- The Washington Times - Friday, April 24, 2009

Popularity polling

A survey conducted by Public Policy Polling tested the popularity of four prominent Republicans: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Among the four, Mr. Huckabee is the most popular with a 42 percent favorability rating, 34 percent negative. Mr. Romney also polled well, earning a 40 percent favorability rating versus 35 percent unfavorable.

Mrs. Palin and Mr. Gingrich, on the other hand, didn’t do so well. Mrs. Palin polled 42 percent favorable, 49 percent unfavorable. Mr. Gingrich’s ratings were 36 percent favorable, 44 percent unfavorable.

Legal harassment

Alaska resident Sonda Tomkins has filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Sarah Palin for taking a 36-hour trip to Indiana to speak at a pro-life conference and attend a breakfast benefit for children with Down syndrome arranged by her political action committee.

“The recent partisan trip to Indiana by the governor was purely to benefit personal interests, had no benefit for the state of Alaska and was in direct conflict with her official duties,” the complaint said.

This is one of several complaints leveled against Mrs. Palin since her 2008 Republican vice-presidential campaign ended.

Wasilla, Alaska, resident Jane Henning filed a Nov. 10 complaint accusing Mrs. Palin of improperly using state property by conducting news interviews in her state office.

In March, Democratic blogger Linda Kellen Biegel complained that Mrs. Palin wore a jacket made by a company that sponsors her husband’s snow machine races. Ms. Biegel said the governor “improperly used her position and state resources to serve her personal financial interests by being a walking billboard for Arctic Cat, a private for-profit company and family business sponsor.

“In the past several months, we have seen an orchestrated effort by the governor’s opponents to make differences of opinion and ideology almost criminal,” said Mike Nizich, the governor’s chief of staff. “Governor Palin has spent a considerable amount of time and money fighting ethics complaints - and no charge has been substantiated. I hope that the publicity-seekers will face a backlash from Alaskans who have a sense of fair play and proportion. I served six previous governors, and I’ve never seen anything like the attacks against Governor Palin.”

Covert military

“There’s a lot of people that support the military and you have to be a big name to get the haters to come get you. I mean, I go into Hollywood and I see - working on a movie or a project or something or doing a TV show - I’ll run into other entertainers and they’ll pull me aside and, just as much as the right bashes Hollywood, there’s a lot of people in Hollywood who will pull you aside and say, ‘I support the troops too, I just can’t do it vocally. I can’t do it out loud.’ ”

-Country music star Toby Keith, speaking at the National Press Club

Jumping in

Fifteen female ski jumpers representing several countries are suing the Vancouver Olympic planning committee to force them to add a women’s division to the sport for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The International Olympic Committee says there are not enough women to compete, but the jumpers note there are more than 130 women from 16 nations registered as competitors with the International Ski Federation and are taking their case to the British Columbia Supreme Court.

The court has heard their case, but it is not certain when the judge will be making a formal ruling.

Ironically, the current world record holder for ski jumping on the very hill on which the Olympic jumps will be held is an American woman, Lindsey Van. To allow the women to compete, no modifications to Vancouvers Olympic hill would be needed. Men and women can use the same venue for the competition.

There are now six ski-jumping medal competitions scheduled for men in the 2010 Olympics.

Kristol cashes in

Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol has won one of the Bradley Foundation’s four $250,000 2009 cash prizes awarded to individuals who demonstrate excellence in their respective fields.

“The Bradley Foundation selected William Kristol for his outstanding achievements in a wide range of activities affecting the development of public policy from national and international perspectives,” said Michael W. Grebe, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer.

Mr. Kristol and the other three winners will be honored at the Kennedy Center on June 3.

UCLA’s Distinguished Professor of Economics Arnold C. “Alito” Harberger and Martin Gilbert, Winston Churchill’s official biographer and renowned historian, also won prizes.

The final winner will be announced next week.

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com

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