BURTONSVILLE, Md.—African American women have emerged as a more potent political force than ever this year. They are Hillary Clinton’s core base of support, and they’ve helped her run up big margins in states with diverse populations.

Compared to 2008, when Barack Obama was running to become our first black president, overall turnout is down among every demographic group in this year’s Democratic primaries. But the drop-off has been much smaller among African Americans. This means that African Americans comprise a larger share of the electorate than in any previous election.

In many states, exit polls show this accounts for something like three percent. But the effect has been more dramatic in other states. In Mississippi, for instance, African Americans made up 48 percent of the Democratic primary electorate in 2008. This year, they accounted for 71 percent. Black women turn out in significantly higher numbers than black men.

African Americans are expected to comprise somewhere around 40 percent of the electorate in Maryland’s Democratic primary next Tuesday. Clinton is the strong favorite to win the state’s presidential contest, which (along with four other states voting next week) could make it near mathematically impossible for Bernie Sanders to secure the nomination.

The more hotly-contested race is to replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who is retiring after four decades in Congress. Whoever wins the Democratic primary is virtually guaranteed to prevail in the general election this fall.

There is no question that Chris Van Hollen, who represents Montgomery County in the House, will lose the African American vote to Donna Edwards, who represents Prince George’s County. The question is how badly. If he gets the kinds of numbers among black voters that Sanders has been getting against Clinton, he will probably not become a senator.

Edwards, an African American woman, speaks poignantly on the stump about being a single mother who knows what it is like to talk with her son about how to interact with law enforcement. She routinely notes that she’d be Maryland’s first black senator and the second black woman ever elected to the Senate.

A red flag for Van Hollen: A Washington Post/University of Maryland poll earlier this month found the race to be within the margin of error, with likely black voters favoring Edwards by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio and white voters favoring Van Hollen by a 2-to-1 ratio. Along with the standard rubric of questions about whether each candidate is honest, effective and caring, we asked if voters believed Van Hollen “would address the needs and interests of African Americans” as a senator. Only 46 percent of black respondents said he would, compared to 78 percent who said the same about Edwards. Just 8 percent said CVH, as he is known, would “strongly” address their needs and interests.

If you scan through Van Hollen’s public schedule and press releases since The Post’s poll came out, you can see he recognizes the power and influence of the African American vote. Feeling comfortable about his lead in his home district and recognizing he has a weak spot among African Americans, he’s gone all-in to improve his standing with the community.

  • Last week, the campaign released an open letter from 100 African American women who support Van Hollen. The campaign blasted out the identical press release again a few days later, just “in case you missed it.” On Saturday, he rolled out an endorsement from the African American Coalition of Howard County.
  • Van Hollen’s campaign has even pushed supporters to use the hashtag “#BlackWomen4Chris.”
  • On Wednesday, Van Hollen appeared at the New Carrollton Metro station to greet voters during rush hour before going to a senior center in Baltimore.
  • On Tuesday, Van Hollen released a statement to mark the one-year anniversary of Freddie Gray’s death in police custody: “Freddie's life mattered, black lives matter, and we must work with fierce urgency to end the injustices that still plague our society.” (Marilyn  Mosby, the Baltimore state’s attorney who is prosecuting the six police officers involved in Gray’s death, endorsed Edwards the same day.)
  • A huge fundraising advantage has also allowed Van Hollen to run commercials aimed at African American voters, including one about pushing for equity in school funding.

The wooing of black voters continued last night with a get-out-the-vote event in this town near the border between Prince George’s and Montgomery County. Three African American leaders, including former Maryland Democratic Party chair Yvette Lewis, gave speeches urging residents to pick Van Hollen.

“Everyone in this community is not aware of his record,” Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, who is African American, said in front of an early voting site. “He needs our support … to make sure that this community understands what he’s about. Much of what Chris has done is not known. We have to make sure the rest of our community understands that.”

A frequent refrain was that Edwards has bad constituent service and her office routinely does not return calls from people seeking help with getting benefits or resolving other issues. Odessa Shannon, who is active in the local NAACP, used to run the Montgomery County Human Rights Commission. “In that office, all we saw were negative things: disparities, discrimination and what have you,” she said at the event. “Even though people of goodwill are there to support you, what you really need is somebody who has the power to make things happen. And always with us on any issue that we have ever had was Chris. … He’s with our community on all of the issues.

“As a woman and a minority, sometimes it seems like this would be a hard choice. But it isn’t,” state Del. Pam Queen said in an interview afterward. “He’s not someone who toots his horn, so it’s up to us who know his record to get the word out.”

-- There’s evidence Van Hollen is gaining traction. A Monmouth University poll published yesterday put him ahead by 16 points among likely voters, 52 percent to 36 percent. Van Hollen pulled 26 percent of black voters (to 62 percent for Edwards). Among whites, Edwards only mustered 16 percent (to 73 percent for Van Hollen). It’s the first poll in months to show either candidate with a statistically significant lead. The same survey has Clinton leading Sanders by 25 points (57-32), with black voters supporting her 64-20 and white voters backing her 52-39.

Ultimately, Edwards needs to peel away more white liberals than Van Hollen needs to peel away African Americans because whites will still comprise a majority of the electorate. But key players on both sides of the race agree that the key question is whether Van Hollen can prevent Edwards from running up the score in the heavily African American Prince George’s County and Baltimore City.

Interest in the presidential primary will grow turnout, as will the Baltimore mayor’s race and the open races to succeed Edwards and Van Hollen in the House.

-- The Obama wild card: The White House recently condemned a commercial from a pro-Edwards super PAC that featured President Obama tearing up as he talked about the Sandy Hook massacre as a narrator accused Van Hollen of negotiating with the NRA in 2010. 

Van Hollen is now running a commercial, which uses the president’s image, saying the ad was “so outrageous” that “Obama said pull it down.” There is frustration among Edwards allies that the White House has not complained about this spot, which they believe implies a preference for Van Hollen.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released an ad on April 15 using President Obama to denounce his rival in Maryland's Democratic Senate primary, Rep. Donna Edwards (Van Hollen for Senate)

Though he continues to be officially neutral, yesterday’s Monmouth poll found that 26 percent of voters think Obama supports Van Hollen and only 13 percent think he backs Edwards.

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-- LEAKED AUDIO: “The two new leaders of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign sought Thursday to reassure nervous Republican Party leaders that there is a path to victory in November and that the divisive billionaire mogul will be able to transform his image to win over the general electorate," Philip Rucker, Dan Balz and Robert Costa report. 

Chief strategist Paul Manafort told members of the RNC that Trump has been playing a “part” on the campaign trail, but he's starting to pivot toward presenting a more businesslike and presidential “persona.”

"He gets it," Manafort told the Republican Party's governing board behind closed doors. “The part that he’s been playing is now evolving into the part that you’ve been expecting."

Rick Wiley, formerly campaign manager to Scott Walker, argued that Trump could expand the map and put states in play that have long voted for Democrats: “He mentioned specifically states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois as places where Trump could compete and in some cases win. At a minimum, he said, Trump could force the Democrats to spend money defending territory they have taken for granted in recent elections.”

Manafort said the party should fall in line behind Trump before the convention. “Part of his case was financial, arguing that the avoidance of a contested convention would enable Trump to do more to help the party raise funds for down-ballot races.”

“The other concern I know that some of you had was, ‘Will he help the party raise money?’” Manafort said. “The answer is, he’s expecting to.”

Listen to a full recording of the the half-hour presentation here:

The Washington Post obtained an audio recording of a closed-door meeting between Donald Trump's top strategist and Florida RNC members. (TWP)

-- The summer Olympics in Brazil are shaping up to be a hot mess. A new elevated bike bath in Rio that was supposed to be a top legacy project of the games collapsed into the ocean below. At least two are dead, and a third person is missing, the AP reports. This is just the latest in an unending string of embarrassments for the country: The Zika virus remains out of control and is keeping people away. The parliament is poised to impeach the president. The low oil price has plunged the economy into recession. "The collapse happened just hours after the flame for South America's first Olympics was kindled at the Greek birthplace of the ancient games," the AP notes. "The flame begins a 15-week journey that will culminate with the Aug. 5 opening ceremony in Rio.”

-- Uber settled big labor disputes in California and Massachusetts, agreeing to pay up to $100 MILLION to classify drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. From Travis M. Andrews: “Uber has settled two major class action suits in which its drivers challenged their classification as independent contractors as an unfair denial of benefits associated with being employees. Under the agreement, which covers about 385,000 of its drivers in California and Massachusetts, the drivers will remain independent contractors.” Despite the obvious monetary implications, the settlement is a big win for Uber. “A ruling against Uber in court, which is still possible in the other cases, would cost it millions annually and could set precedents for other businesses. Workers classified as employees would be covered by federal labor laws and other regulations which would have entitled the drivers to coverage under minimum wage laws, unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation, the right to form unions under the federal labor law and reimbursement of expenses.”

-- The Justice Department revealed that a well-known ISIS operative directly instructed a sleeper cell to kill the organizer of a Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas last year. From Adam Goldman: “In court documents, prosecutors said that Junaid Hussain, a British militant, had been communicating with Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, 26, who along with two friends discussed beheading [Pamela Geller]. Rahim, however, changed his mind and instead decided to target a police officer. He was shot and killed in June 2015 in Roslindale, Mass., after he attacked members of an FBI-led surveillance team … Hussain, 21, was killed in Raqqa, Syria, in August 2015 in a drone strike. He was a well-known militant involved in not only spreading Islamic State propaganda but also recruiting and planning attacks. Prosecutors said Rahim, along with two associates, Nicholas Alexander Rovinski, 25, of Warwick, R.I., and his nephew, David Wright, 26, of Everett, Mass., began plotting a terror operation in the United States in early 2015."

  • “… Wright in March 2015 drafted organizational documents for a ‘Martyrdom Operations Cell’ and conducted Internet searches about firearms, tranquilizers and the establishment of secret militias in the United States.”
  • “Prosecutors said Hussain communicated directly with Rahim, who then communicated instructions to the other conspirators to kill Geller ... in New York, where she lives. They planned to kill her around the July 4 holiday. … The FBI was closely monitoring the men ... and would have arrested them had they tried to travel to New York.”

-- Suicide rates in the U.S. have risen sharply, led by a spike among middle-aged white people, according to newly-released federal data. Experts suggest that the recession of the last decade, increased drug addiction, “gray divorce,” rising social isolation, and even the prominence of the Internet and social media have contributed to the spike. (Dan Keating and Lenny Bernstein)


  1. FBI Director James Comey “strongly implied” that the feds paid north of $1.3 million to unlock the encrypted iPhone of a San Bernardino terrorist. (Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky)
  2. The NIH is faulted in a new report for prioritizing research over the safety of critically-ill patients at its clinical center. Director Francis Collins will appoint an outside advisory board to help enforce reforms. (Lenny Bernstein and Laurie McGinley)
  3. U.S. regulators proposed new rules to overhaul the way Wall Street executives are paid. The goal is to dis-incentivize them from making the kinds of risky bets that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. The regulations could potentially affect the pay of thousands of bankers at the country’s largest financial institutions. (Renae Merle)
  4. The gyrocopter pilot who landed his aircraft at the Capitol to protest campaign finance laws was sentenced to four months in prison. (Spencer S. Hsu)
  5. Mississippi's flag, which incorporates the Confederate battle flag, will not return to its former place of prominence at the U.S. Capitol. The flag was removed last year following the massacre in Charleston. (Mike DeBonis)
  6. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said North Carolina must change its controversial bathroom law in order to host the 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte. (Tim Bontemps)
  7. President Obama described himself as “concerned” about whether Iraq's Prime Minister can hold onto power. He urged America’s Arab allies in the Persian Gulf to bolster Sunni support for the beleaguered leader. “Obama’s comments came as he promised gulf leaders weapons and support to counter Iranian influence in the region, while simultaneously pushing them to be open to dialogue and diplomacy with their longtime rival,” Greg Jaffe reports from Riyadh.
  8. NATO officials said the number of migrants trying to cross from Libya to Italy has decreased since deportations began. (Sudarsan Raghavan and Anthony Faiola)
  9. Child brides are living with older husbands in some Scandinavian asylum centers, triggering an uproar over lapses in protection for girls in nations that ban child marriage. (Reuters)
  10. Gov. Paul LePage of Maine vetoed a bill aimed at increasing access to anti-overdose drugs. Naloxone, he said, “does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose.” (The Portland Press Herald)
  11. Lockheed Martin is cutting 200 jobs in addition to the 500 that were slashed six months ago, as it prepares to separate and merge its IT services business. (Christian Davenport)
  12. A 16-year-old girl in Delaware died after being assaulted in a high school bathroom by several other female students. Students told a Philadelphia TV station that the fight was over a boy. (Emma Brown)
  13. A teacher’s aide in Milwaukee was arrested after a cellphone video showed him pushing and choking a 14-year-old student. (Emma Brown)
  14. A 2-year-old Indiana boy fatally shot himself after discovering a gun in his mother’s purse. (Sarah Larimer)
  15. In her new role as a lobbyist, ex-Sen. Mary Landrieu has launched a Cuba practice and is working with the New Orleans Jazz Fest to bring 150 Cuban musicians and artists to next year’s festivities. (Catherine Ho)
  16. Former SNL comedians Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen, and Bill Hader are planning a parody of the classic political documentary “The War Room,” called “The Bunker,” for IFC this fall. (Politico)


-- VEEPSTAKES: With the likelihood increasing of a contested convention, the candidates have begun considering running mates with a much different set of calculations from a normal political year. "Separate but simultaneous vetting processes are underway," Robert Costa and Philip Rucker report. "Advisers to [Cruz and Kasich] said they are developing a list of prospects and researching their backgrounds. They are leaving open the possibility of announcing running mates as early as June, when primary voting concludes, or waiting until July [at the convention] … A contested convention in Cleveland would mean that instead of focusing on a running mate that would most improve their chances of swaying voters nationwide in November, the candidates may first consider whether someone will help them win over delegates.” Nuggets from Bob and Phil's piece:

  • Trump is holding off on vetting candidates until the nomination battle is over: “I would not choose a vice president unless I know I have won," he said in a recent interview.
  • Kasich began his vetting process about two weeks ago. He is “approaching the project as an NFL team would approach a draft, preparing for numerous scenarios that might require different kinds of players."
  • Cruz is preparing for many contingencies: “If, for example, Trump inches towards the 1,237-delegate threshold in June, Cruz could select a running mate to attempt to alter the psychology of the race. ...”
  • "Seasoned Republicans are warning against selecting a running mate before the convention is gaveled in, arguing that for both political leverage and party unity the pick may need to be brokered at Quicken Loans Arena … This harks to an earlier time, such as 1940 and 1968, when GOP vice-presidential nominees were chosen at the convention to satisfy warring coalitions."

-- A report from the Bipartisan Policy Center urges the candidates to get started on their VP selection process now. “Two suggestions in the report are notable,” Dan Balz writes, “given time pressures that could affect this year’s selections. One is to avoid any last-minute vetting of prospective candidates. The other calls on candidates to carve out time well ahead of their decision to get to know their prospective running mates.” The report concludes that the process of vetting and selecting of a running mate takes a full eight weeks. The panel said the process should begin even in the absence of a presumptive nominee: “The key consideration is timing, not whether the likely presidential nominee has emerged,” the report states.

  • “In 2008, John McCain turned late in the process to Sarah Palin when other options fell through. As a result, the final stages of the vetting process were rushed. McCain did not meet with Palin for a serious conversation until the day before she was unveiled to the public."
  • "Meanwhile, Mitt Romney brought potential running mates onto the campaign trail with him both to gauge their political skills and as a way to get to know them better. His chemistry with Paul. Ryan was instantly obvious … and contributed to his selection.”

-- At the RNC spring meeting in Florida, a committee overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to rewrite the rules for July’s convention. The proposal, pushed by an Oregon committeeman, would have replaced the system used at GOP conventions for decades with Robert’s Rules of Order, which could have made Cleveland even more chaotic. It was opposed by RNC Chair Reince Priebus and other RNC allies. (Politico's Alex Isenstadt)

-- “Is Indiana the last stand for the ‘Never Trump’ movement?” by Sean Sullivan and David Weigel: “Republican groups, leaders and candidates opposed to Trump increasingly see the Indiana primary as a central front in their last-ditch efforts ... But fractures in the movement, and a clear lack of urgency among local Republicans to unite against Trump, are undercutting their ability to deliver the state. As they have been in other states, the anti-Trump groups here are riven by divisions over strategy and tactics and limited in their financial resources. Indiana marks at least the fifth contest that opponents have declared as the moment to stop Trump, from the Iowa caucuses in February to the Wisconsin primary this month. ‘You go into war with the army that you have,’ said Rory Cooper, a senior adviser to NeverMeansNever PAC, which has also endorsed Cruz in Indiana … even as it backs Kasich in some other states. ‘Kasich and Cruz need to focus on their presidential campaigns. We have slightly different interests.’”

-- Trump has emerged as the most prominent critic of putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill: “I think it's pure political correctness," Trump said yesterday. "I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 bill, or we do another bill” for Tubman. (Kasich supports the change.)

-- The leading Republican candidates squared off yesterday over North Carolina’s "bathroom bill:"

  • Trump criticized the measure as bad for business and said it was unnecessary: “There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble,” Trump said on NBC’s "Today" show. “And the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife and the ... economic punishment they’re taking."
  • Cruz seized on Trump's comments to try ginning up social conservatives against the front-runner. He said the bill “protected young girls”: “Trump is no different from politically correct leftist elites. Today, he joined them in calling for grown men to be allowed to use little girls’ public restrooms … As the dad of young daughters, I dread what this will mean for our daughters,” he said in a statement. (Katie Zezima)
  • Bottom line: The issues on which Trump chooses to be politically correct are very hard to predict (LGBT measures versus the $20 bill, for instance). But he notably has not walk backed his stances on either -- at least not yet. It's worth noting that even North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) has now called for changes to the law, which goes far beyond just restricting transgender access to bathrooms. Other governors, like South Carolina's Nikki Haley (R), have suggested the law was not necessary.

Watch Cruz decry the idea of letting transgender people choose which bathroom to use:

Ted Cruz slams Donald Trump for his opposition to a North Carolina bill banning transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. (Reuters)

-- “As Trump moves to soften his image, Democrats seek to harden it,” by Matea Gold and Jose A. DelReal: “#TrumpHatesUs declares a spot from NARAL Pro-Choice America launching this week in Pennsylvania, which plays audio of some of his most inflammatory comments over portraits of women of varied ages and ethnicities. A new web video from Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing Clinton, labels Trump ‘dangerously unpresidential,’ stringing together footage of him bragging about the size of his hands and mocking Rubio’s water drinking habits. The attacks underscore the difficulty that Trump and the Republican Party will have in softening the potential nominee’s rough edges for a general election campaign, particularly when brazenness is central to the candidate’s appeal to his followers.” As GOP strategist Whit Ayres puts it, “None of us can give ourselves a personality transplant."

-- Wall Street Journal, “Goat Herd Helps Trump Lower Tax Bite,’ by Richard Rubin: “Trump has found a solution that cuts both his grass and his tax bill: Goats. ... [A] small goat herd, combined with hay farming and wood cutting, let him qualify for a New Jersey farmland tax break that saves him tens of thousands of dollars a year in property taxes on two golf courses ... One method of calculating the savings … suggests he pays less than $1,000 in taxes a year on land that would otherwise carry annual taxes of about $80,000.”

-- Melania Trump said she'd love if her husband gave up Twitter. (US Weekly)


-- Clinton pointedly declined to call on Sanders to leave the race, but she said he hopes he eventually follows the example she set in 2008: “I would never tell anybody what to do,” Clinton said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The former secretary of state recalled her tough race against Obama in 2008: “He ended up with more delegates and I withdrew. I endorsed him, then I got to work,” she said. (Anne Gearan)

-- Sanders acknowledged he has a “hard path" in an interview with NBC. “Asked by Andrea Mitchell if he will concede and endorse Clinton if he hasn’t secured a majority of pledged delegates before the convention, Sanders said: ‘Look, if we do not have a majority, it's going to be hard for us to win.’” The Vermont senator also said he plans to remain a Democrat after the election, despite running as an independent throughout his political career. (John Wagner)

-- Hillary continued her push on gun control on the trail in Connecticut, calling for a “national movement." "The gun lobby is the most powerful lobby in Washington, more so than Wall Street, big Pharma and more," she said at the Hartford YMCA. She repeatedly promised to try to build on the Brady Bill. "I am not here to make promises I can't keep," she said. "I'm looking for ways we can save lives. It is just too easy for people to reach for a gun." (Anne Gearan)

-- Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard has contributed $2,700 to Hillary, “an unusual donation from a top official at an institution that prides itself on political independence,” Ylan Q. Mui reports.


-- Clinton leads Sanders by 27 points (58-31) in Pennsylvania, according to a Franklin & Marshall College poll. Trump, meanwhile, leads Cruz by 14 points (40-26), with Kasich at 24 percent. 

  • Both Democratic candidates are perceived favorably: 69 percent have a favorable view of Clinton, while 66 percent express favorable views towards Sanders.
  • Kasich is the ONLY Republican viewed favorably by a majority of voters: 55 percent view the Ohio governor favorably, followed by Trump at 46 percent and Cruz at 45.


-- “Ex-CIA officer faces extradition from Portugal to Italy for alleged role in cleric’s rendition,” by Ian Shapira: "More than 13 years after an Egyptian cleric was kidnapped off the streets of Milan by CIA operatives, one former agency officer now living in Portugal faces extradition to Italy, where she was sentenced to four years in prison for the abduction. Sabrina De Sousa, 60, was one of 26 Americans convicted in absentia by Italian courts for her alleged role in the February 2003 rendition of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr … Like the other convicted Americans, De Sousa never really faced the threat of Italian imprisonment, because she had moved back to the U.S. long before the Italian trials began. But last spring, De Sousa moved to Portugal … [and] was detained by local authorities at the Lisbon airport on a European arrest warrant. De Sousa’s extradition and potential imprisonment would be an astonishing turn of events for a case that raises major questions about how much diplomatic protection CIA case officers abroad possess when carrying out operations sanctioned by their superiors.”

-- STUNNING: "Just four percent of S&P 500 CEOs are women. Only 19 percent of those companies' board members are women. Yet even among the discouraging stats about the number of women in corporate leadership roles, this one stands out: Exactly one of the 87 new CEOs named to lead the largest public companies in the United States or Canada in 2015 was a woman." (Jena McGregor)

-- A STARK CONTRAST: "The special House committee that Republicans formed last year to look into threats to 'infant lives' held its second hearing Wednesday, training its focus on whether abortion clinics have illegally profited from the sale of fetal tissue for medical research. Meanwhile, a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the link between the Zika virus and a devastating birth defect, House Republicans have yet to act on a $1.9 billion White House request for emergency funding to combat the tropical epidemic." (Mike DeBonis)


— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Our analytics partners at Zignal Labs say they haven't seen much of a gender divide in the chatter about Clinton on social media. But these word clouds show how that changed this week. The news that Tubman will replace Jackson on the $20 bill looms large in the online conversation about Clinton but not in mentions of Sanders:

-- The iconic musician Prince — one of the most popular, inventive and influential recording artists of his generation — died yesterday morning at his suburban Minnesota compound at the age of 57. Read our obituary here. Also, here's Robin Givhan's takeChris Richards' appreciationMichelle Boorstein's exploration of his Christian faith and Alyssa Rosenberg's column on how Prince showed "there's no one right way to be a man." Here is a taste of the remembrances across the web:

Check out what was going on next to the Harrisburg Trump rally:

Here's a partial copy of journalists blacklisted from covering a Trump rally:

Veep's Tony Hale was on Capitol Hill with the International Justice Mission:

Also spotted: Amal Clooney.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) celebrated National High Five Day (click for video):

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wished Queen Elizabeth a happy birthday:

Finally, Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty goofed around on Amtrak:


-- Tampa Bay Times, "Another Graham for Florida governor? U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announces potential run," by Mary Ellen Klas: “[Gwen Graham] set off the first round of Florida's next election battle when she announced that she won't seek reelection to Congress but ‘is seriously considering’ seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018. Graham, of Tallahassee, is in her first term in Congress but she faced a tough re-election after her North Florida seat was reconfigured to be less favorable for Democrats under a court-ordered redistricting plan. Republicans considering the 2018 race include Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose political action committee raised more than $4.3 million in one year. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has also been rumored to be considering seeking the nomination … Graham's announcement is the start of what is expected to be a hard-fought race to replace Gov. Rick Scott … As the daughter of former [Gov.] Bob Graham, Graham has been considered a rising star in the Democratic Party since she defeated incumbent Republican Congressman Steve Southerland in the Panhandle-based district in 2014."


On the campaign trail: Most candidates are in Pennsylvania. Here's the rundown:

  • Clinton: Scranton
  • Sanders: Philadelphia, Gettysburg, Millersville
  • Cruz: Williamsport, Scranton, Allentown
  • Trump: Harrington, Delaware
  • Kasich: Glastonbury, Conn.

At the White House: President Obama is in London, where he'll participate in a meet-and-greet at the U.S. embassy, attend lunch with Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh and hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron followed by a joint press conference. In the evening, Obama has dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are not in session.


“… What it really gets down to, if you want to be honest, is because they know that’s just more votes in the Democratic Party.” – John Kasich explains his opposition to D.C. Statehood (Perry Stein)


-- Another warm day with some potential rain on the horizon. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Rain chances! 70% likelihood that any given spot today finally gets a bit of the rain to quench our region’s growing thirst. Showers may be spotty at times, and extended dry periods are possible, even during afternoon hours when a few thunderstorms may pop here and there. Don’t count on Mother Nature’s watering though—rain could fairly light outside of any thunderstorms. Southwesterly winds boost high temperatures into the 70s again, even with lots of clouds.”

-- Police believe they have found the body of missing Fairfax County firefighter Nicole Mittendorff, following six days of heavy searching throughout the woods of Shenandoah National Park. “The physical and digital evidence collected during the course of this investigation — to include a note recovered from her car — leads (us) to believe there was no foul play involved in her death,” Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said in an email last night. (Justin Jouvenal)

-- The Shenandoah National Park wildfire surged to 8,000 acres Thursday, crossing over to the eastern side of Skyline Drive. The blaze is one of the worst fires in the park’s 80-year history. (Joe Heim and Angela Fritz)

-- The Washington Wizards agreed “in principle” to hire Scott Brooks as head coach. He's reportedly been offered a five-year, $35 million contract. (Jorge Castillo)

-- Three District elementary schools were found to have elevated levels of lead in their water. City officials said all compromised water sources have been shut down. (Perry Stein)

-- A D.C. police officer was arrested on charges that he pointed his service weapon at a driver during an off-duty road rage incident along I-295. Internal Affairs arrested 46-year-old Michael Minor on a charge of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon for the Feb. 20 encounter. (Clarence Williams)

-- District officials suspended a new rule that would have required residents to complete a private driver education course to receive a license, after concerns were raised that the course could be cost-prohibitive to some. (Lori Aratani)


In this video, produced by Funny or Die, older celebrities talk about why they don't have to care about climate change. In brief? Because they'll be dead. Watch here.

The B-52 Stratofortress bomber dropped its first bombs on the Islamic State:

A look back at Prince's legacy:

Pop icon Prince passed away on April 21 at the age of 57. (Erin Patrick O'Connor/The Washington Post)

The Cruz campaign hired actors to play the parts of Hillary, Huma and other Clinton staffers in a web video:

This Norwegian satirical video pokes fun at Trump's hair:

An island on Norway's shore covered in grass bares a striking resemblance to the Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's hair. (VGTV)

Trump was booed for mentioning Tom Brady at a Maryland rally:

Donald Trump gets booed after mentioning Tom Brady at a rally in Maryland, home of the Baltimore Ravens. (Reuters)

Watch Bad Lip Reading's take on the latest Democratic debate:

in honor of Sunday's Game of Thrones season premiere, a reminder of where things stand (warning: spoilers, adult language, explicit images, etc.):

This guy draws Game of Thrones characters -- in latte foam?

Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday:

Britain's Queen Elizabeth receives crowds of well-wishers and a 41-gun salute for her 90th birthday. (Reuters)