07/02/2012 05:47 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Romney Gets In Front Of Potential 'Flip-Flopper' Narrative

Thousands of Washington residents are still without power... they also don't have electricity. Anderson Cooper confirmed CNN's continued existence in a much-discussed blog post on The Daily Beast. And Mitt Romney will visit Israel later this year, a country we suspect the candidate will lovingly refer to as the "land of milk and... and... and... that fantastic golden syrupy stuff." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 2nd, 2012:

ROMNEY WORRIED ABOUT FLIP FLOPPING ON IMMIGRATION - According to Politico, the Republican presidential candidate told a group of would-be Republican donors and media boosters that he doesn't want to get too forceful on immigration lest he contradict himself. Sure, that's a bit like Larry King worrying that his seventh marriage might make him look... eh. Politico: "Mitt Romney last week told a private group of potential supporters and business and media elites, including Rupert Murdoch, that he was treading carefully around the issue of immigration to avoid looking like a 'flip-flopper.' The moment, the subject of the media mogul's now famous tweet, took place at a private fundraiser/meet-and-greet put together and hosted by Ken Langone at the Union League Club in Manhattan late Thursday afternoon, several hours after the Supreme Court decision on health care came down, multiple sources told POLITICO. The event was attended by between 40 and 50 people, sources said, including some major names in fundraising, finance and media. They included Murdoch and his top adviser Joel Klein, Randy Falco, the CEO of Univision, Goldman Sachs head Lloyd Blankfein, real estate scion Bill Rudin, hedge fund executives Stanley Druckenmiller and Julian Robertson, Jets owner Woody Johnson, former Rudy Giuliani adviser Anthony Carbonetti, and pollster and strategist Kellyanne Conway, according to sources familiar with the list of attendees." [Politico]

This year in Jerusalem! ABC News: "Mitt Romney will head to Israel this summer, his first foreign trip since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee earlier this year. The trip is likely to take place after Romney attends the opening ceremonies at the London Olympics on July 27. Romney is also reportedly scheduled to attend a fundraiser in London that same week hosted by Bob Diamond, the CEO of Barclay's." [ABC News]

HOW MIKE BLOOMBERG 64-OUNCED THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY - Buried in this Times feature on the soda industry's lobbying push is this here nugget: "[Big Corn Syrup] also learned an early lesson about Mr. Bloomberg's overwhelming influence around the city. Last year, the group retained SKD Knickerbocker, an influential consulting firm that produced advertisements for Mr. Bloomberg's mayoral campaigns, to advise it on political strategy in New York. When a Knickerbocker spokesman, speaking for the beverage industry, denounced the mayor's plan last month, Mr. Bloomberg's camp was taken aback, according to several people with direct knowledge of the situation. Allies of Mr. Bloomberg conveyed their anger to the firm. The company still represents the beverage association but is no longer working on the soda-ban issue." We suggest to Knickerbocker that they pull a Don Draper and pen a scathing condemnation of the industry they represent. It totally worked for Don. Sort of. [NYT]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The government is screwing up the economic recovery, according to economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. When the Great Recession got started, the government responded with helpful spending. "However, during the past year, aggregate government budgetary policy has reversed course," write Brian Lucking and Dan Wilson. "Over the next few years, as federal fiscal policy shifts toward austerity, it is likely to be a headwind against economic growth." We need a fiscal policy that breaks wind, not that makes it. [FRBSF.org]'

DOUBLE DOWNER - On a related note, from this day on, people laid off through no fault of their own have no promise of federal unemployment insurance if they run out of six months of state benefits without finding work, since Congress has not reauthorized the programs past December. Plus, bad news: Lawmakers are super bored of unemployment. The Hill's Vicki Needham has additional details: "As federal programs wind down this year, pressure will increase on lawmakers to consider an extension while the unemployment rate hovers around 8 percent. At least one lawmaker, though, thinks the chances of an extension hinge on the outcome of the presidential election, pushing the issue into an already busy lame-duck session. 'I think Nov. 6 will determine the outcome more than anything else,' Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee, told The Hill." [The Hill]

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ERIC FEHRNSTROM: INDIVIDUAL MANDATE NOT A TAX - Which isn't as off-message as, say, going on Current and gushing about the graphics on "The Life of Julia," but it's kinda sloppy. Amanda Terkel: "Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney, admitted Monday that he actually agrees with the Obama administration on something: the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act is a 'penalty' and not a 'tax.'" Since the Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama's health care law but ruled that its mandate is a tax, Republicans have criticized him for imposing a massive tax on the American public. The Romney campaign joined in this line of attack, with an adviser telling The Huffington Post's Jon Ward that the Supreme Court's ruling would help them politically. "Frankly, to be able to tell you your taxes have been raised by this bill and you didn't know that, as opposed to trying to explain Congress's powers under the commerce clause, it's easier," the Romney adviser said, referencing the issue of the law's constitutionality... But in a Monday interview on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown," Fehrnstrom said, "[T]he governor has consistently described the mandate as a penalty.'" [HuffPost]

PRO TIP: Put your water sports hobby on hold while running for president... unless you harpoon sharks for fun. [HuffPost]

Speaking of Romney and sports... "Mitt Romney will now have some unlikely advertising from outside the campaign: An anonymous donor is paying for a minor-league soccer club to wear jerseys with the candidate's name and slogan 'Believe in America.' F.C. New York, a club based in New York, started to wear jerseys with 'Romney' across the front at a game on Saturday, Big Apple Soccer and The New York Times reported." [HuffPost's Elise Foley]

IOWA GOVERNOR WON'T EXPAND MEDICAID - Because everyone knows that ethanol's seemingly endless uses include cures for shingles, colon cancer and gastroenteritis. Sweet, sweet corn. Jon Ward: "Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad told reporters in Iowa on Monday it's 'doubtful' that the Hawkeye State will expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care law, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it doesn't have to. In an interview Friday with The Huffington Post, Branstad was even more forceful. 'We're opposed to it and we're not going to have any part of it,' Branstad said. 'But we're taking our own approach. We want to put our own effort together to be the healthiest state, and we're willing to help people who are willing to help themselves. But we're certainly not going to buy into this federal effort. We're going to fight it in every way we can.'... Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker all said last week they would reject the expansion and that they would not set up the health care exchanges required under Obama's health care law." [HuffPost]

DRUG WAR CASHED? - Good news for anyone who listens to Trey Anastasio's solo work unironically or who is the target demo for Doritos' "Tacos at Midnight" -- a new report in GQ indicates that President Obama intends to scale back the War on Drugs. GQ: "According to ongoing discussions with Obama aides and associates, if the president wins a second term, he plans to tackle another American war that has so far been successful only in perpetuating more misery: the four decades of The Drug War. Don't expect miracles. There is very little the president can do by himself. And pot-smokers shouldn't expect the president to come out in favor of legalizing marijuana. But from his days as a state senator in Illinois, Obama has considered the Drug War to be a failure, a conflict that has exacerbated the problem of drug abuse, devastated entire communities, changed policing practices for the worse, and has led to a generation of young children, disproportionately black and minority, to grow up in dislocated homes, or in none at all." [GQ]

ROBERTS SWITCHED HEALTHCARE RULING - "Maybe next time, Antonin, you'll TURN DOWN THAT GODDAMNED PUCCINI!!!" CBS News: "Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court's four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama's health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations. Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said. Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy -- believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law -- led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold. 'He was relentless,' one source said of Kennedy's efforts. 'He was very engaged in this.' But this time, Roberts held firm. And so the conservatives handed him their own message which, as one justice put it, essentially translated into, 'You're on your own.'" [CBS News]

Good on ya, Anderson Cooper: "The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud." [Daily Beast]

@jaredpolis: In other news: the sky is blue, fish swim, Anderson Cooper is gay

U.S. MANUFACTURING SHRINKS, ATTACK AD PRODUCERS REJOICE - Expect a deluge of commercials featuring crooked "CLOSED" signs hanging on chain-link fences and forlorn blue collar-looking actors staring directly at the camera wondering where the jobs went. Reuters: "The U.S. manufacturing sector shrank unexpectedly in June for the first time in nearly three years as new orders tumbled, one of the starkest signs to date of the extent of the slowdown in the economy. The Institute for Supply Management's index of national factory activity fell to 49.7 from 53.5 the month before, missing expectations of 52.0, according to a Reuters poll of economists, and below even the lowest forecast. It was the first time since July 2009 that the index has fallen below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. That was shortly after the United States economy emerged from recession." [Reutres]

ALLEN WEST ALLEN WESTS - The Florida congressman told a group of constituents this weekend that President Obama wants to enslave Americans, which would certainly be an unexpected solution to the unemployment crisis. Jen Bendery: "During a Sunday rally with constituents in a newly drawn district he wants to represent, West accused President Barack Obama of wanting to enslave the American public. 'He does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning, and having that title of American,' West said, according to a WPTV report. 'He'd rather you be his slave.' West is running against Martin County Sheriff Bob Crowder in the Republican primary, set for Aug. 14. The WPTV report quotes Crowder saying he is 'offended' by the things that come out of West's mouth." [HuffPost]

CHRIS CHRISTIE CHRIS CHRISTIES - Nick Wing: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) shut down a reporter at a press conference over the weekend, questioning his intelligence and hurling an insult at him. Speaking to the press about a water treatment emergency caused by the breakage of three massive pipes late last month, Christie was asked whether he would address the state legislature in the upcoming days. 'Did I say on topic? Are you stupid? On topic, on topic. Next question,' Christie said to the reporter. 'Thank you all very much and I'm sorry for the idiot over there.' According to the Newark Star-Ledger, the reporter then responded, "No, I'm not stupid," before attempting to proceed with his question, but Christie wasn't having it." [HuffPost]

WHOSE FOOT IS UP PEPCO'S BACKSIDE? - HuffPost DC: "Pepco reports on Twitter that power has been restored to "about half" of the "more than 440,000 customers who lost power as a result of Friday's storm" in the D.C. area. Area officials are 'fuming at utility companies,' according to The Washington Post, which quotes Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) as saying that 'Nobody will have their boot further up Pepco's backside than I will.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - What's better than a kitten chasing a laser pointer? Two kittens chasing a laser pointer. Better still? Two kittens wrestling over a laser pointer.

GEORGE WASHINGTON RESTORED TO HIS NATURAL DISHEVELD STATE - HuffPost DC: "Sixteen paintings by American artist Gilbert Stuart of some of the nation's founding fathers and other figures are showing their true colors for the first time in decades through a major conservation project at the National Gallery of Art. George Washington's five o'clock shadow is among the touch-ups." [HuffPost]

By @bradjshannon!

- The history of rock, condensed into 100 riffs. [http://bit.ly/OdEH8U]

- Tired of your cat sitting on your keyboard while you're trying to work? We're not. But if you are, try this. [http://bit.ly/KPlrty]

- Bro is upset about the Obamacare ruling, vows to move somewhere else. Discovers that somewhere else has pervasive health care. [http://bit.ly/LsJ10I]

- William Shatner sings "O Canada," tries to rework the song as "Yeah, Canada!" [http://bit.ly/QVbRdd]

- It's hard to get more "meta" than a video explaining metadata: the history of hashtags.[http://bit.ly/KPlEgg]

- Sure, let's fly over fireworks being shot at us and film them. Good, safe fun. [http://bit.ly/KPlXrz]

- This is a goat riding a horse. [http://bit.ly/Lgg5gY]


@seanspicer: I had to watch all the Sunday Shows via generator power -- now I know how the settlers lived

@LOLGOP CNN: Anderson Cooper Not Gay!

@JBennet: Welcome to Washington! Please remember to chew the air before attempting to swallow it.


Tonight and Tomorrow: 7:00 pm: Disco glam rockers Scissor Sisters play the 9:30 Club. BYOGL (bring your own gold lame). Also a show on Monday [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW]

Tomorrow, 12:00 pm: Apparently Z-Burger was able to round up enough people to participate in its annual hamburger eating contest outside on a day with highs of 96 degrees. God bless you, those people! [Z-Burger, 4321 Wisconsin Ave NW]

Until Sunday: The AIDS Memorial Quilt is displayed on the national mall, just as it was originally 25 years ago. [National Mall]

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