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Heard on the Hill: Like It’s 1994

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is changing the plans for its election night watch party. HOH hears it’s due to preparation for some big losses.

On Friday, the DCCC announced it will move the start time of its election night party at the Liaison Hotel from 8 p.m. to 7 p.m. While the change may seem like no big deal, a Republican tipster tells HOH that the rumor is the change was made because if the Democrats lose too many seats early in the night, crestfallen partygoers would head home early.

‘They know it’s all going to be over by 9 p.m. for the Democrats, and they want to go home and pull the covers over their heads,’ our smug source says, adding the GOP did the same thing in past elections.

We also hear the party was moved up to ensure people buy enough drinks to meet the minimum required by the venue. But a source at the DCCC says this isn’t the case.

‘That’s not true,’ a DCCC source says. ‘We will have a speaking program and moved [the time] to accommodate it.’

Jimbo’s Voice

Disgraced former Rep. Jim Traficant may no longer be serving in Congress ‘ he was tossed out in 2002 and later served time in prison for corruption ‘ but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a voice.

The Ohio Democrat-turned-Independent (he’s challenging Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan for his old Ohio seat this election cycle) began writing a weekly newspaper column earlier this year in an effort to get his ideas circulating.

‘Jimbo Speaks’ runs in the Ohio-based Review Newspapers. A recent column, titled ‘Without Prejudice,’ discussed unemployment in America.

The column quotes both the movie ‘Ben-Hur’ and singer Marvin Gaye. ”What’s going on’ would even trouble the late Marvin Gaye!!’ Traficant wrote, opting to use not one but two exclamation points.

According to Nick Poorbaugh, who oversees editorial content at the paper, Traficant has been writing his column since the summer and is not paid for his work. Traficant did not return a request for comment.

Politicking Sanity/Fear

While ‘Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart and his Comedy Central cohort Stephen Colbert spoofed the political media at their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on Saturday, some wonky Washington types seized the opportunity to study the influence that the pair have had on politics.

Progressive group USAction and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake held a straw poll during Saturday’s big event, conducted entirely via cell phone text messaging. Rallygoers texted SANITY or FEAR to 228466 (ACTION) and received a short survey about the midterm elections.

The results found rallygoers are likely to vote Democratic ‘ 86 percent plan to vote blue today ‘ but they’re also about 39 percent less enthusiastic about voting than in 2008.

Then on Monday, the Center for Media and Public Affairs released a study that finds clear differences in the political targets of television comedians, including Stewart. While ‘Tonight Show’ host Jay Leno and his NBC colleague Jimmy Fallon tend to target Democrats and liberals, Stewart and ‘Late Show’ host David Letterman most often go after Republicans and conservatives.

Each have their favorite targets: Leno often jokes about former Vice President Al Gore, Letterman frequently goes after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Stewart targets cable news host Glenn Beck.

Tropic Thunder

The president of Panama appears to have published the most expensive opinion piece in history.

The political public relations firm HDMK filed paperwork with the Justice Department in July detailing its representation of Panama for the first six months of the year as required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The firm ‘provided public relations counsel to [Panama] regarding communications and media strategy targeted to the general public of the United States. … Specifically, the registrant assisted the principal with the placement of an op-ed in The Hill newspaper in March on the subject of trade.’

The report includes a copy of the March 18 opinion piece under the byline of Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli. The piece advocates for a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and Panama. The report includes no mention of other published materials.

Total tab for HDMK’s services for the first half of the year: $162,698.40.

Terry Holt ‘ the ‘H’ in HDMK and former spokesman for Republican bigwigs including Rep. John Boehner (Ohio) ‘ says the opinion piece represents only a sliver of the work that the firm is doing for the Panamanian government.

Holt says the firm has been advising the president on a speech to the United Nations and appearances in media outlets, as well as working with the embassy ‘on statements by the Ambassador and on communication materials for distribution to America audiences.’

And for more than $300,000 a year, HDMK is happy to help tell that story.

Paul Singer contributed to today’s HOH.

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