Tonight's debate is competing with both the NLCS and Monday Night Football, but at least the hockey moms and NASCAR dads will tune in. Todd Akin compared Claire McCaskill to a dog, though we're pretty sure Akin's the one who is more likely to rub his butt across a carpet. And the Romney campaign has run an inordinate number of ads during "The Andy Griffith Show," probably in an attempt to shore up the "people who say 'Gosh!' vote. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, October 22nd, 2012:
FINAL DEBATE ON FOREIGN POLICY, THAT THING NO ONE CARES ABOUT - Moderator Bob Schieffer has announced the topics to be discussed this evening: 1. "America's Role in the World." 2. "Our Longest War -- Afghanistan and Pakistan." 3. "Red Lines -- Israel and Iran." 4. "The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism." 5. "The Rise of China and Tomorrow's World." No one can say how many times the president will pivot to Osama bin Laden's death ("You know who can't suffer from China's unfair currency manipulation?") or just how much the China question will become a screaming match about Toledo's job market, but we'll witness both at least once.
It's going to be an uphill battle, Josh Hersh reports: "[T]here's reason to see an ominous sign for a president who has thrown his support behind the popular uprisings in countries like Egypt and Libya: ...After a wave of protests at several American embassies in countries like Tunisia and Egypt, and the devastating attack on an American diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, Obama has increasingly had to defend his policy of supporting the democratic transitions, despite the chaos some seem to have brought with them...But the American public is showing signs of growing restless. One recent poll from the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans do not believe the Arab revolutions will improve life in those countries. Fifty-four percent agreed that it is more important to have stability than democracy...More worrisome for the Obama campaign are the indications that his lead on foreign policy matters has been slipping somewhat, especially since the September attack in Benghazi. A recent Wall Street Journal poll gave the president an eight point lead over Romney, 46 percent to 38 percent, down seven points from the year before." [HuffPost]
As always, we will live-tweet the debate from our beauty tips resource/Twitter account@HuffPostHill
GEORGE ROMNEY: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IS HARD - In a 1964 letter to state lawmakers, Michigan Gov. George Romney talked about opportunity in America like a true Occupier. "It is a paradox that in the midst of an affluent society and a booming state economy, the impoverished, the helpless, and the jobless are visible all around us," the elder Romney wrote. Mitt Romney has suggested success in America is a matter of just being born here. Not what dad thought: "The facts of the matter are these. First, that a prosperous economy does not guarantee prosperity to all of our citizens. Secondly, that we have legal and moral commitments in connections with the subsistence, support, care and dignity or those in need. But more important is hope based on concern and opportunity. Third, that our ability to meet these obligations means the prudent expenditure of tax dollars." Hat tip to freelance oppo researcher James Carter for finding the letter.
CHANGE.ORG WILL SEE YOU NOW, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE - Change.org, the leading online social movement company, has decided to reject its founding progressive principles and embrace corporate advertising, Republican party solicitations, astroturf campaigns, pro-life or anti-union ads and other sponsorships that its liberal base of users may object to, according to internal company documents. The change will be implemented on Wednesday, Oct. 24, but the company wasn't planning to tell its base of progressive users. "[W]e have no plans to proactively tell users about the new design or our new mission, vision, or advertising guidelines," reads a company document which, along with several other internal documents, was leaked to Jeff Bryant of the Campaign for America's Future, a liberal organization, and subsequently provided to The Huffington Post. Change.org, according to its leadership FAQ, will by Monday include new "awesome language about what Change.org is" on its website. "The biggest operational change will be to our advertising guidelines (previously known as our 'client policy'), which will now be a Google-like open advertising policy in which determinations about which advertisements we'll accept are based on the content of the ad, not the group doing the advertising," reads the FAQ. Nevertheless, the company's new policy does allow it to reject an ad if accepting it threatens the firm's "brand." [UPDATE: Benjamin Joffe-Walt, Change.org's Managing Director of Global Communications, rejects a number of assumptions implicit in this item. "The API reference might seem like an innocent joke to you. It doesn't to us. // A decision to open our advertising policy is not the same as a decision to 'reject [our] founding progressive principles,'" he writes. "We are not 'working with' advertisers any more than Facebook 'works with' its own advertisers, and we are not actively soliciting front groups and other controversial organizations to participate on the site any more than you are. Suggesting otherwise is misrepresentation."
CORRECTION: CHANGE.ORG WILL NOT SEE YOU NOW, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE. Joffe-Walt says that the above item's headline lays out a presently impossible scenario. "I can safely say that no, we would not accept a sponsored campaign from API if they approached us, as we don't have the users or ability to target people who might be interested," he tells HuffPost Hill.
SOUP KITCHEN VISITED BY PAUL RYAN NOT DEAD - Jason Cherkis: "The soup kitchen facing a donor backlash in the wake of Paul Ryan's embarrassing photo op has been rescued by the internet. The day after HuffPost broke the kitchen's sad news, Corey Snow of Olympia Washington, organized an online fundraising drive on the charity's behalf. In about 30 hours, Snow had raised $10,000. By Monday morning, donations had reached more than $12,600. Snow said that he was upset that the most needy would become pawns in presidential politics. 'People are hungry regardless of whether you vote Democrat or Republican,' he said. 'I thought it was not cool that they were pulling donations.' Snow, who has talked with the charity's director, plans on keeping the campaign going long past the election. He plans on turning in his donations to the soup kitchen by mid December. 'The election will still be over but people will still be hungry,' he said. The campaign site link is http://www.indiegogo.com/svdp-soupkitchen. There is also a direct donation site set up by the Mahoning County Society of Saint Vincent de Paul at http://mahoningsvdp.org, and of course the national site at http://svdpusa.org.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Rick Scott's unemployment reforms are very effective, and things are getting better and better. "Florida ranks last in the nation for the rate of unemployed people receiving state benefits and in January its going to become even stingier. The eligible weeks of unemployment insurance benefits will shrink to 19 from 23. September's unemployment rate of 8.7 percent released Friday sealed the deal. And worker advocates say the state has put other changes to the system in place that stymie eligible unemployed people from getting benefits." [Palm Beach Postt]
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POLL: VOTERS DISAPPROVE OF BENGHAZI RESPONSE - You might say that these polling numbers are not ... wait for it ... wait for it ... optimal. Nailed it. Emily Swanson: "[A] new HuffPost poll has found that the president's handling of the attacks on the US mission in Benghazi is a potential weakness within what has been a strong issue area for Obama. The new survey found that a 41 percent to 32 percent plurality of US adults do not approve of Obama's handling of the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Obama's approval on the issue is starkly divided along party lines, with Democrats approving 63 percent to 9 percent and Republicans disapproving 80 percent to 7 percent. A 41 percent to 24 percent plurality of independents said they do not approve of Obama's handling of the issue." [HuffPost]
ROMNEY CAMP SPREADING THE LOVE, TEAM OBAMA A BUNCH OF SELFISH JERKS - Elizabeth Warren would gladly pay you Tuesday for an ad buy today. Sam Stein: "The Mitt Romney campaign victory fund has transferred a total of $6 million to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and $6 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to campaign finance records. The latest transfers came during the month of September, when the NRSC and the NRCC each received $4.5 million in funds from the Romney campaign victory fund. The transfers contrast sharply with President Barack Obama's strategy, which has been to more or less let allied campaign committees fend for themselves. They illustrate how election law constraints and broader strategic visions have affected each candidate's relationship to others in his party during the 2012 election." [HuffPost]
OBAMA HAS EDGE IN NEVADA EARLY VOTING - National Journal: "About 53 percent of the voters who turned out on Saturday and Sunday in Clark County, the state's most populous, were Democrats, while just 31 percent were Republicans. The 22-point disparity is higher than the 15 points by which Democrats outnumber Republicans -- a sign, the party says, of the field organization Sen. Harry Reid and Nevada Democrats have spent a decade building. Early voting in Washoe County, home to Reno, showed a similar Democratic advantage. Registered voters in the state's bellwether county split evenly, 38 percent for both Democrats and Republicans. Over the weekend, Democrats made up 47 percent of those casting ballots early, compared with 38 percent for Republicans, a nine-point Democratic advantage." [National Journal]
Amanda Terkel reports from Wisconsin, where early voting is underway.
OBAMA STILL HOLDS MUY GRANDE LEAD AMONG LATINO VOTERS - Sadly for Mitt Romney, his dream campaign strategy of being Latino will never come to fruition, though we don't think people care about the pigmentation of the person trying to deport their friends. Politico: "In the NBC/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo national poll's oversample of Latino voters, Obama draws 70 percent of likely Latino voters to Mitt Romney's 25 percent. (Among registered voters, Obama gets 69 percent to Romney's 23 percent.) The latest impreMedia-Latino Decisions tracking poll has very similar results: 71 percent of registered voters said they would support Obama while 20 percent planned to vote for Romney." [Politico]
A thermal aircraft with a Romney advertisement on it crash landed in Florida, injuring no one and delighting metaphor enthusiasts.
CAMPAIGNS THINK YOU'RE ALL A BUNCH OF STEREOTYPES - That's according to an analysis by Yahoo News of TV spending by Democrats, Republicans and their allies. Yahoo: "'The Andy Griffith Show' is the second-most Republican-leaning program in the country, as measured by the partisanship of the political ads that run during its episodes. Only the Olympics saw a higher percentage of Republican ads, according to a Yahoo News analysis of the filings reported to the Federal Communications Commission by the TV stations in the top 50 media markets. '2 Broke Girls' swung the most heavily to the Democrats--surprising, perhaps, given that the title evokes Mitt Romney's message that the economy is floundering under President Barack Obama's stewardship. (It is not surprising if you consider the subject: single women.) 'Judge Joe Brown' came in second." [Yahoo News]
American Bridge's new Missouri campaign mailer plays Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments when opened. Sadly, it doesn't say "My name is judge."
TODD AKIN CALLS CLAIRE MCCASKILL A DOG - The Republican Senate candidate's thoughts on women have blown right by "misogynistic" and are barreling toward "drunk Viking" at an alarming speed. PoliticsMO: "Akin made the comparison during a fundraising event in Springfield, where he featured support from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, one of the few national Republicans still backing Akin after much of the party establishment distanced themselves from his candidacy following the controversy earlier in the race surrounding his comments about 'legitimate rape.' 'She goes to Washington, D.C., it's a little bit like one of those dogs, 'fetch,'' he said. 'She goes to Washington, D.C., and get all of these taxes and red tape and bureaucracy and executive orders and agencies and brings all of this stuff and dumps it on us in Missouri.'" [PoliticsMO]
@rickwtyler: If Claire McCaskill were a dog, she'd be a "Bullshitsu",
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Husky sings along to Gwen Stefani.
- Kids react to the 2012 campaign. We learn that Mitt Romney is the broccoli of children's programming. [http://huff.to/RPQOrY]
- Kindly old gentleman carves a pumpkin with a Colt 1911. You should watch this, even though he's totally ripping off a well-known episode of "Martha Stewart Living." [http://chzb.gr/XJcN83]
- Cats unfazed when presented with apples. Cats unfazed when apples disappear. [http://bit.ly/RdcBfG]
- Video from inside an F-15, which is a bit like a drone... but with a person inside. [http://bit.ly/RgHgay]
- Trailer for a forthcoming documentary about "Arrested Development." [http://chzb.gr/OM7cfR]
- The war on women extends to the gym. [http://bit.ly/RgIQcu]
- Puppy cams are the future of video programming. [http://bit.ly/QBQyhl]
@AdamSerwer: Can't wait till after election day when Todd Akin tears off his Mission: Impossible style mask and turns out to be Terry McAuliffe
@dceiver: The Ottoman Empire is +3 in the Gallipoli Poll, though.
@StevenTDennis: Boca Raton is at sea level. Advantage Obama? cc: Al Gore.
Tomorrow, Noon: Eric Cantor, everyone's favorite vampiric congressman, does a turn for California congressional candidate and state Senator Tony Strickland.
Wednesday, 5:30 pm: Despite his nationwide popularity that rivals that of Oprah and Sully Sullenberger, John Kerry skips the swing states and campaigns for Martin Heinrich. Jeff Bingaman,
Wednesday, 6:00 pm: The Republican Party of Iowa hosts its annual Ronald Reagan dinner, which is a great opportunity for prospective presidential candidates. Mitt Romney might be a wee bit offended that Bob McDonnell is attending. Chuck Grassley, Terry Branstad and Reince Priebus will also be in attendance. [Des Moines, IA]
Wednesday, 6:00 pm: Boy wonder Paul Ryan takes his toothbrush and slide projector to Georgia for a $10,000-a-couple fundraiser. [Atlanta, GA]
Wednesday, 7:00 pm: Deb Fischer, the GOP's Senate candidate in Nebraska, is given an assist from Marco Rubio, Mike Johanns and Dave Heineman. [Omaha, NE]
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