POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL: 'These Aren't The Gaffes You're Looking For' - Mike Pence

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We have a lot of thoughts about last night’s debate, but suffice it to say, Mike Pence will feature prominently in our next “Stepfather” fan fiction spec script. The Blaze is undergoing a meltdown the likes of which haven’t been seen since a Glenn Beck segment. And Donald Trump took credit for Mike Pence’s debate performance, presumably for saying all the things that Pence could distance himself from. We whipped out that HUFFPOST HILL thing again, for Wednesday, October 5th, 2016:

TRUMP: MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE - “Donald Trump graciously accepted credit for the Tuesday night debate performance of his running mate, Mike Pence. ‘Mike Pence did an incredible job and I’m getting a lot of credit because that’s really my first so-called choice,’ the GOP presidential nominee said Wednesday at a rally in Henderson, Nevada. ‘That was my first hire, as we would say in Las Vegas, and I’ll tell you he was a good one,’ Trump said. ‘He was phenomenal. He was cool. He was smart. Just take a look at him. He was meant to be doing what he was doing, and we are very, very proud of Governor Mike Pence.’  Indeed, a snap poll by CNN rated Pence the debate’s winner, and the Indiana governor also won high marks from a CBS focus group of 25 undecided Ohio voters after the debate.” [HuffPost]

A rundown of all the things Pence said Trump did say ―- but actually did.

TRUMP TRUMPED IN THE TRUMPIEST OF TRUMP FASHIONS -  Andrew Kaczynski and Chris Massie in their CNN debut: “Donald Trump’s tame appearance in a 2000 Playboy video came to light late last week after he attacked a former beauty queen for her alleged ‘sex tape’ past. CNN’s KFILE has now uncovered two more Playboy videos in which Trump makes an appearance, including one in which he is depicted photographing fully clothed models with a Polaroid camera and conducting an interview with a potential Playmate. In that video ― a 1994 VHS tape obtained by CNN titled ‘Playboy Centerfold’ ― Trump takes part in Playboy magazine’s search for its 40th anniversary Playmate. The scenes featuring Trump do not contain nudity or sexually explicit content, but other scenes in the movie depict fully nude women seductively rubbing themselves in different scenarios.” [CNN]

The Atlantic offers up its third presidential endorsement ― guess who ― in its history, and in a most Atlantic-y way: “Donald Trump, on the other hand, has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.” [Atlantic]

TO QUOTE BERNIE SANDERS, OLIG-AAAACH-Y IS HERE - One day, we hope to ask Michael Bloomberg what it’s like to play helicopter polo. Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy: “Just 10 mega-donor individuals and couples contributed nearly 20 percent of the $1.1 billion raised by super PACs by the end of August, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign finance reports. The total exceeds the $853 million that super PACs collected in the entire 2012 cycle. In a reflection of how once-reluctant Democrats have fully embraced the big-money system, the top givers were split roughly equally along party lines, with five Republicans, four Democrats and one independent, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.... Together, super PACs seeking to sway the White House and congressional races have pumped more than $674 million into TV ads and other outreach through September, filings show. By the end of the 2012 elections, such groups had spent $608 million.” [WaPo]

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DONALD TRUMP’S ‘GENIUS’ IS ACTUALLY JUST SOME GUY - More to the point, his genius is an accountant named Jack Mitnick. GUYS, is “Jack Mitnick” not the most perfect name for an accountant? Well, maybe if his name were Mort. Otherwise, it’s perfect. Christina Wilkie: “Donald Trump’s longtime tax accountant on Tuesday rejected the idea that the Republican nominee deserves any of the credit for employing complex strategies to lower his tax bill and those of his companies. ‘I did all the tax preparation,’ Jack Mitnick told ‘Inside Edition’ on Tuesday. ‘He never saw the product until it was presented to him for signature.’ The interview followed a damning report Saturday by The New York Times, which obtained part of Trump’s 1995 tax returns showing that the businessman declared a loss that year of more than $900 million, a loss that tax experts said Trump could have used to avoid paying income taxes for nearly 20 years. Rather than deny the report, Trump and his advisers claimed that not paying income taxes was proof of Trump’s ‘genius.’” [HuffPost]

MIKE PENCE: CALM, COLLECTED AND EXCITED TO RIP YOUR FINGERNAILS OFF - There we go again, whipping out that fingernail thing. Jessica Schulberg: “Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) was brought on as Trump’s running mate in an effort to make the ticket more palatable to conservative voters who are repulsed by Trump’s extreme positions. But Pence’s past public comments leave little room for optimism. Statements he’s made about using torture against prisoners picked up on the battlefield suggest he would be unlikely to try to stop a President Trump from reinstating interrogation tactics that are now explicitly banned in the U.S. During a May 2008 congressional hearing on the use of torture ― in the second term of George W. Bush’s presidency ― Pence, then an Indiana congressman, dismissed the idea that non-coercive interrogation methods could be effective against suspected terrorists. He referred to the well-established practice of building relationships with suspects in order to extract information from them as ‘Oprah Winfrey methods’ and suggested that, in some cases, the U.S. would justified in using harsher tactics, ThinkProgress reported at the time.” [HuffPost]

PENCE MOSTLY SPARED QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS FAR-RIGHT SOCIAL RECORD - Jennifer Bendery: “As governor, Pence’s most well-known and high-profile issue has been lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. In March 2015, Pence quietly signed a religious freedom law that could have opened the door to widespread discrimination. Business owners who don’t want to serve same-sex couples, for example, would now have legal protections to discriminate.... During the debate, Pence did go into his record on abortion, which is another issue where he’s made a name for himself nationally both as governor and previously as a member of Congress. As governor, Pence signed a bill that would require doctors to offer women the ‘remains’ of the fetus after an abortion, which has no medical purpose.” [HuffPost]

Well, he tried: “William Weld, who is technically the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee, said this week that his primary focus for the next five weeks is stopping Donald Trump from winning the presidency. ‘I think Mr. Trump’s proposals in the foreign policy area, including nuclear proliferation, tariffs, and free trade, would be so hurtful, domestically and in the world, that he has my full attention,’ Weld told The Boston Globe on Tuesday.” [HuffPost’s Chloe Fox]

TRUMP SHALL OVERRRRCOOOOMMMME - Yuge at last, yuge at last, thank Donald almighty, yuge at last. Rachel Chason: “The International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro denied Donald Trump’s request to hold an event at the museum two weeks ago – and has faced retaliation from his supporters because of it, according to the museum’s CEO. John Swaine said the Trump campaign was trying to plan the Republican nominee’s visit to the historic museum Sept. 20, the same day he campaigned in High Point and Kenansville. Swaine said that campaign staff asked to videotape Trump walking around the museum and requested that the museum shut down for five hours to accommodate his visit.... Swaine said museum staff who spoke to a representative from Trump’s team said he did not request a tour of the museum and seemed instead to want only a photo-op for the nominee.... He said that since news of the museum’s decision broke last week, museum staff members have received threats via phone calls and social media.” [News and Observer]

AND HERE WE THOUGHT YOU COULD BLAZE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA - At least we still have Breitbart. Michelle Fields: “Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze is coming apart, suffering from a lack of editorial direction, staff attrition and internal discord, according to sources inside the news outlet. The site, which Beck launched in 2010 to serve as the conservative counterpart to The Huffington Post, has dropped from 25 employees on its editorial side to just six. A source inside The Blaze, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution, told HuffPost that the mood among the rapidly diminishing news team is somber. ‘The few people who are still left are looking for an exit because they know The Blaze is over,’ the source said. ‘They haven’t told us straight up that they’re done with us, but all the signs point to it, and they’re not replacing people who are laid off or get out.’ Other sources at the site say that reporters were notified in September that their phone and travel stipends had been eliminated. They were also notified over the summer that their health benefits would be reduced.” [HuffPost]

PR DISASTER LOOMS FOR GOP LAWMAKERS - It was probably too much for GOP to bear to have to vote for that “don’t tax Olympians’ medals” bill. This might prove a bridge too far. Travis Waldron: “Two U.S. Senators are again wading into the equal pay fight between the U.S. Women’s National Team and soccer’s American governing body, and this time they are seeking information on one of the more opaque and contentious aspects in the dispute. In a Wednesday letter addressed to Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer and the chief executive of Soccer United Marketing, or SUM ― the private company that markets and sells commercial and broadcast rights for the U.S. teams ― Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) requested details about how the revenues from those marketing deals might affect the pay of USWNT and U.S. Men’s National Team players.” [HuffPost]

Canary in a (losing) coalmine: “California Rep. Loretta Sanchez has hired the third campaign manager in her Senate race as she continues to trail state Attorney General Kamala Harris. Sanchez hired Maria Unzueta, a former union organizer for Workers United who also worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential primary campaign in the state, the Los Angeles Times reported.” [Roll Call]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog who is unrivaled in its ability to play dead.

JOE BIDEN SWAG IS THE HOTTEST SWAG - Helena Andrews-Dyer: “Joe Biden and aviators simply go together.... In an interview with the Skimm, Biden, whose very first Instagram post was a close-up of his favorite shades, detailed his long love affair with the brand.... Another random tidbit? Biden goes through nearly half a dozen pairs of Ray-Bans a year. Not because he forgets where he puts them. No, that would be too normal. Nope, the vice president of the United States is constantly having to buy new pairs of sunglasses because ‘sometimes people steal them for souvenirs.’” [WaPo]

COMFORT FOOD

- Few things seem as anxiety-inducing as participating in the World Memory Championship.

- NSFW: Someone managed to look at some not very family-friendly content on a refrigerator’s display.

- Spend time with your damn family: the Mall of America will be closed on Thanksgiving.

TWITTERAMA

@scottdetrow: 1) guy stands up to display F―- ISLAMIC LAW jacket

2) photogs take pics of him

3) people yell at photogs, saying they’re distorting facts

@aedwardslevy: Dear Nobel committee: I have definitively proved the existence of entropy. Attached, please find screenshots of our office Slack.

@pourmecoffee: Mike Pence has entered his Jesse Pinkman phase. You wanted this. You’re in it with this lunatic. Stop pretending it’s something else.

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com).

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