POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Ted Cruz Slurping Campbell's Chunky And Plotting To Take Your Delegates

Ted Cruz’s weird soup anecdote is now the second-most bizarre food story to emerge from the today’s Senate, ahead of Tom Cotton’s daily intake of birthday cake but behind the Schumwich. Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address at Howard’s graduation while Joe Biden will, presumably, offer to buy undergrads beer at Howard Homecoming. And Rapper Paul Wall took a face swap selfie with Louie Gohmert, which may well be something Gohmert is afraid immigrants can actually do. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 14th, 2016:

TRUMP HEADING TOWARD POSSIBLE EMBARRASSMENT IN GEORGIA Igor Bobic: "Trump’s supporters fear [a similar outcome to Colorado] in Georgia on Saturday, where Republicans will gather in each congressional district to pick more than half of the 76 delegates and their alternates for the convention. The real estate mogul’s top campaign aide in the state sounded the alarm on Thursday...The reality TV personality’s supporters appear to be unaware of the rules...Trump carried Georgia by 14 points -- winning 42 of the state’s delegates. Those delegates are only bound to vote for him on the first ballot. If Cruz’s campaign manages to ensure that some of those delegates are favorable to his cause, he can increase the chances of winning the nomination on the second ballot." [HuffPost]

Democratic debate! Bernie and Hillary will square off tonight in Brooklyn at 9:00 p.m. ET. Watch the debate on CNN or CNN.com. Follow our liveblog at Huffington Post. Have your hottest pickling jokes ready to go.

UGH DENNIS HASTERT At least Bill Clinton never asked to define, "groin rub." Steve Almassy: "Attorneys for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert say they are not positive an allegation of a groin rub by a coach on a teenage wrestler constitutes sexual misconduct. 'While undoubtedly many would consider this episode as described by (Individual A) consisting of a groin rub for a groin pull and a massage, to be misconduct, we are not so certain that the incident qualifies as sexual misconduct, especially for a coach and trainer 42 years ago,' lawyers Thomas C. Green and John N. Gallo wrote in the court document." [CNN]

SHRIMP TREADMILL SCIENCE GUY SPEAKS OUT - For years, Republicans have made fun of scientists for using government grants to put shrimp on a treadmill. Well, the shrimp have been training, and this week they came to D.C. to kick. Some. Ass. Sam Stein: "In the Russell Senate Office building, a veritable all-star lineup of maligned researchers gathered. Their work would be familiar to anyone who has read the 'wastebook' put together by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) or has watched Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) lead a House Science Committee hearing: In the back corner was that guy who watched shrimp run on treadmills; off to the side was the woman who pondered why fat girls can’t get dates; in the middle of the room was the person who studied cows in China; near the bar was the man who sent text messages to drunk people; and in the back was the scientist who started a fight club for shrimp (it’s always those damn shrimp!). These researchers had come to Capitol Hill to make the case that their congressional tormentors had gotten their work profoundly wrong. Far from being taxpayer-funded jesters in the world of science, they were doing work of merit and promise. And while they had the resumes and wherewithal to withstand the scrutiny, their worry was that future scientists -- the ones hanging out with Obama -- would look at the crucible and decide to stay far, far away. 'I am rock solid about my research. I know it is very good,' said Sheila Patek, an associate professor of biology at Duke University who led the so-called Fight Club-for-shrimp study." [HuffPost]

DELANEY DOWNER - Lead poisoning from drinking water -- still a thing! "An Illinois congresswoman on Wednesday called on officials in one city to seek federal aid to replace lead service lines that have tainted its drinking water and contributed to high rates of childhood lead poisoning. U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat, said Wednesday that she was 'deeply disturbed' by lead levels detected in Galesburg's water sampling last fall that were above the federal action-level. She said she was even more alarmed that 5 percent of Knox County children tested in 2014 had lead in their blood above the Illinois standard for public health intervention, a rate six times higher than the state average." [ABCNews]

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LEWANDOWSKI WON'T BE CHARGED - Serial season 12, here we come! Curt Anderson: "Donald Trump's campaign manager will not be prosecuted on a misdemeanor battery charge after prosecutors determined there wasn't enough evidence to convict him of forcibly grabbing a female reporter. Police charged Corey Lewandowski last month after determining a video recording showed the New York City resident grabbing reporter Michelle Fields by the arm as she tried to ask the Republican presidential front-runner a question while he was leaving a campaign event March 8. State attorney Dave Aronberg said during a news conference Thursday that police were right to charge Lewandowski, but the burden on prosecutors to prove the case was higher. 'Although there was probable cause to make an arrest, the evidence cannot prove all legally required elements of the crime alleged and is insufficient to support a criminal prosecution,' Aronberg said." [AP]

@paulwallbaby: Face swap with @replouiegohmert #GRAMMYsOnTheHill #Ampact #FairPlayFairPay

BUT IS IT GOOD FOR THE CRUZ? … GAMING THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY EDITION - Katie Zezima and Sean Sullivan: "Cruz’s decision to lavish attention on parochial power brokers 3,000 miles away from the next big contest underscored his novel approach to the final three months of the Republican presidential race: He is effectively creating his own primary calendar, map and electorate in hopes of cobbling together enough support to prevent front-runner Donald Trump from clinching the nomination outright...Cruz is largely looking ahead to May and June contests in California, Indiana and Nebraska, states where his strategists believe the delegate rules and natural political tilts are favorable...For Cruz, California -- where 172 delegates are at stake on June 7 -- is central to his plan. The state GOP awards three delegates to the winner of each congressional district as well as 10 to the statewide winner...Even as Cruz eyes upcoming contests, his team is deep in the process of influencing who gets to be delegates in states that already have voted. Cruz’s Houston-based delegate team, led by former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli II, has largely left the process up to activists at the state level who are well-versed in local rules." [WaPo]

RYAN PUSHING PUERTO RICO DEAL - Puerto Rico, America's second-most forgotten about part after Rhode Island, is in a deal of financial trouble. Peter Schroeder: "Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will try to sell fellow Republicans on a bill to help Puerto Rico deal with its debt crisis at a special meeting Friday. Ryan said the morning conference meeting would be solely devoted to Puerto Rico, in an effort to educate members and bring them on board with the bill, which has faced persistent conservative opposition…The fate of that legislation took a turn for the worse late Wednesday, when the House Natural Resources Committee abruptly canceled a markup of the bill. Republicans said the delay was spurred by Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration. Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said the administration was still trying to alter the bill, making a markup impossible. And Ryan contended that the bill did not receive consideration because Democrats were not willing to back it. But a Wednesday morning hearing on the bill also made clear there was ample conservative discontent as well. Several committee members lambasted the proposal, arguing it was a bailout for an island territory with a record of fiscal mismanagement." [The Hill]

REPUBLICAN REMEMBERS HE REPRESENTS ILLINOIS - Mark Kirk was not spotted loitering about Washington Square Park the last several days, but that could be an oversight. Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett: "Sen. Mark Kirk isn’t just distancing himself from the rest of the GOP -- he’s fleeing from it. From the Supreme Court vacancy battle to gay rights to criminal justice reform, the moderate Illinois Republican is sounding more like a Democrat with each passing day as he fights to save his political life in an overwhelmingly blue state this fall...Kirk is one of just two outliers in the Senate GOP Conference on whether the chamber should vote on Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court this year and has bent over backward to show he disagrees with his fellow Republicans...Just this week, Kirk co-sponsored a criminal justice reform bill that would loosen some mandatory minimum sentences, despite complaints within the GOP that it would unwittingly release violent criminals early from prison. And he joined with five of the most liberal senators to urge the NBA to move its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, in response to the state’s controversial new law that bans anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people." [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a tiger learning not to wake other tigers.

METRO SECTION: VINCE GRAY LOOKING PRETTY GOOD - Reminder that his campaign paid a weird guy to say weird stuff about Adrian Fenty in a debate. Ann E. Marimow: "Federal prosecutors were counting on the testimony of a powerful political fundraiser to help prove that former D.C. mayor Vincent C. Gray knew about an illegal shadow campaign that helped pay for his bid to win the city’s highest office. But the investigation of Gray’s role was delayed, and possibly aborted, because of concerns about Jeffrey E. Thompson’s credibility, recent interviews and new records show." [WaPo]

COMFORT FOOD

TWITTERAMA

@EvanMcSan: i'm actually really disappointed it's not an exposed brick/edison lightbulb/old liquor store sign setup for the Bklyn debate set

@AliWatkins: "If I want someone to just do stenography, I give them cookies." - OH Hill guy explaining his press strategy. You've a bright DC future kid.

@emmaroller: just used the word 'influencer' in an email. h8 myself

@ebruenig: To me the wild thing about the soup tale is that they almost certainly decided ahead of time this was their most charming anecdote

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