POLITICS
11/01/2013 06:02 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Willard Romney Guffaws At Corpulent Fellow

Politicos of all stripes rushed to get an advance copy of "Game Change: Double Down," though we're waiting for the series' fifth edition: "Game Change: Double Down: All In: Afternoon Driver: Day Winner." Economists project taxes on marijuana sales in Colorado could provide the state with $75 million annually, and that's not even accounting for the Funyun multiplier. And during the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney made a crack about Chris Christie's weight. That might seem cruel, but the governor showed a lot of restraint by not flying to New Jersey, holding Christie down and forcibly cutting his hair. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, November 1st, 2013:

AMERICANS DON'T KNOW PEOPLE CAN BE FIRED FOR BEING GAY: POLL - But America's working gays and lesibans will be happy to know that Americans are very well acquainted with the latest episode of "The Voice." Emily Swanson: "Half of Americans support a law banning job discrimination against gays and lesbians, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But the poll found that even more Americans falsely believe it's already illegal nationally to fire somebody for being gay. The Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, will come up for a vote in the Senate on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has announced. The bill currently has the support of every single Senate Democrat and two Republicans. According to the new poll, 50 percent of Americans favor a law banning workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians, while 42 percent oppose one. Democrats in the poll supported a law like ENDA by a 61 percent to 35 percent margin, while independents were also more likely to favor than oppose one, 47 percent to 41 percent. A majority of Republicans, on the other hand, said they were opposed, by a 51 percent to 41 percent margin." [HuffPost]

Meaghan Smith is leaving Senate Finance to run communications for Brian Schatz. Smith and her committee colleagues will be at Johnny's Half Shell today after 5:00 pm.

GUTIERREZ: PIECEMEAL APPROACH TO IMMIGRATION REFORM LIKELY - Ibrahim Balkhy: "Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a leading proponent of comprehensive immigration reform in the House, said Thursday in a radio interview that the GOP preference for a piecemeal approach is likely to win out. 'We are going to do them piecemeal, but in the end you're going to have a full menu,' Gutierrez said on Chicago Public Radio's 'Afternoon Shift.' Gutierrez has said before that he's open to a piecemeal approach to immigration reform, as long as it eventually includes different measures affecting security, the so-called Dreamers and new workers. Gutierrez acknowledged that Democrats need to change their strategy, given the current balance in Congress. 'Democrats in the House of Representatives have to stop negotiating from the point of view that they're in the majority,' he said. 'We're not.' Gutierrez also said that the piece of immigration legislation that is most likely to get passed will be a version of the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for the Dreamers, people brought to the United States as children who also meet other requirements." [HuffPost]

No evening plans this weekend? Warm up some cider, put on that Snuggie and read HuffPost editor Sasha Belenky's collection of the week's best longreads.

THAT COURT OBAMA'S TRYING TO PUT JUDGES ON, IT'S DOIN' STUFF! Julian Hattem: "A federal appeals court on Friday struck down the birth control mandate in ObamaCare, concluding the requirement trammels religious freedom. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court — ruled 2-1 in favor of business owners who are fighting the requirement that they provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control. Requiring companies to cover their employees’ contraception, the court ruled, is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control on religious grounds, even if they are not purchasing the contraception directly." [The Hill]

PREPARE TO FEEL A TWINGE OF SYMPATHY FOR MICHELE BACHMANN - But then remember she said vaccines cause retardation. Luke Johnson: "Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) won the Iowa straw poll for presidential candidates in August 2011, but dropped to barely 5 percent in the Iowa caucus vote in January 2012. According to the new book, Double Down, by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, she did not take the loss well: 'Sitting in her campaign bus, in the same seat where she cried with joy in August, she now sobbed over her drubbing. 'God, I'm a loser,' Bachmann said. 'God, I turn people off.' With two debates ahead in New Hampshire, some of her advisers thought she should consider staying in the race. Bachmann wanted no part of it. Let's draft a withdrawal speech for tomorrow, she said.' Bachmann withdrew from the race the day after the Iowa caucuses." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - National media and federal policymakers haven't paid much attention, but a $5 billion reduction to the food stamp program that took effect Friday has already been reverberating across the country. Food bank directors have been telling local newspapers and TV stations they're worried the shrinking benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will result in rising need at a time of decreased donations. "It's coming right before the holidays, and it's coming right before it gets cold outside," Melissa Henderson of South Plains Food Bank told the local Fox affiliate in Lubbock, Texas. [HuffPost]

DOUBLE DOWNER - Democrats had three whole years to avert this benefit drop they said in 2010 they'd be sure to avert, and they waited until this week to start making noise about it. It's almost as if politicians are insincere.

Read the amazing case for changing Washington's football team name to "Red Clouds."

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OBAMA DIRECTS AGENCIES TO KEEP COMBATTING CLIMATE CHANGE BUT, YOU KNOW, BETTER - Complete with task forces! Kate Sheppard: "The Obama administration quietly unveiled a new executive order on Friday laying out plans to deal with the impacts of climate change and directing federal agencies to revise programs and policies that might serve as barriers to climate adaptation. The order builds out the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience that President Obama called for in his June climate change speech. The task force will bring together local, state and tribal officials to collaborate on approaches for dealing with climate impacts and advise the federal government. Those impacts include heat waves, extreme storm events, droughts, ocean acidification, sea-level rise and the melting of the permafrost... The executive order also creates a second group –- the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience –- made up of senior officials from all of the federal agencies and led by the head of the Council on Environmental Quality, Obama's top national security adviser and the head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The council will replace the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force that Obama created in 2009. The order also calls on federal agencies to identify ways to remove barriers in laws or programs that might make it difficult to address climate-related issues, and to 'reform policies and Federal funding programs that may, perhaps unintentionally, increase the vulnerability of natural or built systems, economic sectors, natural resources, or communities to climate change related risks.'" [HuffPost]

GAME CHANGE: DOUBLE DOWN EXCERPTS - Read 'em now and save yourself dozens of hours of "Morning Joe" coverage. Luke Johnson: "President Barack Obama felt a sense of relief after coming out in favor of gay marriage, according to 'Double Down,' a new book about the 2012 campaign. 'I feel so good about that,' he reportedly told adviser David Plouffe, after declaring his support in an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts. But the Obama team didn't feel 'so good' several days before, when Vice President Joe Biden went off script in a "Meet The Press" interview, expressing his support for gay marriage and getting out in front of the president. The anecdote is one of many in the richly reported book, set to be released Tuesday, by 'Game Change' authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. It also details how Obama advisers considered replacing Biden with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the 2012 ticket and how Jon Huntsman, Sr. was the source for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's claim that Mitt Romney hadn't paid taxes for 10 years. The Huffington Post independently obtained a copy of the book before its release. Biden, whom the authors describe as someone with a "nonfunctional" gaydar who didn't know how many gay staffers he had, experienced an epiphany at the end of April, after appearing at an LGBT fundraising event at the home of a gay couple with two kids in Los Angeles." [HuffPost]

According to Halperin and Heilemann, Mitt Romney made fun of Chris Christie's weight at one point. Amanda Terkel: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was on Mitt Romney's vice presidential short list initially, but the GOP nominee took him off in part because of his weight...one of the reasons Romney quickly eliminated Christie as a running mate was that he was bothered by his lack of physical fitness. 'Romney marveled at Christie’s girth, his difficulties in making his way down the narrow aisle of the campaign bus,' the authors write. 'Watching a video of Christie without his suit jacket on, Romney cackled to his aides, 'Guys! Look at that!'" [HuffPost]

According to Halperin and Heilemann, Bill Clinton equated Obama to a multi-phallused K9: "During the 2012 campaign, former President Bill Clinton was amazed that President Barack Obama seemed to be catching break after break, while GOP nominee Mitt Romney seemed to stumble constantly. 'He's luckier than a dog with two dicks,' Clinton would often tell his pals, according to the new book 'Double Down' by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann." [HuffPost]

The Hill names Shawn Osborne of TechAmerica among its top lobbyists of 2013. "With more than 26 years of experience in the tech and telecommunications sectors, Osborne is a dynamic leader for TechAmerica." We'll have more on that Monday. Background.

TED CRUZ SEEN AS GOP LEADER: POLL - Your Manchurian candidate may rise yet, Canada. PPP's newest national survey finds that in the wake of the shutdown, Republican voters now view Ted Cruz as their party's leader. 21% picked Cruz to 17% for Chris Christie, and 15% for John Boehner. Cruz finished well ahead of the other GOP Senators we tested- Rand Paul got 9%, John McCain 7%, and Mitch McConnell only 4%. Mitt Romney at 8% and Sarah Palin at 4% were the other people we tested. Numbers PPP will release next week show Ted Cruz would be an exceedingly weak Presidential candidate in the general election The good news for the GOP is that even if the party base sees Cruz as their leader Democrats and independents actually see Chris Christie, who has far broader approval, as the leader of the Republican Party these days. With Democrats Christie gets 23% to 17% for Boehner and only 10% for Cruz. And with independents Christie gets 25% to 17% for Cruz and 10% for Boehner. Even if Republicans themselves see Cruz as their leader, they're better off with everyone else seeing it as Christie." [PPP]

NOTHING IS CERTAIN BUT DEATH AND WEED TAXES - "This highway resurfacing brought to you by YOUR sativa blend tax dollars!" AP: "A pro-pot jingle in Colorado last year went like this: 'Jobs for our people/Money for schools/Who could ask for more?' Nearly a year after Colorado legalized recreational weed, voters get the chance to decide exactly how much more — in taxes. On Tuesday, voters decide whether to approve a 15 percent pot excise tax to pay for school construction, plus an extra sales tax of 10 percent to fund marijuana enforcement. Some pot activists are campaigning against the taxes, arguing that marijuana should be taxed like beer, which has a tax rate of 8 cents a gallon. They've handed out free joints at tax protests...While polls suggest the tax is going to pass — even in this state where voters frequently reject new taxes — it is very much an open question how much the state is going to reap. A projection prepared for voters by state fiscal analysts predicted the taxes would bring in $70 million a year. But an early draft of Colorado's first budget after retail sales begin, the 2014-15 fiscal year, doesn't include an amount they expect in pot revenue." [AP]

ATTORNEY GENERAL RACE GOP'S BEST HOPE IN VIRGINIA - Laura Bassett: "With Virginia Republicans' staunchly anti-abortion candidates for governor and lieutenant governor trailing drastically among women in the polls, the GOP's best hope next Tuesday seems to be Mark Obenshain, the attorney general candidate who hopes to salvage some of gubernatorial contender Ken Cuccinelli's female defectors. Obenshain is just as conservative as Cuccinelli, the current state attorney general, on women's issues. As a state senator, he supported fetal personhood legislation, voted for a bill that would have required women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions, sponsored a bill to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and introduced legislation requiring women to report a miscarriage to the police or risk jail time. But Obenshain has done a much better job of flying under the radar on these issues, and his race against Democrat Mark Herring looks to be a dead heat." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a porcupine eating a pumpkin.

PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS THE SAME NEWS DIET AS YOUR GRANDMOTHER - Unclear when he'll start sending random Americans news clippings from USA Today, though. Politico: "President Barack Obama is often accused of being insular. He’s not a schmoozer. He doesn’t like meeting with lawmakers, and he doesn’t particularly care for talking to reporters, either. But get him in an off-the-record setting with a small group of opinion columnists — the David Brooks and E.J. Dionne types — and he’ll talk for hours...He also likes talking to the people he likes to read. The president is a voracious consumer of opinion journalism. Most nights, before going to bed, he’ll surf the Internet, reading the columnists whose opinions he values. One of the great privileges of the presidency is that, when so inclined, he can invite these columnists to his home for meetings that can last as long as two-and-a-half hours. 'It’s not an accident who he invites: He reads the people that he thinks matter, and he really likes engaging those people,' said one reporter with knowledge of the meetings. 'He reads people carefully — he has a columnist mentality — and he wants to win columnists over,' said another. The president appreciates the back-and-forth exchanges at the sessions, past participants told POLITICO. He even occasionally asks aides or administration officials what a specific columnist thinks about an issue. Sometimes, the aide will then reach out to the columnist to ask his or her opinion, which has had the unintended effect of spurring the columnist to write a piece expressing his thoughts on that very issue." [Politico]

COMFORT FOOD

- The initial direction of a dog's tail wag actually conveys something. [http://bit.ly/19fGlRU]

- An Idaho sportscaster dressed up as Ron Burgundy for Halloween. [http://bit.ly/19WUD9n]

- Friendly reminder that today is the first day of Movember, when dudes are encouraged to grow moustaches to raise money for men's health. [http://bit.ly/cIiJMj]

- HuffPost Comedy rounds up the best Halloween costumes of 2013. [http://huff.to/16llxap]

- F-1 racer burns donuts on a helipad. The YOLOiest YOLO we've seen lately. [http://aol.it/19fXFWV]

- NASA's jet propulsion laboratory held a pumpkin carving competition. [http://bit.ly/1dYHtwS]

- How long could you be buried alive in a coffin? Inquiring minds -- and "Kill Bill 2" fans -- want to know. [http://bit.ly/1csjDtq]

TWITTERAMA

@dceiver: REAL TALK: I can't imagine something as UNLUCKY as having two dicks. I mean, it would be SOOOO problematic.

@brianbeutler: Two seconds til the buzzer and ten feet from half court. They were only behind by one, but he couldn't get in close. He had to double down.

@delrayser: e downibus doublum

@elongreen: Smart take, jackass. RT @LukeRussert: Hmm RT: @nbcwashington: Woman's body found in Potomac near Watergate Hotel http://bit.ly/HtjyId

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