POLITICS
02/27/2012 06:33 pm ET Updated Apr 28, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Romney's Seminal Memories

We aren't surprised that Mitt Romney remembers his conception -- that's like the LEAST impressive thing a robot can do. Bob Kerrey wants to be Nebraska's next senator even though he previously ran a lefty university with a thriving t'ai chi intramural program. And if news of army-trained dolphins who sniff out sea mines doesn't cry out for a reboot of the "Flipper" franchise, we don't know what does. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, February 27th, 2012:

GUY WHO LOST IN HIS HOME STATE MIGHT DEFEAT ANOTHER GUY IN HIS HOME STATE - The circle is (maybe) complete: "Five new polls in Michigan, all conducted on Saturday or Sunday, point to a close finish between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in the state's Republican primary on Tuesday. Although Romney has gained over the last two weeks, the results of the final round of polling are inconsistent, both as to which candidate is leading and whether either candidate will benefit from a late uptick. Three of the five surveys, by Rasmussen Reports, Public Policy Polling (PPP) and We Ask America, show Romney ahead of Santorum by two to four percentage points. The two others, an automated poll by Mitchell Research and the one live-interviewer survey by the American Research Group (ARG), show Santorum ahead of Romney by one to two percentage points. All five show Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich running far behind. All but the ARG poll were conducted using an automated, recorded voice over the telephone." [HuffPost]

MITT ROMNEY RECALLS HIS HALCYON DAYS AS A SPERM - Sam Stein: "Mitt Romney came under criticism Monday for recalling a seminal moment from his childhood in Detroit that actually took place nine months before he was born. Mitch Potter of the Toronto Star on Monday questioned a tale that the former Massachusetts governor recently told to a Tea Party crowd of attending the Golden Jubilee. Romney told the gathering in Milford, Mich., he was 'probably 4 or something' at the time of the jubilee, which attracted 750,000 people to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile. There was just one problem. 'The Golden Jubilee described so vividly by Romney was indeed an epic moment in automotive lore,' Potter writes. 'The parade included one of the last public appearances by an elderly Henry Ford. And it took place June 1, 1946 -- fully nine months before Romney was born.'" Heh. [HuffPost]

HERE ARE THE ITEMS THAT WILL BE DEBATED AND NOT PASSED FOR THE NEXT FEW MONTHS - Tomorrow in Roll Call from Meredith Shiner: "Leadership aides say that on the messaging front, Democrats over the next few months will look to move legislation on Obama’s manufacturing plan, including increased tax breaks for companies who bring back jobs domestically, his tuition relief proposals to lower interest rates on student loans, and tax extender provisions that have expired. But they may not have a GOP presidential nominee to cast as their foil for those debates. Meanwhile, Republicans say they will focus on their ideas on tax code reform and rolling back the more than $500 billion in defense cuts triggered by the failure of last fall’s Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. A campaign against the massive defense cuts, criticized even by Obama’s own Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, could play well for the GOP in swing states like North Carolina and Virginia, home to many military bases and manufacturing companies that deal with defense."

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - A Florida state lawmaker is pushing a bill requiring state agencies to test their workers for drugs. But the bill wouldn't mandate testing for all public sector employees: members of the Florida legislature would get a pass. Rep. Jimmie Smith (R-Lecanto), the bill's sponsor, said he supports drug testing for lawmakers, but requiring them to pee in cups like everyone else would violate their constitutional rights. In an email to the Daily Delaney Downer, Smith cited the U.S. Supreme Court's 1997 decision in Chandler v. Miller, which struck down tests for political candidates in Georgia. While he "strongly" supports drug testing for legislators, Smith said, "being elected to office is completely different from being hired by a company or agency." [HuffPost]

DOLPHINS, SEA LIONS ON OUR SIDE IN IRAN WAR - David Wood: "If the tense confrontation with Iran ignites into war, strategists say they expect Iran will strike with thousands of deadly sea mines to try to halt oil tanker traffic and take out American warships....But the Navy says this time it's prepared for a mine war, with a four-ship fleet of high-tech counter-mine vessels patrolling the Gulf, along with airborne sensors, robot submarines, a squadron of mine-hunting dolphins and sea lions on standby -- and two decades worth of operational experience off the coast of Iran." [HuffPost]

GLENN THRUSH AND SAM STEIN SHOULD GET A ROOM - Sam Stein: "But when pushed about the repeated violations of Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment -- much of it undertaken by Romney's super PAC -- [Va. Gov. Bob McDonald] acknowledged that things have turned a touch nasty. Do you think they should tone it down a little bit, Politico's Glenn Thrush asked, would that be advice you would give to Governor Romney?" Glenn Thrush: "'The one thing that's true in politics is that the candidates want to win," McDonnell, a conservative who has governed from the center, responded to a throng of reporters that, I think, possibly included Huffington Post scribe Sam Stein. [Politico]

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

BOB KERREY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF A UNIVERSITY THAT EVEN NEW YORKERS THINK IS TOO HIPSTER, RUNNING FOR SENATE IN NEBRASKA - Making the New School proud. WaPo: "Former senator Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) has changed his mind and plans to run for the open Senate seat in Nebraska, according to a senior Democratic aide. The aide said Kerrey has called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to inform him of his plans. Kerrey announced earlier this month that he decided against attempting a return to the Senate, citing his family... Kerrey, of course, will have to overcome charges of carpetbagging. Despite being a former governor and senator from Nebraska, he moved to New York after retiring from the Senate in 2001 and even flirted with running for mayor of New York City." This can only end with Kerry trying too hard during a photo op in front of a grain silo (our prediction: he'll be wearing an awkwardly-sized John Deere trucker hat) Also -- probably -- something involving a high school football field. [WaPo]

RICK SANTORUM ACCUSES SOMEONE OF LIMITING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM... REALLY - The former Pennsylvania senator, who we're pretty sure would love nothing more than a Department of Church Bake Sales, got super foolhardy today when he called people who aren't him religiously intolerant. A+. Jon Ward: "Santorum also came close to calling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the 'first lady,' and then said that she and President Barack Obama are not for religious freedom but rather talk about 'freedom of worship.' Santorum said this term is an indication that Obama and Clinton want to tell churches and people of faith how they can live their lives when they are not in their place of worship." [HuffPost]

RON PAUL'S CONFUSING THING FOR MITT ROMNEY - Ron Paul has not once attacked Mitt Romney during the 20 GOP debates. We're scouring the old debate footage to see if there were any furtive glances between the two or -- if they were seated/standing next to one another -- intense finger grazing. ThinkProgress: "In recent days, attention has focused on the unusual relationship between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, who are purportedly competing against each other for the Republican presidential nomination. The New York Times reported recently that Romney has 'worked to cultivate' a friendship with Paul. The candidates talk on the phone frequently. And when Paul's 'campaign jet broke down last year,' Romney 'offered his jet to take them home to Texas.'...Paul has gone beyond merely refraining from attacks. He has actively defended Romney on some of his biggest vulnerabilities." [ThinkProgress]

Take off those rose colored glasses and view the world through Seamus the Dog's oppressed eyeballs.

Mitt Romney enjoys the finer things... but he also has a toilet with one of those cords on it. He's complex. NYT: "But the crowd initially booed Mr. Romney, who occasionally struck a discordant note, as when he approached a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos. 'I like those fancy raincoats you bought,' he said. 'Really sprung for the big bucks.' And when asked if he was a fan of the sport, he mentioned that 'I have some great friends who are Nascar team owners.'" [NYT]

While in Rockford, Mich., on Monday, Mitt Romney didn't acknowledge a question from a reporter about how his recent comments on NASCAR made him appear to voters.

NEWT GINGRICH TO AFGHANS: SUCK IT UP, WHINERS - Now please turn your Emily Post to the chapter on insulting millions of people who have endured years of hell on Earth, we'll begin our section Newt Gingrich's most recent faux pas. TPM: "On Monday...At a business luncheon in Nashville, Gingrich said it is impossible to 'fix' Afghanistan. 'This is a real problem,' Newt continued, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 'And there are some problems where you have to say, 'You know, you are going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life' … because you clearly don't want to learn from me how to be unmiserable. And that is what you are going to see happen.'" Never change, Newt! [TPM]

MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN THE LAND CAN'T REMEMBER SLIGHTLY LESS POWERFUL PERSON'S NAME - You don't know Jack (really, you don't). During a speech to the National Governor's Association today, President Obama mistakenly called Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley "Jack." Baltimore Sun: "Sure there are 50 governors to keep track of, but O'Malley -- the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association -- has a higher profile in Washington than many, if not most of them. Highlighting Maryland education polices, Obama called out what he thought was the governor's name, according to a pool report of the event. 'Jack O'Malley, where is he?' the president said. Pause. Silence. 'I mean, Martin.' If the GOP doesn't blast out talking points titled, "Elephants Are Known for Their Memories" that prominently features a long winded donkey/Democrat versus elephant/Republican metaphor, we'll be... disappointed. [Baltimore Sun]

SCOTT WALKER WON'T CHALLENGE RECALL - Journal Sentinel: "Gov. Scott Walker will not challenge any signatures by Monday's deadline in an attempt to stop a recall election against him. That leaves only a review by state elections officials standing between the Republican governor and only the third recall election for a governor is U.S. history. An independent conservative group released its own analysis of the recall petitions Monday, but state elections officials said the law does not allow it to count those outside challenges. 'We are not filing any specific challenges to any specific signatures today,' Walker campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said. 'We simply ran out of time.' Organizers gathered more than 1 million signatures in 60 days seeking to force the recall – well over the 540,000 valid signatures needed. Over the last month, Walker and Republicans have been examining the signatures seeking to find ones to challenge as invalid." [Journal Sentinel]

CAT RUNNING FOR SENATE - And really, is coughing up soggy masses of swallowed hair that moments ago were resting comfortably in one's fur-covered belly any worse than dodging one's taxes, or cheating on one's wife, or doing the countless awful things that most politicians do? We say "no." "Hank, born to a single mother living on the streets, overcame his humble beginnings. Now the Springfield, Va., resident has decided to take the next step: He's using his dedication, energy and life experiences to run for U.S. Senate. Also, Hank is a cat. 'What people don't realize is that we don't need some new crazy way of doing something to fix our problems,' Hank allegedly said on his website, HankforSenate.com. 'After all, the problems we face now have been faced by Americans since this great land was founded. Right now we need to fall back on time-tested solutions, not social theory.'" We wholeheartedly endorse Hank (that is, until it's revealed that American Bridge is funding this stunt -- then we'll seriously regret endorsing Hank). [NBC Washington]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Crystal power, for your mind to discover.

A PECULIAR MARRIAGE: On HuffPost DC: "More on the strange case of 'delusional' Albrecht Muth and his slain Georgetown socialite wife Viola Drath."

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- Don't worry, women of America. Your tummy-pockets are safe with these guys. [http://bit.ly/xBrsCc]

- Play the Romney quote quiz! [http://bit.ly/wRsdf1]

- "Grand Piano Busker" sounds like the name of a stiff drink, but in this case it's a dude's occupation. [http://bit.ly/w78kG4]

- The Magnetic Fields have a new album out. Listen to all of it at NPR. Also, they're plaing the 9:30 Club on April 9. [http://n.pr/wdiapc]

- "Love is Making Its Way Back Home" is a cut paper animation that will blow you away. [http://bit.ly/zSXOrP]

- Siri is kind of a jerk. [http://bit.ly/zibarm]

- Incredible photos of Chernobyl. [http://bo.st/wMGvBh]

- Half-court buzzer shot. [http://bit.ly/x0403R]

TWITTERAMA

@Atrios: in United States, bank robs you!

@aaronwiener: "Marriage is not man on dog on car." #Romtorum

@indecision: If people's problem with Obama was just that he's a snob, then Booger from Revenge of the Nerds would be leading in the polls right now.

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

6:00pm - 7:30pm: Guests at the state highway lobbyists' reception will pretend they can't hear Boehner's transportation bill writhing in agony on the House floor. [HVC 201]

6:30pm-8:00pm: The American Association of Museums' congressional reception pairs democratically elected fossils with people who like fossils. [Canon Caucus Room]

TOMORROW

12:00pm - 1:30pm: Your free lunch today will involve a 90 minute briefing on birth defects. Bon apetit! [SVC 200]

6:30pm - 8:30pm: The entire radical left-wing conspiracy, including but not limited to Harry Reid, Al Franken, John Podesta and David Brock will convene to toast Brock's new Fox-bashing book, The Fox Effect. Come dressed to party. [455 Massachusetts Ave., NW]

6:30pm - 8:30pm: Drag bingo and charity dog adoptions collide at the only place they ever will: Nellie's Sports Bar, naturally. [U Street on the Green Line]

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