POLITICS
05/31/2012 06:21 pm ET Updated Jul 31, 2012

HUFFPOST HILL - Sheila Jackson Lee Accidentally Robert Novaks

Republican protesters booed David Axelrod so loudly that they must have confused him with a dying person without health insurance. A clothing store has come out with Romney-themed apparel and, much to everyone's surprise, it isn't Brooks Brothers and -- an even greater surprise -- the item in question isn't a pair of pleated shorts. And Sheila Jackson Lee accidentally (sort of) outed a CIA agent which, on the upside, would be a hilarious premise for "National Lampoon's Bourne Identity." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, May 31st, 2012:

JOHN EDWARDS TRIAL OVER: MISTRIAL DECLARED - Now he can start laying the groundwork for a show on Current! AP: "John Edwards' campaign finance fraud case ended in a mistrial Thursday when jurors acquitted him on one charge and deadlocked on the other five, unable to decide whether he used money from two wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress while he ran for president and his wife was dying of cancer. The monthlong trial exposed a sordid sex scandal, but prosecutors couldn't convince jurors the candidate masterminded a cover-up using about $1 million, and ultimately, jurors decided tawdry didn't necessarily mean criminal... The jury's decision came on a confusing day. The judge initially called jurors in to read a verdict on all six counts, before learning that they had only agreed to one. About an hour later, the jury sent the note to the judge saying it had exhausted its discussions. It was not immediately clear whether prosecutors would retry Edwards on the other counts." [AP]

ROMNEY APPEARS AT SOLYNDRA - Is it just us, or do the headquarters of a shuttered California solar cell manufacturer make for an underwhelming backdrop? Oh, no! The lobby's floor-to-ceiling glass windows are starting to streak! And look! A stray foam dart from all the Nerf guns they kept in Meeting Room C! Whyyyy?! Sam Stein: "The trip was clouded in secrecy in part, the Romney campaign declared, because of concerns that the White House would try to prevent it from happening. Conspiracy theories aside, focus on President Barack Obama's handling of Solyndra has clearly become the Romney campaign's chief rebuttal to criticism of Romney's tenure in the private equity world. The campaign's argument is that Obama himself was a failed venture capitalist, but the money he spent was the taxpayer's not the private investor's... The Solyndra hit may prove tricky to execute because, despite the conventional wisdom, it wasn't simply an Obama administration-backed project. Though the current White House accelerated the loan guarantee -- even as evidence emerged that it could go bad -- the roots of the loan actually emerged during the Bush administration. And the process was facilitated, in part, by a cadre of industry lobbyists of different ideological stripes. One of those lobbyists is a semi-prominent supporter of Mitt Romney. As Solyndra was going through bankruptcy, it moved to hire fellow former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld to help lobby on its behalf. For $825 an hour, Weld and his firm helped the company deal with government investigations and other regulatory matters." [HuffPost]

HOUSE DEFEATS SEX-SELECTION ABORTION BAN - Laura Bassett: "A Republican-sponsored bill that would have banned sex-selective abortions failed in the House of Representatives Thursday. The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), authored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), would have made it a federal offense to perform an abortion on a woman seeking one because of the gender of her fetus. Doctors with knowledge of their patients' intentions who performed the procedure anyway would be subject to civil and criminal penalties, including jail time. The bill failed in a 246-168 vote, with 7 Republicans in the GOP-controlled House voting against it and 20 Democrats voting in favor. 'When people vote on this, the world will know where they really stand,' said Franks before the vote took place, calling sex-selective abortions 'the ultimate violence against women.'" [HuffPost]

Labor reporter Mike Elk put on a suit and went to the Hill today. Hilarity ensued.

SHEILA JACKSON LEE OUTS CIA AGENT (KINDA) - It's taken years, but we can finally add an "X" to a cell in that SJLRobertNovakSimilarties.xls file we created way back when. Elise Foley: "Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) appeared for a moment to have revealed the name of an undercover CIA agent on Thursday when she mistakenly conflated the man and his station chief, whose identity is not a secret. During a floor speech in support of hiring more minorities in the Central Intelligence Agency, Jackson Lee talked about Garrett Jones, who she said 'served as a CIA station chief in Somalia during peacekeeping operations in 1993.' Of course, if Jones had been an undercover agent, stating his name on the floor of the House of Representatives could have been damaging, as the speeches go on television and in the congressional record. Luckily, Jones' identity is not a secret. He is now retired from the CIA, and penned op-eds in the Los Angeles Times in 2006 about his time running covert operations in Mogadishu." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Bad omen for tomorrow morning's jobs report in today's weekly claims data. "In the week ending May 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 383,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 373,000," The Labor Department said this morning. "The 4-week moving average was 374,500, an increase of 3,750 from the previous week's revised average of 370,750." Crap! [DOL]

DOUBLE DOWNER - The Obama administration wants all the credit for a drop in Nevada foreclosure filings even though housing analysts have attributed some of the decline to a state law that took effect this past fall. [HuffPost]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

COURT OVERTURNS DOMA - If an appeals court ruling holds, Americans are going to have to spend EVEN MORE of their vacation days on weddings in the coming years. Don't worry, if you squint real hard, that country club in Maryland looks a bit like Barbados! AP: "A federal appeals court Thursday declared that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a groundbreaking ruling all but certain to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court. In its unanimous decision, the three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman deprives gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples. The court didn't rule on the law's more politically combustible provision, which said states without same-sex marriage cannot be forced to recognize gay unions performed in states where it's legal. It also wasn't asked to address whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry...The court, the first federal appeals panel to deem the benefits section of the law unconstitutional, agreed with a lower court judge who ruled in 2010 that the law interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns." [AP]

DAVID AXELROD SACRIFICES HIMSELF TO THE NEWS CYCLE GODS - For days we've been griping, along with every other political journalist around, about the slow news cycle. Today, David Axelrod bravely laid himself on the media altar. Politico: "Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod took the president's case against Mitt Romney to the next level Thursday, arguing in a press conference at the Boston statehouse that the Republican's private equity background left him totally unprepared to serve as governor of Massachusetts. But the presidential strategist -- and an array of Bay State Democrats arrayed behind him -- struggled to deliver their message over chants and heckling from a sign-waving throng of Mitt Romney supporters. 'You can shout down speakers, my friends, but it's hard to Etch-A-Sketch the truth away,' Axelrod said here on Beacon Hill." Thanks, Ax! [Politico]

Tired of hearing about Cory-Booker going off message? Deval Patrick has kindly tapped in: "Deval Patrick, who followed Romney as governor of the Bay State, praised Bain in two separate TV appearances on Thursday. 'I've got a lot of friends there,' he said on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe,' calling Bain 'a perfectly fine company' with 'a role to play in the private economy.'" 'I think the Bain strategy has been distorted in some of the public discussions,' said Patrick. "I think the issue isn't about Bain. I think it's about whether [Romney has] accomplished, in either his public or private life, the kinds of things he wants to accomplish for the United States.'" [HuffPost]

ELIZABETH WARREN IS A FIERY CHEROKEE WOMAN, SO WHAT? - Boston Globe: "Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren acknowledged for the first time late Wednesday night that she told Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she was Native American, but she continued to insist that race played no role in her recruitment. 'At some point after I was hired by them, I . . . provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard,'' she said in a statement issued by her campaign. 'My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I'm proud of it and I have been open about it.'' Warren's statement is her first acknowledgment that she identified herself as Native American to the Ivy League schools. While she has said she identified herself as a minority in a legal directory, she has carefully avoided any suggestion during the last month that she took further actions to promote her purported heritage." Still not as racist as the Skins! [Globe]

This controversy probably won't end well for Warren. Case in point from Indian Country Today Media Network: "As the controversy continues to swirl around U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren's self-reported Cherokee ancestry, she has dodged several interview requests from the Native American press... ICTMN had by that point requested multiple interviews with Warren in order for her to clarify her statements on her ancestry, to explain how she highlighted that self-reported ancestry while working in academia, as well as to examine the fall-out that has occurred in Indian country regarding identity issues as her campaign fiasco has stayed in the news." [Indian Country Today Media Network]

From a Warren campaign email blast today: "My mother, grandmother, and aunts were open about my family's Native American heritage, and I never had any reason to doubt them. What kid asks their grandparents for legal documentation to go along with their family stories? What kid asks their mother for proof in how she describes herself?"

POLITICO REEEAAALLY WANTS A ROMNEY SITDOWN - Is it possible for an article to be so beat-sweetening that the reporters behind it contract diabetes? Michael Calderone: "Politico's executive editor, Jim VandeHei, and chief White House correspondent, Mike Allen, suggested Thursday that The New York Times andWashington Post are biased in favor of President Barack Obama and quick to promote potentially negative stories about presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Both papers pushed back against such claims...Politico noted that this past Sunday, the Times ran a front-page story on Ann Romney's horseback riding, which Politico apparently saw as more evidence of bias. "It's certainly hard to argue that the Romneys' horse-riding habits today are worse than the Maraniss revelations, which have gotten little mainstream coverage," Vandehei and Allen wrote. It's ironic to suggest media bias when it comes to covering Obama's pot-smoking, considering that Maraniss, a Post editor, is the one who dug up the new revelations for his long-awaited book on Obama's early years. And the Post didn't ignore them,running a story on Page 6 of the print edition and online -- where the paper also linked to numerous other reports of Obama's pot-smoking days, including BuzzFeed's 'User's Guide To Smoking Pot With Barack Obama.'" [HuffPost]

BUDDY ROEMER DROPS OUT; A NATION WONDERS HOW IT CAN GO ON LIVING - Here's why you've seen all those people keeled over in the street, sobbing uncontrollably and cursing God: "After failing to gain traction as a Republican presidential candidate and then making an unsuccessful attempt to run as a third party nominee, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer on Thursday announced an end to his White House bid. 'Today, I am no longer a candidate for President of the United States,' Roemer said in a statement... Roemer kicked off efforts to capture the nomination for the non-partisan, third party Americans Elect. Founded in April 2010, the party qualified for ballot access in 27 states and raised more than $20 million over two years. Last week, however, the group announced its selection process had ended without a picking a nominee and decided to pass on Roemer, its leading contender. Roemer had low name recognition, the group said, and small fundraising appeal, as he refused to accept contributions higher than $100." [CNN]

Shut up, American culture: "Urban Outfitters, a clothing chain known for its eclectic merchandise, is offering a new line of political T-shirts. One pro-Romney shirt on the company's website reads, 'Mitt is the s--t.' Romney shirts, many of which depict the candidate as an oven mitt, join a T-shirt of President Obama 'Tebowing,' or kneeling in the pose popularized by NFL quarterback Tim Tebow -- who does so in religious affirmation after a touchdown -- on the president's desk." [The Hill]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a video in which a baby elephant falls over a soccer ball a few times.

CUE THE SCARY MUSIC - HuffPost DC: "Global leaders have gathered at a hotel near Dulles Airport for their annual shadowy Bilderberg conference." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- "No. I don't know. It's complicated." [http://bit.ly/NkLLyo]

- Composer drives a SF cab, talks about it, is interesting. [http://bit.ly/N1zJML]

- Maynard James Keenan of Tool discusses human face wine pairing. [http://bit.ly/N1D7r3]

- The Bourne Legacy hits theaters August 3. [http://chzb.gr/N1A2aj]

- The Atlantic - "What If Herman Cain Had a Kill List?" [http://bit.ly/N1B7z2]

- Dog days of summer? [http://bit.ly/NkPjRs]

- Never let other people tell you what you can't do. Just find out for yourself. [http://bit.ly/NkQQa0]

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: False alarm - Edwards jury sent back for further punishment (a/k/a deliberating about John Edwards).

@indecision: John Edwards is charged with six counts. But he doesn't look a day over four counts!

@dceiver: Chris Matthews praises Edwards' vast wealth -- oh, sorry! -- I meant "resilience." Edwards, TOTALLY resilient. We can all take a lesson.

ON TAP
By @christinawilkie

TONIGHT

7:00pm: Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), better known as the guy who skipped his swearing-in to host a fundraiser in the Capitol (ridiculously big no-no) hosts a fundraiser clear across town from the Capitol at Casa Nonna in Dupont. [1250 Connecticut Ave, NW]

THIS WEEKEND

Saturday 7:00pm: If there were one gala worth tolerating all the hassle of dressing to the nines for, it would probably be the Opera Ball, which breaks with tradition this year by ditching the French Embassy for the UAE. [3522 International Ct NW]

Saturday 7:00pm: If you're the type of person who brings your dog to restaurants, you'll loooove the 25th Annual Bark Ball, a Humane Society fundraiser that makes pet pet-obsessed people seem totally normal for about three hours. [1919 Connecticut Ave. NW]

Sunday 7:00pm: It's the annual Ford's Theatre Society Gala. This year, Morgan Freeman and Elie Wiesel team up for an extra super profound evening. [511 10th St NW]

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