Mitt Romney spoke in front of a bunch of drywall -- a backdrop so perfectly boring and politically boneheaded that it could only be improved upon by wallpapering Seamus Romney's face on it. We hope Seamus and the dog President Obama ate (like… consumed) are having a grand ol' time in Dog Heaven. And a New Mexico Senate candidate denounced a bill aimed at reducing anti-LGBT bullying in schools. We couldn't reach her senior policy advisor, Nelson Muntz, for comment. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 19th, 2012:
HuffPost Hill turned two today: Why didn't you send a card?
CITIZENS UNITED RULING A BOON FOR THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT - Paul Blumenthal: "Six-term Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) seemed all alone in facing an insurgent Tea Party primary challenge from state treasurer Richard Mourdock, who is backed by big money from the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks. In the past few weeks, however, top GOP senators, establishment Republican groups, and big-name donors have stepped in with a mix of ads touting Lugar's long career and blasting Mourdock in an effort to save the embattled incumbent." [HuffPost]
Mitt Romney loves drywall: "Mitt Romney spoke Thursday at a shuttered National Gypsum plant in Lorain, Ohio, in an address meant to highlight the ineptness of President Barack Obama's economic policies, [but instead demonstrated the ineptness of his campaign. Is Romney really the guy to send to a shuttered plant??]. Obama visited the spot as a presidential candidate in February 2008, and gave a speech pledging to turn places like Lorain into centers of economic revitalization... Gypsum is known, per industry parlance, as drywall...As the construction market continues to grapple with the aftermath of the real estate bust, demand for gypsum has plummeted." [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
Darrell Issa wore a Bluetooth during an appearance on Fox News this afternoon. CONCLUSION: Don't go on movie dates with Darrell Issa.
CHANGE WE CAN WORK FOR FREE IN - The Obama administration on Thursday invited states to try out new unemployment insurance schemes that would allow businesses to take on new workers with states paying their wages. Lawmakers tucked several reforms to the unemployment system into a February deal to reauthorize an expiring Social Security payroll tax cut and federal unemployment insurance, including one to let states drug test the jobless and another to give 10 states waivers to experiment with "demonstration projects." The projects are designed to connect jobless workers with employers, at least for a short time. [HuffPost]
Matt Drudge paired an AP version of this story with a photo of Obama sitting on the Rosa Parks bus, in case you were curious.
A MURDOCH IS OPENLY SUPPORTING A NEW YORK POLITICIAN - Capital New York: "Among the litany of fashion designers, attorneys, and activists who appear on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's list of first quarter-donors is Wendi Murdoch, who contributed $2,500 dollars toward Gillibrand's re-election on Feb. 29. Murdoch is the wife of Rupert Murdoch, whose media empire includes Fox News and the New York Post, which regularly savages Gillibrand, and promotes the idea of her electoral 'vulnerability' in its reporting, opinion pieces and editorials, even when it isn't immediately apparent. It's not unprecedented for Murdoch to contribute to Democrats. She gave $2,000 to Chuck Schumer in 2003, and another $2,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 2009, back when she listed her occupation as an executive at MySpace. (The record of her donation to Gillibrand lists her as a 'homemaker,' but with the address of Fox's headquarters at 1211 Avenue of the Americas.)" [CNY]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Unemployment claims technically declined in the most recent week, but that's only because the previous week's estimate had been upwardly revised by 8,000 layoffs. "In the week ending April 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 386,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 388,000," the Labor Department says. "The 4-week moving average was 374,750, an increase of 5,500 from the previous week's revised average of 369,250." Unemployment claims are going in the wrong direction in a big way. Economist-shamans say when they cross the 400,000 mark, the economy has bad medicine. [DOL]
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HOUSE PASSES GIMMICK, GIMMICK EXPECTED TO DIE IN SENATE - Mike McAuliff: "A $46 billion tax break that would go disproportionately to the wealthy and add to the deficit passed the House of Representatives on Thursday, largely on the strength of the Republican majority. The measure, called the Small Business Tax Cut Act, passed 235 to 173. Sponsored by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the bill would cut taxes for an estimated 22 million businesses by up to 20 percent, to a maximum of half their payroll. The entire cost of the one-year cut would be added to the debt...But Democrats countered that the measure was a giveaway for the rich that would do little for the economy, going mostly to people like Paris Hilton, Donald Trump and Larry Flynt, as well as lawyers and finance managers...The measure has almost no chance of becoming law because it is unlikely to advance in the Senate, and President Barack Obama has threatened to veto it." [HuffPost]
SOMEHOW, WE ARE JUST *NOW* GETTING TO AN ANTI-MITT ROMNEY ATTACK INVOLVING THE PHRASE 'SILVER SPOON' - Amanda Terkel: "Mitt Romney rejected a comment President Barack Obama made on Wednesday, telling Fox News Thursday morning that it was indicative of how the president likes to attack his 'fellow Americans.' At a campaign event on Wednesday, the president seemed to distinguish himself himself from the likely GOP nominee, saying, 'I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth.' During a Thursday interview on 'Fox and Friends,' Romney criticized Obama, saying it was an attack on his father, George Romney, who was the governor of Michigan and head of the American Motors Corp." [HuffPost]
Cookiegate rages on! The Hill: "Romney, meeting with local residents Tuesday at an outdoor roundtable event in Bethel Park[, PA], joked about some cookies and launched yet another attack based on what critics call his aloofness to the daily lives of Americans. 'I’m not sure about these cookies,' Romney said, and continued to tease one of the women at the table: 'Did you make those cookies? You didn’t, did you? No. No. They came from the local 7-Eleven bakery or wherever.'...On Twitter, the hashtag is #cookiegate, and the Democratic National Committee was quick to make use of it." [The Hill]
ERIC CANTOR: REPUBLICANS ARE :: BITES LIP, THINKS OF THE QUEEN :: EXCITED ABOUT MITT ROMNEY - Jen Bendery: "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Thursday insisted that House Republicans are excited about Mitt Romney being their likely presidential nominee, despite the fact that several GOP lawmakers have openly said otherwise. 'I can tell you, our conference is excited about coalescing behind Mitt Romney as the candidate who is the standard bearer for economic freedom, entrepreneurialism and small business,' Cantor said during a sit-down with Politico's Mike Allen for a 'Playbook Breakfast' event. Asked directly why so many House Republicans seem lukewarm about Romney, Cantor said, 'I just don't think that's true.' He blamed the press for "selecting the ones who may want to give you ... that narrative you want to portray." [HuffPost]
GREAT MOMENTS IN NEWS CYCLES: JAY CARNEY DEFENDS PRESIDENT'S DOG-INGESTING HABITS - We can't, you know, slip the Romney campaign a five spot in an attempt to have it speed up its veep selection, right? That's against the rules, right? Yahoo News: "Proving that election fights can unleash the worst jokes, the White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that conservatives gleefully noting that President Barack Obama was fed dog meat as a child in Indonesia were just 'trying to get out of the doghouse.... He keeps up with the news, he may know about it,' Carney said noncommittally when asked about the back-and-forth. 'I think we're talking to a reference in his book to a period when he was six or seven years old. Making a big deal out of it sounds like somebody who's trying to get out of the doghouse.'" [ABC News]
@SenJohnMcCain: Good pic of my son Jimmy's bulldog, Apollo - I'm sorry Mr. President, he's not on the menu! politi.co/HVhK9Z
WARNING: ALBERTO GONZALES THINKS THE GOP IS BEING A TAD BIT OVER THE TOP - The former attorney general thinks his party's immigration rhetoric is "harmful" -- which is kind of funny, if you consider that the ice cold dude who turned a blind eye to the NSA's domestic spying program can't internalize the "sticks and stones" rule. Andrea Stone: "[Gonzales] warned his fellow Republicans Thursday that the issue of immigration could be their third rail in November. 'As a Republican, I am saying that the way Republicans have talked about this issue has been harmful to the party,' Gonzales told trial lawyers at an American Bar Association panel here that featured former attorneys general. 'The dialogue has been mean, and we find our party facing an uphill battle because of the way we talk about this issue, immigration.'" [HuffPost]
Mitt Romney will speak at Liberty University. One hopes that hastily put-together venn diagrams depicting the overlapping Christian theologies of Evangelicalism and Mormonism will NOT be incorporated. That would be... hilarious. Jon Ward: "Liberty was founded in 1971 by the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., a nationally known televangelist whose outspoken style of fundamentalism often raised hackles on the left. Falwell died in 2007 and his son, Jerry Falwell Jr., is now president of the university. Romney's choice to address the school on May 12 is a sign that he is not taking the conservative Republican base for granted, but will continue to court these voters despite the fact that he is now the GOP's presumptive nominee for president. Democrats welcomed the news, hoping it can help them frame the former Massachusetts governor as extreme. Lis Smith, director for rapid response for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, retweeted the news without comment. Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Melanie Rousell tweeted itwith the comment 'Severely conservative embrace.'" [HuffPost]
DSCC RAISES A BOATLOAD OF MONEY, NRSC RAISES A MOSTLY-FILLED BOAT OF MONEY - Think of all the customized "Babs Mikulski" beer steins the Dems can send to supporters now! CNN: "The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $5.76 million in March, bringing its first quarter haul to $15 million, the group announced Thursday. The national fundraising arm in charge of electing Republicans to the Senate now has $19.6 million cash on hand with no campaign debt. Its Democratic counterpart reported bringing in $7.4 million in March, capping off a $17.7 million first quarter haul. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee now has nearly $24 million in the bank, also with zero debt. Addressing the DSCC's self-proclaimed best fundraising quarter in history, the NRSC pointed to the money raised during the 2010 cycle." [CNN]
Quick! Dial the American Apparel Obama tee machine to 11! Atlantic: "President Obama could be in big trouble when it comes to the youth vote, according to a new poll. Less than half of 18-to-24-year-old voters want Obama to win reelection, and he leads a generic Republican candidate by just 7 percentage points, according to a survey of youth voter attitudes released Thursday by the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs." [Atlantic]
NEW MEXICO SENATE CANDIDATE BRAVELY LOOKING OUT FOR THE (DOMINEERING AND HOMOPHOBIC) LITTLE GUY - From the same part of the zeitgeist that brought you the War on Christmas, we bring you this: "Heather Wilson, a Republican running for U.S. Senate in New Mexico, came out against Sen. Al Franken's (D-Minn.) anti-LGBT bullying legislation last week, claiming it would criminalize teasing and 'punish children.' Last year, Franken introduced SB 555, known as the Student Non-Discrimination Act. Right now, federal civil rights laws make clear it is illegal to discriminate against individuals based on their race, color, sex, religion, disability and national origin. Franken's bill would expand those categories to prohibit discrimination and bullying in public schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity as well." [HuffPost]
[Genteel Ken Burns: The Civil War Voice] Ah doo believe Virginia is being torn asundah [/Genteel Ken Burns: The Civil War Voice]. Roll Call: "There was just one hitch at the largest, most-storied bipartisan political event in Virginia this year -- no Democrats showed up. An estimated 2,000 people attended the 64th annual Shad Planking, held deep in the woods an hour southeast of Richmond,Va., but hardly any of them were Democrats. No Democratic candidates rented booths, and former Sen. George Allen, who is seeking to win back his old job, had no opposing Democratic speaker to share the stage with, as former Gov. Tim Kaine skipped the event for the second consecutive year." [Roll Call]
New Jersey UPDATE: "Rep. Donald Payne's (D-N.J.) death last month opened up his Newark-based seat for the first time in two decades. Payne's son Newark City Council President Don Payne had long been considered heir to the safely Democratic seat. The younger Payne, who also serves as an Essex County freeholder, quickly garnered support among Essex County Democrats, a group led by his cousin Phil Thigpen. But three other Essex candidates quickly entered the race, shattering the Essex vote -- which constitutes the majority of the district -- and gathering support in the other two counties." [HuffPost's John Celock]
Illinois/Child custody battles UPDATE: "Republican Congressman Joe Walsh and his ex-wife have resolved their child support dispute and cleared up 'mistakes in private.' A judge dismissed the case Thursday. The freshmen tea party politician says in a statement that he never was a 'deadbeat dad' and doesn't owe money. Walsh says the he and Laura Walsh want to avoid a public legal fight." [AP]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Strangers high fiving strangers. Happy National High Five Day!
H STREET DREAMS: - HuffPost DC: "This 33-year-old woman, who has a 'love of explaining and passion for customer service,' wants to open up a different kind of sex shop in D.C.'s quirky corridor."
- Squirrel eats a rose. Who knew that squirrels subsist on beauty? [http://bit.ly/HSJSK1]
- Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sporting some Rutherford B. Hayes-style beards. [http://slate.me/Jiwux3]
- If Darth Vader raised Luke Skywalker: a children's book. [http://huff.to/JjjuEC]
- Apparently suicidal Japanese man orders a Whopper with 1,050 strips of bacon layered on it. [http://huff.to/JjfrrY]
- FUNNY ON MUTE: Terrified child flees from pack of ravenous... chickens. [http://bit.ly/I7F0eG]
- ATTENTION YUPPIES: "Starbucks Stops Using Bug Extract In Products" [http://bit.ly/Jj6rD5]
- LEGO recreations of famous cartoon characters. [http://huff.to/Jjj2pS]
@jaketapper: @7im youre confusing dog stories. the one with the fecal matter is the one involving the Republican.
@brianbeutler: I'd pay to hear Mitt Romney say a swear.
@GingrichIdeas: See if my Penguin-man powers have kicked in.
2:30pm - 7:00pm: The longest Obama fundraiser ever kicks off with a 90 minute briefing, then the Big Cheese shows up, then dinner with ex-EPA head Carol Browner. In short, all the wonkiness $40,000 a head can buy. [1515 15th St. NW]
7:00pm - 11:00pm: The very swanky National Museum of Women in the Arts will be completely gunked up with cheesy casino decorations for the Medstar National Rehabilitation Network's Las Vegas Gala. At least it's a good cause. [1250 New York Ave. NW]
7:00pm - 11:00pm: High society benefit season kicks off with the 57th Annual Corcoran Ball, a black-tie affair at the cavernous art museum, in which rich people eat dinner and get drunk and fall over next to priceless artwork. Cheers, dahling. [510 17th St. NW]
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