HUFFPOST HILL - Dems Promote Dem Bill By Making It Less Dem-y

An Illinois lawmaker will retire for reasons not pertaining to disease or incarceration. Republicans are so desperate for a viable presidential candidate that they're reconsidering the guy who six months ago was known best for buy-one-get-one-free deals for medium, one-topping pizzas. Harry Reid complained that he can't even get unanimous consent to use the bathroom (but at least there aren't any, uh, anonymous holds?). And Chris Christie unequivocally said he will not run for president in 2012, yet ANOTHER obvious signal that he will run for president in 2012. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, October 4th, 2011:

REID MIGHT TWEAK JOBS BILL TO MAINTAIN ILLUSION THAT DEMOCRATS STAND FOR THINGS - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he is open to altering the way the American Jobs Act is paid for so a handful of Democratic skeptics will support it. Democrats like Jim Webb, Mary Landrieu and Bill Nelson have objected to offsetting AJA's roughly $450 billion price tag with higher taxes on the rich and reduced subsidies to fossil fuel industries. In an attempt to highlight Democratic fractures, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to force a vote on the whole bill. "I've noticed a number of Democrats have expressed their concerns with parts of it," he told reporters. "But what the president has asked for is not parts of it, but the whole thing, and he's been critical of Congress for not giving it a vote. So I think we should. I think he's entitled to know where the Senate stands on his proposal." McConnell tried to achieve this by attaching the measure to the China currency bill currently being considered in the upper chamber, but Reid quickly objected. [With HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

Harry Reid said his caucus can't even agree to let him relieve his bladder. Really, he actually said it. (That would easily be the most assholic filibuster in history and you just know that Ben Nelson would engineer it). "You can't trap me into unanimous," he said. "As I've indicated here before, to get all my senators to agree that I can take a break and go to the bathroom, I can't quite get that. So we'll get most everyone. There could be -- I don't know who -- but there could be some that don't support it. But it would be a rare situation." [TPM]

Steny Hoyer wants to ensure that Martin Luther King Jr.'s life's mission of mitigating European market volatility wasn't for naught. Speaking to reporters this morning, the House Minority Whip urged the super committee to take up the mantle of human rights and reform government programs that make poor people's lives less miserable (among other things, to be fair). "So I think the -- Martin Luther King referred to the fierce urgency of now. I hope the committee feels the fierce urgency of now as the stock market reflects a lack of confidence, as Europe is roiled and as the virus of lack of confidence in our markets spreads rapidly throughout the world. This is a time of significant moment, and hopefully we are up to the task." He also said that "I hope they show the courage and judgment and put politics aside and address effectively and successfully the accomplishment in the neighborhood of $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years. And do so in a balanced way, dealing with revenues, dealing with entitlements and dealing with discretionary spending both on the security side and the non-security side." Free at last! Free at last! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, FREE AT LAST!!!

OBAMA SLAMS CANTOR - President Obama is bogeyman-ifying Eric Cantor over his opposition to an up-or-down vote on the jobs bill. "Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now, he won't even let the jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives," the president said today in Dallas (in response, the crowd erupted in a chorus of boos). "Well I'd like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill he doesn't believe in. Does he not believe in rebuilding America's roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses or efforts to help veterans?" If this were a WWE match, Eric Cantor's ominous theme music would begin to play at this point and a spandex-clad Cantor would suddenly materialize in the arena's entrance. Cantor and Obama would stare each other down for a few, very tense, moments ("OH MY GOD. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?" the overly excited announcer would yell), and Cantor would then rush the ring and be suplex slammed by the commander-in-chief. Sorry, that was over the top. It's just that it's all SO MUCH like professional wrestling. [The Hill]

SURPRISE, THIS CONGRESS ISN'T GETTING MUCH DONE - From Roll Call's John Stanton: "From Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 of this year, the House passed 247 measures, and the Senate 265. During the same period last year, the House passed 752 measures, and the Senate 440. This year, 35 measures have been signed into law. Last year, the figure was 115."

WEST VIRGINIANS VOTING FOR THEIR GOVERNOR TODAY - Polls are still open in the Mountain State where voters are selecting someone to temporarily hold the office vacated by Joe Manchin, who left for Washington so he could constantly walk up behind Harry Reid and give him a wet willy (legislatively speaking). Former state Senate President Earl Tomblin, who took over the job when Manchin quit, is facing off against Republican businessman Bill Baloney. The race has been tight and Republicans are hoping to pick up a governorship typically held by Democrats. If the Republicans win, expect a torrent of talking points about how the nation is turning away from President Obama. They won't mention that Governor Tomblin has been about as cozy to the president as, well, um, what's the word for negative a thousand trillion? [NYT]

FOLEY FROWNER - Jose Escobar, a 25-year-old who lives in Houston, faces deportation and may be separated from his wife and 20-month-old son after a mix-up extending his temporary protected status. Escobar has no criminal record and is married to a U.S. citizen, meaning his case could be closed under Obama's new deportation policy. But until then, his family is struggling to pay their bills and lawyer fees. "We have sacrificed and struggled [through] the years to obtain the things we have in our lives, then imagine your hard work and dreams for a better life scattered over a situation like this," his wife, Rose Marie Ascencio-Escobar, wrote in a petition to Change.org.

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HOUSE PASSES CONTINUING RESOLUTION, SHUTDOWN OFFICIALLY AVERTED FOR, LIKE, A MINUTE - The House this afternoon resoundingly passed the continuing resolution that will keep the government funded until November 18th, 352 to 66. Satisfied with themselves, they then got to the business of torpedoing the president's job bill. Gold stars for everyone.

CHRIS CHRISTIE STILL NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT - Our national period of fat jokes being slightly less distasteful is over. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today announced that he will NOT run for president in 2012 -- a fact Christie had previously tried to prove by threatening to commit hara-kiri on national television. "For me, the answer was never anything but no," he said during a press conference in Trenton. "So New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me." The interminable presser lasted for nearly an hour. (Even Fox News cut away from the dammed thing so it could replay the crucial portions and have Brett Baier talk about it). This made us wonder: When young Chris Christie broke up with girlfriends, did he say they should stay friends and then proceed to ramble for an hour straight? [HuffPost]

Michael Calderone recaps Christie's previous denials: "Last November, Christie stood in the same spot and famously said that not only would he not run for president but that apparently nothing 'short of suicide' would convince the press corps otherwise. But that denial didn't stick and just four days later, NBC's David Gregory asked Christie for a 'Shermanesque' statement on 'Meet the Press' that he wouldn't run. Christie provided it...In February, Christie told NBC's Ann Curry he wasn't running and reiterated that decision in numerous interviews and public appearances. Apparently, that still wasn't enough. 'You're still saying, categorically, not running, 2012?' ABC's Diane Sawyer asked just a couple weeks ago. His answer? 'No, I'm not running.'" [HuffPost]

This AP news alert basically insinuates Chris Christie won't run for president because he is wanted for murder. Link to the original page here.

HERMENTUM IS REAL: CAIN SURGES TO SECOND PLACE NATIONALLY - A survey out from ABC News and the Washington Post indicates the uber-charismatic Herman Cain, the Republican presidential candidate whose public speaking style is most likely to convey the false impression that he is a TV pitchman selling a Hercules Hook, is now in second place in the GOP primary. The dream of a black president who sells pizza might finally be realized (the arc of history is long, but it bends toward DELICIOUSNESS). Mitt Romney comes in first with 25 percent and Cain and Rick Perry are tied for second at 16 percent. This follows a poll of Florida primary voters released this week by Republican-aligned War Room Logistics that also ranked Cain second to Romney (although Perry trailed well behind Cain). [ABC News]

New PPP statewide polls have Cain leading in North Carolina, Nebraska and West Virginia

SHOCKER: RICK PERRY WAS A BIG FAN OF THE STARS AND BARS - This might be a moot point in the wake of N-word rockgate (don't worry about the rock, we're sure it will rehabilitate its image and ultimately land a contributor job with Fox News), but Rick Perry has long been an outspoken supporter of displaying the Confederate flag. Shortly before Perry took over for George Bush, the then-lieutenant governor of Texas defended his state's policy of featuring America's favorite symbol of treason. Texans "should never forget our history," Perry said at the time. Not surprising, considering this is a guy who hunts in a place that sounds like it was named by Mark Twain in a particularly grouchy mood. Perry wrote in the Sons of Confederate Veterans in March 2000 that "although this is an emotional issue, I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques and memorials from public property." So, yeah, there you have it. Honestly, it would've been more surprising if Perry was deeply troubled by what the NAACP's Hilary Shelton called "a view of history that ignores how racism became a tool to maintain a system of supremacy and dominance." [AP]

JERRY COSTELLO TO RETIRE - Veteran Illinois Rep. Jerry Costello will retire at the end of his term, his office confirmed today. "It has been a privilege and an honor to serve in the U.S. Congress for the past 23 years," Costello said in a statement released by his office. "However, I said when I was elected in 1988 and many times since that I did not intend to stay in Congress forever, as I had other interests that I wanted to pursue." Costello's typically safe seat was put in jeopardy by the Democratic legislature's redistricting map, which will likely result in a net gain for Costello's party but made his district much more competitive. [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Adorable toddler plays with a puppet dog.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Cool, with temperatures in the 50s. Otherwise, we're entering a streak of clear, sunny skies (thanks, eastward moving high pressure!) and warmer weather. Tomorrow, we may even hit the 70s! Thanks, JB!


- Thank God: The folks that made the bad Rick Perry lip reading video made one for Michele Bachmann. It's still the most coherent thing she's ever said. [http://huff.to/rinjo0]

- A supercut of every appearance by Zack Morris' retro cell phone on Saved By the Bell. [http://huff.to/r1xtJT]

- An Austrian advertisement for dog food features high-pitch noises only audible to dogs. The hope is the sound will attract dogs to the screen while the ad runs. [http://huff.to/oH7xUc]

- The 13 most awkward Spiderman freeze frames. [http://huff.to/qkvLNk]

- Hamsters are the new vacuums. [http://huff.to/qtSyIS]

- Some hypothetical movie posters for the (still hypothetical) "Arrested Development" movie. [http://huff.to/nezbwV]

- Ten ridiculous things currently for sale on EBay. Velvet Admiral Ackbar is the best thing we've ever seen. [http://huff.to/p2yOHh]

- If you aren't familiar with Pogo and his microsampling technique, check out his latest song, which culls its samples from The Mighty Boosh. [http://bit.ly/pv2TEw]


@dceiver: NBC announces that they will pick up THIS CHRIS CHRISTIE PRESS CONFERENCE THAT IS HAPPENING NOW for a second season.

@RyanLizza: I just sent Christie's spokesman @macnyc an email asking if he's running for president. Will tweet as soon as I get answer.

@ryanbeckwith: RT @CNN RT @washingtonpost RT @politico RT @nationaljournal RT @NRO RT @anonymous Christie not running.



5:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Dutch Ruppersberger is scheduled to have a fundraiser on the terrace of Willard Office Building. The forecast calls for evening highs of low 60s. Expect guest Steny Hoyer to be furiously working on a beer jacket. [1455 Pennsylvania Ave NW]

6:00 pm: Allyson Schwartz makes like a lawmaker from a depressed post-industrial state and attends a swanky fundraiser at an oyster restaurant. [Johnny's Half Shell, 400 North Capitol Street NW]

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: If you are willing to cough up $2,500 for 90 minutes at a Chinese restaurant, then boy does Maurice Hinchey have just the thing for you! [Hunan Dynasty,
215 Pennsylvania Ave SE]

6:30 pm: Kay Granger hosts a BBQ fundraiser at Oyamel, a Latin fusion restaurant (?). Also noteworthy are the donor levels: At $1,000 you'd be a "Cowboy" and at $5,000 you'd be a "Rancher." Pretty sure anyone involved in either of those professions couldn't afford four-figure political contributions. [Oyamel Restaurant, 401 7th Street NW]


6:30 pm: Saxby Chambliss does a turn for the Republican Majority Fund at Ruth's Chris Steak House. For $250-a-plate, hopefully you'll get one the pricey steaks. You know, like the one with the blue cheese on it. [Ruth's Chris Steak House, 724 9th Street NW]

6:30 pm: On Tuesday, Allyson Schwartz held her fundraiser at an oyster joint. On Wednesday, she holds one at an steakhouse. Tomorrow? A CAVIAR BAR MADE ENTIRELY OF INCAN GOLD. [Charlie Palmer Steak, 101 Constitution Ave NW]

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