POLITICS
03/01/2012 06:38 pm ET Updated May 01, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Seneca Fall$

Rick Santorum was such a frat boy in college that if elected he might replace the Resolute Desk with a folding card table for beer pong. The disturbing new commercial from Cain Solutions PAC is definitely the 21st century's Willie Horton (Americans secretly harbor a fear of spilt goldfish desperately gasping for air, right?). And to every action (like Rush Limbaugh telling women to know their place) there is an equal and opposite reaction (like the Democrats raising a boatload of money). This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, March 1st, 2012:

BATTLE OF THE SEXES = CASH FOR DEMS - Democrats say they're hauling in cash thanks to sexytime politics. No word on whether Al Bundy's National Organization for Men Against Amazonian Masterhood has also capitalized. Jen Bendery: "House Democrats have raised more than $1.1 million in the past week from their 'War on Women' campaign, according to a Thursday email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 'Thanks to your generous support and efforts, we raised over $1,114,000 for our women's health rapid response fund and we're only 18,000 signatures away from 500,000 supporters strong on our petition against Republicans' disgraceful assault on women's rights,' House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says in the DCCC email." [HuffPost]

THE U.S. GOVERNMENT: WORKING FOR *COUGH *COUGH* *COUGH* *COUGH* *COUGH* *COUGH* *COUGH* YOU - Dave Jamieson: "A federal rule meant to protect the lungs of workers has been caught in bureaucratic purgatory for more than a year now, frustrating public health advocates who believe the rulemaking process has been overly influenced by industry lobbies. The so-called 'silica' rule under consideration by the Labor Department would limit the amount of breathable silica dust to which workers in the construction and mining industries are exposed. Crystalline silica dust is found in sand and granite, and it has been known for decades to lead to the respiratory disease known as silicosis. Although the regulations would strengthen protections for workers, they're expected to raise costs for businesses that mine or build with materials involving silica." [HuffPost]

The Senate beat back the creepy old man bill about birth control. Laura Bassett: "The Senate voted on Thursday 51 to 48 to reject a controversial amendment sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) that would have overridden the Obama Administration's new contraception coverage rule and allowed any employer to refuse to cover any kind of health care service by citing 'moral reasons.' Three Democrats, Sens. Bob Casey (Pa.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.), voted with Republicans in favor of the amendment, and only one Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), voted against it. Although Obama's contraception mandate includes a broad exemption for churches and faith-based employers, Senate Republicans argued on Thursday that requiring any employer, even a non-religious one, to cover health services that they oppose is an attack on religious freedom." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - There is good economic news everywhere lately, but here is some crap: The number of homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth rose from 10.7 million to 11.1 million in the fourth quarter last year. That's 22.8 percent of all homeowners with mortgages, and the most negative equity since the CoreLogic first started tracking the data in 2009. Persistent negative equity could screw up the recovery. [Dow Jones]

UPSIDE DOWNER - After nearly four years of unemployment, Brian Gagnon of Fort Worth, Texas landed a production job similar to the one he lost in 2008.
"It pays less than my previous full time job (a lot less) and the hours are abysmal, but it is a job nonetheless," Gagnon said. "I'm just glad I'm starting to turn stuff around." Guess this is why Joe Biden told the long-term unemployed to "Hang in there." [HuffPost]

Heads up: Unemployment numbers come out next week instead of tomorrow.

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

THE DEMS' UPSIDE DOWN SHAKEDOWN - Congress can never actually complete comprehensive tax reform, because the second it does, both parties lose the ability to pull one of their favorite reverse shakedowns on K Street. Politico: "Democrats on K Street are warning their corporate clients: Give to Republican challengers in the 2012 election, and you'll regret it come tax reform time. Lobbyists are getting that message from allies of powerful Democrats such as Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is closely watching support for Rep. Denny Rehberg, a Republican challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). Baucus supporters fear that if Rehberg ousts Tester, Baucus could be next to face a serious Republican challenge in the state. One K-Streeter close to the Baucus operation said the senator considers a gift to Rehberg a contribution against him. Another Democratic lobbyist told a client to take his name off a Rehberg fundraising event because it would be hurtful to his company, according to sources. The case K-Streeters are making to their clients: It will be a hard sell next year to get Baucus's support on business-friendly tax perks set to expire or the Bush-era tax cuts that must get through his committee. The game of hardball is a bold example of a powerful chairman willing to leverage his power to protect his party's majority, his home-state colleague and potentially his own seat." [Politico]

REID GETTING HIS TRANSPORTATION BILL, DAMMIT - Harry Reid dropped a massive transportation bill managers amendment today and promptly filled the amendment tree. Who says the Senate doesn't do anything? Reid on the floor: "It includes matters reported unanimously by the banking committee, strong bipartisan vote in the finance committee, matters negotiated between the chairman and ranking member of the commerce committee....It also includes 37 additional amendments cleared by the managers of this bill and, where appropriate, cleared by other committees."

MICHIGAN GIVES ROMNEY WHAT HIS SUPPORTERS COVET MOST: A BONUS - Leave it to the ruthlessly free-market Republican Party to realize that their delegate system gives too many consolation prizes. Detroit Free Press: "The Mitt Romney-Rick Santorum Michigan primary results just got a little more contentious. Michigan's two at-large delegates to the Republican National convention will be awarded to Michigan native Mitt Romney, following a vote last night by the state party's credentials' committee. The vote came despite the party's rules that the two at-large delegates are supposed to be awarded on a proportional basis based on the statewide popular vote. Romney won the statewide vote by a 41% to 38% margin over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The rest of the state's delegates will be split evenly between Romney and Santorum because each won seven congressional districts across the state. As a result, Romney gets 16 delegates and Santorum 14." [DFP]

Via Marcy Kaptur's office, arguably the most crowd-pleasing endorsement in history: "Tom Hanks, Bob Dole and John Dingell Endorse Marcy Kaptur for Re-Election, Citing Her Efforts to Build World War II Memorial"

RICK SANTORUM: FRATMASTER 5000 - Before he was all about the bible, family values and the GOP, Tau Epsilon Phi brother Rick Santorum was about beers, popped Polos and -- we're just guessing here -- Tennis Hos and Golf Bros night at Beta. Jason Cherkis: "David Vondercrone doesn't remember sharing his fraternity house with a besieged conservative student. He remembers his former Penn State frat brother -- and current GOP presidential contender -- Rick Santorum as a regular poker player. 'I played a lot of basketball with him and a lot of poker with him,' Vondercrone tells The Huffington Post... 'He wasn't so outspoken,' Vondercrone says. 'It seems to be his identity in the race right now. I didn't think of him as that way ... We talked about sports, our classes.' He says Santorum regularly attended the house's Monday night 'low-stakes' poker games that included watching 'Monday Night Football.' He remembers Santorum smoking cigars. And drinking beer. Santorum was an 'all-year' sports fan, Vondercone recalls. He was a Pittsburgh fan whether it was the Pirates or the Steelers. Sometimes, the fraternity had parties at the house -- 10 or so a year, "full scale with a band," Vondercrone says. Santorum took his turn behind the fraternity's bar and served drinks. He didn't necessarily stand out as either a wall flower or an expert dancer. "I don't remember him having a long-term girlfriend," Vondercrone says. "He was comfortable with women." [HuffPost]

HERMAN CAIN'S INSANE SATANIC DEAD FISH HELLSCAPE - Herman Cain's SuperPAC has released its first TV ad, a fever dream that mixes Koch bros. politics with the video for Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box." It depicts the apparent murder of a goldfish, apparently at the hands of a little girl, who asks, "Any questions?" Yes, little girl: WHY???? [HuffPost]

He's gonna need good hair for this: "Former U.S. Senator John Edwards was cleared to go on trial for campaign-finance law violations after a judge said his medical condition is manageable. Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin on April 18, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles said at a hearing today in Greensboro, North Carolina. The trial is expected to last six weeks. Opening statements would begin April 23. Edwards, 58, was granted a delay in January because of a heart condition. The medical condition is now in the management stage, Eagles said, citing a letter from Edwards's doctor." [BusinessWeek]

YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY: AS WYOMING GOES, SO GOES... WYOMING - WaPo: "Mitt Romney has won the Wyoming caucuses, according to results released Wednesday by the state Republican Party.The final results from the caucuses, which were held at various points over the last three weeks, show Romney winning the presidential preference straw poll portion with 39 percent of the vote, compared to 32 percent for Rick Santorum, 21 percent for Ron Paul and 8 percent for Newt Gingrich." [HuffPost]

AMERICA OFFICIALLY THE MOST NEPOTISTIC PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE - Roll Call: "Chad Condit, the son of former California Rep. Gary Condit, appears set to launch a campaign for Congress as an independent in California's Central Valley. Condit, 45, who most recently served as a state legislative aide, has launched a website, Twitter account and YouTube channel but has not made a formal announcement. However, a story published on ivn.us includes an interview with Condit in which he confirms he is running. Several calls to a phone number listed on the website went unanswered. There had been rumors in the Modesto area that the younger Condit was considering a bid in the redrawn 10th district, where freshman Rep. Jeff Denham (R) is seeking re-election, but his decision came as no less of a surprise." [Roll Call]

ANDREW BREITBART - "Shirley Sherrod, the USDA employee who was fired from her job after Breitbart released an incomplete video of her appearing to say she intentionally discriminated against white farmers -- she was actually describing how she overcame such prejudices -- sent her condolences... Republican gay rights group GOProud, of which Breitbart was a board member until recently, released a statement saying it was 'stunned and saddened,' and calling him an 'amazing friend and ally.'... Matt Drudge, editor of The Drudge Report, made a rare personal statement on his website about Breitbart... Arianna Huffington, the editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, also paid tribute." [HuffPost]

This Daily Mail article was crossposted on Fox Nation: "Andrew Breitbart, the conservative firebrand and new media pioneer who died suddenly today at just 43, had told friends he was poised to take his jihad against the Left deeper into the mainstream media with a regular show on CNN. Last weekend, Breitbart told friends he was in early talks with CNN about a Crossfire-style show in which he would argue from the Right alongside former US House representative Anthony Weiner taking him on from the Left." [Fox Nation]

Elsewhere in conservative-dom: "Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh drew sharp criticism from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and others on Wednesday when he called Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, a 'slut' and a 'prostitute' for publicly advocating that employers cover contraception in their health plans. But instead of apologizing for his offensive comments on his show Thursday, he geared up for round two. Channeling Foster Friess, a main financial backer of former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), Limbaugh said that he would 'happily buy [Sandra Fluke] all the aspirin she wants' to put between her knees in lieu of contraception." [HuffPost's Laura Bassett and Jen Bendery]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Tigons are way cooler than ligers.

MORE ACCURATE THAN PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL: On HuffPost DC: "The National Park Service has made its prediction when the cherry blossoms will be at peak bloom.."

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- Cat is totally freaking out right now. [http://bit.ly/yuqukM]

- "Choose Your Own Adventure: Office Edition" [http://bit.ly/x3EnRU]

- Star Wars merch that could have been... [http://bit.ly/w99BP1]

- For some of us, the world just doesn't spin fast enough. [http://bit.ly/xqSKu3]

- Adorable pug puppies! [http://bit.ly/wV0V1g]

- Hollywood is awfully presumptuous. [http://bit.ly/xrIf22]

- Tricycles aren't just for kids anymore. [http://bit.ly/A2ihsd]

- "Guest Checks" is a blog for art on restaurant checks. [http://bit.ly/zgUF64]

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: This is the worst LeapBoxing Day ever.

@dceiver: I think some lasting psychological harm was done to the girl in this Herman Cain/Goldfish video as well.

@MaxKaminCross: "Senate Smokes Blunt" ow.ly/9oqVW I think @HuffPostHill hacked @HuffPostPol

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

6:00pm - 8:00pm: Apparently smartphone app designers now have lobbyists, making their reception the best place ever to complain about app features that annoy you. [Lounge 201, 201 Massachusetts Ave, NE]

6:30 - 8:00pm: In the next room over from the app designers, angry progressives discuss "The War on Women." Fun combo! [Lounge 201]

8:00pm - 11:00pm: A rock'n roll photo exhibit at the W Hotel kicks off with a sweet show: Fitz and the Tantrums followed by Thievery Corp.

TOMORROW

12:00pm - 1:30pm: Free lunch today is sponsored by the relatively inoffensive country of Denmark. [HVC 201]

7:00 - 10:00pm: Alexandria's Animal Welfare League is hosting a party you can bring your dog to. Inexplicably, it's at the airport. [Reagan Airport Terminal A]

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

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO