POLITICS
05/02/2013 05:28 pm ET Updated Jul 02, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - Hot Mitch McConnell Action

Lobbying groups are trying to influence President Obama with ads on ESPN, because they think expanded offshore drilling COULD...GO... ALL... THE... WAYYY!!! The Obama administration is challenging expanded access to Plan B because pregnant teenagers are... um... sequestration? Washington gridlock? The Saudi national? And having your kid gunned down by a mass murderer won't land you a meeting with a senator, but it's a different story if your kid has a $2,000 check and directions to the UPS Townhouse. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, May 2nd, 2013:

@eniedowski: PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- RI to become 10th state to allow gay marriage after final House vote; gov to sign into law.

OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SAY ARGHHHHHHH!!!!!: SEQUESTRATION IMPEDING MEDICAL RESEARCH - Sam Stein: "[A]s agencies begin to implement them, budget reductions are causing alarm within the research and development community...According to the AAAS, the government is set to decrease funding for research and development by a net $9.3 billion this fiscal year alone. The cuts will come from the Department of Defense ($6.4 billion), the National Institutes of Health ($1.5 billion), NASA ($749 million), the Department of Energy ($479 million) and the National Science Foundation ($227 million)...At the University of Texas, officials are figuring out ways to keep research fellows and graduate student assistants at work despite a cut in federal grants that helps cover the cost of 2,000 jobs. The University of South Florida's Moffitt Cancer Center, which studies a variety of diseases, has been receiving smaller checks from the NIH. Virginia Tech's Carilion Research Institute, which is conducting biomedical research on depression, substance abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder, has seen a loss of $640,000 in grant money, while preparing for another $1 million to be slashed. The University of Kentucky, meanwhile, has reduced the size of its incoming graduate class in preparation for cuts." [HuffPost]

Sad Mitch McConnell photo becomes weird meme. It's like "White Men Wearing Google Glass" except there's no "wearing" and it's just a glass. But there are a lot of white people, though.

ALSO: Mitch flies coach.

MASS SENATE RACE: MAH-KEY OVAH GOMEZ (BUT NOT BY A LOT, KID) - Even money says Michael Bennet is rubbing his temples so hard right now brain is oozing out his nose. Emerson College: "A new survey of registered voters finds Congressman Ed Markey (D) with a 6 point lead over Republican candidate Gabriel Gomez 42 percent to 36 percent with 797 respondents. The Emerson College Polling Society (ECPS) survey is the first to look at the US Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry since the Primary election. There was a 3.4 percent margin of error in the ECPS survey...Both Markey and Gomez have high favorability ratings at 48% and 45%, but Markey also carries a high unfavorable rating of 37%, compared to Gomez who is at 25%. According to Chen, the results suggest Markey may have a problem attacking Gomez, a situation similar to that faced by Scott Brown when he attacked Elizabeth Warren in the 2012 Election; Warren like Gomez had high favorability ratings. The survey also suggests that Independents are breaking for Gomez at a nearly 2 to 1 rate (46% to 25%) which is typically the ratio that Republicans need to be successful in Statewide Elections here in the Bay state." [Emerson College]

HuffPost's Jon Ward spent 45 minutes talking to Mark Sanford today, during which the congressional candidate put his son on the phone to prove he and Sanford are still buds. A right-leaning poll has the race tied, Patch reports.

Richard Burr will not meet with family members of gun violence victims. Behold the political version of ending a call by yelling "I CAN'T HEAR YOU, I THINK YOU'RE BREAKING UP!!!" and making crackling sounds with your mouth. Amanda Terkel: "Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has turned down a dinner invitation from a group of gun victims' families, citing a busy schedule this week... Last week, Fran Lynch of North Carolina's Religious Coalition for a Non-Violent Durham sent a letter to Burr, asking that he join her and her friends for a discussion on gun control. 'I'm writing on behalf of myself and my friends Kim Yaman, Brenda James, and Effie Steele,' wrote Lynch in her letter, provided to The Huffington Post by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 'In 1991, Kim hid with her children in a room at the University of Iowa while a PhD candidate went on a shooting spree. Brenda James lost her youngest son, Randolph, to gun violence. Effie lost her 9-months pregnant daughter to a shooting. We invite you to join us for dinner to discuss ways to reduce such instances of gun violence.'" [HuffPost]

DECAY OF THE REPUBLIC - Our sellout correspondent Burned Out, Went Downtown continues adjusting to his new life away from the Hill. "Learning downtown time management skills... lunch takes two hours, drinks take four hours, email responses from the Hill take 24 hours, and all phone responses are still outstanding." It's what the Founding Fathers intended, BOWD!

LAUGHING-STOCK HARVARD ECONOMISTS SAY THEY NEVER REALLY LIKED AUSTERITY ANYWAY - Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, champions of austerity and not-champions of using Excel, are now claiming that they really were never pushing for austerity in the first place. Heh. At least they're lucky enough to be around to see how history will judge their careers. [HuffPost's Mark Gongloff]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - An Idaho state senator named Nicole LeFavour left her job to make an unsuccessful bid for Congress. She also unsuccessfully applied for unemployment insurance, which is not allowed in that situation. AP: "LeFavour, the state's first openly gay lawmaker who ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Republican Mike Simpson last November, said she has fallen on tough times. Friends urged her to at least try to get benefits, she said." The legislature's Republican leader said no way, and state Dems agreed. [Associated Press]

New jobs report comes out tomorrow. It might really suck.

DOUBLE DOWNER - Sequestration: Helping old people starve since March 2013: "For the elderly, low-income residents who gather for breakfast and birthday cake at the Winter Park Community Center, the news is not good. Funding cuts mandated by Congress' sequestration mean Seniors First is closing five congregate meals sites in Orange County -- including theirs. If they want to continue receiving their morning meal, they need to go to the facility at Calvary Towers starting May 13." [Orlando Sentinel]

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OBAMA UNVEILS COMMERCE, TRADE REP NOMINEES - The trade representative helps craft U.S. trade policy while the commerce secretary wears hardhats in photo ops at electric car plants. America thanks them for their service. Yahoo News: "President Barack Obama on Thursday morning nominated wealthy Chicago fundraiser and longtime supporter Penny Pritzker as the next commerce secretary and Michael Froman, his national security adviser for international economics, to the post of U.S. trade representative. Pritzker and Froman were believed to be in line for those jobs. Both require Senate confirmation. Pritzker, CEO of of PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group, and an heir to Hyatt Hotels Corp., has a current net worth estimated by Forbes to be $1.85 billion...Pritzker was Obama's finance chair when he first ran for president, and served as finance co-chair in his re-election campaign. She has had a rocky relationship with labor unions in her hometown of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported." [Yahoo News]

Speaking of fundraisers getting plum appointments, is Noah Mamet really gonna be ambassador to Argentina? What's going on there?

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION APPEALING EXPANDED ACCESS TO PLAN B - Times: "The Obama administration moved Wednesday to keep girls under 15 from having over-the-counter access to morning-after pills, as the Justice Department filed a notice to appeal a judge's order that would make the drug available without a prescription for girls and women of all ages. The appeal reaffirms an election-year decision by Mr. Obama's administration to block the drug's maker from selling it without a prescription or consideration of age, and puts the White House back into the politically charged issue of access to emergency contraception. The Justice Department's decision to appeal is in line with the views of dozens of conservative, anti-abortion groups who do not want contraceptives made available to young girls. But the decision was criticized by advocates for women's reproductive health and abortion rights who cite years of scientific research saying the drug is safe and effective for all ages." [NYT]

LOBBYISTS TARGETING PRESIDENT THROUGH ESPN - That might explain why Linda Cohn has been droning on about Nancy Pelosi trying to take away her AR-15s. Politico: "President Barack Obama loves to watch sports -- and the people who want to catch his eye know it. Companies and trade associations are doing something a little strange: they're buying up airtime on ESPN. Media strategists tell POLITICO they offer up the all-sports network as an option to clients who want to get their issues in front of Obama and top White House officials, known as big sports fans and rabid ESPN watchers. The strategist said the ads can't be so obvious that Obama knows he's the intended audience. "It's not just targeting Obama, but doing it in a way that is both interesting and will get the attention of the audience, but not so unusual that it will put the client in a bad position."... Case in point: Microsoft. The behemoth tech company took to Monday Night Football to bash Google as part of its so-called 'Scroogled' campaign. The ad ran locally at least twice during the Washington Redskins and New York Giants game in December. Scroogle ads are also running on ESPN now in D.C." [Politico]

A significant number of Americans believe an armed revolution might be necessary to protect their liberties. That begs the question: Are Americans paranoid, or just really really, really stupendously bored? Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Nearly three in 10 voters say that Americans may have to take up arms to defend their rights, according to a poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University released Wednesday. Twenty-nine percent of voters, including 44 percent of Republicans, said that in 'the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties.' Eighteen percent of Democrats and 27 percent of independents agreed. The poll also found that half of voters think Congress needs to pass new laws protecting the public against gun violence, compared to 39 percent who disagree." [HuffPost]

POLITICIANS FARE BETTER AFTER SUPPORTING POPULAR THING - Remember Steve Buscemi's character from "Billy Madison"? The one who had the "TO KILL" list drawn with lipstick? Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan want to keep that guy from getting a gun. People support that. Luke Johnson: "A new survey from Public Policy Polling shows that voters are more likely to vote to reelect [Louisiana Sen. Mary] Landrieu and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), two red-state Democrats up for reelection in 2014 who also voted in favor of expanding background checks. Forty-four percent of likely voters are more likely to vote for Landrieu, while 26 percent are less likely. In North Carolina, 52 percent of voters are more likely to vote for Hagan, while 26 percent are less likely. The poll had the reverse effect for the senators' Republican counterparts up for reelection in 2016, both of whom voted against the amendment sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (D-Pa.). Fifty percent of North Carolinians are less likely to vote for Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), while just 27 percent are more likely. Forty percent of voters in Louisiana are less likely to vote for Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), while 25 percent are more likely." [HuffPost]

EMILY's List has launched a new campaign, "Madam President," which will promote female Democratic presidential candidates. Sheila Jackson Lee 2016 is not in the works, however. Laura Bassett: "While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to be the most likely choice for a future female president, EMILY's List is not just focusing on her potential candidacy. The group suggested a long list of possible candidates at a press conference on Thursday, including Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D), and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)...Notably missing from the group's shortlist is freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), whom EMILY's List says deserves a little bit of time in office before she begins to field 2016 pressure." [HuffPost]

DAILY BEAST DROPS HOWARD KURTZ - To which Howard Kurtz responded by double checking with Tina Brown that she wasn't, in fact, Kurt Bardella. HuffPost: "The Daily Beast fired Howard Kurtz. Newsweek/Daily Beast chief Tina Brown tweeted on Thursday that the company has parted ways with Howard Kurtz, the news organization's Washington bureau chief and writer of the media blog, Spin Cycle...The news broke hours after The Daily Beast retracted an erroneous blog post Kurtz published about NBA star Jason Collins. Kurtz incorrectly accused Collins, the first openly gay male athlete in a major professional sport, of leaving out the fact that the NBA player was engaged to his former girlfriend at one point in time. In addition to including that fact in the op-ed he penned for Sports Illustrated that announced his coming out, Collins further discussed that he was previously engaged during his first TV interview on ABC News." [HuffPost]

New York Times: "Mr. Kurtz, one of the most prominent media critics in the country, particularly from his time at The Washington Post, also came under scrutiny for the time he was spending on other ventures. On Wednesday, the Huffington Post [reporter] Michael Calderone wrote about Mr. Kurtz's writing for and promoting an unaffiliated Web site called The Daily Download." [NYT]

The gang in happier days. Warning: GRAPHIC PHOTO

TERRY MCAULIFFE LOVES WASHINGTON POLITICS... ALSO HIS CHILDREN - BuzzFeed: "Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe launched his first television ad in the 2013 Virginia governor's race Wednesday. The positive ad focuses largely on his family and upbringing, citing his personal story as part of the reason why he knew it was important to create jobs for the state. 'My wife Dorothy and I have lived in Virginia for over 20 years and here we've raised five children our own,' the ad says while showing b-roll footage of McAuliffe at the birth of one of his children. 'I know nothing is more important to Virginians than creating good jobs that will support a family,' the ad continued showing more home video of McAuliffe and his family. McAuliffe also wrote about the birth of his children in his 2007 book What A Party, noting on one instance he left his wife at the hospital to attend a party for Washington Post reporter Lloyd Grove before the birth of his daughter Sarah...In another section of his book, McAuliffe writes about stopping to go to a fundraiser on the way home from the hospital with his wife, an aide who was driving his car, and a newborn baby Peter." [BuzzFeed]

Want to be Andrew Sullivan's assistant? We're guessing he needs someone to go into Target for him, because it's way too bright in there.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Lame dog doesn't want to be kissed.

COMFORT FOOD

- Google released a tutorial for using Google Glass. Apparently even non-white guys can use them. [http://bit.ly/106cDap]

- First-person video of hockey player recorded using Google Glass. [http://bit.ly/18uqXxh]

- Take the blue pill or you'll catch a cold! "The Matrix" as explained by a mom. [http://bit.ly/ZpkRub]

- The world's biggest rubber duck (though it doesn't appear to be made of rubber), appeared in Hong Kong. We know, we know, the metaphor for the "One China, Two Systems" arrangement is SO OBVIOUS. [http://nydn.us/16uq8b0]

- Bohemian Rhapsody mashed up with "Rhapsody in Blue" makes a lot of sense. [http://bit.ly/17zT4fS]

- Lazy kitten won't wake up. [http://bit.ly/106DB1o]

An iPhone case made of very grasslike astroturf. [http://bit.ly/10v5EXk]

TWITTERAMA

@ryanbeckwith: I remember when George Gallup did that at a small club in Williamsburg in 2004. RT@ppppolls: We are doing a poll about hipsters

@tomgara: Howard Kurtz will have his revenge on all you mofos when he's the head of media and journalism at Twitter.

@dceiver: Paid tha cost to be tha...well...Secretary of Commerce, anyway.

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