POLITICS
06/04/2012 05:29 pm ET Updated Aug 04, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Toilet EXPLODES

A urinal exploded in a Capitol press gallery, prompting local English professors to debate whether it's a metaphor for Congress or the news media. If a new poll is to be believed, Tom Barrett's speechwriters might want to consult those English professors about devising alternate ways to say "fought the good fight." And a sizable number of Americans want Bruce Springsteen to write a new National Anthem, a situation that could've been avoided if Francis Scott Key threw in a few lines about New Jersey teens making out. Where's your head, FSK? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, June 4th, 2012:

WHITE HOUSE TOTALLY NOT SWEATING HAVING ITS BIGGEST DOMESTIC ACCOMPLISHMENT SCALED DOWN - Sam Stein: "Health care reform advocates are growing more confident in the idea that the Affordable Care Act can remain workable even if the Supreme Court rules the individual mandate unconstitutional. Conversations inside the White House remain remarkably secret but several Democratic sources said that officials there share this belief. Last week, Bloomberg News reported that President Obama had told campaign donors that he might have to take a second bite at the health care reform apple after the Supreme Court issues its decision... The administration has privately considered alternative reform ideas, despite publicly insisting that such considerations would be premature (those conversation are so tightly held that outside stakeholders are rarely involved). One aide put it this way: 'When the decision comes down we will be ready.' Increasingly, the focus has turned to what would need to happen should the Court decide that the individual mandate -- which penalizes people who don't purchase insurance coverage -- were to be ruled unconstitutional but severable from the rest of the law."

WISCONSIN RECALL POLL: WALKER STILL AHEAD - A new PPP survey bodes well for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, putting him ahead of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, 50 to 47 -- more or less the average of recent polling. Likelihood of the Barrett campaign releasing internals showing a dead heat: 4:1; likelihood of your activist friend ending up in a Milwaukee gastro pub on Tuesday night, sobbing into a delicately poured glass of Chimay Red and stuffing his face with farm-to-table brats: 2:1. Mark Blumenthal: "Fifteen surveys on the recall election have been released over the past month, and while most have produced close results, all but one have given Walker the advantage. Independent polls have generally given Walker a bigger lead than the handful of publicly released internal polls sponsored by the Barrett campaign or its Democratic allies." [HuffPost]

Ah say, ah say, ah do declare families are being torn asundah by this here recall: "The Wisconsin recall elections are being called an 'epic battle,' a 'civil war' and even an 'un-civil war.'... In May, a man jumped in front of his wife's car to prevent her from voting against Gov. Scott Walker (R) in the state's Republican primary. He injured his head, neck and back... 'I have a sister who is a Tea Party member and a staunch supporter [of Walker], and that has definitely strained our relationship. In fact, we're pretty much estranged at this moment, because of the recall and politics,' said Diane Flanagan, a lifelong Wisconsinite from Waukesha County. Flanagan is backing Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) in the gubernatorial recall election on Tuesday and turned out last week to hear President Bill Clinton rally Democrats in downtown Milwaukee." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

DOJ TO MONITOR RECALL - So if you're in Milwaukee and are told to vote by scribbling your favorite Motley Crue lyric over the name of your preferred candidate, make sure you locate the nearest fed. Terkel: "The U.S. Department of Justice plans to monitor the recall elections in Wisconsin on Tuesday, and will dispatch a team of federal observers to the city of Milwaukee. The observers will be ensuring that the city complies with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in the electoral process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group. There are six recall elections taking place on June 5 for governor, lieutenant governor and four state senators. Wisconsin's Department of Justice is also sending a team of assistant attorneys general and special agents from the Division of Criminal Investigation to 12 cities in an effort to prevent voter fraud." [HuffPost]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST WEEPS FOR EXPLOITED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES EVERYWHERE - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who didn't play "Cowboys and Indians" as a child because of its prejudiced underpinnings (he opted instead for "bankers and underwater homeowners"), is upset at Elizabeth Warren's continued claims of Cherokee heritage. "Someone should build a coalition of everyone Professor Warren is 1/32nd related to and push for a friends and family exemption to the CFPB," PSLGOPL writes, in what is quite possibly a bid for lobbying business. Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - There were 1.8 million Americans unemployed for 99 weeks or longer in May, according to unpublished data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The "99ers" scenario is little changed from the previous year, when there were 1.9 million people out of work that long. The data are not seasonally adjusted, so economists avoid month-to-month comparisons, but for what it's worth, the number of 99ers has remained essentially the same for many many months. The labor force is purging people.

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

@ppppolls: If Michele Bachmann was Romney's running mate, Obama's lead in Minnesota would increase by 6 points

OBAMA CRASHES CONFERENCE CALL - Jen Bendery: "President Barack Obama on Monday dropped in on a White House press call to urge the Senate to pass legislation that ensures women are paid the same amount as their male counterparts. 'Tomorrow, Congress is going to have a chance to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act,' Obama said on the call, during which he spoke for just a couple of minutes. 'I don't have to tell you how much this matters to families across the country. All of you are working day in, day out, to support the basic principle, equal pay for equal work.' The White House gave only about an hour's notice that Obama would personally take part in the call, which comes a day ahead of a key Senate vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill would require employers to demonstrate that any salary differences between men and woman doing the same work are not gender-related. The bill would also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers, and would require the Labor Department to step up its outreach to employers in order to eliminate pay disparities." [HuffPost]

ROMNEY HIRES BUSH 43 OFFICIAL, CONSERVATIVES OUTRAGED BY CANDIDATE'S RADICAL LEFTIST MOVE - The Hill: "Mitt Romney's presidential campaign faced renewed skepticism from conservatives this weekend after tapping former Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt (R) -- who has supported parts of President Obama's healthcare law -- to lead its transition planning. Leavitt, who led the Health and Human Services Department under former President George W. Bush, has spent the past few years running a consulting business that helps states implement parts of the Affordable Care Act. 'The fact that Romney picked Leavitt suggests he really doesn't mind ObamaCare that much, and that he is just saying whatever he needs to say to get what he wants. I know. Mitt Romney. Go figure,' wrote Michael Cannon, a health policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute. Leavitt is on record supporting insurance exchanges -- new marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can compare and buy insurance. The Affordable Care Act directs each state to establish an exchange by 2014, and the planning for that effort has proved lucrative for Leavitt." [The Hill]

IT'S OFFICIAL: DICK CHENEY IS ABOVE THE LAW - Remember the aughts? It was that decade before Double Rainbow. Mike Sacks: "Secret Service agents who arrested a man after he disparaged and then touched Dick Cheney cannot be sued for violating the man's free speech rights, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday morning. When then-Vice President Cheney visited a Colorado mall in 2006, Secret Service agent Dan Doyle overheard Steven Howards say that he was 'going to ask [the vice president] how many kids he's killed today.' Howards then got in line to meet Cheney and, when he reached the vice president, told him that his 'policies in Iraq are disgusting.' As Cheney moved along, Howards touched him on the shoulder, prompting the supervising Secret Service agent, Gus Reichle, to accost and arrest Howards for assault. After the charges were dismissed, Howards sued the agents, claiming they arrested him in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right to criticize Cheney. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled in Howards' favor." [HuffPost]

FLASH -- ER, FLUSH: PEE RECEPTACLE EXPLODES IN CAPITOL, DOZENS WET - Just one more reason why the Senate Press Gallery is nicer, via National Journal: "A big splash occurred on Monday morning at the House Press Gallery in the U.S. Capitol. No, this wasn't one of those unexpected guest appearances for celebrities to talk to reporters about some favorite cause. This splash came from an exploding urinal. More specifically, something suddenly broke in the piping of the third-floor urinal, and water began spewing from beneath the men's room door. As the water flowed, it first surrounded the Associated Press's working area, then spread toward both ends of the gallery, which was occupied by fewer than usual reporters and staffers, because the House is out of session until Tuesday." [National Journal]

A shocking new poll finds that Americans enjoy singing "Born to Run" in unison before sporting events: "About 2 in 10 Americans, or 22 percent, say that if they had to get someone to compose a new national anthem for the United States they would pick Bruce Springsteen, a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll shows. The popular musician -- who is a noted favorite of many politicians, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, for example -- narrowly beat out country singer Dolly Parton as Americans' number one choice to write a replacement for "The Star-Spangled Banner," with Parton scoring 19 percent support." [Politico]

HERMAN CAIN GETS A TALK SHOW - Comin' at you live from Uz-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan Atlanta! AP: " Conservative talk radio host Neal Boortz announced his retirement Monday after four decades at the microphone, saying he will be replaced by former GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain. Boortz said during his morning talk show that his last day will be Jan. 21, 2013, the day of the presidential inauguration. The 67-year-old Boortz said he is in good health and plans to enjoy retirement by traveling with his wife. 'This has been a stress-free job for me. It's just been a total and absolutely joy,' he said. 'I'm going to miss everything associated with doing a talk radio show.' Boortz's show is syndicated across the country through Atlanta's WSB radio, drawing about 6 million listeners on 230 radio stations." [AP]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - New video from Maru! Yaaaaay!

CLEVELAND PARK SPORTS BATTLE - HuffPost DC: "Did you steal a Pittsburgh Steelers banner from a house in Cleveland Park? You may have been caught on camera!" [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- Think you can tweet like Kanye? [http://bit.ly/NcRHw2]

- The history of video games never sounded so good. [http://bit.ly/NcRNDF]

- How would you react if you'd never heard before? [http://bit.ly/NcROYl]

- We suspect this bowl of kittens... [http://chzb.gr/NcRYPu]

- ...is attentively following this catocopter. [http://bit.ly/NcS21E]

- But seriously, pass us a beer. [http://bit.ly/NcRUza]

- Hot Chip's new album, In Our Heads, in your internets. [http://bit.ly/NcRysq]

TWITTERAMA

@FakeAPStylebook: Newspapers are open year-round. Those "Enjoy your summer vacation!" emails the owners are sending out probably mean you're fired.

@JeffreyYoung_HC: Tune into 99.9 on your FM dial! RT: @TPM: Herman Cain gets a radio show: http://tpm.ly/M4EQu4

@Indecision: Bill Maher bought a piece of the Mets because he wants to be associated with something else as unpopular as atheism.

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

5:30pm: Sherrod Brown's opponent, Ohio Republican Josh Mandel makes a pilgrimage from Cleveland to worship at the altar of campaign with Grover Norquist on Capitol Hill. [319 Pennsylvania Ave., SE]

6:00pm: President Obama campaigns at a gala dinner with two guys who were serious chick-magnets in the 1990s: Jon Bon Jovi and Bill Clinton. [The Waldorf Astoria, NYC]

7:00pm: Wouldn't you know it? A few OK renditions of Barry White, and Obama decides he's ready for Broadway. Odds are looking good for an encore. [214 W. 42nd Street, NYC]

TOMORROW

5:00pm: Get your party hats ready, folks, because nothing says fun like a congressional reception for the propane lobby. [CVC]

6:30pm - 8:30pm: Acclimate yourself to the nonstop Olympic talk you'll be hearing the next three months with an Olympic reception sponsored by those health nuts over at BP. [Ronald Reagan Building]

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