Today is Halloween, or as it's known in political circles, "the end of surprise season." Donald Trump will record robocalls for Mitt Romney, making the telegraph the only form of telecommunication he hasn't ruined. And David Axelrod promised to shave his mustache if the president loses Michigan, Pennsylvania or Minnesota. Sadly, Eric Fehrnstrom has yet to say whether he'll get Lil' Wayne-style teardrops tattooed on his face if Romney loses North Carolina. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
OBAMA SURVEYS WRECKAGE IN NEW JERSEY - AP: "President Barack Obama is telling people recovering from Sandy's devastation along New Jersey's coastline that 'we are here for you, and we will not forget' Obama joined New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other officials to inspect damage from the massive storm that struck the East Coast. He saw flooded neighborhoods and sand-strewn streets during a tour that came less than a week before Election Day. Obama says the federal government is 'here for the long haul.' Christie, a supporter of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, says he 'can't thank the president enough' for his concern and compassion during the storm." [AP]
Obama totally won that devastating natural disaster! Slam dunk touchdown home run GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL: "President Obama gets sky-high marks for his response to Hurricane Sandy, which cut a brutal path along the country's East Coast on Monday, according to the latest release of the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll. Nearly eight in 10 likely voters say the president has done an 'excellent' or 'good' job dealing with what's been labeled a 'super storm.' Almost as many give positive reviews to the federal government's response generally. Even two-thirds of those who support Republican Mitt Romney in next week's presidential election say Obama is doing well in this area. " [WaPo]
Most Americans support federal funding for natural disaster relief, despite our states' bountiful treasuries. Emily Swanson: "A new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that a large majority of Americans think the federal government should help provide assistance to those impacted by natural disasters. Some politicians, including Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have in the past supported cuts for FEMA, the agency that provides such relief -- though Romney's campaign said this week that he would not cut FEMA. According to the survey, 64 percent of Americans favor the federal government providing assistance to communities impacted by natural disasters, while only 19 percent say that relief should be left to state and local governments. Even among Republicans, a 48 percent plurality said that the federal government should provide assistance, while 38 percent said it should be left to the states." [HuffPost]
@davidshepardson: Obama campaign's first Michigan TV ad features an auto worker wearing a Detroit Tigers hat, trods "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" ground
WEIRD GOP RAPE COMMENT NEWSFLASH - We give this one three-and-a-half Akins. TPM: "John Koster, Republican nominee in Washington's First Congressional District, was captured on tape over the weekend explaining why he is opposed to abortion in the case of incest and rape. Incest he said, was 'so rare.' Then he turned to rape. 'On the rape thing, it's like, how does putting more violence onto a woman's body and taking the life of an innocent child that's the consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?" Koster said. 'You know what I mean?'" [TPM]
Just for the record: "The vast majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest and when the life or health of the mother is at risk, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. That finding puts most Americans at odds with the 13 Republican Senate candidates who have said they support making abortion illegal in all cases. According to the survey, at least 70 percent of respondents support keeping abortion legal for all of the three scenarios." [HuffPost's Emily Swanson]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Arthur and Dave Jamieson: "When Joe Baron headed into work Wednesday morning, he and his colleagues were told to file for unemployment. Hurricane Sandy had wiped out all the cars at Baron's Dodge dealership in Bricktown, N.J., drowning a fleet of pickups and new Dodge Darts. Baron, an auto technician, had worked at the dealership for 23 years straight. 'I've worked all my life,' Baron said, stunned at his job loss but grateful his family was safe. 'Where am I going to go?' As he spoke, Baron was standing in a line for gas with hundreds of other Sandy survivors in Neptune, N.J. Crippling power outages, combined with the demand for gas to run generators and cars, has led to lines at New Jersey gas stations that stretch down the street and around the block." [HuffPost]
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JOBS REPORT ON SCHEDULE - The Labor Department announced today that Barack Obama's Chicago machine politics thugs were undeterred by Hurricane Sandy and, as planned, will storm the Bureau of Labor Statistics armed with baseball bats spiked with nails. Also the jobs numbers will be released on Friday. Everything is under control. We will rebuild.
ROMNEY: OUR NATION WILL HEAL BY VOTING FOR MEEEEEEEEEE - Remember that scene from "Wedding Crashers" when Will Ferrell fake sobs alongside a mourning widow he wants to sleep with and then makes a gratuitous humping motion? This is like that... but political. Elise Foley: "After two days without rallies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney returned on Wednesday to campaigning in full, using his usual stump speech at a Florida campaign stop to criticize the president's record. And after calling for donations to support the Red Cross, he used the subject of the super-storm to segue to a call for voters to support him, too. 'We love all of our fellow citizens. We come together at times like this and we want to make sure that they have a speedy and quick recovery from their financial, and in many cases, personal loss,' Romney said to supporters at a rally in Tampa, Fla. 'Now people coming together is also what is going to happen, I believe, on Nov. 7,' he continued, referring to the day after the election." [HuffPost]
National unity over: "Vice President Joe Biden tore into Mitt Romney on Wednesday for running ads with a widely debunked claim about Chrysler and General Motors shipping American jobs to China, saying it calls into question the character of the Republican presidential nominee. During a campaign event in Sarasota, Fla., Biden called the latest ad one of the 'most scurrilous' and 'most flagrantly dishonest ads I can remember in my political career.'" [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]
"Chasing the Hill," a web show about a California congressional race, is seeking donations. "West Wing" fans still experiencing withdrawal shakes should check it out.
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THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN WILL SEE YOUR RELIEF EFFORTS AND RAISE YOU OPTICS - BuzzFeed has a behind-the-scenes look at how the Romney campaign's bogus "relief event" yesterday came to be: "The plan was for supporters to bring hurricane relief supplies to the event and then deliver the bags of canned goods, packages of diapers, and cases of water bottles to the candidate, who would be perched behind a table along with a slew of volunteers and his Ohio right-hand man, Senator Rob Portman. To complete the project and photo op, Romney would lead his crew in carrying the goods out of the gymnasium and into the Penske rental truck parked outside. But the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal-Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it 'did donate supplies to the relief effort,' but would not specify how much it spent.)" [BuzzFeed]
Donald Trump is recording robo-calls for Romney/Ryan. Because having Donald Trump interrupt your dinner is a tried and true way of winning votes. He also might make some appearances on behalf of the Republican ticket. [ThinkProgress]
Republican congressional candidate Richard Tisei's latest campaign ad -- a tranquil beach scene and nothing more -- is being marketed as a "break" from campaign ads.
MITT ROMNEY. HA. HA. - LA Times: "The joke is on Mitt Romney, according to a survey of monologues by late-night comedians, and not in a good way. The study found that the Republican presidential nominee has been the butt of TV's top funny-men more than twice as often as President Obama. The monologues of the top nighttime talk shows targeted Romney 148 times since the political party conventions this summer, compared with 62 jokes aimed at Obama, said the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. 'Romney is leading in the humor race,' said Robert Lichter, president of the media research organization, 'but being the biggest joke is a race nobody wants to win.'" [LA Times]
Mike Huckabee thinks Obama voters will go to hell, the same place he thinks Mitt Romney is going for being a Mormon. "In a new ad, the former Arkansas governor and ordained Southern Baptist minister warns Christians that their votes 'will affect the future and be recorded in eternity' and they must cast a ballot that will 'stand the test of fire.' The video, entitled 'Test of Fire,' features symbolic fiery imagery and is narrated by Huckabee." So a vote for Gary Johnson is, what... a lengthy stay in purgatory? Or some kind of "Left Behind" situation? [HuffPost]
$10,000 BET, AXELROD STYLE - As polls show President Obama's lead diminishing in Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania, senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod vowed that he would shave his signature mustache if the president loses any of those states. To be fair, if Obama does lose any of those states -- and likely the election -- Axelrod would have enough money coming in from whatever political consulting firm he signs on to that he could fly in Hollywood's best hair guy and have a new mustache grafted onto his face. "I will come on 'Morning Joe' and I will shave off my mustache of 40 years if we lose any of those three states," he said on the MSNBC morning show. Joe Scarborough, for his part, promised to grow one if the president takes North Carolina or Florida. [HuffPost's Elise Foley]
The American Mustache Institute is not pleased: "It's incredibly irresponsible for Axelrod to be playing games with such an exceptionally powerful mustache," the institute's chairman Dr. Aaron Perlut told US News. "There are very few people in positions of power who are mustached Americans, so for he to even jest about removing his lip sweater is somewhat offensive to the entire American mustached community." [US News]
@AxelrodsStache: Bring it Scarborough!
***Game change alert*** Obama is giving up on Arizona. "Our map is set, unlike the Romney campaign, which is flailing, trying to make the map different than it is," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters on a conference call this morning when the subject came up. "I believe on the ground we continue to show real enthusiasm to get to 270 electoral votes in all these battleground states. We understand the several maps we need to get there." [Politico]
CHRIS CHRISTIE BULLIES HALLOWEEN - The New Jersey governor signed an executive order today postponing Halloween in the Garden State until Monday, though he could have just as easily shouted it down in a public forum. "In too many communities in our state, the damage and losses from this storm are still being sorted out, and dangerous conditions abound even as our emergency management and response officials continue their work," he said in a statement. [Star Ledger]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Crying child is tired of "Bronco Bamma" and Mitt Romney.
'Tis better to give than to receive... so long as that giving isn't wasted by irresponsible welfare queens on rims or purses or whatever. Elise Foley: "Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said on Tuesday that federal aid for people impacted by Hurricane Sandy should be approved only with a specific spending plan in place so funds are not used for 'Gucci bags and massage parlors,' like after Hurricane Katrina. 'I want to get them the resources that are necessary to lift them out of this water and the sand and the ashes and the death that's over there in the East Coast and especially in the Northeast,' King said during a Tuesday evening debate in Mason City, Iowa." [HuffPost]
- A pumpkin outfitted with Tetris. Happy Halloween. [http://bit.ly/SvU8w0]
- Authors' witty comments about the film versions of their work. [http://bit.ly/PlUm84]
- Helicopter pilot retrieves a model airplane out of a tree... while in the helicopter... while it's flying. Wow. [http://bit.ly/WZ8MOU]
- Smashing pumpkins... literally (and in slow motion!) [http://chzb.gr/PFlujU]
- History's most obsessive-compulsive -- and helpful! -- person sorts the miscellaneous candy bin at Walmart. [http://bit.ly/SkGwko]
- Life for a teenager in ancient Rome. [http://bit.ly/SeuAQJ]
- Look out, male upper lips of the world: Movember is upon us. [http://chzb.gr/RubJ53]
@indecision: Hurricane Sandy probably won't affect most elections, except in Missouri where she is polling slightly ahead of Todd Akin.
@dceiver: Let's not get me started on what, exactly, I'm going to shave if Gary Johnson wins.
@evanmc_c: protip: do NOT ask flacks what they're going to shave. They're not all caught up on this story yet. #RestrainingOrder'd
Tomorrow, 5:30 pm: Jeff Flake takes a break from accusing Richard Carmona of wanting to punch the Senate in the throat to have a fundraiser at Phoenix's Oasis Hospital, because that's appropriate. [Phoenix, AZ]
5:30 pm: Ron Johnson and Bob McDonnell head to the belly of the beast, Chicago, for a fundraiser with the Chi-Town Underground Romney Resistance...or something. [Chicago, IL]
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