10/17/2012 05:53 pm ET Updated Dec 17, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - The Guys That Bind

President Obama repeated his attack that Mitt Romney's tax plan is a "sketchy deal," which sounds like Romney is carrying around your tax break in a Ziploc baggie stashed in his hoodie pocket. Michael Bloomberg founded his own super PAC, meaning we'll soon see a contest in Congress to determine who's more firmly opposed to Big Gulps. And Mike Huckabee struck up a friendship with a member of the Yakuza, a relationship he should end as it's difficult to play bass guitar if you have no fingers. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, October 17th, 2012:

ROMNEY'S LADY (AND MINORITY) PROBLEM - Remember how Scott Brown said his daughters were "available" while said daughters awkwardly looked on? Can you imagine just how mundane such occurrences would be if Mitt Romney had just one female offspring? Christina Wilkie: "In 1994, when Romney challenged the late Sen. Edward Kennedy in Massachusetts, the Boston Globe first raised the question of why there were so few women and minorities employed at Bain Capital Partners...At the time, all 95 vice presidents of the firm were white, and only nine were women. Romney's answer at the time was... that there simply weren't any female applicants. He blamed the profession, private equity, and said it didn't 'attract many women and minorities.' He also blamed the elite business schools, from which Bain recruited almost exclusively. Those schools, he told the Globe, 'graduate only a handful of minorities and women.' Statistics suggest otherwise. In 1995, a year after Romney made his comment, the Harvard Business School graduating class was almost 30 percent women. And given the enormous potential of private equity to generate wealth, it's difficult to imagine that women and minorities simply wouldn't be 'attracted' to the profession. On the contrary, according to the Globe, 'the team [Romney] put together to manage Bain Capital is exclusively white and male, all educated at the best business schools, mostly Harvard.'" [HuffPost]

Mitt Romney's new web ad features some of the binder-consumed women who would later break free from the plastic and metal prison that confined them and join his cabinet

MEA CULPA, MITT - Marc Leder owes Mitt Romney. The last time the private equity executive hosted a fundraiser for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor used the opportunity to share with donors some of his thoughts about 47 percent of the country. This weekend, Leder will host another fundraiser for Romney, according to three sources familiar with the event. Leder has been telling potential donors that given the uproar following his last fundraiser, he feels an obligation to make the situation right by raising more money for Romney, according to people who have discussed the matter with Leder. One donor, asked if Leder had been noting that he'd been "taking heat" for the last fundraiser, said: "That was the basic pitch except the word heat was replaced by another four letter word that begins with s." [With Laura Goldman]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Undecided voter and presidential debate questioner Carol Goldberg liked both candidates' responses to her question on the loss of American jobs to foreign countries, but she liked Obama's a little better. "The gist of Romney's response is they're not supposed to do this, whereas President Obama spoke a little bit more directly to the issue because he mentioned that he wanted to close loopholes, and he also mentioned he wanted to bring science and technology and manufacturing to the U.S. She liked Obama's dig at Romney's private sector work: "It's true he's done the very thing we're trying not to do." And Goldberg liked Obama's remark that "some jobs aren't coming back," even though the Romney campaign used it against Obama after the debate, saying in a press release the president had given up on his job growth promises. "Honestly, he did say, look, some jobs aren't coming back, and I believe that's true," Goldberg said. "I thought that was a very good answer."

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DEBATE POLLS: OBAMA WON - Maybe it was Romney's ramblings about manila folders filled with females, or whatever it was; or maybe it was Obama and Candy Crowley's clotheslining of Romney on the Benghazi question, but it's clear the president bounced back last night. Mark Blumenthal and Emily Swanson: "A CNN survey of registered voters who watched the debate found that 46 percent said Obama won the debate and 39 percent said Romney did. The survey's margin of error was four percentage points. After a weak performance in the first debate, Obama outperformed expectations in the second: Seventy-three percent of respondents said Obama did better than they expected, 10 percent said he did worse, and 16 percent said he did about the same as expected...A CBS News poll conducted using an online panel of uncommitted voters found a 37 percent plurality said Obama won the debate, while 30 percent said Romney did and 33 percent said it was a tie. Romney came into the debate with a big advantage on the handling the economy among the CBS respondents, and Obama was able to close that gap slightly." [HuffPost]

Josh Hersh picks apart the candidates' Benghazi responses.

The tally: "The CNN debate clock showed the president spoke for 3 minutes and 14 seconds longer than his Republican rival. The totals: 44 minutes, 4 seconds for Obama; and 40 minutes, 50 seconds for Romney. But in number of words, it was Romney who came out ahead. He spoke 7,984 words - 478 words ahead of Obama, who spoke 7,506 words." [CNN]

OBAMA RENEWS 'SKETCHY DEAL' ATTACK - Again making Mitt Romney's tax plan sound like something you have to travel to Bangkok to acquire, the president today echoed his debate charge that it is a "sketchy deal." AP: "President Barack Obama is ridiculing rival Mitt Romney's five-point plan for the economy as a 'sketchy deal' that boils down to helping the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. Obama told a political rally at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, that Romney won't reveal details about how to pay for his proposed 20 percent cut in tax rates. The president says that when politicians say they will wait to explain plans until after the election, 'they don't have a pleasant surprise in store for you.'" [AP]

BINDERS FULL OF CRAP - Unfortunately for the former Massachusetts governor, the media has in its possession whole folders full of papers and notes and stuff. Laura Bassett and Jason Cherkis: "Romney's account of that story is false, according to two women who led an effort in 2002 to recruit female candidates to high-level appointed positions in Massachusetts. MassGAP, a bipartisan coalition of women's groups dedicated to increasing the number of women appointed to top government jobs, approached Romney and his Democratic challenger Shannon O'Brien before the 2002 gubernatorial election and pressured them to sign a pledge to appoint more women if elected. 'It was an initiative of women's organizations, not to force [Romney's] hand, but to make it be something he had to follow through on,' Carol Hardy-Fanta, former co-chair of MassGAP's higher education subcommittee, told The Huffington Post the morning following the debate. 'He didn't go out looking for these binders.'" [HuffPost]

ROMNEY WAS AGAINST LEDBETTER BEFORE HE WAS FOR IT... OR WAS HE? - Sam Stein: "[T]he Romney campaign sent a statement from [Ed] Gillespie walking back the comments he had made the night before. 'I was wrong when I said last night Governor Romney opposed the Lily Ledbetter act,' the statement read. 'He never weighed in on it. As President, he would not seek to repeal it.' This is more in line with the original position that the Romney campaign took on the topic, which was one of general avoidance. Gillespie is right. Romney did not comment on the legislation as it was being debated in Congress, at least not according to searches of newspaper archives. But it is doubtful that supporters of the act will rejoice now that Romney is solely focused on letting the status quo stand." [HuffPost]

North Carolina is getting the Missouri treatment: "President Obama has not stepped foot in the state since his convention drew to a close nearly six weeks ago. After he touches down in Iowa and New Hampshire this week, every other battleground state will have gotten some in-person Obama post-convention love except for the Tar Heel state." [Politico]

MIKE HUCKABEE AND THE 'BLACK MARKET KING' - FP: "Mike Huckabee brought an unusual guest to his meeting with a former Japanese prime minister, the office of Shinzo Abe, now the country's opposition leader, is claiming. In a 2008 visit to Japan, the former Arkansas governor showed up with a Yakuza money man known as the 'Black Market King' who was later convicted for ties to the Japanese mob. A photograph of the encounter has recently emerged and is being used as an attack line in Japanese politics." [Foreign Policy]

How many mistresses does the supposedly "pro-life" Scott DesJarlis have to pressure into having abortions to actually lose his house race? Maybe just one...maybe. Mike McAuliff: "According to a poll done by Myers Research Sunday and Monday, the race has closed to just a 5 point margin, with DesJarlais leading Stewart 49 percent to 44 percent -- just at the edge of the survey's five-point margin of error..."'It's one of the most profound drops I've seen in a very long time,' [pollster Andrew] Myers said. 'Among women, both older and younger, it has been a free fall.'" [HuffPost]

LOOK OUT SODA, THERE'S A NEW SUPER PAC IN TOWN - NYT: "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York is plunging into the 2012 campaign in its final weeks, creating his own 'super PAC' to direct millions of dollars in donations to elect candidates from both parties who he believes will focus on problem solving. Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire and a registered independent, expects to spend from $10 million to $15 million of his money in highly competitive Congressional, state and local races. The money would be used to pay for a flurry of advertising on behalf of Republican and Democratic candidates who support three of his biggest policy initiatives: legalizing same-sex marriage, enacting tougher gun laws and overhauling schools."

Never change, Louie: "Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) stated on Tuesday that the legacy of slavery in the United States was a particularly ugly moment in the nation's history, but that the situation now is even worse. Speaking on a conference call with far-right pastor Rick Scarborough, Gohmert warned listeners that the nation could be coming 'toward the end of [its] existence,' as evidenced by its leaders and citizens allegedly neglecting to remain true to biblical teachings." [HuffPost's Nick Wing]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Labrador wakes up and gets ready for work.

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON DELETES EYE-OPENING TWEETS - HuffPost DC: "The District of Columbia's non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, had a curious, off-color, frank -- and quickly deleted -- reaction to Tuesday night's presidential debate." [HuffPost]

This actually happened: @EleanorNorton: Mitt shot his whole wad in the first debate.


- A video tour of one of Google's data centers/the machines that will soon rise up and make Skynet look like a Nerf gun. [http://bit.ly/Qr6Qr0]

- Local news stages a terrible reenactment of a flasher. [http://bit.ly/RBaL5U]

- Breton the cat's guide to life. Just for the record, we don't suggest biting people's ankles... or any sort of licking-based grooming. [http://chzb.gr/S2aATn]

- Harvey Keitel sings "Call Me Maybe" with Carly Rae Jepson, which we're pretty sure is symptomatic of the zeitgeist suffering acid reflux. [http://huff.to/S3y0YE]

- Remote control cars get the Hollywood treatment. [http://bit.ly/VaaHQO]

- Short timelapse film of Paris. [http://vimeo.com/50467187]

- A visualization of how Facebook photos go viral. It looks like a snowflake on acid. [http://bit.ly/QW3EVU]


@dave_jamieson: Apparently there was a lot of sparring, trading of jabs and raising of eyebrows last night

@KagroX: We probably should have done something about all those single Libyan parents.

@jbarro: MT @DickMorrisTweet: Guy Fieri's new restaurant is excellent.



5:00 pm: Tim Kaine, whose name we we can't say or write without hearing the voice over guy from George Allen's attack ads (he sounds like evil Don LaFontaine), is the man of the hour. [Charlottesville, VA]

5:00 pm: Hollywood time! Michelle Obama heads to the Big Apple for a gathering of stars. Geena DAvis, Cherry Jones, James Earl Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Sam Waterson, Blair Underwood and SIgourney Weaver join the first lady. [New York, NY]

7:00 pm: Bubba brings in the bucks. Bill Clinton is also in New York and attends a $10,000-a-head fundraiser at the home of billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry. [New York, NY]


5:00 pm: Illinois congressional candidate Rodney Davis is paid a visit by none other than the Big Orange himself, John Boehner. Also on hand for the fundraiser are Aaron Schock, John Shimkus Adam Kinzinger and Bobby Schilling. [Champaign, IL]

6:00 pm: New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate Ovide LaMontagne welcomes Kelly Ayotte and John McCain for a Nashua fundraiser. You know who would LOVE to attend an October fundraiser in New Hampshire? Mr. Autumn Man. [Nashua, NH]

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