Quotables
March 21, 2014
Flickr CC By: The White House

President Obama told Democratic donors last night that since the party tends to lose out in the midterm elections, voter turnout is increasingly important.

"In midterms we get clobbered — either because we don't think it's important, or we've become so discouraged about what's happening in Washington that we think it's not worth our while," Obama said.

The president made the candid remarks at a private fundraising event near Miami, adding that while he thinks Americans agree with his party on many issues, Washington politics have "become so toxic" that it's hurting voter turnout.

Obama's comments were a pointed reference to the 2010 midterm "shellacking," when Republicans took back control of the House. While Democrats don't believe they can win back the House this time, they hope to maintain their majority in the Senate — though Republicans have a very strong chance of winning control of the upper chamber, too. Jordan Valinsky

research
6:48 p.m. ET
iStock

Researchers who analyzed data on 28 different types of cancer in 188 countries from 1990 to 2013 have found that worldwide, a greater percentage of deaths are now caused by cancer.

The report, conducted by the Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration group and published Thursday in JAMA Oncology, found that between 1990 and 2013, the proportion of deaths caused by cancer rose from 12 to 15 percent, and the years of life lost to cancer increased by 29 percent. In 2013, there were 15 million new cases of cancer, 8 million deaths, and 196 million years of healthy life lost. The leading cause of cancer death for the year was tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer, which killed 1.6 million people.

From birth to age 79, 1 in 3 men and 1 in 5 women developed cancer, researchers said. By taking a look at the data, they believe they can "guide intervention programs and advance research in cancer determinants and outcomes." Catherine Garcia

$$$$
5:50 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly avoiding a requirement to report large cash withdrawals from banks and lying to the FBI, Bloomberg reports.

Hastert withdrew $952,000 in cash to give an unidentified person $3.5 million as a payoff for covering up "prior misconduct," U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors alleged. Starting in July 2012, the Illinois Republican allegedly withdrew money from the bank in increments less than $10,000 to avoid banks reporting large transactions, as required by law.

He then told the FBI he was keeping the money, Bloomberg reports. Julie Kliegman

court reports
4:59 p.m. ET
Dana Romanoff/Getty Images

Aurora movie theater gunman James Holmes was mentally ill but legally sane in July 2012 when he killed 12 people, psychiatrist William Reid testified Thursday, The Denver Post reports. He conducted a state-ordered exam on Holmes, from which jurors will watch 22 hours of footage.

"My opinion is that whatever he suffered from, it did not prevent him from forming the intent and knowing what he was doing and the consequences of what he was doing," Reid said.

Reid's statement came unexpectedly, since the district attorney had not asked for his opinion. Judge Carlos Samour Jr. held a bench conference and dismissed the jury for lunch, but afterward ruled there was no mistrial. For prosecutors to prove Holmes' sanity, they need to show he did not have a mental illness that prevented him from telling right from wrong. Julie Kliegman

2016 Watch
3:45 p.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

A new study from George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management found that, at least by social media standards, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz are leading the 2016 presidential race. The report looked at how well candidates' campaigns fared by comparing the popularity of candidates' names and websites, as well as what words are shared in conjunction with candidates' names.

Of all declared 2016 presidential hopefuls' websites, Hillary Clinton's campaign website received the most shares, with 4.8 million social media and news mentions. And it wasn't just the number of times her campaign was mentioned that was significant: Clinton's name was frequently shared with words like "champion," "everyday," and "Americans," which the researchers believe demonstrates that people are taking her campaign messages seriously.

Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) campaign website received the second-most number of news and social media mentions, about 2.5 million. By social media posts alone, Clinton's website was shared 173,342 times, versus 85,235 for Cruz's website. The report looked at 10.3 million mentions of 2016 candidates' campaigns from March 15 to May 15.

On the losing end of the study, meanwhile, were Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), whose social media mentions most often had negative word associations. Read more on the report's candidate rankings over at Politico. Meghan DeMaria

welp
3:42 p.m. ET
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Street artist Shepard Fairey, who designed the iconic "Hope" poster for President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, told Esquire he doesn't have much, well, hope for Obama anymore.

When asked if the president has lived up to his iconic poster, he replied "Not even close." Fairey continued:

Obama has had a really tough time, but there have been a lot of things that he's compromised on that I never would have expected. I mean, drones and domestic spying are the last things I would have thought [he'd support]. I've met Obama a few times, and I think Obama's a quality human being, but I think that he finds himself in a position where your actions are largely dictated by things out of your control. I'm not giving him a pass for not being more courageous, but I do think the entire system needs an overhaul and taking money out of politics would be a really good first step. [Esquire]

Fairey also said fault lies with the American public, which he called "uneducated and complacent." Check out the entire interview here. Julie Kliegman

The Daily Showdown
2:08 p.m. ET

Trevor Noah won't take over the anchor chair for The Daily Show until fall — but that doesn't mean he isn't eager to give it a spin first. In a new promo for his upcoming "new and sexy" takeover of the Comedy Central series, Noah screws around on a (seemingly) empty set:

Jon Stewart's final episode of The Daily Show will air on August 6. Trevor Noah's first episode as host of the Daily Show will premiere on September 28. Scott Meslow

Science!
1:57 p.m. ET
iStock

A team of Swiss scientists has finally discovered the answer to a mystery close to their hearts: the reason Swiss cheese has holes.

The scientists at Agroscope, an agricultural research center, found that the holes are the result of hay inside the milk used to make the cheese, rather than from bacteria, as scientists previously believed.

The researchers explained to The Guardian that small bits of hay can fall into traditional milk buckets, which can cause holes in the cheese. Most modern cheesemaking techniques don't use traditional buckets, which eliminates the hay bits.

Before the new study, most scientists believed a 1917 study arguing that the holes were caused by milk bacteria releasing carbon dioxide during Swiss cheese production. But recent developments also side with the Agroscope team's findings — in the last 10 to 15 years, Swiss cheese has had fewer holes, as traditional milk buckets have been replaced by sealed milking machines. Meghan DeMaria

See More Speed Reads