned four today, a happy occasion except that, when converted into human years, he can no longer be on his parents' health plan. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, October 9th, 2012:

OHIO POLL: OBAMA CAMPAIGN UN-DOOMED - Democrats and lefties have been freebasing St. John's wort in an attempt to ward off a nasty case of polling-induced depression. They found some respite this afternoon in a CNN/ORC International survey of Ohio voters. CNN: "According to a CNN/ORC International poll (PDF), 51% of likely voters in Ohio say they're backing President Barack Obama, with 47% supporting Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Obama's four point advantage is within the poll's sampling error...'Independent voters, suburban voters, and older voters are all evenly divided, indicating a close race right now,' says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. 'But that's not a prediction of what will happen in November. With one in eight likely voters saying that they could change their minds between now and November, and several crucial debates still to come, there is every reason to expect the race to change in Ohio.'" [CNN]

@llerer: When asked abt new ohio polls, romney replied: "this is wendy's guys. This is wendy's."

The Nation has published audio of a young New Yorker being stop-and-frisked. It's uplifting stuff -- that is, if you think our keepers of the peace should be accosting innocent teenagers and aggressively violating their persons. [The Nation]

FRUIT OF THE BOOM - With Sam Stein and Zach Carter: "There is an old saying among economists that the best way to assess the state of the economy is to look at people's underwear. OK, there's no such saying. But when he served as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan did use the sales of male underpants as a way to take the temperature of the country's economic well being. And if the Maestro were to take a peek right now, he'd find evidence that things are gradually improving. The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, has shown an uptick in sales of men's underwear over the past year. Between Aug. 2010 and Aug. 2011, sales for all men's 'underwear bottoms' were roughly $2.074 billion. In the period between Aug. 2011 and Aug. 2012, that number was $2.194 billion. That represents a 6 percent jump in sales from year to year." [HuffPost]

The fundamentals of our economy are thong.

Obama campaign released a video of the president and first lady commemorating Bo Obama's fourth birthday. Jump to 0:27 to see the commander-in-chief say "cuddles." [YouTube]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Tennessee wants to make sure former managers on unemployment insurance take jobs beneath their abilities, essentially undermining the entire purpose of unemployment insurance. "Tennessee labor officials have begun enforcing new unemployment requirements passed by the legislature. Under the new rules, the longer a person is jobless, the less salary he or she can refuse and still keep unemployment benefits. After 13 weeks, people offered jobs at 75% of their previous salary could lose benefits for not accepting it. After 38 weeks without a job, people looking for one could be compelled to accept 65% of their previous pay or lose benefits. A spokesman for the state says the law encourages employers who made a legitimate offer that was rebuffed to report the instance." [WPSDLocal6.com]

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GANG OF EIGHT MEET TO AVOID NATIONWIDE THELMA & LOUISE-ING - CBS News: "CBS News has learned that a select group of U.S. senators who call themselves the "Gang of Eight" will meet in Virginia at Mount Vernon -- the home of George Washington -- for the next three days... CBS News can also report that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the chairmen of a key bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, are also expected to attend." [CBS News]

SCHUMER MANAGES TO POKE ROMNEY, DURBIN, GANG OF 8 IN ALL 18 EYES WITH SAME STICK - People who would rather that corporate America not broker the further impoverishment of the country took a rare moment to celebrate Chuck Schumer today. David Dayen: "Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate and basically the avatar of the Democratic messaging operation, just gave a speech to the National Press Club about the expectations for tax policy in the lame duck session. And he basically rejected the emerging bipartisan approach to lower tax rates and "broaden the base" by closing loopholes...This is a big deal. Prior to this point, the expectation was for Democrats to accommodate the Republican desire to cut tax rates by using the closure of loopholes to raise overall revenue or at least keep the reform revenue-neutral. This would have worked for about the first five minutes after the deal, and then Congress would go back to its usual practice of carving out tax breaks for selected interest groups, defeating the purpose of base-broadening...This is a major blow against Bowles-Simpson, which cut tax rates as low as 23% for the top earners, dependent on the elimination of certain tax expenditures. It also lobs a volley in the direction of Dick Dubrin, part of the "Gang of Eight" of Democrats and Republicans which has been working on a grand bargain that included rate-lowering, base-broadening tax reform. Schumer typically speaks for the Senate Democratic leadership, and he's basically calling that kind of tax reform a dead letter. [FireDogLake]

ROMNEY'S WAR ON LUNGS - Jason Cherkis and Zach Carter: "Although Romney's activities helming the private equity giant Bain Capital have drawn significant attention, his role at Bain & Co. has received almost no public scrutiny. A Huffington Post investigation into Bain's tobacco work found that the consulting firm helped Philip Morris increase its revenues in the U.S., and aided two other tobacco titans as they vied to move forcefully into the Russian market....Bain's Russian business wasn't about family-friendly products. Those deals were about cigarettes. And that work sent Bain into the shadows of the post-Soviet economy -- including helping to orchestrate anonymous, convoluted cash transactions to keep major deals hidden from regulators and competitors. It was part of a free-for-all that involved wholesale looting of major industries, as Western technocrats helped facilitate the transfer of Russia's wealth into the hands of a few oligarchs. That set in motion a populist backlash that helped sweep Vladimir Putin into power, giving the Kremlin dominance over a country Romney has lately called our 'number one geopolitical enemy.'" [HuffPost]

Jason Linkins explains how this story is simply late-capitalism unmasked.

TAGG ROMNEY'S TIRELESS MISSION TO FIRE THE HELP - Mumsy! Taggy is tired of losing! Taggy wants to win! Politico: "The candidate's family prevailed on Mitt Romney, and the campaign operation, to shake things up dramatically, according to campaign insiders. The family pushed for a new message, putting an emphasis on a softer and more moderate image for the GOP nominee -- a 'let Mitt be Mitt' approach they believed more accurately reflected the looser, generous and more approachable man they knew. Chief strategist Stuart Stevens -- whom the family held responsible for allowing Romney's personal side to be obscured by an anti-Obama economic message -- has seen his once wide-ranging portfolio 'fenced in' to mainly the debates, and the television advertising that is his primary expertise, according to campaign officials. Tagg Romney, channeling his mother's wishes, is taking a much more active role in how the campaign is run." [Politico]

Those children of the private equity guy sure are charmers: @jonward11: Josh Romney, introducing Mitt in Iowa, says he and his brothers taught their father "how to debate an obstinate child."

Not surprisingly, the Romney campaign is explicitly forbidding recording devices from its fundraisers. No word on whether that includes aerial drones -- which, to be fair, aren't very surreptitious. Sun Times: "Audio and video recordings are banned at Mitt Romney fund-raisers... Mitt Romney's seemingly disparaging comments about 47 percent of voters was caught at a secretly recorded video at a Romney fund-raiser in Florida...Outside the Ryan Sunday event at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare was a sign: 'No video or audio recordings allowed ... thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.'" [Sun Times]

@BuzzFeedAndrew: Romney's lead in UnskewedPolls Dot Com is actually SMALLER than his lead in the TPM polling average.

GALLUP SWITCHING METHODOLOGY, COMPOUNDING LIBERAL ANGST - Democrats have been despairing the last few days over a slew of polls showing Mitt Romney taking the lead both nationally and in crucial swing states. It's as if "Arrested Development" were canceled all over again. This isn't going to help: "On Tuesday, just one day after reporting two different results on the presidential race among registered voters, the Gallup organization announced it will begin reporting on the polling results of those it deems most likely to vote. The shift will 'wipe out' the 5-point advantage for President Barack Obama among registered voters, according to USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page, because 'Republicans are more energized and more likely to actually go and vote.'" [HuffPost]

The Democratic despair just reached Will Arnett and Amy Poehler divorcing-levels: "On Tuesday, Gallup released its first polling results on the presidential race among respondents they consider most likely to vote. Among likely voters interviewed over the last week, they show Republican nominee Mitt Romney with a 2-point advantage over President Barack Obama (49 percent to 47 percent). Their results for all registered voters continue to give Obama a 3-percentage point advantage (49 percent to 46 percent), although that margin narrowed by 2 points compared to the previous day." [Ibid.]

OBAMA CAMPAIGN RUNS DUMBEST AD OF ITS CAMPAIGN - Unless the president's reelection campaign found a way to incorporate those dancing air tubes that are planted outside of car dealerships into their advertisements, it won't get worse than this. Amanda Terkel: "The latest tongue-in-cheek ad shows pictures of notoriously corrupt financial figures -- Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay and Dennis Kozlowski -- and states there is an 'evil genius' who towered over them. 'One man has the guts to speak his name,' says the narrator, with the ad then flashing to Romney saying 'Big Bird' repeatedly -- followed by Big Bird cheerfully saying his own name. 'Big, yellow, a menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it's not Wall Street you have to worry about it, it's Sesame Street,' adds the narrator." [HuffPost]

@jbendery: "I feel a little odd saying this, but I have two questions about Big Bird." -- reporter in today's WH press gaggle.... @jbendery: HAHAHAHA: Right after Big Bird discussion, WH press gaggle segues to North Korean missiles.

"C" is for "Cease and desist," thats' good enough for me...: "Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down." [Sesame Street Workshop]

PCCC is circulating a petition to save Big Bird.

THIS IS A BETTER AD - Unless the commander-in-chief wants to spend next year choosing a site for his presidential library, he'll need to shore up Hispanic support in places like Nevada. Elise Foley: "The Obama campaign is upping its use of the Dream Act to rally Latino voters in a new ad out Tuesday, featuring Obama speaking straight to the camera, in Spanish. The ad is part of a larger push to tout Obama's June directive to the Department of Homeland Security to stop deporting some undocumented young people -- a popular decision among Latino voters. The Obama ad comes on the same day as a straight-to-camera spot from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, also aimed at Spanish speakers, but spoken in English, with Spanish subtitles." [HuffPost]

CONGRESS TOTALLY DOWN WITH ATTACKING IRAN - Roll Call: "If the next president wants to attack Iran to stop it from building a nuclear weapon, Congress seems unlikely to stand in the way. Overwhelming majorities in both chambers are on record in support of a policy that rules out containment of a nuclear-armed Iran as an option. And lawmakers, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, are eyeing new resolutions that would back Israel if it attacks and, potentially next year, authorize the use of U.S. military force...The House adopted an anti-containment resolution on a 401-11 vote in May. The Senate passed a similar resolution sponsored by Graham, 90-1, last month in an after-midnight vote Senators cast before heading home for the elections. Graham's measure had 83 co-sponsors. The lead sponsors of the Congressional resolutions have made clear they prefer tough sanctions to a military solution, and some Senators have issued statements filled with caveats. But Graham said the logical outcome if sanctions fail would be a pre-emptive strike. [Roll Call]

BOEHNER CAMPAIGNS FOR GAY CANDIDATE - The House speaker, who initiated a House legal defense team to maintain the Defense of Marriage Act, might think that homosexuality is a threat to American society, but it's not a problem for the country's seat of government. Jen Bendery: "Boehner spent Tuesday morning raising money for Republican candidate Richard Tisei, who is openly gay and supports same-sex marriage. Tisei, who is running against Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), seemed to indirectly address the fact that Boehner opposes gay rights in a statement ahead of their joint breakfast event in Boston...Boehner campaign spokesman Cory Fritz also demurred when asked to explain how Boehner squares his support for Tisei with his views on gay rights. 'While they don't agree on every issue, Richard and the Speaker respect one another, and we expect Richard will be a strong, independent voice for his Massachusetts constituents that want a new approach to help create jobs and prosperity,' Fritz said in a statement." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Dog confesses to crimes... and then commits said crimes.

REAL ESTATE PORN: ESCAPE THE CITY EDITION - HuffPost DC: "If your dream home has a view of some mountains and room for horses, you're going to love this week's real estate slideshow. You'll want to ogle the $16 million colonial on 464 acres -- those acres contain multiple guest houses, a swimming pool and riding trails. We love the four-bedroom log cabin on 12 also horse-friendly acres, listed for $1.1 million. The 14-acre Maryland farmette listed for $799,000 is also appealing, and not just for its price." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- If corporations are people, then Thing X is a corporation that has suffered a severe stroke. [http://bit.ly/QZsvdW]

- Canadian gentleman demonstrates how his dog can climb up a ladder. [http://bit.ly/RcBlSs]

- Lance Reddick, best known to you as Daniels from The Wire, hosts a new crime-fighting show, "Nice Try IHOP," about businesses housed in old IHOPs. [http://bit.ly/OPDmIu]

- Waterfall swing is the most unnecessary thing ever. [http://bit.ly/PT891A]

- Toddler has the shortest attention span in history. For real. [http://chzb.gr/QQPJ5u]

- Aerial shots of Iceland that resemble abstract paintings. Thanks, God! [http://bit.ly/PT6eu2]

- Bird says "I can talk" and "I'm pretty." Also, bird is tremendously vain. [http://bit.ly/QaHhg2]

TWITTERAMA

@BenjySarlin: I imagine a Muppet process server stopping by Obama campaign office today to drop off googly-eyed cease and desist.

@carolrhartsell: "Today, we are all sex tapes." -a president in the future probably

@ditzkof: You undersampled Whigs and Constitutional Unionists RT @lfung 'Lincoln' Oscar Chances Soar After NY Film Fest Premiere

ON TAP

Tonight - Tomorrow: What does a Republican from Kansas named Pat Roberts do for leisure? Golf, naturally. Join the Kansas senator for a $2,000-and-up golf outing fundraiser. [Hutchinson, KS]

Tomorrow, 8:00 pm: RLTV, television for the temporally advanced, hosts a throwdown between Jared Bernstein and Alan Simpson. It'll be like an economic Lincoln-Douglas debate, except on a network with programming options such as "Victory Gardens."

Thursday, 11:45 am: Claire McCaskill is confident enough in her strength against Todd Akin that she's spending a night away from the heartland in den of everything-that's-wrong-in-the-world, San Francisco. [San Francisco, CA]

Thursday, 4:30 pm: Steve King noshes on garlic-stuffed olives and rants about anchor babies. [Waterloo, IA]

Thursday, 5:30 pm: His poll numbers falling, Jeff Flake will smile extra hard at his Senate campaign function. [Phoenix, AZ]

Thursday, 6:15: Ben Romney, son of Mitt, sits on a roundtable with Dick Cheney, son of MYFOR, LORD OF ALL DARKNESS AND DISPAIR. [Arlington, VA]

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