* Mitch McConnell is getting a Tea Party challenger, businessman Matt Bevin, and it’ll be interesting to see whether conservative groups spend on the race and whether it will complicate his chances of hanging on. Yep: Bevin is in.
* Trayvon Martin’s parents weigh in on Obama’s comments on race, thanking the president for publicly identifying with their dead son.
* Scott Keyes collects a dozen of the worst conservative tweets about Obama and race. Truly awful.
* Oh, yeah, and this one, too: “Race-Baiter in chief.”
* Great stuff from Alex Seitz-Wald: “The time Obama was mistaken for a waiter.”
* The Times has a nice take on Obama’s speech, noting in particular that he reaffirmed that the debate over the Trayvon shooting — and over stand your ground laws — can’t be divorced from a racial context. ICYMI: My similar take here.
* A White House adviser tells Sahil Kapur why Obama decided to speak out on race and the verdict today: He’d been monitoring responses, particularly in the black community, and decided the time was right.
* Meanwhile, a Senate panel is set to examine state “stand your ground” laws, with, interestingly, a focus on the role of the gun lobby and the right wing American Legislative Executive Council in creating them.
* Elise Foley has a good overview of the House GOP’s troubles with Latino media, which will only get worse as they delay on immigration. Note that a GOP aide courageously hits back from behind a veil of anonymity at criticism from influential media figure Jorge Ramos:
“We are constantly looking to engage Hispanic media outlets on a variety of issues including jobs, education and immigration reform, and will continue to do so, but it’s certainly an unfortunate setback when Jorge Ramos is launching ad hominem attacks on Republican leaders absent substance or civility,” said the aide, who requested anonymity to discuss the criticisms.
* Divided House Republicans can’t seem to find consensus to pass a food stamp bill. They had to split off the farm bill from food stamp funding to win over enough conservatives to pass it; but if they can’t pass food stamp funding on their own at the cut rate they want, this goes to conference, where the Senate will push to restore it.
* Relatedly, see Ben Terris on how House GOP maneuvering may be squandering the chance to cut food stamp funding, even as Republicans claim the farm bill as a great victory.
* Good point from Joan McCarter: For all the jubilation about this week’s filibuster win, obstruction of judicial nominations remains a serious problem, and Obama’s legacy still depends on Dems doing something about it.
* And your sorely needed Friday comic relief: Steve Benen versus Peggy Noonan.