VP debate night! Joe Biden's advisors reminded him that asking Paul Ryan to step outside is not an appropriate response to faulty Medicaid statistics. The candidates will be seated at a table, increasing the likelihood Biden will prove his toughness by rapidly and repeatedly stabbing a knife between his fingers. And the Romney campaign requested that Ryan be referred to as "Mr. Ryan," though we're pretty sure the vice president has settled on "kiddo." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, October 11th, 2012:
DEBATE: INSIDERS HOPE BIDEN SHOWS UP, HOPE JOE STAYS AWAY - Jen Bendery: "Former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), who has been actively involved in Biden's debate preparation, said Biden will hone in on the same themes that have dominated his campaign speeches: sharply contrasting visions of America, and the Romney-Ryan campaign's regularly changing positions. 'There's a real opportunity, a lot of room there, to make the points you want to make by pointing out how they are constantly shifting their positions,' said Kaufman, who cited Romney's squishy positions on abortion, tax cuts and education spending. If Biden's campaign speeches are a preview of what's to come, one can expect him to more forcefully address points that some Democrats were disappointed President Barack Obama didn't push in his debate last week, namely Romney's comments about 47 percent of Americans being dependent on government and Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare while gutting programs for the poor." [HuffPost]
Biden didn't reveal much about his debate strategy when queried by reporters today. "You ever see me rope-a-dope?" the vice president said in response to whether he would try to employ that strategy. No word on whether he'll go for Paul Ryan's kidneys. [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]
We'll be live-tweeting the debate from our newsletter Twitter account/credit card phishing platform,@HuffPostHill
@jaketapper: The Romney/Ryan campaign has requested that 7-term @RepPaulRyan be referred to this evening at the debate as "Mr. Ryan"
POLL: EVEN EXPECTATIONS - Voters are split as to whether Paul Ryan or Joe Biden -- who may well throw off a "Your mom told me the same thing last night" response -- will triumph in tonight's debate. Pew: "The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 4-7 among 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters, finds that 39% of voters view Biden favorably, while 51% offer an unfavorable impression of the vice president. Just more than four-in-ten (44%) view Ryan favorably, while about as many (40%) have an unfavorable view. A separate survey, also conducted Oct. 4-7, among 1,006 adults and 812 registered voters, finds that voters are divided over who will do better in Thursday's vice presidential debate. Four-in-ten (40%) say Ryan will do a better job while 34% expect Biden to do better." [Pew]
@jonward11: Romney & Obama camps did not spend the same amount of money on spin room set up for #vpdebate pic.twitter.com/xv0Xx0oO
Our Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist emails in some advice for Biden: "Don't look at your shoes and nod affirmatively when Congressman Ryan is being critical of you." Thanks, PSLGOPL! Worth a shot!
MASS DEMS FILE ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST BROWN - Saki Knafo: "The Massachusetts Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint Wednesday night against Sen. Scott Brown, the Republican running for reelection against consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren. The complaint alleges Brown violated Senate ethics rules by failing to disclose required information about his law practice, specifically the names of his clients. Last week, as both candidates responded to mounting pressure to reveal more information about their legal backgrounds, Brown's campaign sent a partial list of clients to the Boston Globe. According to the Globe, the campaign insisted that the seven clients on the list accounted for "the overwhelming majority of the work he did" while working as a title agent and real estate closing attorney for about 25 years. Massachusetts Democrats say that statement is at odds with claims Brown has made in the past." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Mitt Romney reiterated that sick people don't just die in their apartments, they go to the emergency room. He is correct! That's what happened to Lianne Valenti of Long Beach, Calif. after she endured months of chest pain starting in the fall of 2011. Then in January, a little after 5 a.m., Valenti called her sister in nearby Lakewood and asked for a ride to the emergency room. Once there, she described her symptoms to a doctor and said she thought she was having a gallstone attack. The doctor checked her out with an electrocardiogram and told her she'd suffered a heart attack. They immediately did an angioplasty and inserted stents to keep her arteries open. The doctor said she'd nearly died. "If I had had my insurance I would have gone to the doctor in October," she said. "The pain was unbearable. I've never had pain like that, and I've had three children." Valenti said she's had to quit smoking cold turkey and is now scrambling for a way to cope with an onslaught of bills for her treatment and pills. Already the hospital sent her a $79,000 tab for her visit, she said, which she's hoping they'll be willing to forgive or reduce. [HuffPost]
UPSIDE DOWNER - Woah! New unemployment claims are down to their lowest level since 2008. "In the week ending October 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 339,000, a decrease of 30,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 369,000. The 4-week moving average was 364,000, a decrease of 11,500 from the previous week's revised average of 375,500." [DOL]
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ROMNEY: NO ONE EVER DIED BECAUSE THEY HAD NO INSURANCE - This is like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying there are no gay people in Iran, but more... actually it's a lot like that. ThinkProgress: "Mitt Romney doubled down on his suggestion that uninsured Americans can find the care they need in emergency rooms, telling The Dispatch that people will always receive the treatment they need, and do not die or suffer because they can not pay for care... 'No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it's paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don't have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don't have insurance.'" [ThinkProgress]
Reality disagrees: "More than 26,000 working-age adults die prematurely in the United States each year because they lack health insurance, according to a study published ahead of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law. The study, released on Wednesday by the consumer advocacy group Families USA, estimates that a record high of 26,100 people aged 25 to 64 died for lack of health coverage in 2010, up from 20,350 in 2005 and 18,000 in 2000. That makes for a rate of about 72 deaths per day, or three per hour." [Reuters (June 2012)]
That tapping sound you hear are millions of people turning Paul Ryan's workout photoshoot for Time into memes.
OBAMA CAMPAIGN DEMONSTRATES CONFIDENCE BY EMPLOYING INCREDIBLY PANICKED TACTICS - This is about two or three steps above circulating a photoshopped image of Mitt Romney passed out in a Microtel as a woman in a bespeckled purple tube top rummages through his wallet. Sam Stein: "In a bit of pre-debate chest thumping, the Obama campaign put out a memo on Thursday touting a major voter-registration advantage over Republicans in several key states. The memo is meant to inject a bit of sobriety into stories being written about the narrowing polling gap between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It underscores the fact that on the key metrics of the race, the incumbent maintains tangible advantages. According to the campaign, Democrats have registered 2.41 million more voters than Republicans this election cycle in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Over the last three months, the campaign memo notes, Democrats have registered 114,540 in those states." [HuffPost]
The Romney campaign is getting in on it: "Romney aides and GOP strategists familiar with the campaign's social media outreach and voter turnout operation said they expect President Barack Obama's effort on each front to be every bit as technologically advanced and effective as it was in 2008. The difference, Republicans contend, is the Romney campaign has built competitive get-out-the-vote and social media programs, eliminating 2008's strategic deficit the GOP faced against Obama." [Roll Call]
ISSA SWIMS OUT TO THE DEEP END OF THE CRAZY POOL - The House Oversight Committee chairman told Fox News that he would investigate just how members of the New Black Panther Party dispatched members from its statistics division to infiltrate the Department of Labor. "The way it's being done with the constant revisions -- significant revisions -- tells us that it's not as exact a science as it needs to be," Issa said. "We very much intend to work every day through the November and December time to get these kinds of things done ... this is an issue where I think our committee has important jurisdiction to make sure we get it right." The response online and on Twitter was mostly incredulous, and Issa's spokesperson quickly issued a statement. "While Chairman Issa, in response to a question asked yesterday, did state that he believes there are legitimate questions about the Department of Labor's method for calculating unemployment, the Oversight Committee has not announced or decided to hold hearings on the September unemployment report," the statement read. [With Sam Stein]
SCOTT BROWN LINKED TO COMPANY BEHIND MENINGITIS OUTBREAK - Look, it's not as if the guy is purposefully trying to infect your brain and spinal cord's protective membranes -- even money says he doesn't even know what a membrane is -- but this isn't the type of story you want emerging when you're fighting neck-and-neck with a consumer protection advocate. Reuters: "The campaign of U.S. Senator Scott Brown said on Wednesday it would donate to charity the campaign contributions received from the owners of a pharmacy at the center of a deadly meningitis outbreak... State and federal regulators have said that all of those infected were injected with drugs from New England Compounding Center, based in Framingham, Massachusetts. Owners of the firm, including Gregory Conigliaro, have donated to Brown's campaign, according to election records...Conigliaro donated $2,500 to Brown's campaign this year through the end of June, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Last month, Conigliaro and his wife, Cynthia, invited local entrepreneurs to their Southborough home for a fundraiser to meet Brown." [Reuters]
A new poll from Public Policy Polling has Warren leading Brown, 50-44.
Scott DesJarlais, the congressman who pressured his mistress to abort the product of their steamy love, might lose his medical license. Plus there's the matter of the I'm-sorry gift basket he'll have to send Hippocrates. Mike McAuliff: "Even if Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) manages to win reelection, his job as a doctor in the Volunteer State could be in jeopardy after a phone transcript has revealed him pressuring his patient and mistress to get an abortion...In the case of a sexual relationship with a patient, the AMA has very little gray area. According to the AMA, 'Sexual contact that occurs concurrent with the patient-physician relationship constitutes sexual misconduct.' Even if DesJarlais' relationship can be deemed to have started after her treatment, it would still be deemed highly problematic. 'Sexual or romantic relationships with former patients are unethical if the physician uses or exploits trust, knowledge, emotions, or influence derived from the previous professional relationship,' the AMA says." [HuffPost]
Also this: "I'm very proud to have the support of such a principled and independent conservative as Scott DesJarlais." -- Mitt Romney. May, 2012.
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Toddlers fall asleep while eating... nothing could be more American.
- According to the movies, "There are two types of people in this world..." Fictional characters apparently have a very binary view of things. [http://bit.ly/WVXyYK]
- Photographs of writers hanging out together. The one of Hemingway and Fitzgerald planking is especially inspiring. [http://bit.ly/PpSvQC]
- A series of life hacks, targeted mainly at people with smelly feet who are constantly urinated on by cats. [http://bit.ly/OW7v8Z]
- Dog wants to play with statue but is sorely disappointed by its refusal to play. [http://bit.ly/STih11]
- Undercover video shows how Hollywood executives originally hated "Jurassic Park." [http://bit.ly/UM0nOX]
- Cat sneezes turned into dubstep. It's like the Travelling WIlburys of annoying. [http://chzb.gr/OWayOF]
- Dog's howl is incredibly grating. The William Hung of growling. [http://bit.ly/QluhmT]
@jeremyscahill: CNN reports Ryan is "prepping for debate same as for a hunting trip."// Drinking beers in a cabin in northern Wisconsin?
@elisefoley: I want a debate between TIME Paul Ryan and The Onion Joe Biden.
@brianbeutler: "RT @BuzzFeed: How Paul Ryan won the VP debate." #tweetfromsevenhoursfromnow
4:30 pm: Steve King noshes on garlic-stuffed olives and rants about anchor babies. [Waterloo, IA]
5:30 pm: His poll numbers falling, Jeff Flake will smile extra hard at his Senate campaign function. [Phoenix, AZ]
6:15: Ben Romney, son of Mitt, sits on a roundtable with Dick Cheney, son of MYFOR, LORD OF ALL DARKNESS AND DESPAIR. [Arlington, VA]
7:00 pm: Scott Brown apologizes for taking all that money from the company behind the meningitis outbreak and then asks for your money. [Gloucester, MA]
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