The Democratic National Convention folks announced their official barbecue sauces but regrettably didn't include Frank Lautenberg's Special Somethin' in the list. The CIA caught a second Underwear Bomber but the dreaded Corset Bomber remains at large: planning... waiting... and fastening. And Arne Duncan became the second cabinet official to publicly endorse gay marriage, joining HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. If the administration gets especially brave and lets the postmaster general off the leash, we'll let you know. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, May 7th, 2012:
DNC RETURNS A BUNCH OF CHEAP CRAP TO WALMART - Facing pressure from Walmart opponents, the host committee for the Democratic National Convention has returned $50,000 worth of gift cards donated by the megaretailer, a Walmart spokeswoman told The Huffington Post on Monday. The Democratic National Committee has maintained a rule barring corporate cash donations for the Charlotte festivities slated for September, so Democrats accepted the gift cards as an in-kind donation to help cover convention costs. The United Food and Commercial Workers union, a loud critic of Walmart, criticized convention organizers for accepting the cards, arguing that the world's largest private employer doesn't represent the party's values. That was awhile ago, though. Something must've happened since then. What could it have been?
AMERICA IS DYING SLOWLY: REPORT - Jeffrey Young: "Between 2000 and 2010, more working-age adults reported they had no regular source of medical care, hadn't seen a doctor or a dentist within a year, had unmet medical and dental needs and went without health care because of cost, Genevieve Kenney and others at the Urban Institute report in an article published in the journal Health Affairs Monday. The uninsured had it the worst. The health care reform law President Barack Obama enacted two years ago can't solve all the problems with access to health care, the study says, but it can address one of the biggest: the tens of millions of Americans who have no health insurance. More than 30 million people who would otherwise be uninsured are projected to gain coverage through a subsidized private health insurance marketplace or Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act." [HuffPost]
The White House this afternoon threatened to veto House spending bills.
AMERICANS FINDING NEW WAYS TO LAUGH AT OUR NATION'S SLOW DECLINE - In tomorrow's Roll Call, from Eliza Newlin Carney: "With names like America's Super PAC for the Permanent Elimination of America's Super PACs, Citizens Against Super PACs and No Dirty Money Elections, these protest PACs are sober minded, satirical, or sometimes both. Take CREEP, a super PAC set up by Georgetown University graduate student Robert Lucas. The name is a tongue-in-cheek reference the Nixon-era Committee for the Re-Election of the President, which organized the Watergate break-ins 40 years ago. But Lucas, 23, has a high-minded goal of "raising voices not dollars," as he put it, and is pushing for both public financing of campaigns and tax code reforms that would pull back the curtain on election-related spending. He has no plans to back candidates or party committees. On the lighter side is Everyone's Favorite Group of Socially Acceptable People Who Have Happy Funtime Ideas and Team, which registered with the Federal Election Commission on April 6, with no stated web address or objectives."
HuffPost has one of those electoral maps where you can predict who'll win which state. Fun.
ANOTHER IDIOT WANTED TO STUFF A BOMB IN HIS SKIVVIES - AP: "The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, The Associated Press has learned. The plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger's underwear, but this time al-Qaida developed a more refined detonation system, U.S. officials said...The AP learned about the thwarted plot last week but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish it immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way. Once officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP decided to disclose the plot Monday despite requests from the Obama administration to wait for an official announcement Tuesday." [AP]
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CARNEY: OBAMA STILL NOT ACTUALLY SAYING HE'S FOR GAY MARRIAGE - President Obama -- when he isn't privately muttering lines from Lawrence of Arabia to make himself smile, or loading "Team of Rivals" onto his eReader and search-and-replacing "Abraham Lincoln" with "Barry" -- is trying to be for gay marriage without being for gay marriage. Like his conversations with gay donors, it's awkward. LA Times: "'I have no update on the president's personal views,' White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday at a lively briefing dominated by questions about Biden's expression of support for gay marriage. 'What the vice president said yesterday was to make the same point that the president has made previously, that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans and that we oppose any effort to roll back those rights.'" Except Biden talked about guys marrying each other. Whatever. [LA Times]
Zach Carter, our senior political economy reporter, has an album out, of course. [City Paper]
But Arne Duncan came out for gay marriage today! So if you're a lesbian who wishes to marry, uh, a female public school (?), you're set... we guess. Luke Johnson: "Secretary of Education Arne Duncan endorsed same-sex marriage Monday, following Vice President Joe Biden's comments Sunday saying that he's 'comfortable' with gay marriage. Appearing on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe,' Duncan was asked by Time's Mark Halperin whether he believed it should be legal for same-sex couples to get married in the United States. 'Yes, I do,' said Duncan. When asked if he had said it publicly before, he replied that he thought that he had never been asked. Duncan is the second cabinet secretary to publicly support same-sex marriage, with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan saying last November that he 'absolutely' supports it." What do we take away from the administration toying with the gay community like a porch cat who's trapped a mouse? They apparently still think they can win North Carolina. [HuffPost]
ICYMI: "Gay Advocates Frustrated As White House Walks Back Joe Biden's Same-Sex Marriage Comments" Greg Sargent reports gay donors are getting fed up, withholding checks.
@ZekeJMiller: Romney: I spoke to a college student today who just graduated from college
CHRIS CHRISTIE TELLS MITT ROMNEY -- VIA OPERATIVES AND A PROMINENT CONSERVATIVE PUBLICATION -- THAT HE REAAAALLLYY WANTS TO BE VEEP - New Jersey's governor is obviously tired of being seated next to Sofia Vergara for comedic effect and yelling down average citizens for his own political gain. He wants more. Daily Caller: "People close to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie believe he would join the Republican presidential ticket should he be offered the vice presidential slot by presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, National Review reports. Christie has said that he 'love(s)' his current job and recently reassured constituents that he was 'not going anywhere.' However, Christie has also said that Romney 'might be able to convince' him to take the job. As it turns out, Christie might not need all that much convincing. 'Christie is open to it, his family's comfortable with it, and he's been vetted before,' one 'top state lawmaker' told National Review's Robert Costa. 'He isn't going to campaign for it, but it's no secret that he would relish the opportunity to play at that level. According to Costa, a consensus has developed among Trenton insiders that Christie is very open to joining the ticket, and the only question is whether Romney would be willing to share the stage with the larger-than-life [Editor's note: Nice...] New Jerseyan.'" [Daily Caller]
HuffPost's Zach Carter is famous
PRESIDENT'S REELECTION TEAM TO VOMIT HOPE AND CHANGE ALL OVER AMERICA'S AIRWAVES - Get ready. Sam Stein: "Six months before the election, the Obama campaign has allotted a remarkable $25 million for ads to air in May alone, top officials told reporters on a conference call Monday. The figure is massive, underscoring both the extent to which the president's political team is confident that its fundraising success will be continuous, and its desire to not let Republicans define the president early in the general election contest. On the call, Obama adviser David Axelrod said that the campaign would treat ads run by super PACs and outside groups supportive of Mitt Romney as ads from the Romney campaign itself. Each would elicit a response he added, calling Karl Rove (Crossroads) and the Koch brothers (Americans for Prosperity) 'contract killers out there in super PAC land.'" [HuffPost]
The Obama campaign released the first ad today. The spot, titled
"Man, Dubya sure was awful! Remember that jerkface?! Also, bin Laden is dead." "Go," takes the familiar yeah-things-suck-but-they're-getting-better tact. Politico: "The ad... touts the auto bailout and the killing of Osama Bin Laden and frames President Barack Obama as a fighter for the middle class. It will air in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida and Colorado." [Politico]
Labor is dispatching a few regiments of its own for the ad war. "Workers' Voice, the super PAC of the AFL-CIO, announced on Monday that it was making a 'hyper-targeted,' half-million-dollar online ad buy aimed at pulling progressive activists into its 2012 efforts. The largest union-affiliated super PAC, Workers' Voice is not planning to take a traditional approach with its war chest of more than $4 million. The group hashanded control of its money to union and nonunion activists in its network, who will decide which candidates and issues the money will support. Monday's ad buy is aimed at bringing those potential activists into the fold." [HuffPost's Dave Jamieson]
@thegarance: Really, DNC? From the Inbox: "Charlotte in 2012 Announces Official BBQ Sauces of the 2012 Democratic National Convention"
DICK LUGAR TRYING TO DISTANCE HIMSELF FROM DICK LUGAR - Josh Hersh: "In February of 2011, a few days after a surprising popular revolt brought down the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) appeared on CNN to discuss the future of America's relationship with the longtime ally nation. Speaking out about some $150 million in foreign aid that was due to be delivered to Egypt that year, Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argued that even amid uncertainty about the new military leadership, the funds should continue to flow... Dealt a homegrown insurgency from the right, Lugar's steady, calming voice in international affairs has quieted...Faced with this challenge, congressional staffers and close watchers of Lugar and congressional foreign policy say that the incumbent effectively ran in the other direction: Instead of falling back on his long record of national security accomplishments and bipartisan support, Lugar cast himself almost exclusively as an advocate for partisan and domestic issues. Where his voice had once been critical, and invaluable, to the foreign policy debates on Capitol Hill, many say he went surprisingly missing." [HuffPost]
Ouch. The Hill: "White House press secretary Jay Carney declined to say Monday whether President Obama will support Rep. Charles Rangel's (D) bid for reelection in New York." [The Hill]
Double ouch:"Mayor Mike Bloomberg today declined to give an endorsement to Charlie Rangel, a longtime incumbent fighting to keep his Harlem seat in one of the more heated congressional races in New York City this election season." [Village Voice]
NOT SPECULATIVE VP CANDIDATE PAUL LEPAGE CALLS THE UNEMPLOYED LAZY... AGAIN - Amanda Terkel: "At the Maine GOP convention on Sunday, Gov. Paul LePage (R) received an enthusiastic standing ovation from his fellow Republicans for saying that all able-bodied out-of-work Americans need to "get off the couch" and go find employment. LePage called on the state legislature to pass structural changes to welfare, saying, "Maine's welfare program is cannibalizing the rest of state government. To all you able-bodied people out there: Get off the couch and get yourself a job." [HuffPost]
PAGING GENERAL SHERMAN: HILLARY ASKED ABOUT 2016 RUN, SAYS A LOT OF WORDS THAT AREN'T 'I WILL NOT' - During a trip to India, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once again said no without saying no. Thanks to the hard work of everyone who has ever had presidential ambitions before her -- including her -- no one believes this. WaPo: "At the town hall held at a girls' school, the moderator and members of the audience implored Clinton to run for president of the United States in 2016. 'I'm very flattered but I feel like it's time for me to step off the high wire,' she said. 'I've been involved at the highest level of American politics for 20 years now. I'd like to come back to India and just wander around without having the streets be closed and a lot of security around.'" It's easy to forget that before the State Department, before the Senate, before the White House, before the Governor's mansion, Hilary was a very good lawyer. Actually, she was a very good lawyer the whole time. [WaPo]
Womp womp: "The Trust for the National Mall had a very fun Ball on the Mall on Saturday to raise money for preserving America's 'front yard.'... Also up for auction: Mentoring lunches with former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), trust Chairman John E. "Chip" Akridge III and the senior executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Walt Disney Co., Jay Rasulo. Bidding on the lunches started at $300, with more than 20 bids for the three lunches. Unfortunately for the former Democratic Senator, most of the people who could afford to spend more than $300 on a priceless brunch, such as businessman and Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein, bid on lunches with Akridge and Rasulo. But just before bidding closed, Daschle finally got a bid!" [Roll Call]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Cat lost his woman, gambled away all his money, now drowns his sorrows.
- This is the story of an elephant playing the harmonica. [http://bit.ly/IQnC3z]
- Subway gets philharmobbed. [http://bit.ly/J9VSEP]
- The "Three Point Landing" is an action movie thing that probably doesn't deserve its own supercut. [http://bit.ly/J9W4UH]
- The Exquisite Corpse Project is a filmmaking project with a great/novel premise. [http://bit.ly/IQnTUq]
- Here are "7 Internet Words You've Been Mispronouncing Like 'GIF'." We still say it like "gif me another stupid animation." [http://bit.ly/J9Wo5O]
- Two F-22 pilots tell 60 Minutes why they won't fly it. [http://bit.ly/J9WKJz]
- RIP Meow, the 39lb cat made known to the internet last week. We miss you. [http://bit.ly/J9VFS4]
@MarkLeibovich: Noted en route to lunch: Swarms of idealistic young people descending on Our Nation's Capital for the summer to make a difference.
@megancarpentier: Spotted in Astoria: Jeep Wrangler with monster truck tires, an "Obama: Impeach Him" sticker and, of course, truck nuts.
@pattonoswalt: Philharmonic Flashmob #bandnamesfromhuffpoheadlines
@pattonoswalt: Bin Laden's Concern #bandnamesfromhuffpoheadlines
7:00pm - 9:30pm: Cocktail waitresses everywhere, take note: Prince Harry hits up DC for the 50th annual Atlantic Council Awards Dinner. Somewhere in the background, former UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-Moon will also be getting an award. [Super-secret location]
12:45pm: Most Hill staffers are too young to remember "Dynasty" or "Dallas," but those who were allowed to stay home sick and watch soaps will be glad to see stars Linda Evans (Dynasty) and Linda Gray (Dallas) posing for pix and signing Mother's Day cards. [Cannon Caucus Room]
4:00pm - 6:00pm: If you've missed the sound of Thad McCotter's screaming guitar riffs since he stopped running for president, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's reception offers you a great big dose of McCotter and his band, the 2nd Amendments. [1300 Longworth]
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