08/14/2012 05:47 pm ET Updated Oct 14, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - President Obama's Drinking Problem

The policy-centric portion of the campaign began in earnest with both sides thoughtfully calculating who will kill the most old people. Questions are being raised about Paul Ryan's foreign policy credentials, though he'll probably pass muster if he doesn't declare that he can see another country from his house. And President Obama's visit to a beer tent cost the proprietor $25,000 in lost sales. The poor guy should form a "Victims of presidential appearances" support group with all the people who fainted in 2008, the FDR Drive and anybody who wanted a half-smoke at Ben's since 2009. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, August 14th, 2012:

RYAN'S FOREIGN POLICY: ???? - Aside from his extensive knowledge of the Austrian school of economics and his experience growing up a several-hour drive from the culturally rich melting pot that is the U.S.-Canada border, not much is known about the presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate's foreign policy bona fides. Josh Hersh: "Last June, when Ryan was looking to shore up his foreign policy bona fides, he chose a small, little known educational group called the Alexander Hamilton Society as the arena for his first major foreign affairs address. 'Some of you might be wondering why the House Budget Committee chairman is standing here addressing a room full of national security experts about American foreign policy,' Ryan began in his speech. 'What can I tell you that you don't already know? The short answer is, not much.'... He also did so in 2009, when he spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations. There, he repeatedly made a point of downplaying his credentials, emphasizing that Congress's role on foreign policy is secondary to the president's, and joking that he is usually more comfortable in his 'cocoon' at the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. 'You're the experts,' he reminded the group." [HuffPost]

Why can Paul Ryan have it all? Amanda Terkel delves.

SELLOUT ALERT - California Rep. Dennis Cardoza unexpectedly announced his retirement from the House effective midnight. Though he had already announced he wouldn't seek another term, we suspect his early bail will deny him the House gift bag with the Boehner-brand scented candle and fan with Raul Grijalva's face on it. Elahe Izadi: "[Cardoza said] that family struggles have primarily caused his early departure from the House. But he won't be out of work, that's for sure. Within hours of Cardoza's announcement that he will step down earlier than he had originally announced, another announcement came out that the Blue Dog Democrat will be heading up a major law firm's federal government affairs and public policy division. Cardoza will be based in D.C., advising clients here and in California as a managing director for Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP." [National Journal]

Want to read more about how members of Congress have it too good? See here!

BECAUSE THIS CAMPAIGN IS THE WORST, OUR NRC OBSESSION CONTINUES - Tomorrow in HuffPost: "The inspector general at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has launched an investigation into a GOP political appointee for attempting to thwart an agency probe into safety concerns at a Michigan plant, NRC insiders tell The Huffington Post [Hill]. In late May, the then-chairman of the NRC paid a rare visit to the controversial Palisades Power Plant on Lake Michigan, where activists are agitating for the plant's closure due to safety issues...While Chairman Greg Jaczko was touring the plant, according to the sources, a significant leak of potentially radioactive water was pouring into the control room. Less than two weeks later, the plant was shutdown to repair the leak. Yet Jaczko was never made aware of the issue while inspecting the plant. He asked the NRC's Office of Investigations to look into why the leak was kept from him. Ostendorf, however, wanted no such investigation undertaken. In front of several NRC employees, Ostendorf shouted at the top agency investigator, Cheryl McCrary, telling her that the inquiry should be halted and that it was a 'waste of agency resources,' according to sources briefed on the exchange."

ROMNEY: NO YOU HATE MEDICARE - Instead of trying to shift the conversation away from Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare, the Romney campaign is adopting more of an I-am-rubber style of campaign. Sam Stein: "The Mitt Romney campaign has released its first Medicare-related ad since it announced Paul Ryan as its vice presidential nominee, attacking the president for gutting the program to pay for Obamacare. the ad says. 'The Romney-Ryan plan protects Medicare benefits for today's seniors and strengthens the plan for the next generation.'... Now it appears that the Romney ticket has calculated that it must launch the first salvo. And by accusing Obama of cutting more than $700 billion from Medicare, it is hoping to duplicate the success that GOP congressional candidates had in 2010 when they ran against that provision." [HuffPost]

Congress' approval rating is nearly in the single digits. C'mon America, we can do this! "A new Gallup poll finds just 10% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, tying the lowest reading ever, while 83% disapprove. Meanwhile, a new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey finds 60% think it's the worst Congress in history." [Political Wire]

PLEASE CONGRESS, CAN WE HAVE SOME...MORE? With John Celock: "State lawmakers from across the country agreed at their annual summit last week in Chicago that Congress needs to keep extended unemployment insurance so long as the unemployment rate stays high. Even though federal unemployment insurance is not on the congressional radar, the National Conference of State Legislatures approved a resolution in favor of continuing two federal unemployment insurance programs set to expire at the end of the year... 'The worst thing we can do in the midst of a recovery from a recession ... is to deny spending capability to people who are out there spending dollars,' Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko said." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Starting in 2009, Extended Benefits and Emergency Unemployment Compensation combined with state benefits to give the unemployed up to 99 weeks of aid. In February, Republicans and Democrats agreed to reduce benefits so that the maximum duration would gradually fall to 73 weeks by the end of this year. The reduced federal benefits will expire altogether in December unless Congress reauthorizes them. Otherwise, laid-off workers will have just the standard 26 weeks of benefits provided by most states, even as the average jobless spell in July had lasted 38.8 weeks, and economists expect the unemployment rate to remain above 8 percent for the rest of the year. Congress hasn't allowed federal unemployment insurance to expire while the national unemployment rate is above 7.2 percent since the 1950s, but lawmakers on Capitol Hill have not hinted at any plans to preserve the benefits -- and the tone of the national political discussion has been increasingly hostile to government safety net programs. [HuffPost]

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CHRISTIE NAMED KEYNOTE SPEAKER, RUBIO TO INTRODUCE ROMNEY - Somewhere, Tim Pawlenty is standing at the shore of one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes, listening to "Rolling In The Deep" on an old pair of flimsy CD player headphones (you know, the kind with the felt that came in the packaging) and skipping stones. Sorry, buddy. AP: "Chris Christie, the sometimes abrasive but always entertaining governor of New Jersey, is set to be announced Tuesday as the keynote speaker for the Republicans' national convention later this month. Christie, who considered a 2012 presidential bid of his own before endorsing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is already at work on his speech to the convention in Tampa, Fla... The Romney campaign said Tuesday that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce Romney at the convention. Rubio campaigned with Romney in Miami on Monday, and both Rubio and Christie were believed to be under consideration to join the GOP ticket as Romney's running mate - a role that was filled Saturday by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan." [AP]

Politico takes the temperature of Beltway Republicans and they're about as excited for Paul Ryan as they are about finding a group house in Petworth: "In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives -- old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike -- the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election." [Politico]

@DailyIntel: Paul Ryan would be America's first vice president with a widow's peak. We checked. nym.ag/RdlIPv

The DCCC wants voters to remember that if there's one thing Paul Ryan loves more than widow's peaks, it's helping their representative murder old people. "The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is making it clear that it will not let Republicans walk away from once backing their newly-minted vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's controversial budget plan," Sabrina Siddiqui writes. "The DCCC announced its latest attack on Tuesday, launching automated phone calls that would highlight 50 Republicans voting for Ryan's plan and how the plan would impact Medicare." [HuffPost]

PAUL RYAN GONNA MAKE IT RAAAIIIIINNNN - The Times reports that Paul Ryan will grant Romney access to a network of monied far-right Republicans, because if there's one thing that the Romney campaign needs more of, it's money. "Less well-known are Mr. Ryan's close ties to the donors and activists who have channeled Tea Party anger into a $400 million political machine, financed by a network of conservative and libertarian donors that now rivals, and occasionally challenges, the Republican establishment behind Mr. Romney. Mr. Ryan is one of a very few elected officials who have attended the Kochs' biannual conferences, where wealthy donors sit in on seminars on runaway government spending and the myths of climate change. He is on first-name terms with prominent libertarians in the financial world, including hedge fund billionaires like Cliff Asness and Paul Singer, and spent his formative years immersed in the Republican Party's supply-side wing, working for lawmakers and conservative policy advocates like Jack Kemp." [NYT]

At this point, we suspect Romney is simply playing rich donor bingo ("Alienated Wall Street types" Check! "Highly motivated Mormons" Check! "Disgruntled casino moguls" Check!).

PAUL RYAN'S WIFE BASICALLY A THANK YOU FOR SMOKING CHARACTER - Though apparently her endeavors were deemed too small time to land her a spot at the "Merchant of Death" weekly meeting. Christina Wilkie: "Janna Ryan was introduced to America on Saturday as a stay-at-home mom who has raised three children while her husband, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), built a career in Washington. But the wife of Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick spent a decade in Washington herself, first as a congressional aide and then as a corporate lobbyist, whose clients included the cigar industry, a logging company, drugmakers, the health insurance industry and a nuclear power plant...Her client roster reads like a who's who of some of America's most politically polarizing corporate interests. Drug industry clients included the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Alliance (PhRMA), Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Novartis. Oil industry clients included Conoco and Marathon Oil. Big health insurance companies Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna were also on the list. From 1998 to 2000, Ryan was part of a small team that lobbied the House, Senate and White House on behalf of the Cigar Association of America to exclude cigars from many of the same regulations placed on cigarettes, like warning labels and excise taxes. PwC received $760,000 from the cigar lobby during Ryan's tenure." [HuffPost]

RYAN'S BROTHER THE REAL FAKE ROMNEY SON - Fortune: "Rep. Paul Ryan only has been Mitt Romney's running mate for a few days, but he has a much longer connection to another private equity executive: Tobin Ryan, Paul's older brother and a partner with Seidler Equity Partners. Seidler is located just outside of Los Angeles, but Tobin Ryan works out of his home state of Wisconsin. He joined the firm in October 2010, following a three-year stint with local private equity firm King Equity." [Fortune]

British lawmakers are offended ("I do say!") with Ryan's past criticisms of the National Health Service and have responded, Ned Simons reports. It's unclear whether the Olympics opening ceremony -- highlighting the NHS' use of glowing beds and giant babies -- swayed Ryan's opinion. [HuffPost]

BIDEN: MITT ROMNEY WILL ENSLAVE YOU (MAYBE) - During a speech today in Virginia, the vice president warned an audience that a Romney/Ryan White House would put them "back in chains," but don't expect "GIVE US US FREE!!!" to be the campaign's new slogan or anything. It's a common political metaphor and the audience at the Institute for Advanced Learning and research was decidedly multiracial. "Romney wants to, he said in the first 100 days, he's gonna let the big banks again write their own rules," he said of GOP deregulation efforts. "'Unchain Wall Street!'" He continued , "They're going to put you all back in chains." [NBC News]

Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul, among a great many other conservatives, feasted on this: "After weeks of slanderous and baseless accusations leveled against Governor Romney, the Obama Campaign has reached a new low."

@CarrieNBCNews Biden in Danville (close to the border but in VA): "With your help, we can win North Carolina again!"

PRESIDENT OBAMA LITERALLY HURTS SMALL BUSINESS - Des Moines Register: "President Barack Obama's impact on what is arguably the Iowa State Fair's most storied watering hole has become a morning-after mini-debate over the breakfast bacon ­ thanks to a tweet from Sen. Chuck Grassley, as well as fairgrounds chatter. Obama's fair stop Monday evening required shutdown of the popular Bud Tent, the heart of fairgrounds nightlife at the intersection of E. 33rd Street and Grand Avenue ... On the other hand, the small business owner side of [Bud Tent owner Mike] Cunningham fumes that the president 'put a damper on what I'm trying to do here.' His Bud Tent was shut down at the most lucrative time of day, with a popular rock cover band, Hairball, about to perform at the Susan B. Knapp Amphitheater next door ­ with legions of thirsty fans...Cunningham said that the more accurate figure for what he likely lost in sales Monday night is $25,000." [Register]

As Paul Blumenthal reports, in so many words, Paul Ryan married up: "In 2000, Ryan married Janna Little, a former congressional staffer turned Washington lobbyist who hails from a wealthy family of Oklahoma trial lawyers that is also related to the state's Boren political dynasty. Ryan's 2000 financial disclosure reflects the newlyweds' joining of assets. Ryan's average net worth increased from $345,007 to $1.186 million." [HuffPost]

CNN looks back at Paul Ryan's time at Miami of Ohio: "He also had a fondness for turtlenecks apparently. That's according to several group photos of the [Delta Tau Delta] fraternity that appeared in the 1989, 1990 and 1992 editions of Recensio, Miami's yearbook... 'Pretty damn cool to say that a VP candidate was raging in the same fraternity house as me 20 years ago,' tweeted one Miami undergrad Saturday when Romney announced his pick." [CNN]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Hamster somehow finds a way to do the wheel wrong.

POLITICAL ANIMAL CAT - HuffPost DC:"The claws are out! Hank, the Virginia cat running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, has a cutting proposition in a new campaign ad: Vote the humans out." [HuffPost]


- Julia Child remixed and auto-tuned. Butter never sounded so good. [http://bit.ly/PgYN2k]

- Clips from a never aired Mac commercial from 1983 were uncovered by one of the company's early software engineers. [http://bit.ly/MudiAe]

- The DJ Pogo culled audio snippets from The Wizard of Oz and reassembled them to make a beautiful track, "The Wizard of Meh." [http://bit.ly/RKGpBt]

- Out of paper towels ALREADY?!? A velociraptor goes shopping in Australia. [http://bit.ly/RLehMJ]

- "We all got high. It was no big deal. We drank. We smoke. We founded a country" - Thomas Jefferson. [http://bit.ly/Paa6tB]

- Fearless beagle puppy takes on great dane. Great dane isn't really invested in the situation. [http://bit.ly/Si2gMo]

- Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, CAT, nothing, nothing. [http://bit.ly/N0dXVE]


@amyewalter: "Seamus In Chains" - great name for an indie band from the '90s

@evanmc_s: all this talk of chains is really making me happy we had Ryan come in to inject substance into this whole thing

@jbarro: Her? RT @BuzzFeedAndrew: Remember when we used to write stories about Tim Pawlenty?


Today, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Jeff Flake continues his bid for the Senate seat being vacated by Jon Kyl with a fundraiser at the home of a (presumably wealthy) doctor. So if someone gets a ham cube stuck in their throat...boom: doctor. [Paradise Valley, AZ]

Tomorrow: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gathers up all his bestest Wall Street friends and burns Elizabeth Warren in effigy has them over to his house for a Scott Brown fundraiser. The candidate will be there himself, but we can't possibly imagine what the conversation will entail. [Mayor Mike's Pad]

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