- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2008

Unconventional

The invitation — it’s in the mail, right?

Make nice with Vice President Dick Cheney or else, cautions a Wall Street Journal editorial.

“Now would be a good time for Candidate McCain to step in and say publicly, ‘Of course, my good friend the Vice President will be there.’ The longer he waits, the worse this is going to get. By signaling that a sitting Republican Vice President might not be welcome at a Republican convention, the McCain campaign is handing the press corps an opening to fill the next few weeks with stories highlighting a divided GOP. Come convention time, you can expect lots of on-air jokes that the missing Mr. Cheney ‘must be at an undisclosed location.’

“Democrats will love it, and, sure enough, only a day after the news broke about the Vice President’s possible noninvite, the Obama camp rolled out a Web site called ‘The Next Cheney.’ This should make clear that the real target of those attacking the veep is Mr. McCain. If the Senator gives the impression that he agrees that Mr. Cheney is not fit for decent company, he’ll demoralize his friends and encourage his opponents.

“By not having a ready answer, the McCain camp is making the story bigger than it is — and it will only get worse unless the Senator intervenes and invites the Vice President to his nomination party.”

Laff riot

Actually, neither of the presidential hopefuls appears to have a whole lot of decorum left at this point. Both Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama will appear in fake campaign ads on what — PBS? C-SPAN? No, the pair will be seen on Thursday’s season finale of “Last Comic Standing” on NBC — along with such luminaries as comic Jon Lovitz and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, famed for his scatalogical doggy puppet commentary.

During the 30-second spots, Mr. McCain claims to be the campaign’s funniest candidate, then threatens a heckler. Mr. Obama advises viewers to consider his bowling prowess, then unceremoniously leaves the dais. Mr. McCain taped his spot at NBC last month during an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Mr. Obama used a set right in Washington’s Omni Shoreham hotel last week.

But, hey. The show may draw up to 10 million viewers, and viewers sometimes vote. The TV/voting booth relationship already has been quantified, in fact. According to University of Maryland economists Craig Garthwaite and Tim Moore, Mr. Obama’s recent appearance on “Oprah” garnered him over 1 million potential votes.

Wearing thin

Press excess made it inevitable, perhaps.

America has a case of “Obama fatigue,” according to the Pew Research Center, which released a survey Wednesday finding that almost half the public — 48 percent — says they have heard “too much” about the Illinois Democrat. Only 10 percent said they needed to know more, while 41 percent said they were hearing the right amount.

“Barack Obama remains the far more visible candidate in the eyes of the public. When asked which presidential candidate they have heard the most about in the news over the last week or so, 76 percent of the public names Barack Obama while just one-in-ten (11 percent) recalls John McCain,” the survey said.

“By a slight, but statistically significant margin — 22 percent to 16 percent — people say that recently they have a less rather than more favorable view of the putative Democratic nominee.”

The survey of 1,004 adults was conducted Aug. 1-4 and has a margin of error of three percentage points.

Cultural moment

Bill Clinton made a plea yesterday for a new emphasis on monogamy as a key element in the battle against AIDS. The former U.S. president, not noted for his ability to keep his own marriage vows, said it was very important to change people’s attitudes to sex,” said Britain’s Independent newspaper Wednesday.

“In an interview with the BBC, recorded in Africa, Clinton told his interviewer that increasing support for monogamy was not just a problem for the continent worst hit by AIDS, but for the world.”

“‘To pretend we can ever get hold of this without dealing with that — the idea of unprotected sexual relations with unlimited numbers of partners — I think would be naive,’ Mr. Clinton said.”

Shalom — or not

Sen. John McCain’s flirtation with Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia as a possible vice presidential running mate is “wildly out of step” with the Jewish community at large, according to Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

“Cantor is clearly from the right of the right wing of the Republican Party. If McCain thinks that Cantor will help him with the Jewish community because he’s Jewish, McCain is sorely mistaken. In summary, Cantor is an unknown in the Jewish community, but the more the community gets to know him, the less of him it will like,” Mr. Forman noted at the Huffington Post, where he has penned the top 10 reasons why Mr. Cantor is not a contender for vice president.

Hillary catharsis

Well, they just won’t give up. A group of women who insist that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is still a contender in the White House race plan to stage a parade in Denver for the New York lawmaker outside the Democratic convention.

Will there be floats, a marching band? The mind reels.

Colorado Women Count/Women Vote will stage its extravaganza Aug. 26, the second day of the convention, when Mrs. Clinton is rumored to be given a prime-time speaking slot. The date is also the 88th anniversary of female suffrage in the U.S. The group said it would “press home its demand for Clinton supporters to have a chance to vote for her on the first ballot with Obama,” according to Agence France-Presse.

Other pro-Clinton groups such as PUMA (Party Unity My [backside]) claim that she could still win the nomination if enough Obama delegates can be persuaded to switch sides at the Denver convention, and are lobbying to that end.

“That is not going to happen,” Mrs. Clinton insisted to a group of rabid female supporters recently.

She appeared, the press account said, “to back the efforts to get her name on the first ballot as a cathartic exercise for the sake of Democratic unity.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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