HUFFPOST HILL - Romney Affirms Voters' Judgment

Nancy Pelosi will be the House minority leader for two more years, so if you see Steny Hoyer staring out at a lake, skipping stones and crying, leave him be. Louie Gohmert nominated Newt Gingrich to be speaker of the House, a move almost as ridiculous as nominating Louie Gohmert to be speaker of the House. And President Obama held his first post-election press conference. Sadly, nobody accepted the Pizza Hut challenge and asked whether he prefers sausage or pepperoni. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, November 14th, 2012:

WHAT DO YOU CALL SOMEONE WHO SAYS STUFF LIKE THIS? - Mitt Romney, whom you might remember as someone who you paid attention to before the Petraeus scandal, told his major donors on a conference call today that the president won your votes the way your mom's new boyfriend tried to win your loyalty: with gifts. LA Times: "[Romney] said he believed his team ran a 'superb' campaign with 'no drama,' and attributed his rival's victory to 'the gifts' the administration had given to blacks, Hispanics and young voters during Obama's first term. Obama, Romney argued, had been 'very generous' to blacks, Hispanics and young voters. He cited as motivating factors to young voters the administration's plan for partial forgiveness of college loan interest and the extension of health coverage for students on their parents' insurance plans well into their 20s. Free contraception coverage under Obama's healthcare plan, he added, gave an extra incentive to college-aged women to back the president. Romney argued that the Obama's health care plan's promise of coverage 'in perpetuity' was 'highly motivational' to those voters making $25,000 to $35,000 who might not have been covered, as well as to African American and Hispanic voters. Pivoting to immigration, Romney said the Obama campaign's efforts to paint him as 'anti-immigrant' had been effective and that the administration's promise to offer what he called 'amnesty' to the children of illegal immigrants had helped turn out Hispanic voters in record numbers...Romney said he and his team were discussing how to keep the campaign's donor group connected--perhaps with annual meetings or a monthly newsletter--'so we can stay informed and have influence on the direction of the party, and perhaps the selection of a future nominee.'" [LA Times]

Romney haz sad: "But frankly we're still so troubled by the past, it's hard to put together our plans for the future," he said. [Ibid.]

Orrin Hatch thinks Romney framed it all wrong, via Mike McAuliff: "Hatch thought MItt's was right with his underlying argument about the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes. 'It was distorted because Romney did not explain it right,' Hatch said. 'All he had to say was 'Look, when 51 percent of all households -- not just individuals -- don't pay a penny in income taxes, it shows that we've got too many people riding in the wagon. What he should have said is 'I want to get them out of the wagon in good jobs where they can also help pull the wagon.'"

VAWA Could Be Interesting - After getting beaten by a coalition of women, Latinos and gay and lesbian folks, Republicans come back to Congress to deal with the Violence Against Women Act renewal -- which they're holding up for a bunch of reasons those groups would deem pretty gross. Oof.

FAR-RIGHT BEATS FAR-FAR-RIGHT IN GOP LEADERSHIP ELECTION- We're hearing reports that members of Florida's congressional delegation had to wait hours to vote for conference chairman (Kidding! They're not poor. It was a breeze). The Hill: "Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) was elected chairwoman of the House GOP conference on Wednesday, a victory for party leaders over insurgent conservatives...The Washington state Republican, who has served two terms as the conference's vice chairwoman, defeated Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a favorite of conservatives, in a closed-door election among House Republicans. Price, a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, had the support of Reps. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the recent GOP nominee for vice president, and Jeb Hensarling, the outgoing conference chairman." [The Hill]

Louie Gohmert's actions today make us wonder if he wrote-in "Ronald Reagan's shoe" for president. Jen Bendery: "Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) nominated Newt Gingrich for House speaker during his party's leadership elections on Wednesday, but nobody backed the idea, a GOP source in the closed-door meeting confirmed to HuffPost... When it came time for nominations to the top post, Gohmert stood up and said he supported having Gingrich back in the slot... no other lawmakers seconded his motion... The source inside the meeting said Boehner, who was ultimately reelected speaker, said in his acceptance speech, 'Louie, I love you too.'...The Constitution doesn't require that the House speaker be a member of Congress..." [HuffPost]

Greg Walden was elected to be the next NRCC chairman. He ran unopposed. He will now spend an ungodly number of hours in the Capitol Hill Club/

JOHN KERRY JOHN KERRYS- Mike McAuliff: "John Kerry tried humor -- briefly -- to duck questions about his future and buzz about cabinet posts. Asked where he was going, an upbeat-looking Kerry answered, 'I'm going to eat lunch.' Asked how many cabinet posts Kerry could fill himself, however, he did not rise to the occasion, pausing for a moment before declaring, 'I have no comments.'"

REID STANDS UP FOR SOCIAL SECURITY, PELOSI...WELL, TWO MORE YEARS! - Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi aren't on the same page. "I have made it very clear, I have told anyone that will listen -- including everyone in the White House, including the president -- that I am not going to be part of having Social Security as part of these talks relating to this deficit," the Senate Majority Leader told reporters at the Capitol. At the same time, on the other side of the building, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives didn't shut the door on Social Security in deficit talks. "Our commitment as Democrats is that we believe Social Security and Medicare are pillars of economic and health security for America's seniors," Pelosi said during a press conference. "They should not have cuts made to them in order to give tax cuts to the rich. Any adjustments we would make in them would be to make them stronger, as we did in the Affordable Care Act." Nancy Altman is co-chair of an advocacy group called Social Security Works, which opposes any effort by congressional leaders to include Social Security in budget talks. Altman deemed Pelosi's remark a bit too wishy-washy. "The comment is ambiguous," Altman said. "Harry Reid's statement is much more straightforward and clear: As he states plainly, Social Security should not be part of the budget talks." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) wants the poor and unemployed to prove they're not on drugs in order to be eligible to receive benefits from the government. "Texas taxpayers will not subsidize or tolerate illegal drug abuse," Perry said in a statement on Tuesday. "Every dollar that goes to someone who uses it inappropriately is a dollar that can't go to a Texan who needs it for housing, child care or medicine." During a press conference, Perry did not say there was rampant drug abuse among Texans receiving unemployment insurance or welfare dollars, but nevertheless stressed it was something the state should prevent. Before a federal judge put a stop to it, results from Florida's welfare drug testing program suggested TANF applicants were much less likely than the general population to use drugs. [HuffPost]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

OBAMA HOLDS FIRST POST-ELECTION PRESS CONFERENCE - Much to our dismay, he did not offer the first question to Neil Munro and Bill Clinton didn't spring forth from behind the podium. Luke Johnson: "President Barack Obama has rejected an idea put forward by House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans to close unspecified tax loopholes in order to pay for extending all tax cuts as part of a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Obama's simple explanation: I won. 'But when it comes to the top 2 percent, what I'm not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don't need it, which would cost close to a trillion dollars. And it's very difficult to see how you make up that trillion dollars, if we're serious about deficit reduction, just by closing loopholes and deductions,' the president said at a White House news conference on Wednesday. 'The math tends not to work,' he said." [HuffPost]

He also addressed immigration reform. Elise Foley and Sam Stein: "President Barack Obama said Wednesday that conversations between the White House and members of Congress have begun over immigration reform, adding that lawmakers would introduce a bill 'very soon' into his second term. 'This has not historically been a partisan issue,' he said in his first press conference since being reelected. 'We've had President Bush, John McCain and others who have supported comprehensive immigration reform in the past. So we need to seize the moment.' It is the most optimistic statement the president has made publicly to date about the prospect of accomplishing immigration reform in the next four years. That could be because Republican lawmakers have begun to speak openly about addressing the subject after losing heavily among Latino voters during the 2012 elections." [HuffPost]

*****Brought to you by the Beer Institute*********

Beer is a $223 billion industry supporting 1.8 million American jobs. Learn more at bit.ly/Rxf7Lx


PELOSI STICKING AROUND - If you're feeling charitable, send some earplugs to Steny Hoyer's staff -- they must be tired of hearing "Everybody Hurts" blasting from the congressman's office. Amanda Terkel and Jen Bendery: "Pelosi's decision, which she kept so quiet about that even her Democratic colleagues and staff didn't know until the last minute, means that the current line-up of House Democratic leaders will largely stay intact in the next Congress. She formally made her announcement later Wednesday morning at a press conference surrounded by dozens of House Democratic women, whom she made the focus of much of her remarks. 'If we want our economy to flourish and grow, we must lift up women in our economy,' Pelosi said. 'Women in the academic world, women in health care. Any subject you can name is more wholesome, more successful, more efficient with the involvement of women.'" [HuffPost]

Seriously, Shut The Fuck Up Luke Russert was updated today.

PETRAEUS TO TESTIFY - Now, whether he'll stumble into the committee room, unshaven and reeking of flavored vodka is another thing. Luke Johnson: "Former CIA Director David Petraeus will testify about the Libya attacks before the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to Fox News, ABC News and NBC News. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the committee, said Monday that Petraeus would testify despite stepping down Friday after admitting an extramarital affair. Petraeus was originally scheduled to testify Thursday before the committee over the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens and two CIA agents. Michael Morell, the acting CIA director, then took his place. The CIA has come undercriticism for its response to the attacks." [HuffPost]

John McCain is going to try to associate "Watergate" and "Benghazi" as much as humanly possible over the next few weeks: "Sen. John McCain is calling for establishment of a Watergate-style congressional committee to investigate the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The Arizona Republican tells 'CBS This Morning' he believes the unanswered questions surrounding events at Benghazi on Sept. 11 require such a select committee." [AP]

@jbendery: Rep. David Dreier to random House staffer smoking outside: "If you want to smoke upstairs you can come to my office." #Tsk

CORNYN ELECTED SENATE MINORITY WHIP - The Texas lawmaker vowed to bring "core Texas values" to his job as the number-two Republican in the Senate. It's unclear if he meant that in a vapid, feel-good sense of if he plans to tear down the Senate and replace it with a shoddily-built strip mall with a tunnel under the border. "I'm honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to help lead our caucus during such a critical time for this country," he said after the closed-door vote. "Core Texas values like hard work, limited government, and individual liberty will continue to guide me in this new role." [Chronicle]

Meanwhile, Rob Portman and Ted Cruz have been awarded party favor positions. WaPo: "Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen.-elect Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will serve as vice chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2014 cycle, GOP aides confirm to The Fix. On Tuesday night, aides said Portman would not go after the committee's chairmanship, which is set to go to Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). Instead, Portman will take on a lesser role that allows him to devote more time to legislating, but he will also use his high profile to raise money for the committee. Congress is headed for some contentious budget and debt debates, and those are Portman's areas of expertise. Cruz, meanwhile, gives the committee a well-regarded Hispanic and tea party-friendly vice chairman who could help it deal with contentious primaries during the 2014 cycle." [WaPo]

ANGUS KING TAKING HIS TALENTS TO THE DEMOCRATS - We were going to go with "Angus King gives Republicans a rose" but IT WASN'T TOPICAL ENOUGH. We try to keep it fresh around here. Mike McAuliff: "Maine's newly elected senator, Angus King, pledged Wednesday that he would push for filibuster reform as he announced his intent to caucus with Democrats but remain independent of either party...King said that among his first actions would be talking to other senators about reforming the filibuster rule that allows the minority party to block any bill that can't get a 60-vote supermajority." [HuffPost]

Jason Linkins' headline: Angus King Will Caucus With Democrats Now That He Understands How The Senate Works

JOHN MCCAIN WANTS SUSAN RICE TO STAY OFF HIS LAWN... FOREVER - You'd think the United States' ambassador to the United Nations had forgotten to reheat his soup. National Journal: "Senior Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday made crystal-clear their opposition to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as a nominee for secretary of State. Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., criticized Rice's faulty explanation of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Libya. McCain said point-blank that he would oppose the nomination of Rice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Asked if he would do anything to block her, including filibuster, he bluntly answered 'yes.' Graham added: 'I don't trust her.'" [National Journal]

During his press conference today, the President said he'll place Rice on McCain's lawn if he damn well pleases. Josh Hersh: "President Barack Obama is firing back at a pair of Republican senators who have launched a preemptive attack against his potential nominee for secretary of state, saying that 'to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.' ...'If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after someone, they should go after me,' he said. 'And I'm happy to have that discussion with them.'" [HuffPost]

McCain and Graham are okay with lying if your name is Condoleezza but not Susan.

@mkraju: McConnell says "we're all familiar" with @ChuckGrassley's tweets. "Like the senator himself, they are truly one of a kind."

HISTORIC BATHROOM MOMENT- WaPo: "At the Washington Ideas Forum Wednesday in the Newseum, Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) spoke about a historic moment earlier in the day. 'For the first time, there was a traffic jam in the Senate women's bathroom,' she said. 'There were five of us in there, and there are only two stalls.' Last week's election means a record 20 women will serve in the new Senate. 'It's wonderful,' Klobuchar said." [WaPo]

WELCOME TO MOUNT PLEASANT, PAULA BROADWELL - HuffPost DC: "Paula Broadwell, former CIA Director David Petraeus' biographer and alleged mistress, is thought to be camped out at her brother's house in D.C.'s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Check out photos of the historically significant home, and other notable, delicious and discreet locations in the neighborhood.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Rikku the dog absolutely does not want to go on a walk.

CAT POLITICIAN PONDERS NEXT MOVE - HuffPost DC: "Hank the Cat who once urged Virginians to 'vote the humans out' -- and vote the cat into the U.S. Senate -- now contemplates retiring from politics to enter the private sector." [HuffPost]


- Two-year-old is an amazing dancer. [http://bit.ly/ZJPEmS]

- Dogs teach chemistry. [http://bit.ly/TZN3UA]

- "Gustavo Almadovar" isn't just a local news reporter, he's also a guy who pronounces his name in a peculiar manner. [http://chzb.gr/T2sirm]

- Darth Vader, just walking around and saying stuff. It's weird. [http://bit.ly/TZMyd4]

- Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson on "Parks and Recreation," offers mustache advice for Movember. [http://bit.ly/TJ2spW]

- Cab driver doesn't seem to value life, his or his passengers'. [http://bit.ly/QGDwSY]

- In 1972 Italian artist Adriano Celentano wrote a song in English gibberish. It's catchy. [http://chzb.gr/Zx3QPP]


@pareene: Steny Hoyer and roommate currently hatching elaborate/farcical plan to masquerade as a couple of fun-loving single ladies

@bradjshannon: What about your gifts?

@brianbeutler: BREAKING: Angus King most beefishly named member of the Democratic caucus.



6:00 pm: Mike Crapo, who'll never ever ever ever lose reelection (and God be with us if someone primaries Crapo from the right and wins), has a fundraiser for his Freedom Fund PAC. [Charlie Palmer Steak, 101 Constitution Ave NW]


8:30 am: Dan Coates ropes in Jon Kyl for a fundraiser benefiting the Indiana senator's campaign committee. [901 7th Street NW]

4:00 pm: Steny Hoyer, who is fated to be the Democratic number-two until the sun explodes and consumes our puny celestial orb, welcomes new members of the Democratic caucus for a meet and greet. [500 North Capitol Street]

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Senator-elect Deb Fischer takes a victory lap and tries to pay down some campaign debt at her "Victory Reception." [NRSC, 425 2nd Street SE]

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