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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

HuffPost Hill
By Eliot Nelson & Arthur Delaney
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President Obama's campaign has become so reliant on softball interviewers it might behoove CNN to bring Larry King back. When it comes to 9/11 funding, the sequester boldly demonstrates that the U.S. Congress will never forg---something. And having already alienated 47 percent of the electorate, Mitt Romney went after the other 53 percent today when he said paying taxes is a self-affirming experience. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, September 18th, 2012:

ROMNEY BACKTRACKS FROM '47 PERCENT' BY SAYING MOST NON-REPUBLICAN THING POSSIBLE - During a damage control appearance on Fox News this afternoon, the Republican presidential candidate... failed. "We were, of course, talking about a campaign and about how he's [President Barack Obama's] going to get half the vote," he told Neil Cavuto. Asked by Cavuto about the members of the military and senior citizens who are among the 47 percent who do not pay income taxes, Romney made the ghost of Milton Friedman shudder. "I do believe we should have enough jobs and enough take-home pay to allow people to pay taxes," he replied. "I think people would like to be paying taxes." [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]

COURT RULING MAKES DEMOCRACY EVEN MORE FLACCID - Instead of seeing "Paid for by what David Koch found under his couch last night" at the bottom of attack ads, you'll soon see "Muahah....Muahahahaha... MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!" Paul Blumenthal: "An appeals court Tuesday overturned a ruling issued earlier this year that required independent groups spending money in elections to disclose their donors if they ran a certain type of campaign ad. The decision will immediately open the door for non-profit groups spending millions on this fall's election, like the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads GPS and the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, to shift their funds back to these ads in order to help protect their tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Service regulations." [HuffPost]

Scott Brown fail: "Sen. Scott Brown's reelection campaign committed an embarrassing typo on a position flyer that Brown tweeted out from his personal Twitter account Tuesday, asking backers to spread the word on the Massachusetts Republican's support of women and women's issues. 'Stand with Scott Brown. Spread the word, reteet this,' the e-literature says, unfortunately leaving out the ''W' in a pitch to women." [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Scott Pickard disagrees with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's claim that nearly half of American voters oppose him because they're dependent on government spending and bereft of personal responsibility.
"I don't think he has a clue," Pickard said. Pickard, 50, spent more than three years unemployed before landing a job as a staff training specialist at a university in Long Beach, Calif., in April. He said his long jobless spell was not fun at all, as it brought bouts of depression he coped with one hour at a time. "I was not having very healthy thoughts," he said. Pickard said he persistently sought work and only maintained his sanity by networking with other unemployed people, and that the suggestion he mooched off of society is false. "I slogged through it and made it work," he said. "I made sure I was not a drain on society -- and there are many people who do that." [HuffPost]

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PRESIDENT OBAMA RELYING ON UNORTHODOX MEDIA OUTLETS - And it's more than just Joe Biden sharing photos of his favorite teal wallpaper on Pinterest. Sam Stein and Ian Gray: "Since July 13, Obama has done at least 26 interviews with non-traditional or alternative media outlets, according to information provided by the campaign. Of those, eight were interviews with 'urban outlets,' six were with Top 40/R&B/entertainment outlets, two were with sports radio outlets, six were with Spanish-language outlets, two were with student outlets, and two were with women-focused outlets. Sixteen of the 26 interviews were done on the radio. That may seem like a lot, but the total number of interviews Obama conducted with such outlets is certainly higher. For example, the list the campaign provided doesn't include an interview with Albuquerque's 93.3 KOB-FM Morning, an interview with Obie and Lil Shawn on 95.3 FM in Orlando, or the two interviews that he is doing this week with Steve Harvey and Michael Baisden." [HuffPost]

DETAILS ABOUT '47 PERCENT' FUNDRAISER EMERGE - Mitt Romney delivered his now infamous rant against the 47 percent of self-victimizing voters who are "dependent on government" not in a Denny's to a group of toll booth workers but to the types of people who would deliver a gold phone to Fulgencio Batista. Mother Jones: "The event was held at the Boca Raton home of private equity manager Marc Leder, who has donated $225,000 to the pro-Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future and $63,330 to the Romney Victory PAC. Employees of his firm, Sun Capital Partners, have given more than $970,000 to the Romney campaign and its related PACs in this election cycle (including donations from spouses). So who else was on hand for Romney's "off the cuff" remarks at Leder's spread on May 17? According to the TC Palm, 150 people attended the $50,000-per-plate event. The guest list hasn't been made public, but some possible attendees can be picked out of campaign finance records." [Mother Jones]

Romney didn't limit his sweeping pronouncements about entire groups of people to Americans. He also said Palestinians "have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace." Said Romney, "I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, 'There's just no way.'" [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]

SCOTT BROWN DENOUNCES ROMNEY COMMENTS - When you'er running against someone who may well have been immaculately conceived by a conference table at the Social Security Administration, you kinda have to, you know?"That's not the way I view the world. As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs," he told The Hill in an email. [The Hill]

Don't worry, Mitt, Todd Akin's got your back! "I am not going to join the media in piling on when a fellow Republican makes an inelegant statement," Akin aide Rick Tyler wrote when emailed by HuffPost and asked whether his boss believes Romney should step aside. [With Amanda Terkel]

PAUL RYAN CAMPAIGNS IN CONTRADICTION - The Republican vice presidential candidate delivered remarks yesterday in a venue that received stimulus funding, something almost unfathomable as him using a Bowflex. Mollie Reilly: "But as Ryan ripped the president over spending and insufficient economic growth, he stood in a venue that was bolstered by federal stimulus dollars from 2009's American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. Dover's McConnell Community Center, the venue for Ryan's town hall, is a shared nonprofit space that provides low cost leases to organizations like Big Brother/Big Sister, UNH Social Work Outreach Program and the Dover Adult Learning Center...In 2009, the McConnell Center was granted a portion of a $123,400 award from the Department of Energy as part of a larger effort to improve Dover's energy efficiency. The center spent $82,844 of Recovery Act funds to improve energy efficiency with the intent of cutting operations costs, thus reducing utilities bills for the center's low and middle income tenants." [HuffPost]

Mitt Romney's latest ad targets female voters and lets us know what it must be like to be the kid of a Heritage Foundation fellow. "Dear daughter. Welcome to America," the lady narrator intones as a woman spins her baby around. "Your share of Obama's debt is over 50,000 dollars. And it grows every day. Obama's policies are making it harder on women. The poverty rate for women -- the highest in 17 years. More women are unemployed under President Obama. More than 5.5 million women can't find work. That's what Obama's policies have done for women." And all that baby probably wants is a foam puzzle piece to stick in its mouth. Sheesh, mom. [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]

SEQUESTER CUTS 9/11 FUNDS - Mike McAuliff: "Lawmakers vowed to 'never forget' 9/11 again last week, but it appears many already had -- in the budget sequester legislation Congress passed last summer to try and cut the deficit. The sequester set up automatic budget cuts of some $1.2 trillion over 10 years, and legislators were careful to spare veterans from most of those, recognizing their sacrifices in the war on terror. But apparently no one remembered to also exempt 9/11 responders and others who first answered the call after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that started that war. And now the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that President Barack Obama signed on Jan. 2, 2011, faces $38-million worth of cuts in 2013 alone if the sequester is not avoided, and could lose something approaching $300 million over the current planned life of the program." [HuffPost]

REPORT: REP. RICHARDSON'S BEHAVIOR SO BAD THE HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE MIGHT ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING - Usually, the House's Ethics Committee is about as eager to inflict serious punishment on one of its colleagues as an Upper West Side parent. However, it appear that Laura Richardson has rankled the committee just enough. Politico:"Rep. Laura Richardson has been accused of retaliating against and intimidating aides who cooperated with the ethics investigation that led to her reprimand by the House, according to two explosive letters the Ethics Committee sent to Richardson that have been obtained by POLITICO. The panel warned the California Democrat that it is continuing its investigation into her operation and could turn the House probe over to the Justice Department if the accusations prove true." [Politico]

Orrin Hatch's opponent speculated that the Utah Senator could die before he finishes his next term. "I'm going to be frank," Scott Howell says at the start of a fundraising email. "Orrin Hatch is not a bad guy. But he is an old guy." Howell speculates toward the end of the email that his opponent could "die before his term is through." Might explain why Howell's Hatch tracker is an actuary... [National Journal]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Puppy is confounded by a lemon the way a person is confounded by... um... LSD?

BRO..... YOUR FINGER - HuffPost DC: "A Georgetown bar made famous by the Bush twins now has a nasty lawsuit on its hands over a severed finger." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- "Shit Girls Say." No, ladies, it doesn't feel like Tuesday. [http://chzb.gr/SVPfxW]

- A treasure trove of 102 film noir posters. [http://bit.ly/gW74gH]

- Groucho Marx once wrote a letter to Woody Allen ("The moral is: don't write a comedy that makes an audience laugh.") [http://bit.ly/TSV66k]

- Astronaut's self-portrait during a spacewalk is cool, unless of course this is the first thing you see when you wake up, because in that case it's terrifying. [http://1.usa.gov/PMkAjp]

- Although this is Comfort Food, and there is absolutely nothing comforting about these singing Ewoks -- not in the least -- we're going to share it with you anyway. [http://bit.ly/RpESvy]

- Stop-motion short of toy soldiers fighting trench warfare in a vegetable garden. [http://bit.ly/S2pNjh]

- A water tower in Belgium was converted into a home. This is some back shelf architecture porn, yessir. [http://bit.ly/Pw3pRa]

TWITTERAMA

@anamariecox: Taking a poll for Romney campaign: Everybody who's never accepted anything from government, RAISE YOUR HAND. Ok. I mean, I guess it's late?

@pourmecoffee: The first rule of secret donor meetings is don't get caught talking trash about half the country at secet donor meetings.

@brianbeutler: Best part of the Romney video was the dude dressed as a pimp.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm: The reception we mentioned last week with Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man In The World is finally here. Jonathan Goldsmith, the surprisingly Jewish actor who plays the bon vivant spokesman, plays host. [Nectar's, 188 Main Street, Burlington]

6:00 pm: Observe Republicans in one of their natural habitats, a steakhouse, by attending Saxby Chambliss' fundraiser. [Ruth's Chris Steak House, 724 9th Street NW]

Mitt and Ann Romney kindly ask that you leave ALL RECORDING EQUIPMENT at the door for their fundraiser in Dallas. [Hilton Anatole, 2201 North Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX]

TOMORROW

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: George Miller gets out of bathroom cleaning duty at the congressional frat house (sorry, Dick!) by sneaking away to a fundraising reception. [434 New Jersey Ave SE]

6:00 pm: Mary Landrieu, who has managed to remain an elected Democrat in Louisiana, hopes to keep the dream alive a bit longer with a reception benefiting her 2014 reelection bid. [405 East Capitol Street, SE]

6:30 pm: The gang is back together! The once and possibly future Virginia Senator George Allen is the man of the hour at a fundraising reception/dinner featuring appearances by Mitch McConnell, Mike Crapo, Richard Burr, Jim DeMint and Dan Coats. [Caucus Room, 401 9th Street NW]

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm: His poll numbers slipping, Scott Brown makes his "Dude...dude!!!" pitch at the NRSC's headquarters. [NRSC, 425 2nd Street NE]

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

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