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An overwhelming North Carolina vote to define marriage as legal only between a man and woman dealt a strong blow to gay marriage supporters this week.

With 58 percent support, the measure made North Carolina the 29th state to ban gay marriage, which is legal in only six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Maryland and New York) and the District of Columbia.

Washington and Maryland passed legislation to permit it, but those laws have yet to take effect. In any case, North Carolina deals marriage equality a setback.

NC Amendment One

The state's Amendment One also proved that despite slow, but steady increases in support nationally, same-sex unions remain unappealing in many areas.

The vote came as President Obama has been facing criticism from his Democratic base for not coming out in favor of gay marriage, even as several of his Cabinet officials - including Vice President Joe Biden - have expressed support.

The most recent Gallup poll shows a plurality of voters support gay marriage, with the number backing it growing over the last several years.

But the results in North Carolina, a major presidential battleground state narrowly won by Obama in 2008, could temper that momentum.

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John Edwards has never spoken publicly about his feelings for Rielle Hunter, but thanks to his federal corruption trial, plenty of other people are.

His former speechwriter, Wendy Button, testified Tuesday. She said Edwards admitted he loved Hunter, though the relationship was "complicated."

Edwards spoke about Hunter when answering mock questions as he practiced what he would say when admitting he fathered Rielle's love child.

"Do you love Rielle?" Button testified she asked Edwards.

  • John Edwards is Pumped!
  • John Edwards Proposes!

With Button playing the role of a reporter, the two-time presidential hopeful said, "Yes, it's complicated." This was July 2009, according to Button.

"Do you still see her?" Button also asked. "'Yes, she's the mother of my child,'" Button says John replied. "Is the affair still going on?" she asked.

"You're not entitled to all the details," Edwards answered.

Those questions are ones Edwards, 58, could be asked again if he takes the stand at his trial. The former U.S. Senator is charged with covering up the affair and love child with the help of illegal campaign contributions from wealthy donors.

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Cher has never been one to mince words.

Still, it was a little surprising to see just her pummel presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney out of the blue via Twitter Tuesday, only to delete a couple of the more inflammatory Tweets hours later.

What did the iconic pop star and Oscar winner say?

Cher and Mitt

"If ROMNEY gets elected I don't know if I can breathe same air as Him & his Right Wing Racist Homophobic Women Hating Tea Bagger Masters," she Tweeted.

That remark by the 65-year-old attracted a variety of responses, many shocked, and some more profane and negative than others. Cher replied to one hater:

"Nice Mouth ! U learn that at Church, Gun Show,or how to press your Klan costume Klass?" (That, and the nasty tweet directed at her, are still up.)

To another user who called her an "atten.whore," Cher fired back, "Actually I'm Not & if u Dislike Me SO.. Get Off My Site it Cant B Fun 4 U !"

Another Cher tweet that disappeared, however, was this:

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Ron Paul supporters took control of the Maine Republican Convention and elected a majority slate supporting him to the GOP national convention.

The results gave the Texas congressman a late state victory.

In votes leading to the close of the two-day Maine GOP convention, Paul supporters were elected to 21 of 24 delegate spots from the state to the Republican national convention in Tampa, Fla., giving him a demonstrative win in the state.

Ron Paul Photo

Paul, the last challenger to Mitt Romney to remain in the contest, finished a close second behind Romney in Maine's GOP caucuses in February.

Those results were nonbinding, however, and not everyone had a chance to cast a ballot before the results were announced, as a snowstorm forced the cancellation of some caucuses, including one in a Paul stronghold.

Romney won the February election with 39 percent of the vote to Paul's 36 percent. Rick Santorum's 18 percent and Newt Gingrich's 6 percent.

Nevertheless, the caucuses merely selected the delegates to the state's party convention, and at that event, 21 of 24 voted to nominate Paul.

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John Edwards denied his affair with Rielle Hunter to the American public but would not do so in a sworn affidavit, while his mistress wanted to claim she was abducted by aliens, according to the latest dispatches from his trial.

Mark Kornblau, who worked as John Edwards' spokesman and issued a strong denial that succeeded in keeping the Enquirer's story about Edwards' pregnant girlfriend from being picked up by the mainstream media, testified this week.

Kornblau said the story "would be a terrible outcome for Mrs. Edwards. I believed it to be untrue. Thirdly, it would be damaging to the campaign."

  • Smilin' John
  • A Rielle Home Wrecker

In an attempt to convince the Enquirer to not run the story, Kornblau had an affidavit drawn up in which Edwards denied the affair and denied paternity of Hunter's child.

But Edwards refused to sign it, he said.

In a later conversation with Kornblau, Edwards hinted that Hunter's pregnancy may have been the result of a fling with his aide, Andrew Young.

Edwards is charged with violating campaign finance laws by using more than $1 million from wealthy donors to hide his pregnant girlfriend.

He could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Edwards' former "body man" John Davis told the court he was surprised when Hunter came to his hotel room to tell him that she and Edwards were "very much in love," and that the presidential candidate pulled him aside to say Hunter was "crazy."

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U.S. officials Thursday released a small sampling of the so-called Osama bin Laden documents, papers captured when U.S. special operations forces killed the al-Qaida leader last year at his hideout in Pakistan.

They provide a little insight into the mind of a terrorist determined to wreak more havoc across the world, while keenly aware of the media and the perpetual threat of being hunted down and killed himself.

Some excerpts and condensed themes from the doctuments appear below:

Got Him!

ATTACK AMERICA: Bin Laden wanted al-Qaida to focus on the U.S. and not waste time and resources attacking other enemies such as Britain or trying to overthrow governments in the Muslim world.

“Even though we have the chance to attack the British, we should not waste our effort to do so but concentrate on defeating America, which will lead to defeating the others, God willing,” reads one letter.

“We want to cut this tree at the root. The problem is that our strength is limited, so our best way to cut the tree is to concentrate on sawing the trunk of the tree.”

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Genevieve Cook, an ex-girlfriend of President Obama, shares some intimate details about their relationship in a new book about the Commander-in-Chief.

Barack Obama: The Story, by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Maraniss, is the most thorough account of the President's life not written by Obama.

Vanity Fair published excerpts Wednesday. While The Story contains no sordid, shocking tales of impropriety, it portrays Obama as extremely ambitious.

Obama's autobiography Dreams From My Father, while generally true, makes him look less calculating and motivated by his own career, in other words.

Genevieve Cook, Barack Obama

Barack Obama: The Story also goes into much greater detail about his early life, including romantic relationships, such as that with Genevieve Cook.

Using Obama’s writings and ex-girlfriends’ diaries, Maraniss paints a picture of Obama as an intense, conflicted and sometimes brooding intellectual.

It was that intelligence that drew Cook to Obama after a chance meeting at that East Village apartment gathering, according to Maraniss' book.

The future President, who in 1983 was a recent graduate of Columbia University, began chatting up the assistant teacher at a party that Christmas.

Obama apparently earned Cook’s endorsement, as they went on a date just days later and she spent that night at his tiny Manhattan apartment.

While sitting on an orange beanbag chair, the two bonded over the time each spent in Indonesia as youths, then exchanged phone numbers.

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Cate Edwards, the daughter of John Edwards, had to leave his trial on federal campaign violation charges yesterday after some upsetting revelations.

She walked out of the courtroom, crying, as a witness started to describe an argument between her parents after a tabloid reported her dad's affair.

The former U.S. Senator faces charges of illegally using campaign contributions to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter while running for president.

Cate Edwards in Court

Former Edwards aide Christina Reynolds testified about the day in 2007 when John and Elizabeth Edwards learned of the National Enquirer's report.

They were at the airport, and "Elizabeth was very upset... She was very vocal," Reynolds said. "She stormed off and collapsed into a ball in the parking lot."

After aides helped Elizabeth Edwards get back to her feet and led her to a nearby restroom, "She seemed a little calmer," said Reynolds, "then stormed out of the bathroom and tried to engage Mr. Edwards."

In an emotional outburst, Elizabeth reportedly told her husband, "You don't see me any more," and tore off her shirt and bra on the spot.

John Edwards "didn't have much of a reaction."

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Republican Newt Gingrich dropped out of the presidential race Wednesday, ending what was a turbulent, roller coaster bid for the White House.

With millions of dollars in campaign debt and just two GOP primary victories under his belt, the former House Speaker finally bowed out.

"Today I am suspending the campaign, but suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship," Gingrich said in lengthy remarks.

Gingrich deemed the campaign "a truly wild ride" in Arlington, Va., saying, "I could never have predicted either the low points or the high points."

Quoting an observer who suggested his best days may be ahead, Newt vowed to focus on balancing the U.S. budget, advocating for "religious liberty" and social security savings accounts and working for American energy independence.

He said he would work to "reemphasize the work ethic" in America, advocate for national security positions and press for increased brain research.

Gingrich also stood behind his campaign push for a moon colony, though he admitted that it was "probably not my most clever comment in this campaign." He said Americans should seek to "go out and pursue great adventure."

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If political pundits think President Obama's only strategy to win a second term would be to carpet bomb Mitt Romney with negative ads, he didn't get the memo.

Romney has but one brief, silent cameo in the Obama campaign's new seven-minute ad, touting the controversial administration's record over the past three years.

The ad does go out of its way to portray Republican leaders, in general, as obstructionist extremists who would rather play political games than help Americans.

For the most part, though, the ad, entitled "Forward," hits home the fact that Obama inherited "once-in-a-century type" recession and still accomplished a ton.

Pure spin? Pure facts? In between? Take a look at it below and see:

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