HUFFPOST HILL - Wacky For Pataki

A New Yorker hasn’t sweated under the spotlight like George Pataki did during his presidential campaign announcement today since Patrick Ewing in the 1994 finals. Rick Santorum is so out of touch with the culture that he is getting rid of his sweater vests just as normcore is peaking. And if you were to travel back to 1991, no one would believe you when you said many politicians now embrace rappers with obscene lyrics but are hostile to something called "The LEGO Movie." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, May 28th, 2015:

HISTORY'S MOST BORING SPEAKER SUDDENLY NOT SO BORING - It'll be a political battle for the ages between him and Rod Blagojevich over laundry duty. Jon Seidel: "Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert with illegally structuring cash withdrawals from bank accounts to make payments to someone he committed 'prior misconduct' against and lying to the FBI about it. Hastert, 73, of Plano, is accused of splitting up the withdrawal of $952,000 to avoid the requirement that banks report withdrawals of more than $10,000. When asked about it by the FBI in the December 2014, he allegedly lied and said he was keeping the cash. In 2010, Hastert agreed to pay an individual, who is unnamed in the indictment, $3.5 million 'to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct' against the person, according to the indictment.'" [Sun Times]

HUFFPOST HILL FACTS OF LIFE: Your Hastert Rule joke is terrible.

PATAKI ANNOUNCES PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, DESPONDENT OPPONENTS WONDER IF IT'S EVEN WORTH IT AT THIS POINT - But seriously, George Pataki trying to own 9/11 feels a bit like Ringo best trying to own "Sgt. Pepper's." Daniel Marans: "Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) announced he'll run for president in 2016. 'The system is broken. The question is no longer about what our government should do, but what we should do about our government,' he said in a video posted to YouTube on Thursday. Pataki, 69, who served as governor from 1995 to 2006, faces an uphill battle for the Republican nomination in a crowded field of candidates....Pataki also faces skepticism over whether he is conservative enough to win Republican primaries. His record as governor of deep-blue New York, and his career in Republican politics prior to the party’s turn to the right, make him the most moderate Republican presidential candidate to date. Pataki has supportedenvironmental preservation efforts, abortion rights and gun control laws. When The New York Times endorsed Pataki's bid for a third term as governor in 2002, the paper praised his 'generally progressive stance on social issues.'" [HuffPost]

The frontrunner? Or the *frontiest*runner?

@RogerJStoneJr: Gun grabbing pro- partial birth abortion ex-Guv George Pataki who bankrupted NY in public employee pension deal running for prez ?

HILL STAFFER CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING VULNERABLE WOMEN - And we don't just mean for advocating Social Security cuts. Hannah Hess: "Known as a fixture on Capitol Hill until his January 2010 retirement, longtime Senate staffer Robert Lee Foster is now making headlines... A Virginia grand jury on Thursday indicted the 65-year-old man, who worked as a staffer on the Senate Commerce Committee for more than three decades, on nine counts of wire fraud, allegedly connected to his Senate Federal Credit Union account. The grand jury charged that Foster defrauded at least three women of approximately $500,000, from 2008 through May 2015. He allegedly used his affiliation with the Senate to gain the trust and confidence of a 54-year-old recent widow from California, a 70-year-old stroke victim from Texas and a 75-year-old D.C. resident who was taking care of a partner suffering from dementia. The indictment alleges Foster falsely claimed he needed the money for debt repayment, legal costs, business expenses or foreign travel, according to court documents. He also pretended his credit card had been “hacked,” the government said. Foster allegedly promised to repay the loans, which ranged from $5,300 to $150, but spent the money for his own personal benefit." [Roll Call]

"Ted Cruz, charlatan." Dang, Dana!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Local reporter Mark Segraves reports via Twitter that the D.C. government knew about dangerous amounts of lead in the decrepit family homeless shelter at the former D.C. General Hospital site on east Capitol Hill: "BREAKING: DC officials knew about dangerous lead levels at DC General homeless shelter in 2014 but allowed families to live in those rooms." Segraves previously reported that two of the many, many children living at the shelter had recently tested positive for lead. [@SegravesNBC4]

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New look Rick Santorum in nothing but Canada Goose parkas, day and night: "The newly-announced presidential candidate -- known for his signature sweater vests -- may be sporting an updated look in 2016. 'I have two daughters who are the fashion consultants -- they've appointed themselves the fashion consultants to the campaign and so you're going to be seeing attire that reflects their tastes, not mine,' Santorum told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos Wednesday. In 2012, sales of Santorum-branded sweater vests reportedly netted $300,000 for the campaign– and spawned a number of parody accounts on Twitter." [ABC News]

HUFFPOST HILL FACTS OF LIFE: Do fashion consultants like, not understand brands?

MOAR SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL DEVELOPMENTS, MOAR BLURRING OF CLINTON BIZNEZZZ!!!! - Wonder if Blumenthal also got some extra coin to help Clinton with her southern accent. Ken Vogel: "Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of Bill and Hillary Clinton, earned about $10,000 a month as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation while he was providing unsolicited intelligence on Libya to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to multiple sources familiar with the arrangement. Blumenthal was added to the payroll of the Clintons’ global philanthropy in 2009 -- not long after advising Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign -- at the behest of former president Bill Clinton, for whom he had worked in the White House, say the sources. While Blumenthal’s foundation job focused on highlighting the legacy of Clinton’s presidency, some officials at the charity questioned his value and grumbled that his hiring was a favor from the Clintons, according to people familiar with the foundation. They say that, during a 2013 reform push, Blumenthal was moved to a consulting contract that came with a similar pay rate but without benefits — an arrangement that endured until March." [Politico]

Old people love Bernie: "'Would you raise the top marginal tax rate to over 90 percent, as it was in the 1950s, when the middle class and the economy were doing so well?' asked Milt Lauenstein, 89, who had the same white hair and hunched posture as Mr. Sanders. 'You mean under the communist Dwight D. Eisenhower?' Mr. Sanders quipped about the former president, who, of course, was a Republican, but one who did not oppose high taxes as fiercely as party leaders do now. It is not every day in 2015 that an Ike joke gets a laugh, but Mr. Sanders landed the line perfectly -- at least for the roughly 50 older people in the crowd of 200 who came out to meet the candidate in a backyard here. It was the latest Sanders event to draw a sizable number of registered voters who share not only Mr. Sanders’s cultural reference points but also his age group." [NYT]

Old people aren't cool, unlike ultrasounds: "Scott Walker is using Marco Rubio's birthday to offer a not-so-subtle reminder: Most of the rest of the presidential field is much older. Walker, the 47-year-old Wisconsin governor, tweeted a birthday greeting to Rubio, the Florida senator who turned 44 on Thursday, saying it comes 'from one forty-something to another.'" [CNN]

UNDECIDED REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS STILL LEADING THE WAY - But undecided has been a rubber stamp for the Obama agenda and hasn't outlined a clear plan for our fight against ISIS. Natalie Jackson: "A new Quinnipiac University national poll shows there’s still only one clear leader in the Republican presidential primary race: Undecided. The poll, released Thursday, reports that 20 percent of registered Republican and Republican-leaning voters around the country don’t know or declined to answer whom they would vote for in their state's Republican primary. This is double the proportion any candidate received: The five candidates with the highest percentages all struggled to reach double digits, with a mere 10 percent each. Those candidates are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired physician Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The relatively high number of uncommitted Republicans nationally is consistent with polls of likely primary voters in early primary states. In March, a Suffolk University poll of 500 likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire reported 24 percent undecided after respondents were given a list of candidates. Without the list, however, 55 percent couldn’t name a candidate they would support." [HuffPost]

Awful Ted Cruz rap is awful. My name is Ted Cruz and i'm here to say, freedom is funky fresh, unless you're gay! "Entitled 'We Are Watchmen,' the song explicitly namechecks Cruz and employs his #MakeDCListen motto. This scribe’s favorite line is 'When power is concentrated centrally and federally / It creates dependency that’s medically like leprosy,' but feel free to choose your own." [Mediaite]

Everything is awwwfuuulllllll : "A concerted propaganda effort underway in America has created a 'cultural attitude' in which people believe 'government is good and business is bad,' Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), told a local reporter for WisPolitics.com.Johnson said the latest evidence of this propaganda campaign is The Lego Movie, in which the bad guy is a heartless businessman intent on destroying the world for profit. 'That's done for a reason,' Johnson said. 'They're starting that propaganda, and it's insidious.' The local blog included the comments in its statewide newsletter." [Grim]

Two hours after Grim's story goes up, Johnson himself, who ignored requests for comment, responds with a surly blog reaffirming his view that The Lego Movie, which grossed $450 million at the box office and is basically one long toy advertisement, is anti-business.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a cat making lemonade out of lemons.

GRAHAM LEAVING TAKING DANGER ZONE ONRAMP TO HIGHWAY - We never got that volleyball montage. Rebecca Kaplan: "Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, announced Thursday that he will reluctantly retire from the Air Force Reserves, where he had been promoted to the rank of colonel over his decades of service. 'I will turn 60 in July which is the retirement age for Air Force Reserves. I would continue to serve but the time has come for me to retire,' [he tweeted]...Graham is one of three senators serving in the Guard or Reserves (the other two are Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, both Republicans). His most recent position was a Senior Individual Mobilization Augmentee to the Judge Advocate General. Before he became a member of Congress, Graham was on active duty from 1982 to 1988, including a four-year posting at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Germany. From 1989 until 1995, he served in the South Carolina Air National Guard and was called to active duty for state-side service during the first Gulf War. " [CBS News]


- There's a new "Inception" sound hitting movie trailers.

- Fabulous spoof of our least-favorite web ad.

- How to make great meatballs


@samsteinhp: Idea for GOP debate. Have a top 10 and bottom 10 one. Worst 3 in 'top 10' get sent down for next debate. Top 3 in 'bottom 10' get sent up

@timothypmurphy: Sounds like someone, ahem, Hastert on the speaker.

@jbview: Modern Postspeakerships, rated: 1. Pelosi; 2T O'Neill, Wright, Foley, Newt; Last Hastert (allegedly, I suppose)

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