OVERNIGHT BALLOT BOX: Shades of red in North Carolina

TWEET OF THE DAY: “I'm going on break for 2 weeks. Which, for no reason, is the exact recuperation time for ankle lipo and a forehead scrape.” — “Colbert Report” host Stephen Colbert 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Nobody in their right mind would believe the nonsense in this one.” — White House spokesman Eric Schultz, on allegations in Edward Klein’s new bio of Obama that former President Clinton urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to resign and challenge Obama in the 2012 primary (New York Post).


In the Ohio Senate race, new polling shows that state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), who Democrats say is woefully under-prepared for the Senate, is nipping at the heels of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who Republicans say has little to show for his almost 20 years in Congress. 


The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) released the ad it's airing in the special election to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). The ad accuses Democrat Ron Barber, a former Giffords aide, of hurting Arizona seniors by supporting the president's healthcare reform law, which included a $500 billion cut to Medicare. The Hill reported on Wednesday that the NRCC had doubled down on the race, upping its total spending from $300,000 to $600,000.


Michigan: The socially conservative Eagle Forum has endorsed against Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the latest worrisome sign for the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman in his race against former Michigan state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk (R).

Arizona: Sheriff Paul Babeu (R), who frequently butted heads with Attorney General Eric Holder and has been dealing with a scandal involving an ex-boyfriend, has dropped his House bid.


Nebraska: State Sen. Deb Fischer, one of three Republicans vying for the nomination to take on former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), shot back at front-runnning state Attorney General Jon Bruning, whose latest ad accuses Fischer of voting in the legislature to raise taxes. Fischer told The Hill that Bruning, himself a former state lawmaker, understands the relationship between gas taxes and infrastructure spending and is being disingenuous by attacking her conservative credentials. The primary will take place on Tuesday.

Missouri: The three GOP candidates vying to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) squared off in a feisty primary debate where businessman John Brunner accused former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman of flip-flopping on tort reform. In response, Steelman appeared to take a swipe at Brunner's drunk-driving arrest almost a decade ago, arguing that she only voted against tort reform in the legislature because it included protections for drunk drivers. "I'm sorry Mr. Brunner thinks that that's OK," Steelman said.


Mitt’s message:Romney will focus on family and opportunity when he gives the commencement speech Saturday at the evangelical Liberty University.

The softer side of Mitt: An adviser to Romney's presidential campaign defended the candidate's "kind impulses" on Friday, pointing to his treatment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry during recent GOP debates as proof.

An even softer, cheaper side of Mitt:
Josh Romney said in a recent profile that his dad "loves Costco" and "is incredibly fun-loving."

Coming clean: The Obama campaign added a section on “clean coal” to its website this week after House Republicans alleged that the president’s “all-of-the-above” energy plan neglected the fossil fuel.

Clooney’s star fundraising power: Obama raised $15 million at a fundraiser at George Clooney’s house on Thursday night.

Twice as nice: So the president’s returning to Los Angeles in June for another star-studded gala.

Jump shot: Meanwhile, Obama started his Thursday by playing basketball with Clooney and Tobey Maguire.

Words of wisdom: First lady Michelle Obama gave the commencement address at Virginia Tech.

Switzerland staying neutral: The Swiss embassy in Washington is refusing to answer any questions about Thursday's decision by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to renounce her Swiss nationality.

Another celebrity fundraiser: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and John Krasinski will host a fundraiser for Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) on May 21 in Santa Monica, Calif. All three actors grew up in Massachusetts.

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