Shep Smith called American politics "weird and creepy," validating Roger Ailes' decision to hire that five-year-old segment producer. A labor organization endorsed Indiana Senator Dick Lugar in the union-weary state's GOP primary (we're guessing said organization is the We Actually Want Dick Lugar To Lose Badly Local 541). And even though Romney's campaign announced that he won't appear on "Saturday Night Live" this season, we're still holding out hope that a "Girls" cameo is on the horizon (maybe a two-episode arc as a barista/struggling graphic designer??? Mmmm????). This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012:
ROMNEY FIGHTS BUZZFEED, INSTRUMENT-PLAYING PETS NOT INVOLVED... YET - Mitt Romney will be raising money tonight at the Pentagon City Mall (natch), where a bunch of media outlets will be pooling coverage (a pool that includes HuffPost). But when Buzzfeed tried to join, the Romney camp wagged its finger Mutombo-style, arguing Buzzfeed is not in the White House pool and therefore can't be in theirs. Reporters like nothing better than a good fight on behalf of its own privileges -- and this one's an easy one: the media decides who's in the pool, not the campaign. We're betting on the media this round.
MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT-CONSULTS ITSELF, IDENTIFIES REDUNDANCIES... GAY REDUNDANCIES - Mitt Romney let an openly gay staffer quit -- which is the GOP equivalent of a Democrat letting a 32-legged golden centaur that cries tears of liquid platinum quit. Richard Grenell quit because, in short, he realized where he was working. Jon Ward, with some background: "By the time Grenell gave notice last weekend of his intent to quit, the Romney campaign viewed any controversy about his hiring as having largely evaporated, and Romney aides were surprised when they learned of Grenell's intent to resign. 'In the scale of things, we didn't view it as a major story and in fact thought it had blown over,' a source close to the Romney campaign said of controversy around Grenell. 'The main source of the criticism was from a person on the far right that Romney had taken on before,' the Romney source said. The 'far right' figure is Bryan Fischer, with the American Family Association, who Romney did condemn last October for 'poisonous language.' Romney's criticism at the time was not over sexual orientation, however. It was over Fischer's criticisms of Mormonism, the faith that Romney adheres to... Grenell thinks the Romney campaign could have and should have done more to quiet conservative leaders, according to the source familiar with his thinking, and that they lacked the willingness or ability to publicly confront or privately persuade those leaders." [To Be Published In A Hot Second]
PRO-UNION GROUP ENDORSES/ENDANGERS DICK LUGAR - Mike McAuliff: "A pro-union Republican group had a double gift for Sen. Rich Lugar (R-Ind.) Wednesday -- an endorsement, accompanied by a poll that shows him with a small lead over his GOP opponent in next week's primary election. The Lunch Pail Republicans' survey, done by Magellan Strategies, finds Lugar leading state Treasurer Richard Mourdock 44 percent to 42 percent, a statistical tie in a survey like this one done in one day and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. But that's better than the lead that Mourdock-backer Citizens United found recently. The Lunch Pail Republicans would not be counted among the most conservative GOP groups, so its backing probably won't do much to cool the tea party enthusiasm that's helping Mourdock. The survey finds self-identified tea party voters favoring the treasurer 62 percent to 20 percent. Voters who do not identify with the movement (65 percent of those surveyed) favor the incumbent 64 percent to 19 percent, highlighting a stark divide in the party." [HuffPost]
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST FEELS FOR AMERICA'S LONG-OPPRESSED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES - Our very own Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist -- who recently taped a defaced photo of Tony Podesta to the inside his overcapacity medicine cabinet -- is frustrated by Elizabeth Warren's assertion that she is part Cherokee. "Somewhere out there a real Native American lost out on her chance to go to Harvard and create the CFPB," PSLGOPL writes. Thanks, PSLGOPL! -- and keep fighting for diversity!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Emails of the Jobless: "My unemployment is about to run out and we are a family of 4. We don't qualify for any assistance because between my unemployment and my husband's $12 hr pay we make too much. If I get a job I have to make sure it pays more than $382 every 2 weeks so that I can pay for daycare and still have money left over. Daycare for an infant runs about $150-$200 a week in the Ingham area. Right now I want to go back to school, but need to work." Hang in there!
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POSSIBLE FRIDAY NEWS DUMP ALERT!!! INTERIOR DEPARTMENT TO ANNOUNCE NEW FRACKING REGULATIONS - Which is to say, the Interior Department will announce -- as early as this week -- whether your kitchen faucet will soon spew liquid fire. The Hill: "The Interior Department will release a new proposal to regulate "fracking" on federal lands as soon as Thursday, a top industry official told The Hill. 'I expect they will be out tomorrow or Friday,' American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard said Wednesday. The proposal would regulate the oil-and-gas development method known as fracking, in which water, chemicals and sand are injected at high pressure into rock formations to open up seams that enable trapped oil and natural gas to flow. The rules are expected to include the required disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, along with regulations on well integrity and wastewater management." [The Hill]
CONGRESS TARGETS AMERICA'S MOST VULNERABLE INDUSTRY: ALT-WEEKLIES - Don't expect any Clint Eastwood-directed "It's Halftime In The Stranger" ads anytime soon. Roll Call: "A bipartisan group of Senators kicked up their pressure on Village Voice Media to stop running ads on an adult services website that has been under fire in recent months for accepting ads that allegedly promote sex trafficking. The lawmakers announced a 'Sense of the Senate' resolution today that calls on the media company, which owns more than a dozen weekly publications including the Village Voice, 'to act as a responsible global citizen' and stop running ads on Backpage.com for adult services. The website has been criticized for running advertisements for escorts and prostitutes, including some minors. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has been among the more notable critics of the website, which is similar to Craigslist and offers classified ads for everything from furniture to childcare services." [Roll Call]
Sidebar: The Stranger's slogan -- "Seattle's Only Newspaper" -- might be the best/saddest print slogan in the country.
OBAMA CAMPAIGN INTRODUCES LATEST SURROGATE: NEWT GINGRICH - Newt Gingrich, who recently quit the presidential race so he could spend more time with one of his families, pruning the roses in his landmine-laden garden and finishing his latest memoir, Me Me Me Me Me Me, is now part of the president's reelection strategy. Luke Johnson: "The Obama campaign released Wednesday a web video reprising Newt Gingrich's past criticisms of Mitt Romney -- on the same day Gingrich is expected to drop out of the race officially and back the presumptive GOP nominee. 'You certainly have to say that Bain at times engaged in behavior where they looted a company, leaving behind 1700 unemployed people,' Gingrich says in one clip, referring to the private equity firm of which Romney was the CEO." [HuffPost]
Oh yeah, and Gingrich technically dropped out today. HuffPost: "Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich officially ended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Wednesday. In delivering a statement on his departure from the race, Gingrich characterized his time on the trail as 'a truly wild ride.' He said that he and his wife Callista had 'an amazing year.' Addressing the future of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign, Gingrich said that he's been asked whether the former Massachusetts governor is 'conservative enough.' He said the contest 'isn't a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan.' [Editor's Note: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA] Rather, he said in taking a shot at President Barack Obama, it's "a choice between Romney and "the most radical, leftist president in American history." [HufFPost]
Newt Gingrich fan fiction, via Mother Jones: "The penguin in the corner let out a squawk. He had forgotten it was there. 'Patience, Pericles,' Gingrich said." [MoJo]
KUCINICH TRUTH-SQUADDING: "Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said Wednesday that the strategic partnership agreement signed Tuesday by Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai commits the United States -- its troops and potentially tens of billions more dollars -- to Afghanistan for the indefinite future. 'The plain fact is we are not exiting Afghanistan, despite the appearances which the White House is trying to create,' Kucinich said in a statement. 'We are staying.'" [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]
COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE FROM THAT HUGE VANITY FAIR FEATURE ON OBAMA'S GIRLFRIENDS - "[T]here's a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism -- Eliot is of this type." - Barack Obama. Thanks, Mr. President! [Vanity Fair]
(He was talking about T.S., not George.. or Nelson, for that matter. Sad face.)
'DON'T SAY GAY' MAKES REPUBLICAN SAY GAY - John Celock: "Regret over voting against a bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation and fears that the sponsor of the 'Don't Say Gay' bill would take a leadership role prompted a Republican Missouri lawmaker to come out during a press conference Wednesday morning. State Rep. Zach Wyatt (R-Green Castle) said the 'Don't Say Gay' legislation -- which would bar the discussion of sexual orientation in public school classes and extracurricular activities -- drove him to make the announcement, which he never expected to make. House Bill 2051 gained support from the House's top Republican leadership, including the speaker and majority leader.'I'd only come to terms myself about being gay in January,' Wyatt told HuffPost." [HuffPost]
JOE BIDEN CELEBRATES 'DOS DE MAYO' -- WHICH IS JUST ADORABLE - If you think about it, Joe Biden and Mitt Romney are a lot alike... both constantly make awkward comments and both dress (and look like) dads who spend too much time on sailboats. The key difference is that Joe can laugh at himself. From McClatchy's Lesley Clark's pool report: "The vice president and Dr. Jill Biden hosted their first Cinco de Mayo breakfast at the vice president's residence, the Naval Observatory, with the vice president lauding Hispanic contributions to the U.S. and saying that cinco de mayo 'exemplifies the spirit that still unites our two countries'... He noted it was 'Dos de Mayo,' but said 'any excuse to celebrate' and 'any excuse to celebrate with you.'"
Case in point, via Deadline: "Mitt Romney will not be appearing on Saturday Night Live this season, said Lorne Michaels today. 'We only have three shows left and they're pretty jammed packed,' the SNL executive producer says. 'It might be in the fall, but we'll never know, that'll all depend on his availability.' Saturday Night Live's 37th season wraps up on May 19. It will return in September 2012 in the heat of the Presidential election campaign. In early April, Michaels extended an invitation to the former Massachusetts Governor to appear on the show." [via Politico]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Humanity is awesome: a double-amuptee skydives with a dog.
MCMANSIONS: 1,000,000 | NORTHERN VIRGINIA'S ARCHITECTURAL INTEGRITY: 0 - HuffPost DC: "Score one for the rich, litigious neighbors. The 25,424-square-foot Northern Virginia mansion modeled on Versailles, that annoyed neighbors into a lawsuit, is no longer going up in its original location. But Mike Malfi of The Building Group Inc., the company that was designing and building the palace, says the gigantic house will still go up somewhere." [HuffPost]
- A lighting bolt AND a double rainbow in the SAME picture. It's like Mother Nature's version of Alien vs. Predator. [http://bit.ly/IHn4v5]
- "Hipster Cop Ironically Hates Music" [http://bit.ly/JDzxAG]
- An actual lawyer scrutinized episodes of "Law and Order: SVU" for their legal accuracy. [http://bit.ly/IHnFwI]
- Like power tools? Like traditional Chinese art? You'll totally dig this. [http://bit.ly/KvfqBL]
- Keyboard cat experiments with heavy metal. [http://bit.ly/IyQSt2]
- Some people aren't happy that JCPenny featured two moms and a child. Try to keep it to yourself when you sit across from "some people" at the Thanksgiving table this November. [http://bit.ly/KPE4Bu]
- History's most automated dorm room. [http://bit.ly/JDHnKw]
- The bearded berate the non-bearded. [http://bit.ly/JOnK00]
@juliehdavis: "Ever!" someone in the room shouted RT @samyoungman Newt spox comes out and gives 2-minute warning. "Last warning." Word #2012
@mileskahn: Newt says that kids should focus on math and science instead of coke and meth. HOW DOES HE THINK COKE AND METH GET MADE?
@pourmecoffee: Newt's resignation speech being broadcast to every zoo in America, as animals watch respectfully on their hind legs.
5:00pm: Mitt Romney over-charges for photos at a hotel in the Pentagon City Mall, demanding approximately 10,000 times more than his jollier counterpart, the mall Santa, would demand. [Pentagon City Mall]
6:30pm: Dine on congealed transfats at a reception and screening of the new HBO Documentary "The Weight of the Nation," made in partnership with the Institute of Medicine in Association with the CDC. Screening at 7:30. [National Academy of Sciences Building, 2101 Constitution Ave. NW]
6:00pm - 9:00pm: Spring, they say, is all about baby animals, rainbows, and flowers. What better way to celebrate than at the American Sheep Producers' annual Lamb Barbecue? Yeah, we can't think of one, either. [1 King St., Alexandria, Va.]
6:00pm - 10:00pm: Paging Gen-Xers with overly fond memories of "Reading Rainbow": La Var Burton emcees the annual Gift of Reading Gala. Trekkies, you're invited, too. [1127 Connecticut Ave, NW]
12pm: The annual tradition of covering up a huge swath of the National Mall with a dance floor so that rich people can eat and dance on it begins with the tony Ball on the Mall Luncheon, a big flowery hat party. [The National Mall]
7:00pm: David Plouffe is deployed to scare up a few young Obama voters. You know, those kids who are totally staying home this time around? Take note, this party is in a nightclub. Very hip. [1150B Peachtree St., Atlanta]
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