POLITICS
05/09/2014 06:20 pm ET | Updated May 09, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Mama, You Benghazi On My Mind

More white people believe in racism than ghosts, which is bad news for the voter ID movement. The Koch Brothers are going to spend record on this year’s midterms — and here we thought they were going to sit back and let the majesty that is the democratic process run its course. And President Obama has evolved on Walmart. When he thinks about members of his own staff who are in loving, committed relationships with the discount chain, it is important for him to go ahead and affirm that he thinks Walmart is great. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, May 9th, 2014:

"Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing," Rand Paul tells the New York Times. "I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people." Yeah it's kinda racist.

KOCH BROTHERS TO SPEND LAVISHLY ON MIDTERMS - Ken Vogel: "The Koch brothers’ main political arm intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives, according to a memo distributed to major donors and sources familiar with the group. The projected budget for Americans for Prosperity would be unprecedented for a private political group in a midterm, and would likely rival even the spending of the Republican and Democratic parties’ congressional campaign arms. The group already has spent more than $35 million on ads attacking vulnerable Democrats in key Senate and House races, according to sources, including Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. The $125 million projection comes from a memo obtained by POLITICO, labeled as a 'Confidential Investor Update' provided to major donors in March, but a source familiar with AFP called the figure a 'very conservative estimate. We’re on track for more than that.'... [the mem details the group’s efforts to beef up its field operation in key counties, and to deploy a new “closed-loop data system in which volunteer and membership information is automatically updated” for access by phone bankers and canvassers roaming neighborhoods with tablets. The plans — combined with those of other groups in the sprawling political operation affiliated with the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch — more closely resemble the traditional functions of a national political party than a network of private nonprofit groups. The goal of the network is a long-term movement to expand the political playing field for conservatives — both into new states and into non-traditional demographics including millennial, Hispanic and low-income voters." [Politico]

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar WRONG: More white people believe in racism than ghosts, according to HuffPost's Emily Swanson, dutiful fact-checker of Sunday show statements.

BOEHNER PUTS LAWYERS ON BENGHAZI COMMITTEE - Because if there were ever a time he needed people who could argue well without solid factual footing... The Hill: "Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is stacking the House select committee on Benghazi with lawyers as he looks to demonstrate that the panel will be a serious investigation and not a partisan exercise. The Speaker announced his picks to serve under Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on the special committee on Friday, selecting a mix of junior and senior members and adding an additional former federal prosecutor in freshman Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.). In addition to Brooks and Gowdy, Boehner’s appointees are Reps. Peter Roskam (Ill.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), Mike Pompeo (Kan.) and Martha Roby (Ala.). Roskam is the highest-ranking member and serves now as the GOP’s chief deputy whip, while Jordan and Westmoreland are staunch conservatives who have been deeply involved in the Benghazi investigations to date. Pompeo is the only military veteran, while Roby led a probe into the Benghazi attack as a subcommittee chairwoman on the House Armed Services Committee. They will join Gowdy, who served as a prosecutor for 16 years before his election to Congress in 2010." [The Hill]

Oh, good, this tactic: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the families of victims of the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attack have reached out to lawmakers to ask them not to launch another probe into the incident. 'Two of their families have called us and said, 'Please don't take us down this path again,'' Pelosi said during her weekly press conference. 'It's really hard for them. It's very sad.' Rep. Louise Slaughter's (D-N.Y.) office confirmed that a family member from the maternal side of Tyrone Woods' family called on Thursday to express support for the congresswoman's position on the issue, which is that another probe is not necessary. Woods was one of the CIA contractors killed in the attack. A Democratic aide said another family also has reached out to Democrats." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our award-winning series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless: "We are affected by the hesitance in the house to renew unemployment and it is breaking my family down emotionally, physically and financially! My husband served in the military for 11 years with 2 overseas tours and worked as a manager for a retail store for 12 years. He lost his job due to downsizing and was collecting unemployment. We are now in a position where we have to rely on the programs available such as food stamps and cash assurance in order to just keep our house. Living week by week and hoping I bring in enough money just to pay the necessities for us and our 3 children. [Hang in there!]

O RLY: Delaney tries to read Teleprompter.

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OBAMA EVOLVES ON WALMART - Dave Jamieson: "There was a time when President Barack Obama refused to shop at Walmart. Evidently, he's evolved. The president is scheduled to appear at a Northern California Walmart store Friday morning. The gathering is meant to tout energy efficiency, but it seems to have brought more attention to Walmart's wages -- and to Obama's new comfort level with the world's largest retailer. Labor groups and progressives aren't happy about it...'The president's visit sends a terrible message to workers across America,' Joe Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which has battled Walmart for years, said in a statement. 'He is lending credibility to a bad actor when he should be joining the calls for Walmart to change.'... Despite criticizing the company on his first presidential campaign trail, Obama has been happy to align with the world's largest retailer on common causes while in the White House." [HuffPost]

But did he mention that he drives a truck? "Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) opened up a new and interesting line of attack on Thursday against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in his bid to move to the Granite State and take her job. Speaking to the Nashua Republican City Committee Thursday night, Brown accused Shaheen of voting for “every debt ceiling increase,” according to Friday's edition of the Nashua Telegraph. He also pledged he would get the debt and deficit 'under control,' the paper reported. But there was something he left out of his remarks to the Republicans: He also voted for raising the debt limit every time it came up." [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff]

REPUBLICANS BASICALLY JUST MAKING BENGHAZI NOISES WITH THEIR MOUTHS AT THIS POINT - Mike McAuliff: "Last week, [Florida Rep. John] Mica, a member of Rep. Darrell Issa's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held a hearing during which he questioned retired Brig. General Robert Lovell, who was running the military intelligence operation involved in monitoring the Sept. 11, 2012, assault in the Libyan city on the Mediterranean coast. Mica noted that he and Issa had visited the U.S. military facilities in Germany, Italy and Spain before the Benghazi attack, and that they had been told the military would be able to respond in just such an emergency. Mica pressed Lovell repeatedly, demanding to know whether the general thought forces could have and should have been able to reach the beleaguered outpost. Lovell answered that they could have done so if the capabilities had been in place, and that there should have been a way for the military to respond. He emphasized that he was testifying because he wanted to make sure that in the future, such capabilities would be on hand. But he agreed adamantly with the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee, whose report concluded that the military did all it could do on that tragic night. 'That's a fact,' Lovell said. But this Thursday, shortly before voting to create the new committee, Mica said exactly the opposite, casting what Lovell would have liked as if it were what actually existed. 'We know our military had the ability to save those Americans,' Mica said Thursday, in apparent contradiction of Lovell's testimony. 'We know that the State Department had the ability to keep those Americans safe, and no one acted.'" [HuffPost]

YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH - It would take one hell of a vaporizer to hotbox a committee hearing room. Good thing Steve Cohen was there. Ryan Reilly: "Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) brought a fake joint to a House oversight hearing on Friday on Washington, D.C.'s new law decriminalizing marijuana. 'I have this joint here,' Mica said. 'Don't get too excited out there, some of you, this is not a real one, it's a mock one.' Mica, who opposes marijuana legalization generally, says the law will allow D.C. residents to possess up to 20 joints, and he brought the fake one to make his point. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) asked Mica whether he'd rolled it himself. 'No, I had staff do it,' Mica said in response. 'They have more experience.' Mica started out the hearing on the defensive, arguing that Congress had the right to examine the laws of the District of Columbia, since it's not a state but a federal district. He displayed a chart showing how much of D.C. lies in federal territory. A Justice Department official said in prepared testimony that the Obama administration would not take a position of the merits of decriminalization, but that it generally supported D.C. home rule. 'The Administration will treat D.C. in the same manner as every other jurisdiction with respect to the enforcement of federal marijuana laws,' said David A. O’Neil, acting assistant attorney general in charge of DOJ's Criminal Division. 'In the District of Columbia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will also continue to enforce drug offenses under the D.C. Code.'" [HuffPost]

Louie Gohmert Louie Gohmert'd so hard today: "Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said on the House floor Friday that liberals who call anti-gay-marriage Christians 'haters' are subjecting them to persecution similar to how Nazis treated Jews during the Holocaust. 'It is amazing that in the name of liberality, in the name of being tolerant, this fascist intolerance has arisen,' Gohmert began. 'People that stand up and say, you know, I agree with the majority of Americans, I agree with Moses and Jesus that marriage is [between] a man and woman, now all of a sudden we're considered haters, hate-mongers, evil, which really is exactly what we've seen throughout our history as going back to the days of the Nazi takeover in Europe.'" [HuffPost]

THAT TIME AN AIRLINER NEARLY COLLIDED WITH A DRONE - "Ahhhhhh folks, this is your captain speaking, ahhhhhh if you look out on the right side of your plane, ahhhhhh you'll see a UAW delivering a payload on Kandahar Province." WSJ: "A U.S. airliner nearly collided with a drone over Florida earlier this year, a federal official said, a near miss that highlights risks posed by the proliferation of unmanned aircraft in U.S. skies. A pilot of an American Airlines Group Inc. regional jet told officials that on March 22 he came dangerously close to a "small remotely piloted aircraft" about 2,300 feet above the ground near Tallahassee Regional Airport in Florida, said Jim Williams, head of the unmanned-aircraft office at the Federal Aviation Administration. Mr. Williams disclosed the incident publicly for the first time at a drone conference in San Francisco on Thursday. American Airlines on Friday said it couldn't find evidence of the incident and declined to comment further. 'The airline pilot said that he thought the [drone] was so close to his jet that he was sure he had collided with it,' Mr. Williams said. Inspection of the aircraft later found no damage, he said, but 'the risk for a small [drone] to be ingested into a passenger airline engine is very real.'" [WSJ]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a baby giraffe.

AMERICA RANKS ITS FIRST LADIES - Because that is what we do. We rank things. Rank things and put blue cheese dressing on stuff. Stephen Calabria: "Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton have tied for the title of America's favorite first lady from the past 25 years, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has found. Bush and Clinton each garnered 27 percent support in the poll, tying for first. Current first lady Michelle Obama was close behind with 24 percent, and former first lady Laura Bush was fourth with 17 percent. The results were divided by political and demographic subgroups. Democrats preferred Obama to Clinton by a narrow 3-point margin. Among Republicans, Barbara Bush edged her daughter-in-law by 9 points. Obama was the favorite of 58 percent of African-Americans surveyed, while Clinton was the favorite of 30 percent of those respondents. The two were also the favorites of Latinos surveyed, 45 percent of whom preferred Clinton and 29 percent of whom preferred Obama. Among whites, Barbara Bush was the favorite with 33 percent, followed by Clinton, with 24 percent. The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted April 23-27 among 1,000 adults, including 300 cell-phone-only respondents." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Breaking into a suitcase -- even a locked one -- is tremendously easy... not that you should. [http://bit.ly/1npqaK7]

- More website clothing models inadvertently dancing to music. [http://bit.ly/1oemTNK]

- The list of which shows were canceled and which were renewed. [http://bzfd.it/R0PZ59]

- If you're in the middle of receiving a faith healing, don't answer your phone. [http://bit.ly/Rwtd5R]

- Auctioneer rap. [http://bit.ly/1iy7c0n]

- On HuffPost's ninth birthday, here are nine HuffPost parodies that we all enjoyed. [http://huff.to/QnFCI9]

- A collection of fabulous thrift store pickups... excuse us, come-ups. [http://huff.to/1l93uuf]

TWITTERAMA

@jennyrogersdc: "quietly" gets honorable mention RT @rkearney: "Arguably" remains the worst word in journalism, but "unfortunately" is narrowing the gap

@elisefoley: The Capitol is always freezing so the men in suits can be comfortable. Clear sign of the patriarchy.

@moody: Mike Pompeo is on the Benghazi committee. Mike Pompeo represents the Kansas district where the Kochs live. MY GOD IT'S ALL COMING TOGETHER.

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