08/01/2012 05:59 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Chicken-And-Pickle Purveyor Dominates News Cycle

We'll all not remember where we were when Rep. Mike Kelly compared 9/11 and Pearl Harbor to mandatory insurance coverage of contraceptives. Chick-fil-A's anti-gay views generated so much free publicity in the media that we suspect Ronald McDonald will start making provocative statements about intelligent design. And President Obama won over suburban voters but alienated discus throwers when he said the members of America's women's gymnastic team "amaze us the most." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, August 1st, 2012:

HOUSE PLAYS CONGRESS PRETEND - The Republican-controlled House voted down the Senate's version of the tax bill that would maintain the Bush tax cuts for families making under $250,000-a-year and individuals making $200,000-a-year, because House Republicans know that people making more than those sums need all the help they can get to maintain Rich Kids Of Instagram. The final vote was 257 against and 170 with 19 Dems defecting to vote down the measure. The House is set to pass its own tax bill, which maintains the Bush tax cuts for all income brackets.

@PressSec: From Mansfield, OH, POTUS just called to congratulate Michael Phelps. "The greatest Olympian ever," POTUS said. "We couldn't be prouder!"... Earlier, POTUS called Aly, Jordan, McKayla, Kyla and Gabby from AF1. "Of all the Olympians," he said, "you guys amaze us the most."

HOUSE GOP WON'T GIVE UP DOMA DEFENSE - Somewhere, two dudes are sitting at a table in the back of a Paper Source, bickering over which pattern to use on their save-the-date, while a woman seated across from them named Bryn tries her best to maintain a smile... and Kevin McCarthy simply cannot abide that. No. Sir. The House majority whip told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor-hosted breakfast that the lower chamber will maintain its legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, undertaken after DOJ said it would stop doing so. "What transpired for the House to be engaged, it's not the subject itself, but the idea that the government ... can decide, even though something's law, what to uphold and what not to," McCarthy said. [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

Glass ceiling update: "When ABC News' Carole Simpson was hired as the first female and African American presidential debate moderator in 1992, it never occurred to her that two decades would pass without another being chosen. But in the years since she slung questions at candidates George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot, not one woman has been chosen for the role." [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Even good things are bad. "Michigan's improving economy is bad news for more than 400 state workers whose jobs in unemployment offices will soon be eliminated. The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency sent layoff notices to 177 temporary workers this week telling them they'll be laid off Aug. 31. Up to 255 full-time workers will be laid off by October, agency Director Steve Arwood said Tuesday." :( [Detroit News]

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LAURA RICHARDSON ADMITS TO ETHICS VIOLATIONS - The House Ethics Committee announced today that the California Democrat admitted to the seven ethics charges levied against her and will pay a $10,000 fine by December 1. The committee unanimously endorsed the report about Richardson's behavior, which could lead to the House reprimanding Richardson. Richardson was accused of improperly using her staff -- which we immediately assumed involved an intern getting on all fours to serve as a human footstool. However, Richardson's actual transgressions were far less badass: she pressured members of her congressional staff to engage in campaign work. [AP]

The committee's report does not paint a pretty picture: "...after the Investigative Subcommittee delayed its interview of Representative Richardson for over a month to accommodate her request for more time because of her primary election schedule, the Investigative Subcommittee finally held its interview with Representative Richardson on June 20, 2012. Moreover, during her interview, Representative Richardson repeatedly made complaints about its length and ultimately demanded that it end so she could participate in an annual Congressional softball game. When the Investigative Subcommittee Chairman expressed the Subcommittee's willingness to continue into the evening or reconvene at a later date, Representative Richardson declined the offers, stating her preference to finish her interview in the short time available that day. ...The Committee notes the disturbing irony in Representative Richardson's submission when she alleges that this conduct by Committee staff intimidated and frightened her employees, given the horrendous picture so many of her own current and former staff described of their time in her employment, and her own attempts to intimidate them on a regular basis. Given that Representative Richardson is accepting responsibility for obstructing the Committee's investigation and compelling her staff to engage in other improper conduct, the Committee's concerns for the integrity of the investigation and the interests of the witnesses were well born [sic] out."

@ZekeJMiller: Inbox: Obama for America announced today that President Obama will take a two-day tour of Colorado next week.... OFA: On Wednesday Obama will travel to Denver & Grand Junction for campaign events & on Thursday he will travel to Pueblo & CO Springs

LEADERSHIP BATTLE BREWING IN HOUSE - Roll Call: "[B]ehind the scenes, the calls have already begun, starting with what will likely be a three-way race for Caucus vice chairman involving Reps. Joe Crowley (N.Y.), Jared Polis (Colo.) and Barbara Lee (Calif.). None have announced publicly." [Roll Call]

ROMNEY CAMPAIGN TO RECONFIGURE PRESS STRATEGY - The campaign is shifting away from its "shield the candidate from media scrutiny at all costs and tell reporters to kiss its ass" approach and adopting one that is... not that. The Hill: "Fewer than 100 days out from the election, the campaign is expected to provide more press briefings and heightened access to the candidate in the coming days, and to make changes to the travel pool that will make it more media friendly. The changes would represent a major shift for the Romney campaign, which so far has offered only extremely limited access to the presumptive Republican nominee, and usually only to favored outlets like Fox News." [The Hill]

A new poll from Hofstra University finds Obama and Romney are tied among suburban voters, 46 percent to 46 percent. However, the president still trails Romney among suburban independents, 45 percent to 41 percent. Henceforth, expect to see the president spending all his time at shopping centers called "The Shoppes at ___" with a Gap bag slung around his arm and sipping from a Smoothie King cup. [Newsday]

HARRY REID REALLY BOUGHT INTO THE 'MITT ROMNEY DIDN'T PAY TAXES' THING - Sam Stein and the vacationing Ryan Grim published an interview with Harry Reid in which the Senate majority leader claimed a Bain investor told him that Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for a decade... but Reid added that he wasn't quite sure of whether this is true. While we hoped that Reid might knock it up a notch and disseminate some even more sensational second-hand news about the former Massachusetts governor's financial situation -- Mitt Romney has extensive holdings in Iranian real estate, Mitt Romney invested heavily in Joseph Kony's Kickstarter project, etc. -- it seems he's really invested in this "no taxes" thing. Reid made the "no taxes" claim at least once before, Sam Stein notes. In a floor speech from July, Reid speculated that Romney can't release his returns "because he's basically paid no taxes in the prior 12 years." The "basically" part is our favorite because it sounds like Romney scotch-taped a nickel to a piece of printer paper and mailed it to the IRS. [HuffPost]

Texas' newly minted Republican Senate nominee, former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, missed his "Fox and Friends" interview today. As Amanda Terkel writes, "The show promoted his appearance at the top of the 6:00, 7:00 and 8:00 hours." At 8:30, when Cruz was expected to appear, he was a no-show." Everything is more conspicuous in Texas. [HuffPost]

REP MIKE KELLY HAS STRONG OPINIONS ABOUT THE BIRTH CONTROL MANDATE - During a press conference on the Hill today, the Pennsylvania Republican blended together two of America's most cataclysmic events into some kind of trauma smoothie when he criticized the part of the Affordable Care Act requiring health care providers to include birth control coverage, a measure that took effect today. "I know in your mind, you can think of the times America was attacked," he said. "One is Dec. 7, that's Pearl Harbor Day. The other is Sept. 11, and that's the day the terrorists attacked. I want you to remember Aug. 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates." We can only imagine the kind of prep Kelly did with his press team ("Congressman, just make sure you don't compare anyone to Hitler. That's really played out." "No, it's cool, I got you."). [HuffPost's Erin Mershon]

BARNEY FRANK'S RING IS KOSHER - A couple weeks ago, the Washington Examiner wondered whether the tungsten in Barney Frank's wedding rings would be regulated by the conflict mineral part of Dodd-Frank. Our intern Greg did a story, and today Barney Frank has responded with more information: "In Greg Rosalsky's article on July 18th, the question was raised about the source of the tungsten from which our wedding rings were made. I asked my Communications Director, Harry Gural, to find out. The rings were bought from Crown Jewelers a reputable store in New Hampshire, which purchased them from Benchmark Jewelers in Alabama. The craftsman who made the rings says that his company buys tungsten carbide from a firm in Detroit and that he believes the source is a mine in the United States." Thanks, Barney! [HuffPost]

REPUBLICANS PARTAKE IN CHICK-FIL-A HOMOPHOBE-PALOOZA - Two of America's favorite pastimes -- consuming highly caloric food and expressing intense homophobia in a public forum -- collided today as Americans swarmed into Chick-fil-A's as part of "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day." The event, organized by Mike Huckabee, is being held to show their support for the company, whose CEO recently expressed his ardent opposition to gay marriage. Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin both expressed their support via social media this week, and today Sen. Lindsey Graham linked out to a Facebook photo of him looking pleased as punch with a number one combo. Michele Bachmann also tweeted a photo. If someone pulls up to the take-out mic and yells "IT'S ADAM AND EVE, NOT ADAM AND STEVE," we hear Chick-fil-A employees are instructed to prepare a number five.

Lila Shapiro spoke to openly gay Chick-fil-A employees: "I really wish they would just go out of business." [HuffPost]

TWITTER TO TAKE PULSE OF NATION BORED MEDIA AND POLITICAL PROFESSIONALS WITH NEW INDEX - The microblogging service, in conjunction with a collection of Democratic and Republican polling firms, today released the "Twitter Political Index" which it purports will aggregate attitudes expressed about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on the social media service. No word on whether a project is in the works that averages out how flattering the "pinned" photos of the candidates on Pinterest are. BuzzFeed: "Topsy pores through every single tweet in real time, determines which ones are about Obama or Romney, and then assigns a sentiment score to each tweet based on its content. That is, whether it's positive or negative toward Obama or Romney, and just how positive or negative it is. Add all the data up together and you have something like a real-time approval score for Obama and Romney, determined by what tens of millions of people are saying, which Twitter is going to release daily at election.twitter.com." [BuzzFeed]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Cat in a box seeks contributions.

ROCK CREEK PARK: MORE THAN A COMMUTING OBSTACLE - HuffPost DC:"Broad Branch Road, a winding lane that sits at the edge of Rock Creek Park, might be best known as a scenic commuter short-cut through the wilds of the massive expanse of park and forest land in the middle of the nation's capital. Some know the woods along Broad Branch as the place where Chandra Levy's body was discovered in 2002. To Gore Vidal, the great American literary icon, intellectual, playwright, essayist and commentator who died Tuesday night in Los Angeles at age 86, Broad Branch was a special place. Vidal grew up overlooking this beautiful, leafy and wild part of the nation's capital, on the estate of his grandfather, Sen. Thomas Gore (D-Okla.), a place that would later become the Malaysian ambassador's residence." [HuffPost]


- Puppy and bird fight over yogurt. [http://bit.ly/Mj6s1M]

- Which olympic athlete's body is most like yours? Probably none, but some are probably the same height and weight as you. [http://bbc.in/NE48lr]

- London Mayor Boris Johnson got stuck on a zip wire. At least there were no creepy giant babies involved? [http://bit.ly/MbIBeo]

- Making artistic prints with aspirin and tobacco. Add in some coffee and bloody Marys and you got yourself Sunday morning in a frame. [http://bit.ly/ODcKc7]

- At home with novelist John Irving. [http://bit.ly/R5xEwV]

- Horse observes and obeys traffic laws. [http://bit.ly/MbM90a]

- Crow thinks it's a person but, unlike corporations, crows aren't people. [http://bit.ly/PlNqCp]


@pourmecoffee: "All right children, today we will study The Fast Food Culture Wars of 2012. Who can tell me the protagonists? Billy?"

@BuzzFeedAndrew: What if cats have their own Internet and it is full of pictures of us?

@timothypmurphy: Today is Rep. Mike Kelly's Obama's Katrina.



5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: What's the first thing that springs to mind when Adam Schiff's name is mentioned? If you said "authentic Korean barbecue," then you're correct! The California Democrat hosts a "Summertime Reception" featuring meat products prepared in the Korean fashion. [Erickson Townhouse, 38 Ivy Street SE]

7:00 pm: If someone damages something at Michael Fitzpatrick's insurance industry fundraiser, will one of the attendees be able to make an assessment on the spot? Just curious. [Fiola Ristoranta, 601 Pennsylvania NW]


5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: If "Giving California Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman $1,000 dollars" is on your bucket list, then you're in luck. [Townhouse, 437 New Jersey Ave SE]

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Mike Quigley's fundraiser features the 19th Street Band -- a D.C.-based bluegrass trio. The song that autoplays on their website features the refrain "don't give a damn 'bout the money," however that sentiment is probably not shared by Quigley. [Democratic Club, 40 Ivy Street SE]

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