Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - And On The Eighth Day, God Talked To Richard Mourdock About Rape

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The Obama campaign sent out a mass email from Maya Angelou, though sadly the email subject wasn't "Hey." Pollsters shifted New Jersey into the "toss-up" column after details emerged about Mitt Romney's spray-tanning regimen. And a new Obama video cites the close 2000 elections as a reason to vote. If that fails to generate excitement, voters will definitely be psyched up by the one about the Garfield/Hancock squeaker of 1880. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, October 24th, 2012:

NFIB TO TEACH BOSSES HOW TO PRESSURE THEIR WORKERS TO VOTE IN THE INTERESTS OF THEIR BOSSES - HuffPost's Mollie Reilly: "Following in the footsteps of Mitt Romney and multiple CEOs, the National Federation of Independent Businesses will hold a training session for business owners next week instructing them how to talk to their employees about 'the importance of the 2012 elections.' The GOP-backing organization, which has boosted candidates like Todd Akin, George Allen and Josh Mandel and has received $3.7 million from Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS, touts the session as a way 'to ensure business owners have the resources to grow their business.'" Full story to post tonight.

DEMS' GROUND GAME HAS GAME - Paul Blumenthal, on Dems getting out the vote: "The majority of the funding for these efforts on the Democratic side isn't coming straight from the Obama campaign, nor is it coming directly from the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Instead, the Democrats' effort in the various swing states is largely being funded by state party organizations flush with cash thanks to unprecedented transfers of money from both the DNC and the Obama campaign...Overall, the top ten swing state Democratic parties entered October having raised a combined $101 million. This compares to $52 million for these same swing state Republican parties. The Democratic parties had spent $87 million compared to $44 million for the Republican parties at the end of September, and entered October with $15 million cash on hand compared to the Republicans' $9.6 million." [HuffPost]

DEMS SET LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS - Word comes from a leadership aide that on November 29th Democrats will don hooded cloaks, slowly descend a circular stone staircase to a torch-lit octagonal room, begin chanting "So begins the ending, so ends the beginning" in Aramaic and then sacrifice John Larson on an altar of bones... and by all that we mean vote for who will occupy the caucus' leadership positions in the 113th Congress. The 11/29 date was announced during a caucus call this afternoon that also included a discussion by Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen about the fiscal cliff. The vote will coincide with the second week of freshman orientation, so we can only assume that newly-elected members will be presented with their cloaks during the first week.

Tomorrow in Roll Call, a look at Chris Van Hollen's possible future from Jonathan Strong and Abby Livingston: "Amid new speculation about the Democratic leadership picture, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has been busy. He is a steady presence on all CNN, FOX and MSNBC. He has appeared with President Barack Obama on the trail. And on those presidential campaign trips, he has appeared at local fundraisers and press conference for House challengers in competitive races...Though he is often considered part of Democratic leadership, and sometimes attends leadership meetings, he has no formal position in it – and there’s no obvious slot for him to fill just five weeks from the leadership elections, if the current slate all runs. He is currently the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, and ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for two cycles and served as assistant to the Speaker. But just as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s move to change leadership elections to Nov. 29 has prompted questions about her future, Van Hollen’s stepped-up campaign and surrogate work put him in a high-profile position to run for a leadership slot if he so chooses."

While President Obama has evolved on gay rights, Joe Walsh has crawled the opposite direction into the primordial ooze. Jen Bendery: "It was just four days ago that conservative Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) dismissed gay marriage as a 'socioeconomic issue' that can have a negative impact on the children of LGBT parents. But a look back at Walsh in 1996 reveals a far different politician: one who prided himself on being the most pro-gay rights Republican in town. 'If there's a more gay-friendly Republican around, I'd like to meet them,' Walsh said in an interview with the Windy City Times." [HuffPost]

PRESIDENT ENJOYS JAY LENO; CALLS FOR IMPEACHMENT GROW - We're trying to nail down reports that he is also a huge fan of the Capitol Steps. Politico: "President Obama is a Jay Leno fan. Asked whether the president believes the late night host is funny, a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday: 'Sure. He does.' Obama is traveling to California Wednesday to tape an appearance on NBC's 'Tonight Show.'" Barack Obama is now history's greatest monster. [Politico]

ATLANTIC WANTS OBAMA IMPEACHED, TOO - The group We Are Change has video of an interview with Robert Gibbs talking about the killing of the 16-year-old son of Anwar al-Awlaki. "I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don't think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business." The Atlantic: "Again, note that this kid wasn't killed in the same drone strike as his father. He was hit by a drone strike elsewhere, and by the time he was killed, his father had already been dead for two weeks. Gibbs nevertheless defends the strike, not by arguing that the kid was a threat, or that killing him was an accident, but by saying that his late father irresponsibly joined al Qaeda terrorists. Killing an American citizen without due process on that logic ought to be grounds for impeachment." Gibbs wasn't entirely familiar with the situation, and didn't know that al-Awlaki's son was killed two weeks after his father was executed, in a separate strike, somebody familiar with his thinking told HuffPost Hill. [We Are Change]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - President Mitt Romney has the solution to poverty: Stop giving poor people money. A Romney administration, Paul Ryan said in a big speech today, would help restore economic mobility in America by turning the open-ended commitments of federal anti-poverty programs into "block grants" -- fixed chunks of money the federal government sends to states each year regardless of the amount of need. States, in turn, get more leeway to design their own programs. "The federal government would continue to provide the resources, but we would remove the endless federal mandates and restrictions that hamper state efforts to make these programs more effective," Ryan said. "If the question is what's best for low-income Ohioans, shouldn’t we let Ohioans make that call?" (By "federal mandates" in this instance, Ryan seems to have in mind the requirement that states direct federal dollars to people eligible to receive them. Very burdensome.) [HuffPost]

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SENSATA PLANT THREATENS SHUTDOWN UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES - On Tuesday, officials from Bain Capital-owned Sensata Technologies threatened to shut down its north-central Illinois plant "immediately and indefinitely" if those protesting the offshoring of the facility's jobs entered the plant in an act of civil disobedience again, according to local city officials. The plant in Freeport, Ill., which is already scheduled to close at the end of the year, has become an embarrassing campaign issue for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The factory's 170 jobs are being relocated to China. Activists and workers have called on Romney to use his influence with Bain to halt the offshoring. [HuffPost]

RICHARD MOURDOCK NON-APOLOGIZES FOR RAPE COMMENTS - Yesterday, Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that instead of doing His normal job of answering football players' prayers and appearing on toast, God spends His time sanctioning rape. Today, he didn't fully backtrack. WaPo: "'If there was any interpretation other than what I intended, I really regret that,' Mourdock said in an midday press conference in the Hoosier State. He added: 'Anyone who goes to the video tape and views that understands fully what I meant.' Mourdock’s explanation will likely do little to quiet the national firestorm his initial comments at a debate Tuesday night -- 'I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,' he said -- have caused...In fact, even before Mourdock sought to clarify his comments, President Obama’s campaign was working to hang those remarks around Romney’s ankles." [WaPo]

This photobombing of President Obama is so adorably American that Zombie Norman Rockwell is exhuming himself now to paint it.

ROMNEY CAMPAIGN WON'T PULL MOURDOCK ENDORSEMENT - Not to worry, the unstoppable power of MITTMENTUM will eradicate any and all negative consequences of this. Mike McAuliff and Sabrina Siddiqui: "Mitt Romney's campaign confirmed that he still supports Richard Mourdock and has not asked Mourdock's campaign to pull the ad Romney made in support of his Senate candidacy. 'Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr. Mourdock’s comments do not reflect Gov. Romney’s views,' Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an email. 'We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him.'" [HuffPost]

Great news for fans of hanging chads and people who still chuckle at "Sore/Loserman," via Sabrina Siddiqui: "President Barack Obama's reelection campaign released a new TV ad Wednesday recalling the 2000 Florida recount in a bid to rally voters to the polls on Nov. 6. The ad is accordingly titled '537' -- the number of votes that propelled former President George W. Bush to victory over former Vice President Al Gore in Florida after almost 6 million votes had been cast. The narrator calls that number 'the difference between what was and what could have been,' while flashing images of the financial and housing market crash and wars overseas." [HuffPost]

The Obama campaign today sent out a mass email from Maya Angelou. Now THAT would be a robocall.

WHITE HOUSE LOOKING TO BOOT FANNIE REGULATOR - HuffPost Alum Shahien Nasiripour in FT: "In July, when Edward DeMarco refused to implement a debt-reduction scheme championed by the White House, Tim Geithner, US Treasury secretary, accused him of making a decision that ran contrary to the best interests of the nation. But if Mr Obama wins re-election, Mr DeMarco’s days may be numbered, with senior White House officials quietly telling housing industry activists in recent weeks that he will be replaced. Mr DeMarco oversees state-controlled mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the twin housing groups that control more than half of all outstanding US home loans. He temporarily was named acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency in August 2009 by Barack Obama, US president, after the previous director left for the private sector. He is still there three years later, despite clashes with the White House and the Treasury department over various administration proposals to aid the housing market." [FT (Paywall)]

REP. DAVID RIVERA'S OCTOBER SURPRISE - Miami Herald: "The state has filed 11 separate ethics counts against U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami -- all stemming from actions he took while he was a member of the state Legislature. Rivera, who is standing for re-election in less than two weeks, is accused of taking money as a legislator 'when he knew or ... should have known it was given to influence his vote or official action.'" [Miami Herald]

Sheconomics: "According to a new study by the American Association of University Women, a woman who graduates from the same school and in the same major as her male classmate and takes a full-time job in the same occupation as he does earns an average 7 percent less than him one year out of school...If that gap were to close and women were to be paid the difference, economist Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, estimates that the stimulus effect would grow the U.S. economy by at least three to four percentage points." [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]

EASTWOOD DENOUNCES CHAIR IN LATEST CROSSROADS AD - After his convention speech that reminded us of the tail end of talent night at the senior center (when everyone is drowsy and/or a little tipsy off hot toddies), we didn't expect Clint Eastwood to seriously involve himself in the election again. We were wrong. Luke Johnson: "Clint Eastwood is starring in a new ad for the super PAC American Crossroads on behalf of Mitt Romney, released Wednesday. The ad begins with Eastwood's unmistakable voice narrating over factories and people in unemployment lines. 'In the last few years, America has been knocked down,' Eastwood says. 'Twenty-three million can't find full-time work. And we borrow $4 billion every single day, much of it from China.'...Then comes Eastwood's cameo. 'There's not much time left,' he says, speaking to the camera, 'and the future of our country is at stake.'" [HuffPost]

HOW MITT ROMNEY GETS THAT GLOW - Tanning: it's not just the process that produces Rafalca's saddles, it's also what gives Mitt Romney his luminous glow. BuzzFeed: "A knowledgeable source tells BuzzFeed the answer is in a bit of cosmetic technology used commonly by celebrities: spray tanning. The Republican nominee has made a habit of spray tanning before major speeches, debates, interviews, and other events that have a chance of getting wide TV coverage, the source said. He pays for the process out of pocket -- sparing his campaign the expense, and the task of masking it on public campaign finance reports -- and steers clear of public salons where he could be recognized. Instead, he gets misted down in the comfort of his own home or hotel suite." [BuzzFeed]

Geopolitics update: "While South Korean rapper Psy's 'Gangnam Style' has taken the world by storm, it has largely fallen flat in Japan -- an anomaly viewed with grave suspicion by some in the singer's home country. Korean K-pop music is huge in Japan, but for one reason or another Japanese music fans have remained relatively immune to the seductive powers of Psy and his horse-riding dance. In South Korea there has been speculation that a bitter territorial dispute over contested islands may have caused Japanese fans to shun the song." [AFP]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Dog parodies Brad Pitt's ridiculous Chanel No.5 ad.

TWITTER CAMPAIGN CEMENTS D.C.'s UNHIPNESS - HuffPost DC: "A local company is asking twittering-types to use the hashtag #hipDC while spreading the message of D.C.'s hipness. The results thus far are unlikely to convince those who say D.C. isn't hip and never will be that they're wrong." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Jeff Goldblum slowed down magically becomes drunk Jeff Goldblum. [http://chzb.gr/XQ5NpJ]

- There is now a fern named after Lady Gaga. [http://bit.ly/RVmFYs]

- Robot walking on a tightrope can only mean that Skynet is but a few years away. [http://bit.ly/PPe0uu]

- Long before photoshop, enterprising image manipulators had to do things the hard way. Here are some examples. [http://bit.ly/QRyhdS]

- Tom Hanks performed a slam poem about "Full House" on Jimmy Fallon's show. Between this and his SNL appearance this past weekend, we sense Tom is bored. [http://huff.to/RgGQ5x]

- Cat-Bounce.com is a website that features, well, cats bouncing. It's the millennial's hamster dance. [http://bit.ly/RgXosH]

- Artist -- and truly he has earned that distinction -- creates portraits of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in Cheetos. [http://bit.ly/SsLSdp]

TWITTERAMA

@azizansari: "Sorry officer, no ticket for me, if I'm over the speed limit, that's something God intended. Peace."

@DanAmira: "Can't believe this Trump thing turned out to be a total letdown." -- guy who has been in a coma for past fifteen years

@dceiver: Maybe Trump is just leaking today's Gallup poll.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

5:30 pm: Despite his nationwide popularity that rivals that of Oprah and Sully Sullenberger, John Kerry skips the swing states and campaigns for Martin Heinrich. Jeff Bingaman, and Tom Udall will also make appearances. [Santa Fe, NM]

6:00 pm: The Republican Party of Iowa hosts its annual Ronald Reagan dinner, which is a great opportunity for prospective presidential candidates. Mitt Romney might be a wee bit offended that Bob McDonnell is attending. Chuck Grassley, Terry Branstad and Reince Priebus will also be in attendance. [Des Moines, IA]

6:00 pm: Boy wonder Paul Ryan takes his toothbrush and slide projector to Georgia for a $10,000-a-couple fundraiser. [Atlanta, GA]

7:00 pm: Deb Fischer, the GOP's Senate candidate in Nebraska, is given an assist from Marco Rubio, Mike Johanns and Dave Heineman. [Omaha, NE]

TOMORROW

11:30 am: Michelle Obama goes into the den of hair whipping (Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's house... and we can't forget Willow) for a star-studded (can't believe we used that phrase) fundraiser. Salma Hayek is also slated to attend. [Calabasas, CA]

11:30 am: Just a friendly reminder that among Mitt Romney's supporters is Dick Cheney, who takes a break from feasting on the hearts of orphaned children to appear at a Romney/Ryan event with Josh Romney. [Austin, TX]

5:00 pm: We are less than two weeks away from the general election but who says Tommy Thompson can't leave the Badger State for a fundraiser in the Capitol Hill Club? This is America, dammit. [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE]

5:30 pm: Kirsten Gillibrand heads to Long Island, which has recently been devastated by a prolonged bout of presidential yelling, to raise money for her layup reelection. [Roslyn, NY]

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