Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Hurricane. Wet. Bad.

Posted: Updated:

Sandy the Republican Hurricane is barreling toward Washington D.C. in an attempt to reduce the size of government. People in Washington can't stop having sex to Aerosmith, reports Aerosmith. And Meat Loaf would do anything for love, but he won't do that. We learned this week that performing a proper rendition of "America the Beautiful" for Mitt Romney is "that." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, October 26th, 2012:

@GOPLeader: Hurricane Sandy is a serious storm. It's time to prepare. 1.usa.gov/R7JIOJ

REID INVOLVED IN PILE UP, WALKS HIMSELF INTO EMERGENCY ROOM - We wouldn't put it past Harry Reid to pull some Jean Claude Van Damme-style move and perform surgery on himself after a car wreck, but that wasn't needed. While his caravan drove through Las Vegas today, one car stopped and the rest didn't, resulting in a 6-car pile up. But he walked himself to the emergency room to get checked out and he and his security detail are all fine. No word if there were any deer casualties.

ROMNEY DISTANCING HIMSELF FROM FACTS - Elise Foley: "The Republican presidential nominee's speech in Ames, Iowa comes less than two weeks out from the election and was touted as his last address on the economy...On health care, Romney said he and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), 'will reform health care to tame the growth in its cost, to provide for those with pre-existing conditions and to assure that every American has access to health care.'...Romney plans to do away with Obamacare, which prevents insurers from turning away individuals with pre-existing conditions. But the GOP nominee wouldn't actually replace the health care legislation in a way that would allow all people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance, and would instead permit only those who already have insurance the ability to switch. There is some question as to whether Romney's plan would do even that...[EDITOR'S NOTE: It wouldn't.] Romney also repeated his statement that he would create 12 million jobs in the short span of four years. That promise has been widely criticized for its fuzzy math and lack of detail, and he didn't give any during the Friday speech... As The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler pointed out earlier this month, some economic forecasters predict there will be 12 million jobs created between 2013 and 2017 regardless of who is president." [HuffPost]

DURBIN FIRES BACK AT BIG PARKING - For fans of the ongoing swipe-fee saga -- and who among us isn't one? -- yesterday was a good day, as DC's Parkmobile contractor emailed customers blaming a rate hike on the Durbin amendment. Today is even better. You could set your clock to Durbin's response, and here it is: "Dear Mayor Gray: Yesterday, Parkmobile USA, Inc., operating under an exclusive contract with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to provide mobile parking payment services, claimed that certain transaction fees charged to District customers would go up due to increased costs triggered by the Durbin Amendment that Congress passed in 2010. This information is simply not true. And it is inappropriate for a contractor, using District resources, to offer up incorrect, unsolicited legislative analysis while hiding behind poorly reasoned excuses for their own price hikes. What's next? Emails to District residents from contractors opining on the Affordable Care Act? Press releases blaming higher school lunch prices on the Farm Bill?" And then comes this, what we'll just call a helpful FYI for the District: "As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, I remain very interested in the operations of the District of Columbia. And I enjoy working with you and other District leaders. But, I'm skeptical of contractors that attempt to blame fee increases on legislation that clearly has created the opposite effect. I don't believe the District is well served by this maneuver. Sincerely, Richard J. Durbin."

CANTOR ISN'T FOOLED BY YOUR GAMES, ALAN SIMPSON - Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Tea Party) has a power point presentation out on the fiscal cliff, clearing grasping that the way to be proclaimed serious in Washington is to say absurdly extreme things in a soft voice, looking at the camera, with charts and stacks of paper behind you. Sprinkle the term "wonk" heavily. Underneath it all, explains David Dayen at Firedoglake, what Cantor's presentation reveals is that he's no dummy: "And so Cantor basically wants to throw out all of Bowles-Simpson except for the lower overall tax rates, Social Security changes and federal pension reforms. Getting this back to the tax issue, this will bedevil efforts at a deal. Cantor is onto the baseline games, and he and his compatriots in the Tea Party don't want to see any tax increase whatsoever on anyone. When the Bush tax rates expire at the end of the year, maybe this conversation changes. But Cantor calling out Bowles-Simpson on the baseline games suggests that he will view a tax increase very narrowly. Even a tax cut bill that doesn't restore all the Bush-era tax rates will be called a tax increase by Cantor. And that makes a deal virtually impossible." [FDL]

OBAMA CAMPAIGN STICKING WITH STRATEGY - Sure, the president's standing in the popular vote right now makes Bush 2000 look Reagan-esque but that would only be a problem if this were an actual democracy. Pfffft. Sam Stein: "The Obama campaign sees no major event that can now alter the trajectory of the election, the president's top adviser told The Huffington Post in an interview Thursday. And with President Barack Obama holding slim but discernable leads in several critical battleground states, there is a continued sense of confidence that a second term is in the offing. 'In my view we have got the lead and the ball and now it is a matter of executing the final 10 days of the campaign,' David Axelrod said in a telephone interview...'I think the race has settled in, and it has settled in with us with a small but durable and discernable lead in these battleground states both in the aggregate and individually. The question is how does he change that dynamic now? There is no big intervening event.'" [HuffPost]

PHOTOSHOP-MENTUM - A doctored image was posted on the Romney campaign's official Instagram account featuring a Nevada crowd that was made to look larger than it actually was. [BuzzFeed]

The Obama campaign's Tumblr, meanwhile, posted an illustraiton of Mitt Romney in a dunce cap

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - TOMORROW ON HUFFPOST: In the early hours of May 1, D.C. bartender Mike Boone came to the aid of a young woman who was being mugged. Boone had offered to walk her home from the bar, Trusty's on Capitol Hill, since the immediate neighborhood is not known for having the safest streets at night. A man jumped from behind some bushes and grabbed the woman's purse. Boone also grabbed it, and the two men started fighting. "We were punching each other pretty hard," Boone recalled. It wasn't until blood gushed from his body and the woman screamed that the bartender realized what had really happened. "He was punching me with a knife," Boone said. Boone passed out on the sidewalk. He woke up the next day in a hospital bed, recovering from eight stab wounds and a collapsed lung. Like nearly 50 million other Americans, Boone lacked health insurance. A pre-existing condition -- in his case, a broken back he suffered in 1993 -- prevented him from obtaining affordable coverage. President Barack Obama's health care law prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, but that reform doesn't go into effect for adults until 2014. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal the health care law entirely if he's elected....Full story by Arthur Delaney and Dave Jamieson on HuffPost tomorrow.

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

POLL: ELECTORATE LOOKS THE SAME, JUST LESS ENTHUSED - There is not a liberal America and conservative America, there is the United States of America!!!... as outlined by this Gallup survey!!! Gallup: "The composition of the electorate for the 2012 presidential election is looking quite similar to what it was in 2008 as well as 2004, according to an analysis of the demographics of Gallup's likely voter sample since Oct. 1. Thus, key elements of President Obama's electoral coalition, such as racial minorities, women, young adults, and postgraduates will likely turn out at rates similar to those in 2008...The lack of change in the composition of the electorate in recent years is not unexpected, given that there are limits on how great a share of the electorate a subgroup can represent -- mainly its share of the overall U.S. adult population." [Gallup]

THE CAMPAIGNS ARE RICH - Paul Blumenthal: "It's official. President Barack Obama has raised $1 billion for his 2012 reelection campaign. That money includes funds raised for the official campaign committee (Obama for America), the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Obama Victory Fund and Swing State Victory Fund, both of which have transferred millions to state parties to man the campaign's efforts to bring out voters. The only catch to this historic milestone: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is on track to also raise $1 billion in funds for his campaign committee, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and his joint fundraising committee, Romney Victory...While Obama has centralized money in his official campaign and then decentralized the national party committee's money into party organizations for swing states, the Romney campaign has done the opposite. Romney has raised less for the official party campaign, hoarding cash for the home stretch at the RNC, and relied for much of the campaign on the collection efforts of independent super PACs and conservative nonprofits, which have run half of the campaign's ads for them." [HuffPost]

Chevron is also rich: "Chevron is firmly behind the House Republican majority. The multibillion-dollar oil company's support is so strong that it has donated $2.5 million to a super PAC working to maintain that majority in the next Congress. Chevron's contribution to the Congressional Leadership Fund is the largest made by a publicly traded company this election cycle to a super PAC. Other major corporate givers to super PACs include Penske Corp. and Scotts Co." [HuffPost's Paul Blumenthal]

2000 EAT YOUR HEART OUT: ROMNEY STILL UP IN NATIONAL POLLS - If Obama does pull off an electoral college win, the brief, post-election window for electoral reform will no doubt be ruined when Republicans attach a partial-birth abortion provision to the popular vote constitutional amendment. Mark Blumenthal: "The national tracking polls released on Thursday had a rare moment of apparent convergence, with most showing Republican nominee Mitt Romney leading President Barack Obama by small single-digit margins. That uptick was not large enough, for the moment, to undo Obama's edge in the battleground states...Whatever the reason, the shfits helped produce something of a consensus. Six of the eight new polls gave Romney an edge of between 1 and 3 percentage points, and three of the best-known brand names -- GAllup, ABC/Washington Post and Rasmussen Reports -- all converged on a 3-point Romney lead." [HuffPost]

Like a frat boy who just woke up and discovered a body in his Bellagio hotel room, the Romney campaign is hightailing it out of Nevada. And like an Upper West Side boomer who just unpacked their parents' stuff at The villages, the Obama campaign is looking for a way out of Florida. National Journal: "Romney and Republican National Committee operatives won't say it publicly but concede privately that Nevada is out of reach -- largely because of Hispanic voters and Obama's superior ground operations ... In the closing weeks, Romney and Obama will shift operatives to Ohio. Obama has already begun to quietly suggest to field organizers in Florida that their time would be better spent in the Buckeye State. Republicans are doing the same with field staff in Nevada." [National Journal]

Meat Loaf singing "America the Beautiful" at a Romney rally is your new Rosie O'Donnell singing the National Anthem.

THE PRESIDENT THINKS RANDIANS ARE A BUNCH OF LOSERS - Asked by Rolling Stone what he thinks of Ayn Rand, the president more or less equated her to ten-sided dice... ::snort::. Lucia Graves: "After President Barack Obama said in an interview with Rolling Stone that Ayn Rand's books are largely for teenagers who are "feeling misunderstood," the Ayn Rand Institute is questioning whether the president has done his reading. 'President Obama claims he has read Ayn Rand, but you wouldn't know it from his recent comments,' said Don Watkins, a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and co-author of 'Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government.' 'To be an individualist, Obama suggests, is to be concerned with yourself with no regard for other people -- indeed, at the expense of other people. That is a total distortion of Rand's individualism.'" [HuffPost]

Richard Mourdock is losing, which is something God intended, along with heinous sexual crimes. WaPo: "Democrat Joe Donnelly has opened a seven-point lead on Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Senate race after Mourdock's controversial comments on rape and pregnancy, according to an internal Democratic poll shared with The Fix. The poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, shows Donnelly at 47 percent and Mourdock at 40 percent. It appears to be the first time Donnelly has polled a lead outside the margin of error." [WaPo]

TEN COMMANDMENTS JUDGE PROBABLY COMING BACK BECAUSE JESUS ALWAYS WINS - Reuters: "The Alabama Supreme Court chief justice who was removed from office for refusing to take down a Ten Commandments monument appears well-positioned to regain his post in the Nov. 6 election. Republican Roy Moore became a hero for many conservatives after he was booted from the state's high court in 2003, and political observers say he has a solid chance at another victory in the heavily Republican state known for its Christian electorate. The controversy over his previous ouster by a state judicial court does not appear to have hurt, political analysts say. Actors Chuck Norris and Kirk Cameron have endorsed Moore, as have important Christian and farming groups. Alabama's Republican leaders are urging voters to maintain party discipline and decline to vote for Democrats. The Democratic candidate, Bob Vance, suffers from poor name recognition, analysts say." [Reuters]

You won't like Nikki Haley when she's angry... South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) isn't pleased with the hacking of the state's Department of Revenue, which compromised 387,000 credit and debit card numbers and 3.6 million social security numbers. 'I want this person slammed against the wall,' she said of the culprit Friday, according to WBTV. 'I want that man just brutalized.' She said that that the perpetrator is an 'international hacker.'" [HuffPost]

@SenJohnMcCain: 45 years ago today I intercepted a surface-to-air missile with my own airplane over Hanoi!

NANCY PELOSI SEX - Got your attention? Sorry about that. Guardian: "'So I was sitting at a table a while back at the Kennedy Honours and was with, um, what's her name, the president's wife?' asks Tyler. Michelle Obama. 'No.' Laura Bush? 'Keep going,' he says, jerking his hand and scarves in a backwards direction above his bouffanted head. Hillary Clinton? 'Thank you! So I got up to go to the bathroom and I bumped into every actor, every joint chief of staff and Nancy Pelosi, and they said, 'You wrote the songs that I got laid to and made out to.' It was wild.' Wait, I say, grappling with the image of the former speaker of the house getting her groove on to Mama Kin, Nancy Pelosi told you that? 'I don't want to say that on the record,' he says with belated coyness. 'Is she still the speaker of the house?' No. 'Oh, she's out? OK, go with it, yeah! I was like, what? But it was so sweet.'" [Guardian]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Corgi puppy goes on the offensive.

COMFORT FOOD

- This 50-day-old echidna puggle is the most unexpectedly adorable thing you'll see all week. [http://chzb.gr/Tdy8kN]

- Twenty-seven photos of animals being total jerks by stealing food. [http://huff.to/VNceg2]

- A supercut of people getting stoned in movies. [http://bit.ly/Vt9QFm]

- A bow tie shows you how to tie it. It's a very helpful necktie. [http://bit.ly/Rnxof8]

- Triumph the Insult Comic Dog visited the third presidential debate. [http://bit.ly/TeqYN6]

- A near mid-air collision between an AWACS plane and a refueling plane. Yikes. [http://bit.ly/XtMK5m]

- Cypress Hill reviews "Cloud Atlas" because we have to do something to wile away the hours until our death. [http://bit.ly/RQoE0K]

TWITTERAMA

@andishehnouraee: How come there are no black people in that @LenaDunham Obama video?

@dciever: "...analyses suggest this storm may be unlike anything the region has ever experienced." UNSKEW THE WEATHER MODELS.

@delrayser: Wow, over 24 hours off Twitter. The air smells fresher. The coffee tastes stronger. The memes... actually, I don't understand the memes now.

ON TAP

Tomorrow, 11:00 am: Everyone knows that the cornerstone of American politics is rigatoni. Rudy Giuliani makes an appearance at congressional candidate Richard Tisei's "pasta lunch" fundraiser. [Beverly, MA]

Sunday, 1:00 pm: Ron Johnson takes his benefactors to the Packers/Jaguars game. Because what else would a group of donors in Wisconsin want to do on a Sunday? [Green Bay, WI]

Sunday, 1:30 pm: "Grand Forks Hot Dish" isn't just the name of our heavy metal death band, it's also the title of Heidi Heitkamp's fundraiser. Garrison Keillor will also be there because of course. [Grand Forks, ND]

Sunday, 6:00 pm: Keith Ellison is the man of the hour at a GOTV concert. Totally unrelated note, when are the Singing Senators getting back together? [Minneapolis, MN]

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e