POLITICS
10/18/2012 06:30 pm ET | Updated Dec 18, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - The Jerk Store Called: It's Running Out Of Congress

President Obama was endorsed by Bruce Springsteen, best known by Americans as "the Democratic Kid Rock." Wisconsin Republicans took sides in the ongoing "Please, sir, can I have some more?" debate. And Newsweek will cease publishing a print edition, so that March 2013 cover story on whether dinosaurs were racist will require an internet connection. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, October 18th, 2012:

OBAMA TALKS BENGHAZI - During an interview with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show," the president was asked about the September 11th attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, a topic that will eat up a good portion of Monday's foreign policy debate (that and a who-hates-China-more contest). "If four Americans get killed, it's not optimal," Obama said, responding to Stewart's question of whether there was an "optimal handling" of the lead-up to the attack. "We're going to fix it. All of it. And what happens, during the course of a presidency, is that the government is a big operation and any given time something screws up. And you make sure that you find out what's broken and you fix it. Whatever else I have done throughout the course of my presidency the one thing that I've been absolutely clear about is that America's security comes, and the American people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace, security, and protecting Americans. And they will continue to get that over the next four years of my presidency."

CONGRESS AWFUL: REPORT - Congress -- you know, that place with the prostitute-hiring senators, crotch bulge-emailing representatives and race-baiting... er, everyone -- is kind of a hotbed of inappropriate behavior. National Journal: "Twenty-three House and two Senate offices had complaints -- including sexual harassment--filed against them by employees in 2011, according to the Office of Compliance, which keeps accusers' names confidential. And labor lawyers say the report, an advance copy of which was provided to National Journal, may just be scratching the surface... Employees looking for guidance on workplace issues last year most frequently asked about harassment. The number of discrimination and harassment claims filed by employees across the Capitol complex is on the rise. In 2010 there were 168; in 2011 there were 196." [National Journal]

Because they couldn't find an appropriate orphanage, veterans home, or animal rescue center, Republicans in Wisconsin are attacking a local soup kitchen. The one Paul Ryan visited. Really.

SCOTT BROWN, AUTHOR OF BILL TO CRIMINALIZE EXAGGERATING MILITARY ACHIEVEMENTS, IS, WELL... - The man who inspired Sen. Scott Brown to write a bill making it illegal to falsely claim winning military honors tell HuffPost Hill he thinks the Massachusetts Republican is stretching the truth when he claims he "served in Afghanistan." Brown made that declaration in his recent debate with his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren. But Brown's service was not combat, and was actually part of his annual two-week stint with the National Guard. "It sounds to me like we just got another Blumenthal Connecticut, Mark Kirk type things there," said Vietnam veteran Doug Sterner, referring to exaggerated claims two years ago by now-Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) "I thought it was seriously misleading." The Globe smacked Brown around for it. [Boston Globe]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST SCRUTINIZES THE POLLS - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who constructed an underground pneumatic tube network between his bunker and the board of elections so he could vote absentee, is concerned about the conflicting swing state and national poll numbers. "I'm afraid Romney is gonna win the popular vote and legitimize Gore by using all the arguments he used," PSLGOPL writes. "The thought of it makes my stomach turn." Don't worry, PSLGOPL! He won't price carbon!

Check out this TV ad accusing a Georgia state rep of a drug problem.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Yikes... "In the week ending October 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 388,000, an increase of 46,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 342,000. The 4-week moving average was 365,500, an increase of 750 from the previous week's revised average of 364,750." [Labor Department]

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WHAT DEMOCRATS ARE READING...WHILE CURLED UP IN A BALL ON THE FLOOR AND CRYING - Yes, yes, this poll covers seven days, only one of which occurred after the second debate and yes, swing state polls are still giving President Obama an electoral edge, and yes, one poll does not a trend make, but a lot of pumpkin microbrews are going to be despondently consumed in a lot of Columbia Heights group houses over this. The Hill: "Mitt Romney has a 7-point lead over President Obama among likely voters, according to Gallup's latest daily tracking poll. Romney takes 52 percent support to 45 percent for Obama, and also leads 48 percent to 47 among registered voters...Gallup only began tracking likely voters earlier this month. The 7-point margin is Romney's biggest lead yet in the survey and comes less than three weeks before the election." [The Hill]

Why is Gallup so different?

WILL OBAMA GET A DEBATE BUMP? - Many Democrats wished the commander-in-chief had taken a pre-debate bump off of a key or mirror before the first debate. Now a lot of them, sufficiently pleased with his performance in the second debate, expect that he'll experience the other kind of bump. Mark Blumenthal: "YouGov confirms for The Huffington Post, those who supported Obama on the first wave of interviews had been been slightly less likely to respond than those who supported Romney on YouGov's post-debate surveys. According to YouGov's Doug Rivers, its surveys would have shown net gains for Romney of roughly 5 percentage points had YouGov ignored these differing response rates and weighted its numbers by demographics alone. Once YouGov corrected for the non-response bias, however, it showed Romney gaining only about 1 percentage point, on average, across the 25 surveys. How much the debate might affect where Obama and Romney stand in the polls may ultimately depend on whether the differing response rates observed by YouGov were a momentary anomaly or a measure of a 'new normal,' indicative of the coming turnout patterns. If it's the latter, the polls will likely remain close. If it's the former, get ready for another polling bounce." [HuffPost]

The second debate, reimagined as an interpretive dance.

ROMNEY TOLD EMPLOYERS TO SING HIS PRAISES TO WORKERS - "I hope you encourage people whose very livelihood -- and that of their families -- is dependent on your continuing good will that they should vote for me. Ha. Ha. Ha." Not quite, but still. In These Times: "In a June 6, 2012 conference call posted on the anti-union National Federation of Independent Business's website, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney instructed employers to tell their employees how to vote in the upcoming election. Romney was addressing a group of self-described 'small-business owners.' Twenty-six minutes into the call, after making a lengthy case that President Obama's first term has been bad for business, Romney said: 'I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections.'" [In These Times]

President Obama received Bruce Springsteen's endorsement today. As you may remember, it was The Boss that sent John Kerry to the White House. Sabrina Siddiqui: "While stumping for President Barack Obama in Ohio on Thursday, rock star Bruce Springsteen pledged his support for the president's reelection bid in the form of a song. Springsteen, whose remarks were preceded by former President Bill Clinton, joked that he recently penned the short number as part of his endorsement for the president, but faced difficulty rhyming words with 'Obama.' Among the lyrics was a punchy reference to the vice presidential and presidential debates: 'Smilin' Joe really brought the drama, Tuesday Romney was schooled by Obama'" [HuffPost]

SECOND APPELLATE COURT STRIKES DOWN DOMA - And the House GOP barely has enough legal money left to cover the filing fee for the appeal. AP: "A divided federal appeals court in Manhattan struck down the Defense of Marriage Act Thursday as unconstitutional, joining an appeals court in Boston in rejecting the law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court is expected to take up the case in the next year. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its 2-to-1 ruling only weeks after hearing arguments on a lower court judge's findings that the 1996 law was unconstitutional. The majority opinion written by Judge Dennis Jacobs rejected a section of the law that says 'marriage' only means a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and that the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. A federal appeals court in Boston earlier this year also found it unconstitutional." [HuffPost]

GAY MARRIAGE BALLOT MEASURE POISED TO PASS IN MARYLAND, HON - If the Old State Line ballot measure does pass, it'll be tremendously bittersweet, as Omar Little will never get to know true marital bliss ("Omar comin!... Down the aisle! ::Sob::). WaPo: "A ballot question on whether to uphold a state law allowing gay nuptials is favored 52 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, according to the poll, reflecting a long-term trend toward greater acceptance of gay unions that has included President Obama's backing this year. Same-sex marriage has become legal in six states and the District through legislative or court action. But it has never been authorized by a popular vote. Voters in Maine and Washington state will also be presented with the issue Nov. 6 -- the first time since 2009 that any state has been asked whether to legalize same-sex marriage." [WaPo]

NEWSWEEK TO SAVE SOME TREES - The magazine, in print since 1933, will switch to an all-digital format by the end of this year, though we are assured that the Muslims will be just as rage-y, the politicians' eyes just as bug-eyed and the vegetables just as suggestively fellated. "In our judgment, we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format. This was not the case just two years ago. It will increasingly be the case in the years ahead," editor Tina Brown wrote. "This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism--that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution." [HuffPost]

Newsweek alum Howard Fineman: "[S]omeone suggested that I 'ruminate' instead on the decline of 'News with a capital 'N.'' Well I have, and I don't believe for a minute that one equals the other. We want to do excellent reporting and writing; the best way to honor a place such as Newsweek is to seek to match what it did in both... [T]he spirit of Newsweek is alive and well at places such as The Huffington Post, and I'm not just saying that because I work here. It's alive at Tina Brown's Daily Beast, too, and elsewhere on the web, in print, and, I hate to say it, at Time...Newsweek rose to equal status with Time -- the founder of the genre -- by being years ahead of it and the rest of the media Establishment on three tectonic stories of the 1960s and 1970s: the civil rights movement; the anti-Vietnam-War and protest movement; and the 'sexual revolution' and feminist movements." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby is very irked by the sound that cats make.

MORE LIKE MALL-O-TOV, AMIRITE? -
HuffPost DC: " A man threw a molotov cocktail into the Ballston Common Mall's food court on Thursday prompting an evacuation. A 'person of interest' was detained a few hours later by Arlington County police." [HuffPost]

PRESIDENT'S CHILDREN GET OUT TO SKIP MATH CLASS - HuffPost DC: "One of the campuses of the private school that Sasha and Malia Obama attend was briefly evacuated Thursday morning due to a suspicious package that turned out to be a child's backpack." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- If humans eat on their back, spilling food all over their chests, it's considered sloppy. When pandas do it, it's eye-burstingly adorable. [http://chzb.gr/VeAoQf]

- Timelapse of the Space Shuttle Endeavor making its final trek through the streets of Los Angeles. [http://bit.ly/TdD7Iz]

- Baby elephant rescue provides evidence that humanity is not entirely a net negative. [http://gaw.kr/WEjyZ1]

- More zaniness from the animal kingdom: a giraffe chases and ostrich. [http://bit.ly/RH6eyq]

- Engineer molds a wedding ring for his friend. [http://bit.ly/WEt9Px]

- A Vice documentary on the decline of the American Hobo. [http://bit.ly/Xtdp1t]

- "Star Wars" edited to feature more Porkins. [http://bit.ly/zTcnvv]

TWITTERAMA

@jess_mc: And when the radical priest came to get me released, we was all on the cover of HuffPo.

@DanFosterNRO I'm taking Springsteen's fondness for "This Land Is Your Land" as an invite to roam the grounds of his Colts Neck estate.

@pourmecoffee: Looks like it's all up to Ohio voters to save us. They're like our Hobbits, only taller and less hairy, I hope.

ON TAP

Tonight, 5:00 pm: Illinois congressional candidate Rodney Davis is paid a visit by none other than the Big Orange himself, John Boehner. Also on hand for the fundraiser are Aaron Schock, John Shimkus Adam Kinzinger and Bobby Schilling. [Champaign, IL]

Tonight, 6:00 pm: New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate Ovide LaMontagne welcomes Kelly Ayotte and John McCain for a Nashua fundraiser. You know who would LOVE to attend an October fundraiser in New Hampshire? Mr. Autumn Man. [Nashua, NH]

Tomorrow: Paul Ryan, the nicest boy in the universe, will get his cheek pinched an ungodly amount of times at his Boca Raton fundraiser. It's being billed as a "Private" reception, which sounds like everyone will be wearing masquerade masks. Weird. [Boca, Baby]

Tomorrow, 5:00 pm: The First Doctor, Jill Biden (well, she and the Surgeon General will have to break a pool cue in two and decide), heads to Minnesota for a small campaign money-getter at a supporter's house. [Minneapolis, MN]

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