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May 8, 2014
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Before Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced earlier this year that he was gay, he was projected as perhaps a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Over the following months however, an underwhelming tryout and skepticism about whether he would be a "distraction" in the NFL pushed him further down the draft board. Sam has slipped so far in mock draft analysis that there is now a legitimate question about whether or not he'll even make it to the pros.

The question was unthinkable back in February. Sam had just been named co-defensive player of the year in the defense-first SEC. Yet when he came out as gay, he immediately plummeted on draft boards; one ranking dropped him 70 spots overnight. Anonymous execs and scouts flatly stated his homosexuality was a concern, with one saying he would "chemically imbalance" the locker room.

But for all the focus on his sexuality, Sam's on-field skills also raised red flags. He's small for his position and showed pedestrian speed and athleticism at the NFL Scouting Combine, leaving scouts with little to praise beyond his "hustle."

Though Sam is still projected as a late-round pick, that doesn't guarantee he'll hear his name called. As Nate Silver noted in an analysis of pre-draft projections from years past, about half of players rated in the same vicinity as Sam weren't drafted. Jon Terbush

12:32 a.m. ET

Now that the Republican field has been whittled down to Donald Trump, Conan O'Brien decided to give a proper farewell to the 16 candidates who failed to outlast him. Starting with Rick Perry and ending with John Kasich, O'Brien shared the "reason" why each person dropped out — try to guess which candidate was "kicked to death by mother for shaming family name" and who "actually passed away three years ago." Catherine Garcia

12:16 a.m. ET

With Donald Trump the only Republican left in the 2016 race, Jimmy Fallon put on his Trump outfit on Wednesday's Tonight Show and called his President Obama impersonator to brag a bit. Fake Obama congratulated fake Trump on the real Trump's presumptive victory, and Fallon poked fun at Hillary Clinton. "Now that Ted Cruz dropped out, there's only one man standing in my way," Trump said. "You mean, John Kasich?" Obama asked. "No, Hillary."

Trump got his share of mockery, too. "I watched your speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner — it was hilarious," Fallon's Trump said. "I watched your speech on foreign policy, and the feeling is mutual, buddy," Obama replied. Watch below to see the two discuss Bernie Sanders, Game of Thrones, Beyoncé, and whether Obama would be Trump's running mate (spoiler: "Oh hell no!"). Peter Weber

May 4, 2016
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President Obama is being sued by an Army captain who says the president doesn't have the congressional authority to fight the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

On Wednesday, Army Capt. Nathan Michael Smith filed his suit in U.S. District Court in Washington. The White House is using congressional authorizations given to George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and says it has all the authority necessary to wage a war against ISIS. Smith says he wants the court to order Obama to ask Congress for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force, The Associated Press reports. In his suit, Smith says "this lawlessness has made it impossible" for him to "determine whether his present mission is inconsistent with his oath to 'preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,' thus requiring him to seek an independent determination of this matter from the court."

Smith calls ISIS an "army of butchers," and says he supports the war on military and moral grounds. The White House has not commented on the suit. Catherine Garcia

May 4, 2016
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Former Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah died Wednesday after a suffering a stroke and battling pancreatic cancer. He was 82.

Bennett, a Republican, was born Sept. 19, 1933, in Salt Lake City. His father, Wallace F. Bennett, was also a senator, serving from 1951 to 1977, and for a time, his son was his top aide. Before he was first elected to the Senate in 1992, Bennett worked as a lobbyist for J.C. Penney Co., was a congressional liaison for the Transportation Department during the Nixon administration, and purchased Robert R. Mullen Co., a public relations firm and CIA cover organization, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. One of his most famous clients was the reclusive tycoon Howard Hughes.

Bennett was known for working with both Republicans and Democrats to get things done, and helped bring federal dollars to Utah for a freeway project and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. "He was respected by men and women on both sides of the aisle, not only for his expertise but also for his common touch, his common sense, and his commitment to uncommon virtues," Mitt Romney said in a statement. Bennett was criticized by members of the Tea Party for voting for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and lost his 2010 re-election bid at the Republican state convention to Sen. Mike Lee. After leaving the Senate, he started a consulting firm and taught at the University of Utah and George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs. Bennett is survived by his wife, Joyce, six children, and 20 grandchildren. Catherine Garcia

May 4, 2016
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California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill on Wednesday that raises the state's smoking age to 21, from 18.

"The governor's signature on Tobacco 21 is a signal that California presents a united front against Big Tobacco," state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D) said in a statement. "Together, we stand to disrupt the chain of adolescent addiction." Brown also signed a bill that restricts the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces. California is now the second U.S. state to raise the smoking age to 21, after Hawaii. Active military members are exempt from the law.

The bills were backed by the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and American Cancer Society, and will become effective on June 9. The National Survey on Drug Use and and Health reports that 90 percent of tobacco users start smoking before the age of 21 and 80 percent try it before 18, and a 2015 Institute of Medicine study estimates that by making 21 the legal age to buy tobacco, there will be 200,000 fewer early deaths for people born between 2000 and 2019. Before the bills were signed, the tobacco industry threatened to seek a referendum vote to overturn them, the Los Angeles Times reports. Catherine Garcia

May 4, 2016
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Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump said that looking ahead to the general election, he will not self-fund his campaign, instead creating a "world-class finance organization."

The campaign is expected to cost more than $1 billion, and Trump said Wednesday he does plan on "putting up" some money, The Wall Street Journal reports. By the end of March, Trump's campaign had spent $47 million, with $36 million coming from Trump. Two advisers told WSJ he plans on tapping into supporters who do not regularly give to the Republican Party, and an aide said he is starting to work with the Republican National Committee to develop a joint fundraising agreement. He also plans on helping the RNC raise money for other candidates through fundraising events and direct mail.

Throughout his campaign, Trump touted the fact that he was not accepting money from wealthy donors or super PACs. "This is one more example that voters can't take Donald Trump at his word," said Democratic National Committee communications director Luis Miranda. "He'll say anything to get elected, so long as it personally benefits him." Trump's website features a prominent "donate" button, and proceeds from items sold in his online store go toward his candidacy. Trump has already raised $12 million from supporters, with most of the donations $200 or less, WSJ reports. Catherine Garcia

May 4, 2016
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Automakers in the United States are recalling an additional 35-40 million air bag inflators manufactured by Takata, the company and U.S. Transportation Department said Wednesday.

Already, 28.8 million inflators assembled by Takata have been recalled to fix a defect that can cause air bags to explode during accidents, sending shrapnel through the air. The new recalls will be prioritized by age and risk of exposure to high humidity, conditions that affect the inflators, Reuters reports. There have been 11 deaths and about 100 injuries linked to the defective parts, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator Mark Rosekind said this is "the largest recall in American history." Catherine Garcia

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