POLITICS
07/13/2012 04:43 pm ET Updated Sep 12, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Media Zombie Wants BAAAAAAIIIINNNNSS

Condoleezza Rice doesn't want to be Mitt Romney's vice president, but she is doing a bang-up job as Secretary of Let's Not Talk About Bain. Between 1999 and 2002, Mitt Romney was somehow in charge of Bain and not in charge of Bain, making him the Shrodinger's cat of corporate executives. And George H. W. Bush wants to know who the hell Grover Norquist is. To be fair, for the longest time we swore he was the Taxmaster guy. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, July 13th, 2012:

INSANE IN THE MITT'S BAIN - You know how Mitt Romney said he didn't do anything for Bain between 1999 and 2002? And said on his financial disclosure form that he retired in 1999? Yeah, that wasn't true. Here are six documents he signed while supposedly in retirement and not "involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way." [HuffPost]

Romney is sitting down for interviews with NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and Fox. The first clips will be aired tonight on the nightly news broadcasts. If the campaign really gets into a rhythm and has Romney do a hit for QVC's "Friday Night Beauty," we'll let you know.

SELF-HATING REPUBLICANS OUTRAGE SELVES - With Mike McAuliff: "Mitt Romney and a slew of other leading Republicans on Friday slammed the Obama administration's decision to relax some welfare requirements, despite the fact that Republican-led states sought the policy change. The move, announced Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services, allows states to request waivers to the work requirements spelled out in the 1996 welfare reform. The idea is to let states and localities experiment with ways to improve the number of people making the jump from government assistance to jobs -- something they would like more leeway to do under the law. Democrats also wanted the change, but GOP-led Utah and Nevada were the states most aggressively seeking it, submitting detailed requests to Health and Human Services. [HuffPost]

Orrin Hatch, whose own state sought the change since early 2011, called the move a "power grab" by the Obama administration.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE DOESN'T WANT TO BE VP - The Drudge Report reported last night that Condoleezza Rice is Mitt Romney's top choice to be his vice president. The news was met with trepidation among conservative circles, not because Rice was one of the principal cheerleaders of America's misguided entry into the Iraq quagmire (hell, that's a plus), but because of her moderate positions on abortion and immigration. Doesn't matter: "Despite the Drudge Report's article Thursday night reporting that Condoleezza Rice is the new frontrunner to be Mitt Romney's running mate, a spokesperson for the former secretary of state tells ABC News she is still not interested in the job. In an email the spokesperson said that Rice, who is on vacation, has no plans to comment specifically on the Drudge Report article, but that all of her previous statements denying interest in being Romney's vice presidential pick 'still stand.'" [ABC News]

NY FED WAS INFORMED OF LIBOR CONCERNS IN 2007 - Documents released by the New York Fed today reveal it was informed of banks' manipulation of the Libor rate but did nothing to stop the practice. Mark Gongloff: "The documents also raise more questions about whether the New York Fed and other regulators were too cozy with the banks involved, looking the other way in order to spare the banks too much pain at a time when the financial crisis was still brewing. 'We know that we're not posting um, an honest LIBOR,' a Barclays employee tells a New York Fed analyst in an April 11, 2008, call, 'and yet we are doing it, because, um, if we didn't do it, It draws, um, unwanted attention on ourselves.' The New York Fed representative expresses sympathy and understanding: 'You have to accept it,' she says. 'I understand. Despite it's against what you would like to do. I understand completely.' The widespread manipulation of Libor, an interest rate set by banks self-reporting what they pay to borrow money for short periods, may have cost borrowers and state and local governments untold millions of dollars. And it could end up costing several banks billions of dollars in penalties and lawsuits." We took a look at Geithner's 6 recommendations. This will stun you, so make sure you're not standing if you're on the Green Line: All 6 were proposed by banks. [HuffPost]

Business Roundtable email to Hill staffers: "Fast Facts: HOW BIG BANKS BENEFIT THE ECONOMY" -- Spoiler alert: They didn't include "free pens."

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Emails of the Jobless, our correspondent writes that he hasn't been unemployed since 1973. "For the first time in my life, I am on extended unemployment. This week I had to reduce my COBRA coverage to a high deductible program just to be able to have insurance. My dental is gone and of course I needed a three root root canal that I will have to pay out weekly from my 405.00/week gross unemployment. I spend at least 6 hours daily looking at job boards but when they see my age and length of unemployment, I rarely get passed the first call. This is completely foreign to me as in the past, I have been able to hand a person a resume and get a job within days. To compound matters, I am living with my ex-wife because of finances. All of this adds up to living in hell. The longer it goes, the smaller my bank account, the deeper the depression. [Hang in there!]

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INSIDE THE DEM'S VP TAKEDOWN OPERATION - ABC News profiles the politicos diligently researching whether Rob Portman has ever contradicted Republican orthodoxy or whether Kelly Ayotte has ever, uh... killed a guy? ABC News: "In a non-descript Washington, DC office building within sight of the United States Capitol, a team of more than a dozen Democratic researchers have spent the last few months examining every nook and cranny of the records of several GOP vice presidential contenders. The researchers work for the super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, which is unveiling a new website on Friday called VeepMistakes.com. The site features more than 1,300 pages of opposition research and scores of video clips. Political prognosticators can only speculate who is on Romney's short-list, but now we know who the Democrats are preparing to target. The super PAC is shining their spotlight on three of the mostly likely contenders: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Florida Sen.Marco Rubio. Their research files, which the group is making public for the first time, also offers a sneak peek at the attacks the Democrats are poised to use against whichever potential V.P. ultimately gets the nod from Romney." [ABC News]

The Romney campaign has added several staffers to its communications team. Danny Diaz and Kevin Sheridan are being brought onboard as senior advisors presumably to help the erstwhile Massachusetts governor broaden his descriptions of lemonade to include verbs, conjunctions and other nifty rhetorical devices. [WaPo]

NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICANS NOT KEEN ON VICE PRESIDENT AYOTTE - Salem Patch: "GOP insiders remain unconvinced that U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte would make a good running mate for Mitt Romney: that's the main finding of this week's Red Granite survey of influential New Hampshire Republicans... More than half of those surveyed responded negatively to the idea of Ayotte as the Republican vice presidential nominee. Thirty-nine percent said they completely disagree, while another 15 percent said they somewhat disagree. Twenty-six percent said they somewhat agree that Ayotte would be a good running mate, 6 percent said they completely agree and 13 percent were neutral... Asked what would make Ayotte a bad pick for Romney, several cited her lack of national experience, and the fact that like Romney, she is from a New England state." [Salem Patch]

"Politicians Who Look Like Disney Characters" will turn that frown upside down.

SCOTT BROWN: POWERFUL PEOPLE COME TO LEARN AT MY FEET - Not long ago the Bay State's junior senator got into a bit of trouble when he falsely stated that he had met with kings and queens, meetings during which he would undoubtedly use the phrase "Your worshipfulness" a la Han Solo. Now he's at it again. If lawmaking were war, he'd be a serial offender of his own Stolen Valor Act. Boston Globe: "During a CNN interview that aired Tuesday, Senator Scott Brown said that President Obama and other powerful Democrats are regularly phoning him to get help passing their legislation...'I can name a litany of Democratic-sponsored bills that I've done that never would have passed hadn't it been for me,' Brown told CNN. 'And the president had called me, and vice president calls me, and Secretary [of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton calls asking for my vote all the time.' In reality, Brown's staff says he has spoken by phone with Clinton just twice during his Senate career -- most recently over a year ago, on July 5, 2011." [Globe]

DEMOCRATS COUNTER POINTLESS REPUBLICAN VOTE WITH THEIR OWN POINTLESS VOTE - Rehashing old arguments is all the rage in Congress these days; we give it a week until H.R. 952 The No Really, The Lilly Ledbetter Act Stymies Job Growth -- Seriously, Guys, Can We Talk About This? Act is introduced. Roll Call: "A day after ripping Republicans for the political theater of holding a health care repeal vote, Democrats rolled out their own bit of campaign messaging: a new push for legislation to force disclosure of political spending. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the sponsor of the House version of the bill, filed a discharge petition with hopes of forcing a House vote, and Senate Democrats renewed their attacks on undisclosed political spending and scheduled a Monday vote on the bill. 'This DISCLOSE Act will shine its light on the sources of the secret money polluting elections,' said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who was joined by Senate Rules and Administration ChairmanCharles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and several colleagues at a Thursday press conference." [Roll Call]

Remember the last time they tried to do the DISCLOSE Act but said it wouldn't apply to the NRA? Ha.

YOUNG PEOPLE RESUME POLITICAL APATHY - A new survey from Gallup indicates that young people are far less engaged in the current election than they were in 2008, probably because they're too busy not having jobs. Gallup: "Fifty-eight percent of U.S. registered voters aged 18 to 29 say they will 'definitely vote' this fall, well below the current national average of 78% and far below 18- to 29-year-olds' voting intentions in the fall of 2004 and 2008. The 20-percentage-point deficit for young voters versus the national average compares unfavorably with six- and seven-point deficits in the later stages of the 2004 and 2008 elections, respectively... Turnout intentions are currently lower among all registered voters than they were in the month before the last two elections, with 78% saying they will definitely vote, compared with figures of at least 85% in October/November 2004 and 2008." [Gallup]

GEORGE H. W. BUSH NOT ACQUAINTED WITH GROVER NORQUIST - Patrick Svitek: "In an interview with Parade magazine to be published Sunday, former President George H.W. Bush pans the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, the Grover Norquist-backed anti-tax oath that politicians sign to promise they will never vote for a tax increase. In the 112th Congress, 238 representatives and 41 senators -- all but three of them Republicans -- have taken the pledge. 'The rigidity of those pledges is something I don't like,' Bush said. 'The circumstances change and you can't be wedded to some formula by Grover Norquist. It's -- who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby hedgehog yawns.

GRAY TO STAY - HuffPost DC: "D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says he won't resign despite calls for him to resign and hopes that the mess 'will come to a conclusion very soon.'" [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Whoever filmed this video of a cat embracing a young lamb didn't have to overlay it with schmaltzy synth piano, but that person did, and we're grateful. [http://bit.ly/LUO2iT]

- Fifteen of the most awkward couples from art history. The American Gothic couple really needs to break the ice. [http://bit.ly/P4BMzN]

- It's going to be hot in Washington this weekend. Instead of taking that walk, let this NASA scientist take you on a tour of the Moon (best part: ariel views of the first lunar landing zone). [http://bit.ly/OCNYUJ]

- "White Power" toothbrush might clean your teeth but it'll sully your soul. [http://bit.ly/MqYlJN]

- Peter O'Toole, who announced his retirement from acting, loved to drink. Without further ado, his most legendarily sauced moments. [http://ind.pn/LakRqz]

- An on-board camera document's a plane's emergency landing in the street. [http://bit.ly/P4Cb56]

- Dad berates son for his skinny jeans ("Your sister couldn't even fit in those!") [http://bit.ly/Nm9VdW]

TWITTERAMA

@KarlFrisch: BREAKING: @MittRomney's Camp Bracing for Another Onslaught of Punny #Bain Headlines. #CitizenBain

@dceiver: BREAKING: All U.S. Olympic athletes to wear hairshirts shorn from Chuck Schumer's body, Trump's scalp.

@igorbobic: King George did something right RT @PeterHambyCNN: Colonial Williamsburg has free public wi-fi

ON TAP

Today - Sunday: Because there's nothing you want more than to catch a glimpse of Bernie Sanders in shorts, head off to the DSCC's summer retreat. Senators Max Baucus and Chris Coons will also attend. [Martha's Vineyard]

Today - Sunday: John Thune has commoditized his day-to-day existence like no one else we know. What does it take to gain admittance to his "Family & Friends Weekend"? Be a member of his family or one of his friends? Yes. Also $1,500 dollars. [Greebrier resort, WV]

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