01/11/2012 06:17 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Huntsman Campaigns In South Carolina's Greatest City: New York

If Rick Perry's poll numbers sink any further, his staffers will start uprooting Buddy Roemer yard signs. Don't sweat it, Jon Huntsman: if you squint really hard, your 5th Avenue fundraiser might begin to resemble a town hall in Spartanburg. And Newt Gingrich has been playing up his lefty credentials so much that he might be best served by dropping out, running as the Green Party's standard-bearer and naming Gaia as his running mate. Just think about it, Newt: Callista could totally rock a head scarf. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, January 11th, 2012:

POLLS: FEWER PEOPLE WILL NOT VOTE FOR MITT ROMNEY THAN WILL NOT VOTE FOR OTHER PEOPLE - Got it? Mark Blumenthal: "The upcoming South Carolina primary looks far less welcoming to Romney. Yet with that state's more conservative vote likely to split among several more conservative opponents, he may still win an unprecedented sweep of the first three contests of 2012. The New Hampshire exit poll... confirmed two major factors that distinguish New Hampshire from Iowa and the other early primary states: Its Republican primary voters, whether they voted for him or not, were more favorably disposed to Romney, and its rules and traditions led to participation by many more independent and moderate voters. Start with the independents. New Hampshire allows undeclared voters -- those not registered as members of either party -- to vote in the primary, so independent participation has always been high. This year, however, independent identifiers constituted nearly half (47 percent) of the Republican primary electorate, up from 37 percent four years ago. That surge of independents helps explain the strong showings for Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman who together received the votes of more than half of the independents (31 and 22 percent, respectively). The pattern was similar in Iowa, where Ron Paul alone received 43 percent of the independent vote, although independents were just a quarter (23 percent) of the Iowa caucus electorate." [HuffPost]

@jbendery: Obama did not watch NH GOP primary returns last night, says pool report.

Hmmmm: "Sources within the Rick Santorum campaign indicate that Newt Gingrich, should he drop out of the race, plans to support the former Pennsylvania senator." [Patch]

JON HUNTSMAN, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT, BEELINES TO NEW YORK FOR A FUNDRAISER THROWN BY LADY LYNN DEROTHSCHILD - Some political "experts" might urge Huntsman to skip the fundraiser and, oh, speak to some folks in a Charleston-area BBQ. Fie on their naysaying! Fie, we say! Christina Wilkie: "Jon Huntsman will travel Thursday to New York City, where Lady Lynn deRothschild will host a $1,000 per head fundraiser for him at her riverfront duplex, attended by some very fancy New Yorkers. The host list includes cosmetics mogul Leonard Lauder, former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, socialite and author Cornelia Guest, Theodore Roosevelt IV (known as Ted), media billionaire Herb Siegel, and Starwood Hotels CEO Barry Sternlicht. A registered Democrat and former Hillary Clinton supporter, DeRothschild has become anoutspoken backer of the former ambassador to China ever since the two met in 2009. She is also a founding member of the group Americans Elect, which has sponsored an initiative to nominate an outsider candidate candidate for president through online voting. The group has secured 2012 ballot access in a handful of states, although its unclear exactly how their candidate selection process would work. (DeRothschild insists that her goal is not to place Huntsman on the Americans Elect ballot slots.)" No sane man would do this, unless, say, he's paving the ground for another run. Hmmmm. [HuffPost's South Carolina Live Blog]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Is it a good sign when the Great Vampire Squid Wrapped Around The Face Of Humanity is more worried about Social Security than Congress is? In an analysis of the economic impact of stuff Congress does, Goldman Sachs predicts lawmakers will preserve the 2 percent Social Security payroll tax cut beyond February. But the investment bank is concerned about the potential effect the cut could have on Social Security's long-term finances. "From an accounting perspective, the payroll tax has no effect on the program, since lost payroll taxes are made up through general income tax receipts deposited into the Social Security trust fund," Goldman says. "That said, if the tax cut were extended for a long period or made permanent, it would weaken the relationship between the taxes an individual pays into the program and the benefits he or she receives, which some believe would ultimately increase the likelihood of Social Security benefit reductions. This is one reason that the payroll tax cut will not be extended indefinitely. However, it does not seem to be a significant enough obstacle to block extension through the end of 2012."

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

MITT ROMNEY ONCE STRAPPED A DOG TO THE TOP OF HIS CAR...VOTE NEWT - As far as political ads go , this one falls somewhere between "Have you seen Rick Santorum's bacne? Grosssssss." and "Ron Paul: we're not saying he's a Nazi." Daily Caller: "Newt Gingrich is out swinging today with a new web ad dubbed, 'For The Dogs. The soon-to-be released ad highlights some of Romney's most humorous verbal gaffes -- an obvious attempt to poke holes in the notion of Mitt Romney's electability." The ad features silly-sounding string music and a worst-of mashup of Romneys' gaffes, including his defense of his ILLEGAL decision to ILLEGALLY strap a dog kennel to the top of his car, with the MISERABLE dog in the kennel, MISERABLY. The ad is also the most brilliant political attack we've seen in quite some time. [Daily Caller]

Again, and we cannot stress this enough, putting Seamus on the roof was a crime. #Justice4Seamus

The 30-minute "King of Bain" documentary/political ad is nowhere near as good as the dog-on-roof video, and probably cost a lot more money. One documentary filmmaker emailed us to estimate it cost "several hundred thousand," rather than the public $40,000 price tag, citing "research, finding the stories, finding the casting, then filming, editing. Unless they had someone feeding them who to interview all lined up, that stuff takes lots of leg work and bodies to find the best casting. And they have good casting."

TODAY'S LESSON IN GAME THEORY: WHY ROMNEY IS WINNING - If just one of Mitt Romney's main opponents stopped running for the VP spot/a cabinet job/the 2016 nomination/glory, one of them could maybe beat Mitt Romney. Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel: "Despite more than four years spent campaigning for the presidency, Romney remains an untrusted commodity in conservative circles. What's propelling the former Massachusetts governor's candidacy this time around are competitors who are, at once, ineffectual as politicians and unwilling to quit. The anyone-but-Mitt vote remains fairly divided, with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) firmly winning over a solid chunk of New Hampshire voters Tuesday. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman spent time in the spotlight in the lead-up to Tuesday's vote as well, while former Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have all, at times, been the non-Romney flavor of the moment. Were one of the candidates to quit, it could potentially boost one or more that remained. But in the wake of the New Hampshire primary -- in which Jon Huntsman finished third, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were battling for fourth as results were still rolling in and Rick Perry came in sixth -- not one hinted that he would even consider blinking." [HuffPost]

Well that dog won't hunt! "Rick Perry might not qualify for one of the South Carolina GOP presidential debates, which will be held in the state where his campaign is struggling to make a comeback." [The Hill]

@TPM: SLIDESHOW: Things That Are Steeper Than Rick Perry's Drop In The Polls tpm.ly/wjcSUR

REPORT DETAILS ELIZABETH WARREN AND SCOTT BROWN'S SHOCKING INCOME INEQUALITY - Thanks to its insatiable lust for money, Elizabeth Warren's greedy Senate campaign far outpaced Scott Brown's last quarter. Truly, there are two Americas. "Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren raised a stunning $5.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 in her bid to unseat Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.),according to the Boston Globe. The number signals how her candidacy has galvanized Democrats eager to retake the seat, which Brown won in an upset special election in 2010 following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. Warren reportedly has over $6 million in cash on hand. She raised $3.15 million during the third quarter of 2011, which was abbreviated just to one month because she launched her campaign Aug. 30. Brown raised $3.2 million during the last three months of 2011, but has a larger war chest at $12.8 million. His cash figure is the largest of any Massachusetts candidate for statewide office at this stage of the race." [HuffPost]

Sorry about all the demonizing! You've totally earned your flex Fridays! "With an election season underway, President Obama plans to visit federal agencies in the coming weeks to thank rank-and-file federal employees for their service, appearances that should contrast with Republican campaign attacks on his record and the size of the federal government." [WaPo]

LAWMAKER ON RECESS: WHAT'S WITH ALL THESE ASSHOLES SAYING I'M ON RECESS? - Somewhere in Washington today -- and this is just a guess -- Rep. Diane Black's staffers were enjoying recess, taking a long lunch at the Shirlington Village Busboys and Poets, hunting for suits at J. Press and hotboxing the Senate subway. Then their boss said this: "It's astounding to me that the president is claiming these are recess appointments and within his authority, when Congress was not in fact in recess... These appointments are an affront to the Constitution. No matter how you look at this, it doesn't pass the smell test. I hope the House considers my resolution as soon as we return to Washington so we can send a message to President Obama." Buzzkill. [HuffPost's Jason Linkins]

Wolf Blitzer's secret thoughts about politicians are exactly as obsequious and bland as you think they are: "Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul and Rick Perry could have taken the easy path and relaxed and enjoyed life. Instead of playing golf and hanging out with their children and grandchildren, they are working hard trying to get the Republican presidential nomination." Noted, Wolf! [HuffPost's Jason Linkins]

@HeardontheHill: Brad and Angie spotted in the Oval Office ......

NO AMOUNT OF PIMP COSTUMES CAN HIDE JAMES O'KEEFE FROM... THE LAW (BUM, BUM, BUMMMMMM) - TPM: "It was one of the few -- if not the only -- coordinated efforts to attempt in-person voter fraud, and it was pulled off by affiliates of conservative activist James O'Keefe at polling places in New Hampshire Tuesday night. All of it part of an attempt to prove the need for voter ID laws that voting rights experts say have a unfair impact on minority voters. Now election law experts tell TPM that O'Keefe's allies could face criminal charges on both the federal and state level for procuring ballots under false names, and that his undercover sting doesn't demonstrate a need for voter ID laws at all. Federal law bans not only the casting of, but the 'procurement' of ballots 'that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held.'" [TPM]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - "Otters chasing a butterfly" is the political metaphor you didn't know you needed.

IT'S LIKE, WE DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE ANYMORE, AMERICA - "Hostess Brands, the baking company known for sweet treats like Twinkies and Ding Dongs, filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, just three years after emerging from an earlier restructuring process." [NYT]

By @bradjshannon!

- We find this cat's antisocial behavior to be quite endearing. [http://chzb.gr/zr7WwE]

- This is easily the best "Shit ____ Says" video to date. [http://bit.ly/zzudOi]

- Hippies are created in much the same way as orcs in the Lord of the Rings movies. [http://bit.ly/xRZD3V]

- Utterly incomprehensible Scottish accents. [http://bit.ly/zWQIR6]

- Truly excellent dinosaur-themed standup. That description is redundant. [http://bit.ly/ysrGCp]

- Who will win the battle of Kitten vs. Mirror-Kitten? All of us. [http://bit.ly/yi13cz]

- It's only kind of mean-spirited to laugh at frightened animals. [http://bit.ly/whugNG]

- How to build a 30-story building in two weeks. [http://bit.ly/ABSW8O]

- You should probably watch those otters chase a butterfly again. [http://bit.ly/zfv0qp]


@Taquelli: Sets up stand outside mosque simply labelled "Bombs for Sale." #FutureOKeefeStings

@JessLevin: MSNBC chyron: "The Rom-inee?" Wonder how long they've been waiting to use that one.

@wise_kaplan: Things I've never read or clicked on: The Huffington Post, Philip Roth, The New York Post, The Atlantic, Gawker.

By @christinawilkie


6:30 pm: The National Organization of Italian American Women hosts an Epiphany Celebration to honor Three Wise Women, with Anita Bevacqua McBride, freelance food writer Domenica Marchetti, and Dena Feeney. SHADDAPAYUFACE! ... sorry. [Maggiano's Little Italy, 5333 Wisconsin Avenue NW]

7:00 pm - Thank God, finally somewhere pretty and warm. Rick Santorum holds a rally with just his type of folks (y'all know who you are) at the Historic Springdale House & Gardens. [3150 Platt Springs Road, Columbia, S.C.]


6:30 pm - If you can't wait for the PBS Bill Clinton biopic next month, just keep your pants on, because there's a sneak preview at the National Press Club. [Holeman Lounge, 14th and F Streets NW]

6:30 pm - If you're chillin' in NYC for recess, swing by Lady Lynn DeRothschild's party for Jon Huntsman at her sweet pad. No, don't do that. Terrible idea. "Release the hounds!" [435 East 52nd Street, New York]

7:00 pm - Author Jodi Kantor discusses "The Obamas" , while the entire White House flails around trying to discredit it. [Sixth and Eye Street Synagogue, 600 I Street NW]

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