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Dhyana Taylor   |   June 30, 2015    2:22 PM ET

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton started a Pinterest account Tuesday, promising "Granddaughter gift ideas, hairstyle inspiration, favorite moments, and some other things."

Clinton had more than 800 followers by Tuesday afternoon. The page shows the candidate's softer side, with family photos, "women who inspire" and highlights of being a grandmother.

In February, GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) campaign created a fake Pinterest account for Clinton, going after her on Benghazi and Democratic losses in the 2014 elections. Pinterest took it down because it violated their rules forbidding users who "impersonate or misrepresent [their] affiliation with any person or entity."

Clinton has long been on Facebook and Twitter and just recently joined Instagram, where she joked about her love of pantsuits.

Ben Carson: ‘I Don't Really Want' To Run for President

Samantha-Jo Roth   |   June 29, 2015   10:48 AM ET

LAMONI, Iowa -- Ben Carson is running for president, but he said last week that it's a taxing endeavor he doesn't want to do. Rather, he said, he'd been hoping to retire after decades of working long hours as a neurosurgeon.

"I really don’t want to do this, to be honest with you,” Carson, one of a dozen or so conservatives who hopes to capture the GOP presidential nomination, said to a town hall crowd of more than 100 Iowa voters on Friday. “I was looking forward to a relaxing retirement, you know, with a beautiful home in Florida by a golf course.”

When asked about how his Christian faith could influence his decisions as president, Carson explained the role his religion has played in declaring his candidacy.

“I finally said, 'Lord, I don’t want to do this, but if you’re going to open the doors, I will go through with it,'” he said.

Carson went on to describe a laundry list of things he was planning to do during his retirement, including reading books, learning to play the organ and finally watching "The Godfather" and "Rocky."

“People are always shocked. They say ‘You never saw "The Godfather," you never saw "Rocky"?’ I didn't have time to see that,” Carson said as the crowd erupted in laughter.

Carson has been emphasizing his reluctance to run for president for a while now -- actually, since before he even formally jumped into the race. Asked in March how he’d feel if his campaign flopped, Carson told the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “I would say ‘Whew!’ because it’s not something I ever really wanted to do, and the only reason I’d consider it is because there’s so many people across the nation clamoring for me to do it.”

Carson gained national attention in 2013 for a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast that was sharply critical of President Barack Obama. After hearing the cries of supporters, he said, he put his retirement plans on hold.

“My wife was looking forward to it more than I was. She thought maybe finally we could have some time,” Carson said. “I think the good Lord had a different plan.”

Carson’s favorability ratings have been climbing in Iowa. The most recent poll of Iowa caucus-goers, conducted by The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg, showed that 56 percent of conservative activists view Carson favorably, while only 15 percent view him negatively.

HuffPost Pollster, which combines all publicly available polling data, places Ben Carson fourth in the GOP primary field with 10.7 percent support nationally.

Watch the video above.

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Paul LePage Jokes About Shooting Newspaper Cartoonist

Amanda Terkel   |   June 25, 2015    2:30 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said Wednesday that he'd like to shoot the cartoonist for the Bangor Daily News, a joke that fell flat in light of the January shooting that killed five Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in France.

LePage made his comments about cartoonist George Danby on Wednesday in front of a group of teenagers attending Dirigo Boys State, a youth leadership program held in Waterville, Maine. Danby's son, Nick, was in attendance and asked the governor a question.

According to Danby, LePage was skeptical of the question and asked Nick where he received his information. Nick said he reads newspapers, and the governor responded that he shouldn't trust what newspapers say. Nick eventually asked what LePage thought of the Bangor Daily News' cartoonist, at which point LePage made his joke, Danby said.

Danby added that his son didn't think much of it, and many people in the audience laughed. But Danby himself didn't find it quite as funny.

"The governor shouldn't be making those comments, even though I know he doesn't care for my stuff because I pick on him quite a bit in my cartoon," he told The Huffington Post. "But it's always within the boundaries of fairness and free speech and satire."

On Jan. 7, 2015, two terrorists attacked employees of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo and killed 12 people, including five cartoonists. The publication had also been targeted in the past for its cartoons that lampooned the prophet Mohammed.

Danby said that in light of that attack, joking about shooting cartoonists was particularly unfunny, especially since he was at the conference to speak about the positive side of politics.

"My other thought was, what if this was reversed? If I had made a comment. I'd be in big trouble today," he added.

LePage's joke also angered Anthony Ronzio, the paper's news and audience director, who tweeted his disgust Wednesday.

Danby said he had not yet heard from LePage, and the governor's office did not return The Huffington Post's request for comment.

LePage does not like Maine's newspapers, as he has made clear on several occasions. In August 2014, he said the "worst part" of his life was that "newspapers are still alive." In February 2013, he said newspapers were his "greatest fear." He has also said he wants to "blow ... up" the headquarters of the Portland Press Herald.

View some of Danby's cartoons lampooning LePage below:

UPDATE: 6/26/15 -- Seth Jackson, a delegate at Boys State who witnessed the exchange between LePage and Nick Danby, said he found the governor's comments "very rude." He also filmed the end of the interaction, after LePage tells Nick he'd like to shoot the Bangor Daily News' cartoonist. Nick informs LePage that the cartoonist is his father, who he said voted for LePage and admired him. The governor said he still didn't like his cartoons. Jackson's video, which he shared with HuffPost:

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Igor Bobic   |   June 24, 2015    5:53 PM ET

Last week's horrific shooting in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina reminded Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) of violence in the Middle East.

"I don't know how you can sit with somebody for an hour in a church and pray with them and get up and shoot them. That's Mideast hate," Graham said Wednesday on the Senate floor. "That's something I didn't think we had here, but apparently we do."

Asked by a reporter after his speech to clarify his comments, Graham told NBC's Frank Thorpe, "What ISIL is doing, that kind of hate. It's kind of that hard-heart, that, you know, heart that has been hardened after generations of hate."

Graham made a similar comment last week in an interview the morning after the shooting.

"To go into God's space and do this, I don't know," he told ABC News. "You can't explain it. … I go to the Middle East a lot. I've seen hate up close. I've seen communities where everybody has been killed because they're a different religion, and you think that's just over there. Sometimes it's not just over there."

The presidential hopeful, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, is one of the most hawkish voices in the U.S. Senate. Last month, he called for sending an additional 10,000 U.S. troops to Iraq. He also maintains that the war there was not a mistake.

In his speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Graham praised the community of Charleston for welcoming the alleged shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, into their Bible study.

"He went to Charleston with a plan. The people in the church had no idea who he was or what he had in mind, and he came into the church and he was sitting in the pews by himself, and they invited him up for the Bible study," he said. "And spent an hour with him. And he said they were so nice, I could almost have backed out. That says a lot about them. Says a lot about him."

Earlier this week, Graham reversed course and joined South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) and a slew of other Palmetto State lawmakers in calling for the removal of a Confederate battle flag located on the grounds of the state capitol. He previously defended the flag as "part of who we are."

Conservative Democrat Rebrands Himself As Pro-Marriage Equality In Senate Race

Amanda Terkel   |   June 19, 2015    4:43 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Indiana Democratic Senate candidate Baron Hill is casting himself as a champion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, in an attempt to shift away from the anti-marriage equality image he had during his previous stint in Congress.

"Marriage equality is especially close to my own heart," said Hill in an email to supporters Thursday. "In 2004, I voted against the Constitutional Amendment banning marriage equality. I'm proud of Hoosiers who are fighting to make sure our friends and neighbors are guaranteed equal rights."

"And any day now," he added, "the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on whether or not the right to marry is a fundamental right for all Americans. This would be a huge and important step towards a world where acceptance is the norm."

Hill was a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2005 and 2007 to 2011. During his final years in Congress, the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign gave him a 70 percent rating on issues of equality. He supported the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which banned LGBT members of the military from serving openly, but he was not one of the 121 Democrats to cosponsor legislation that would have repealed the federal government's ban on same-sex marriage.

Though Hill did oppose amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, he didn't exactly champion the right for same-sex couples to wed either. In fact, he campaigned against it. During his 2006 re-election campaign, Hill ran an ad in which he said that "marriage between a man and woman is sacred."

But support for same-sex marriage has become significantly more mainstream since Hill's time in office. The Democratic Party didn't even add it to its platform until 2012, the same year that President Barack Obama announced that his stance had "evolved" and he now backed marriage equality.

Hill's email to supporters Thursday reflects the national shift on marriage equality, showing that it's now an issue that even a more conservative Democrat feels safe running on.

The campaign did not return a request for comment on when Hill began supporting marriage equality but said in a statement that he had evolved on the issue over time. In addition to touting his opposition to the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and support for DADT repeal, the campaign pointed out that he voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- which would bar workplace discrimination against LGBT people -- in 2010.

"Baron is proud to support marriage equality -- bottom line, everyone deserves equal rights," the statement read, adding, "Like many Americans, Baron's personal views have continued to evolve on this issue and he feels strongly that no Hoosier should be made to feel less equal because of who they love."

There has been some concern among Indiana Democrats that Hill might be vulnerable to a primary challenge from a candidate who is more vocal on LGBT equality, given his record.

He is currently the only Democratic candidate running for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), but state Rep. Christina Hale (D), who has been more outspoken on LGBT rights, is also exploring a bid. On the Republican side, Rep. Marlin Stutzman and former Indiana GOP chair Eric Holcomb have declared campaigns.

LGBT equality has been a hot topic in Indiana since Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a so-called religious freedom law that could have allowed businesses to deny service to same-sex couples. After significant national backlash, Pence signed a revised version of the measure.

Read Hill's email below:

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'Civil War' And 'Endless Trauma': What Opponents Predict Will Happen If Marriage Equality Is Legalized

Jacob Kerr   |   June 17, 2015   10:44 AM ET

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled on marriage equality, read which of these predictions have come true.

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court will issue its decision this month in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that could affirm that same-sex couples around the country have the constitutional right to marry.

Same-sex marriage is already legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia. But in the remaining states, gay couples are prohibited from marrying, and couples who were legally married in other states are barred from having their unions recognized in these non-marriage equality states.

If the Supreme Court affirms that same-sex couples can get married ... then same-sex couples will probably start getting married. But many opponents on the far right predict much more serious consequences, ranging from acts of civil disobedience to the collapse of civilization.

Below are some highlights. We'll update you on whether these predictions come true -- if we're still around to do so.

All Hell Is Going To Break Loose

house tom delay

"If this Supreme Court rules against marriage, all hell is going to break loose. In fact, I'm a signatory of a document that basically says you can rule any way you want to, but we're going to stand for marriage even if it takes civil disobedience." -- Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas)

The Destruction Of Our Country

justice roy moore

"I think there’s an attempt to destroy the institution of marriage and I think it will cause, literally cause the destruction of our country or lead to the destruction of our country over the long run." -- Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore

A Disastrous Ending

ben carson

"I believe God loves homosexuals as much as he loves everyone, but if we can redefine marriage as between two men or two women or any other way based on social pressures as opposed to between a man and a woman, we will continue to redefine it in any way that we wish, which is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire." -- GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson

A Civil War

james dobson

"The country can be no stronger than its families. I really believe if what the Supreme Court is about to do is carried through with, and it looks like it will be, then we’re going to see a general collapse in the next decade or two." -- Focus on the Family founder James Dobson

The End Of A Great Civilization

louie gohmert

"And this isn’t new, and it’s been tried over and over. And it’s usually tried at the end of a great civilization." -- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

A New Era Of Civil Disobedience

pat buchanan

"If the gay rights agenda is imposed, we could have priests and pastors preaching not acceptance but principled rejection ... The culture war in America today may be seen as squabbles in a day-care center compared to what is coming. A new era of civil disobedience may be at hand." -- Three-time presidential candidate Pat Buchanan

Our Country Will Fall

rick santorum

"The family is the bedrock of our society. Unless we protect it with the institution of marriage, our country will fall." -- GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum

An Endless Trauma

steve king

"If this court decides that they’re going to change the definition of marriage, that then throws this country into an endless trauma." -- Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

Civilization Won't Survive

todd akin

"Anybody who knows something about the history of the human race knows that there is no civilization which has condoned homosexual marriage widely and openly that has long survived." -- Former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.)

Destroy Marriage

pat robertson

"This so-called lifestyle — I just can’t believe it, they have tried to destroy marriage." -- Televangelist Pat Robertson

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Sam Levine   |   June 16, 2015    4:46 PM ET

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) tried to crash a deposition by former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal to the Select Committee on Benghazi on Tuesday, The Hill reported, and it apparently did not go well.

Issa, who stepped down as chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at the beginning of this year, only made it into the deposition for about a minute before he was escorted out by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chair of the committee, according to The Hill. The committee is investigating memos Blumenthal sent to Clinton about security in Libya when she was Secretary of State.

In a video of the exchange between the two members of Congress, Gowdy can be seen shaking his head as Issa walks away.

Representatives for both Issa and Gowdy did not immediately return a request for comment on why Issa appeared at the deposition and why he was escorted out.

Elise Viebeck, a reporter for The Washington Post, tweeted that staffers could be overheard making fun of Issa for trying to crash the deposition.

Being escorted out isn't the first indignity Issa has suffered since giving up his chairmanship. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Issa's successor, had a portrait of the former chairman removed from the committee room earlier this year.

VA Chastises GOP Congressman For Suggesting The Agency Should Run ISIS

Dayana Morales Gomez   |   June 16, 2015    4:13 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Veterans Affairs took umbrage Tuesday at a GOP congressman's joke that the agency is so incompetent it should take over the Islamic State to help run it into the ground.

"Chairman [Mike] Coffman’s comments do not belong in our public discourse," said VA spokeswoman Victoria Dillon in a statement to The Huffington Post. "Veterans and VA employees find them highly offensive."

She added that VA Secretary Robert McDonald spoke to Coffman about his remarks. She did not specify whether he called Coffman or whether the Colorado representative apologized.

Coffman made his remarks Friday while doing an interview on Denver radio station 850 KOA.

“I was speaking before a group the other day and said, 'It’s too bad we can't take VA leadership and export it and give it to some of our adversaries around the planet. Let them suffer under VA's leadership,’" Coffman said.

"Can you imagine if the VA was in charge of ISIS? You know they would probably say, ‘Oh yeah, you know, it wasn’t quite 2,000 that we beheaded. It was really -- 24 is the accurate number," he added. "And we're sorry, that, in fact, they were all our own terrorists that we beheaded because it got misclassified in the system as Christian.' I mean, that would be the VA in charge of ISIS.”

Coffman did not return a request for comment Tuesday. His spokesman, Tyler Sandberg, however, dismissed the issue in a statement to The Denver Post.

"This is a controversy only with liberals and the Washington outrage machine. His sarcastic point was obvious -- the VA is an organizational disaster," said Sandberg.

Lindsey Graham: Trump Is A 'Dream Come True' For Consultants

Michael McAuliff   |   June 16, 2015    3:31 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's entry into the 2016 presidential contest is a "dream come true." Or at least it is for professional political handlers, quipped South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump's may GOP competitors.

"I think it is a dream come true for people in the business," Graham joked Tuesday to reporters on Capitol Hill, several hours after Trump announced his plans in a rambling, off-script announcement.

But Graham also had some more serious thoughts about Trump.

"Here’s the simple answer, and it’s the true answer," Graham said. "His fate is in the hands of the voters, like mine. I’m completely OK with it. He believes in the private market. So do I. All these campaigns are basically businesses trying to sell themselves. He’s larger-than-life character, but he has the same challenges as everybody else. Can he get enough investors, can he get enough buyers?"

Not that Graham, himself regarded as a long-shot candidate, seemed to think Trump would do much damage in the crowded Republican field.

"This will take care of itself," Graham said.

Sam Stein   |   June 15, 2015    6:08 PM ET

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) apologized on Monday for calling his colleague Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) a “bro with no ho” last week.

Five days of news coverage, almost exclusively negative, preceded Kirk’s apology, which came in an email statement and was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Illinois Republican managed to offend two constituencies when he made the comment, which was caught on a hot mic at an Appropriations Committee markup and first reported by The Huffington Post. The first was female voters, who took umbrage at his use of the word “ho.” The second was one half of the biggest city in his home state.

When Kirk made the remark about Graham, who is single and has said he would have a rotating First Lady should he win his race for the White House, he explained that he had heard the expression first on Chicago’s South Side.

“I apologize to the people of Illinois for my inappropriate remarks last week,” said Kirk, who is up for re-election in 2016.

Graham has said he is not offended by the comment. He has also said that his single life does not make him a defective person.

Dayana Morales Gomez   |   June 15, 2015   12:31 PM ET

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) suggested Friday that the leaders who run the Department of Veteran Affairs should also run ISIS because they're so incompetent and would presumably run the terrorist group into the ground.

“I was speaking before a group the other day and said, 'It’s too bad we can't take VA leadership and export it and give it to some of our adversaries around the planet,” Coffman said during his radio interview with 850 KOA in Denver. “Let them suffer under VA's leadership.’"

"Can you imagine if the VA was in charge of ISIS? You know they would probably say, ‘Oh yeah, you know, it wasn’t quite 2,000 that we beheaded. It was really -- 24 is the accurate number," he added. "And we're sorry, that, in fact, they were all our own terrorists that we beheaded because it got misclassified in the system as Christian.' I mean, that would be the VA in charge of ISIS.”

In response, one of the show hosts said, “I don’t know what they’re putting in your orange juice back there.”

The VA has faced intense criticism in recent years for the backlog in veterans' disability claims. In May 2014, Eric Shinseki resigned as head of the VA in response to a scandal in which agency employees around the country hid the long wait times that veterans faced when seeking assistance.

Coffman has been pushing to get more funding to complete construction of a VA hospital in Aurora, Colo., which has been plagued by cost overruns.

Coffman recently said that he will not run for Senate in 2016 and will instead seek re-election to the House.

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Samantha Lachman   |   June 11, 2015    5:43 PM ET

If you find going to the pharmacy every three or four weeks to refill a contraception prescription irritating, then you may want to move to Oregon, where you could get a year's worth in one trip.

On Thursday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill that will require insurance companies to cover birth control prescriptions for 12 months at a time. Insurers often only allow patients to fill their birth control prescriptions to last 30 or 90 days, even if the prescriptions are written for longer periods of time.

The bill was passed with bipartisan support in both chambers of the state's legislature. After Jan. 1, the legislation will first require birth control users to get a three-month supply before being able to obtain a year-long refill of the same type of contraception.

The legislation's backers have said the bill has the potential to reduce unintended pregnancies, promote consistent use and improve access, especially for those living in rural areas where pharmacies are more spread out. The bill's opponents said it could drive up health care costs and hurt small businesses.

"We knew that the medical research was very clear that filling a yearlong prescription all at once is a significant contributor to improving the effectiveness of birth control," Mary Nolan, the head of Oregon's Planned Parenthood chapter, told the AP.

A Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization study released in 2013 recommended dispensing a year's supply of contraception. The organizations' report found that “restricting the number of pill packs distributed or prescribed can result in unwanted discontinuation of the method and increased risk for pregnancy.”

Oregon lawmakers are also considering a separate bill that would allow pharmacists to write prescriptions for contraceptives after women complete a self-administered risk-screening test. Support for over-the-counter birth control access has picked up momentum both from Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

A study published in February in the journal Contraception found that if birth control pills were available over the counter and covered by insurance, the rate of unintended pregnancies could drop by as much as 25 percent.

Dayana Morales Gomez   |   June 10, 2015   12:48 PM ET

Looks like Hillary Clinton is getting ready to share more with the Internet.

The Democratic presidential hopeful opened an Instagram account on Wednesday, joining over 300 million active users on the photo-sharing app.

Clinton’s inaugural post featured a rack of red, white and blue pantsuits -- her fashion trademark -- with the caption, “Hard choices,” the title of her 2014 memoir.

Mere hours after the posting, Clinton already picked up more followers than her fellow rivals for presidency, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

She still has some catching up to do to reach Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his nearly 27,000 followers and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with his more than 15,000 followers.

Check out Clinton’s inaugural post below:

Hard choices.

A photo posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on

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Jacob Kerr   |   June 9, 2015    3:41 PM ET

In seeking to be the first bachelor elected president in more than 130 years, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) appears to have found a solution for finding a first lady.

“I’ve got a lot of friends. We’ll have a rotating first lady,” Graham, who has never married, recently told the Daily Mail Online.

During the interview, Graham also said his sister, Darline Graham Nordone, could fill the spot. Nordone, who is married and has two children, did play an important role at Graham’s campaign announcement this month by introducing her brother, sharing how he helped take care of her after the two lost both of their parents at a young age.

Even though only two bachelors have ever been elected president, Graham told The Huffington Post on Saturday he does not think being single will affect his White House bid.

“I’ve got a wonderful, supportive family. And the last time I checked, I didn't see a sign on the White House that said ‘single people need not apply,’” Graham said.

Graham is currently polling at the bottom of the 2016 Republican presidential field, according to HuffPost Pollster.

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