09/14/2012 04:53 pm ET Updated Nov 14, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Mitt Romney Said 'Snooki'

Mitt Romney has a hard time distinguishing between academic articles and blog posts, though that'd surely change if he ever read the work of Dr. Perez Hilton. The State Department has formed a 24/7 monitoring team to see if the situation in the Middle East spirals out of control and just how much we need to apologize for our American values. And Romney thinks Snooki is just the right size, kind of like Michigan's trees. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, September 14th, 2012:

ROMNEY CANNOT DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN ACADEMIC STUDIES AND BLOG POSTS - Sam Stein and Zach Carter: "Over the past few weeks, the Romney campaign has repeatedly pointed to five separate studies supporting the candidate's contention that a dramatic, across-the-board, reduction in tax rates can be paid for by economic growth and the elimination of deductions and exemptions for high-income earners...A closer examination, however, calls into question the fact that there are even five studies at all. Last week, the Romney campaign passed along the five documents that the candidate had referenced on NBC's Meet the Press. Three of the five are blog posts or op-eds (as opposed to academic literature), and two of those three are written by the same author: Harvard economist Martin Feldstein. Of the remaining two studies, one is the tax reform white paper authored by Romney-backing economists and paid for by Romney for President, Inc. (in an email to PolitiFact, the Romney campaign highlighted several Wall Street Journal editorials in place of the campaign white paper as the 'fifth' study)." [HuffPost]

OBAMA THE FRONTRUNNER - Mark Blumenthal: "Multiple new polls shows a continuing bounce for President Barack Obama that translates into a significant Electoral College lead. With more than seven weeks remaining before Election Day, however, the crush of daily polling has just begun...The new model currently gives Obama a big Electoral College lead -- 313 to 206 electoral votes if the ballots were counted today, with 19 electoral votes too close to call -- reflecting the president's recent bounce in the polls. How we get to that snapshot requires some explanation." [HuffPost]

Americans United for Change just published Top-50 List of Mitt Romney's All-Time, Out-of-Touch, 1% Moments including such golden oldies as his 2007 quip that his sons are serving their country by "helping me get elected."

Mitt Romney on Snooki: "I'm kind of a Snooki fan. Look how tiny she's gotten. She's lost weight. She's energetic. Just her spark-plug personality is kind of fun." [Excerpts from the Romney's appearance on "LIVE! with Kelly and Michael"]

Kids no rite good. Still wait fer superman: "Only roughly one quarter of eighth and 12th graders are proficient in writing, according to results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress' first-ever computer-based writing assessment. The new framework represents a move away from the traditional paper-and-pencil format that has dominated the testing scene for nearly four decades." [HuffPost's Alex Kuczynski-Brown]

WORLD MELTING DOWN - Josh Rogin: "The State Department has gone into full-blown crisis mode, organizing a round-the-clock effort to coordinate the U.S. government's response to the expanding attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East and North Africa. 'The State Department has stood up a 24-hr monitoring team to insure appropriate coordination of information and our response. In addition, our consular team is working with missions around the world to protect American citizens and issue appropriate public warden information,' a senior State Department official told reporters Friday afternoon." [Foreign Policy]

ROMNEY, OBAMA AGREE: 95 PERCENT OF NATION LOWER CLASS - Steve Peoples: "Mitt Romney is promising to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans. But how does he define 'middle-income'? The Republican presidential nominee defined it Friday as income of $200,000 to $250,000 a year and less. The definition of 'middle income' or the 'middle class' is politically charged as Romney and President Barack Obama fight to win over working-class voters. Romney would be among the wealthiest presidents, if elected, and Democrats have repeatedly painted him as out of touch with average people. Obama also has set his definition for 'middle class' as families with income of up to $250,000 a year...The Census Bureau reported this week that the median household income -- the midpoint for the nation -- is just over $50,000." [Associated Press]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Scott Pickard of Long Beach, Calif. said he is earning $8,000 less than his $78,000 former salary following a three-year unemployment spell he described as devastating. "When I hit three-year mark, that was rock bottom," he said. "I was not having very healthy thoughts." Pickard, 50, said he kept his sanity and eventually found work in April as a staff training specialist at a local university thanks to relentless networking and frequent meetings with other unemployed people. "If I were sitting in front of a computer and just sending out resumes," he said, "I would have gone nuts." Pickard stressed that he considers himself to be much better off than some others, saying his income reduction is marginal compared to losses suffered by people he knows. Of course, he would have been better off without the long unemployment spell. "To the extent that had I not been laid off and would have continued in my career without the interruption," he said, "I would probably be making six figures at this point." [HuffPost]

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HOUSE PASSES 'NO MORE SOLYNDRAS ACT' - The House today passed the "No More Solyndras Act," which is a silly name for a bill because OF COURSE no one is going to start a company named after one of the most famously bankrupt entities of the last several years (H.R. 5243: "Blockbuster: Never Again," etc). AP: "The bill would phase out federal loan guarantees like those that went to the now-bankrupt solar power company Solyndra LLC and left taxpayers on the hook for more than $500 million. The 'No More Solyndras Act," which passed on a mainly party-line vote... The vote was 245-161. The bill would curtail an Energy Department loan guarantee program that was the source of the more than $500 million investment in Solyndra. It was part of the $787 billion stimulus package enacted shortly after Obama took office in 2009...The bill would require the Treasury to review any future Energy loan guarantees made before the program expires and reaffirm that it is forbidden to "subordinate" loans so that private investors are repaid before the government is." [AP]

House officially punts: "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Friday announced that next week will be the final work session for the chamber before the November elections. Cantor said he does not anticipate the House will hold votes during the week of Oct. 1, which had been the final work week scheduled until after the Nov. 6 elections. He said the Senate is expected to approve the six-month spending bill to keep the government funded next week, making work in October unnecessary." [The Hill]

POLL: OBAMA & ROMNEY UNTRUSTWORTHY, ROMNEY SLIGHTLY MORE SO - A new survey from the Washington Post and ABC News indicates that a majority of voters are unwilling to say they trust what comes out of the mouths of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. WaPo: "By 49 to 42 percent, slightly more voters believe the Obama campaign is 'saying things it believes to be true' rather than 'intentionally misleading people.' For Romney's team the numbers are roughly flipped: 43 percent say they are telling the truth, 48 percent not...But voter loyalty is clear in assessments of the campaigns. More than eight in 10 Obama voters say his campaign is telling the truth (81 percent), while three quarters of Romney backers see shenanigans. Likewise, Romney supporters say by more than 4 to 1 that his campaign is telling the truth, while Obama backers say Romney's team is intentionally misleading the public by a similar margin." [WaPo]

Ann Romney will attend a fundraiser at George W. Bush's Dallas home next week. It's unclear how much of the event will be spent with Mrs. Bush telling her husband not to eat with his elbows on the table and/or Mr. Bush snickering with pride as he shows off to the guests his collection of old Shiner bottles. NBC News: "Former First Lady Laura Bush will host the lunch, which is part of a Romney fundraising swing through the GOP donor-rich state of Texasth, at the couple's home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas. Romney campaign aides said Thursday they were unsure whether former president Bush would appear at the lunchtime event at his home, or at a separate finance event with Romney later that evening at a Dallas hotel. A Bush spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment on the former president's schedule, but one Texas Republican close to Bush said he will be in Dallas on Tuesday." [NBC News]

RYAN HITS OBAMA OVER ISRAEL POLICY - Yeah, sure, President Obama has done everything short of personally prepare Benjamin Netanyahu a cholent and promise to send Sasha and Malia to Brandeis, but Paul Ryan nevertheless today attacked the commander-in-chief's Israel policy. Elise Foley: "GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan accused the Obama administration Friday of treating Israel with 'indifference bordering on contempt,' the latest in a series of jabs on the president's foreign policy after attacks on U.S. embassies abroad this week. 'Look across that region today, and what do we see?' he said at the Values Voters Summit, an annual gathering of 2,000 social conservatives, at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington. 'The slaughter of brave dissidents in Syria. Mobs storming American embassies and consulates. Iran four years closer to gaining a nuclear weapon. Israel, our best ally in the region, treated with indifference bordering on contempt by the Obama administration. Amid all these threats and dangers, what we do not see is steady, consistent American leadership.'" [HuffPost]

Louie Gohmert is sad. The outspoken conservative Texas congressman said during an interview on Glenn Beck's radio show that he is "brokenhearted" by his party's support of yesterday's continuing resolution, which he believes didn't cut federal spending enough. Gohmert specifically cited Paul Ryan and Allen West as Republicans who violated their party's principles by supporting the measure. Guess Gohmert isn't going to be commerce secretary in the Romney/Ryan administration. [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Sleepy kitten. It's a kitten. It's drowsy. What more do you want?

And here we thought Jennifer Granholm's darkest secret was that she was born in Canada: "The former Michigan governor and current liberal talkshow host, who gave the single most-fiery speech at the Democratic convention, was a contestant on 'The Dating Game' in 1978. The Detroit Free Press found video via YouTube on Facebook and wrote about it Thursday. In the episode, Granholm's present-day business suit and controlled hairdo are replaced on her 19-year-old self by shoulder pads, suspenders and an enormous set of curls." [ABC News]


- The full-length trailer for Steven Spielberg's Abraham Lincoln biopic, Lincoln. [http://bit.ly/R0FsQp]

- Birds being rude: the supercut. [http://huff.to/Q8BHcg]

- The world's tallest dog is a Great Dane appropriately named Zeus. [http://yhoo.it/TSFZtQ]

- Arnold Schwarzenegger records voice mail for fans to promote his forthcoming memoir, classily titled "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story." [http://bit.ly/PpHFEX]

- Wooden keyboard is stylish, also probably doesn't hide spills very well. [http://bit.ly/O3C6RB]

- The Pinterest drinking game will be the most precious and/or twee inebriation you'll ever experience. [http://bit.ly/OMyD5C]

- Dad uses special effects to make his daughter a fearsome mythical warrior. [http://chzb.gr/TLGh5s]


@daveweigel: "I've never thought of government as something I belong to," says Ryan, who has been a congressman since he was 28.

@indecision: Michele Bachmann says Obama enforced Islamic speech codes in U.S. She's right! Islamic words like "algebra" & "giraffe" taught in schools!


Today - Sunday: The NRSC hosts its annual fall retreat at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. Bonus: If President Obama's pernicious socialist agenda undoes American society and turns our country into a charred abyss, the underground Congress is already there... and filled with Republicans! [West Spring, VA]

Tonight, 6:00 pm: Sherrod Brown mines the Bay Area for money with a fundraiser in Silicon Valley. [Portola Valley, CA]

Tonight, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm: The body attached to George Allen's hair attends a fundraiser that benefits the body. [Alexandria, VA]

Tonight, 7:30 pm: Diana DeGette has the best kind of fundraiser: she and her donors will attend the Bruce Springsteen concert at Nationals Park. Unless proven otherwise, we assume all politicians' favorite Boss album is "Tunnel of Love." [Nationals Park]

Tomorrow, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm: Bill Foster, the former House member from Illinois swept out during the 2010 Republican wave, scoops up some lefty money at a fundraiser in San Francisco. [San Francisco, CA]

Tomorrow, 12:30 pm: Former member of Congress and current candidate for Washington governor Jay Inslee lands the big one: Bill Clinton. The former president attends the candidate's luncheon. [Seattle, WA]

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