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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ALOHA

It's time to play "find the birth certificate," even as President Obama is presumably enjoying the carefree, balmy breezes of his Hawaii. In the last 48 hours, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has repeatedly vowed to still the outcry of those who believe Mr. Obama was not born in the U.S., and is without proper "long form" documentation. Mr. Abercrombie — who was friends with Mr. Obama's parents back in the day — has ordered both the state attorney general and health department director to legally release more documentation "as quick as we can."

The governor says he operates independently from the White House, and has not hidden his personal disgust with the doubting "birthers." But Part Two has already begun: MSNBC's Chris Matthews pines to witness White House spokesman Robert Gibbs and chief of staff David Axelrod in action, among other things.

"I am not a birther, I am an enemy of the birthers. Why has the president himself not demanded that they put out the initial documents?" Mr. Matthews asks. "I don't understand why the governor doesn't just say, 'Snap it up. Send me a copy right now.' And why doesn't the president just say, 'Send me a copy right now.' Why doesn't Gibbs and Axelrod say, 'Let's just get this crappy story dead.' "

THANKS, NO THANKS

"While we recognize the right of any individual to endorse and support any candidate that they so choose, I am seriously concerned and disturbed by press reports that former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to come to Chicago to campaign for Rahm Emanuel, who is a candidate for mayor."

"The African American community has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Clintons, however it appears as though some of that relationship may be fractured and perhaps even broken should former President Clinton come to town and participate overtly in efforts to thwart the legitimate political aspirations of Chicago's black community. We respectfully request and urge former President Clinton not to become involved in the Chicago mayoral election."

— Rep. Danny Davis, Illinois Democrat and candidate for Chicago mayor, in an open message to Mr. Clinton.

FULL HOUSE

Hey, it's like "Dancing With the Stars" with no orchestra. All six of the declared candidates for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee have confirmed they will appear Monday for a 90-minute debate at the National Press Club. That means a half dozen Republican heavies - Michael S. Steele, Saul Anuzis, Maria Cino, Gentry Collins, Reince Priebus and Ann Wagner - will strut their stuff and exhibit fancy footwork from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The event will be moderated by Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist and Daily Caller founder Tucker Carlson, and covered live by C-SPAN. The debate is open to the public. See details and submit questions to the hopefuls at www.rncdebate.org.

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION

Wait, wasn't there a little whiff of bipartisanship in the air? Guess not.

"The Republican mission is to seize the Senate. Our job is to stop them. Period," says Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, and the new leader of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

"In order to fully implement their radical agenda, Republicans need control of the Senate and White House. They are doing everything in their power to win both. I know it seems early. But if we don't fight back now to save the Senate, early will quickly become too late," the lawmaker says in a fundraising message.

"National Republicans are already attacking our candidates. We need $27,000 by midnight Friday to defend them, build top-notch campaigns and take the fight to the Republicans. President Obama — and America — are counting on us."

SIGN OF THE TIMES

"Special Agent in Charge John A. Torres, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Los Angeles Field Division, wishes everyone a happy New Year's and is encouraging the public to celebrate the arrival of the new year responsibly and safely."

"ATF wants you to know that celebratory gunfire is not only unsafe, it is against the law. Discharging a firearm into the air is a crime and can lead to felony charges under California state law or federal charges if that person is prohibited from possessing a firearm. ATF will continue to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by tracing bullets and shell casings recovered during New Year's Eve. ATF will also aggressively pursue any federal charges applicable to help deter this senseless act. ATF wants you to know that you can enjoy the festivities without placing the public in danger."

— A public advisory from the federal agency.

JUST SO YOU KNOW

A hearty "Hoo-ah" at 11:59 p.m. on Friday: Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, a Medal of Honor winner, will press the New Year's Eve ceremonial button that launches — well, eases — the 12,000-pound, 12-foot crystal ball into its annual one-minute descent over Times Square.

POLL DU JOUR

• 68 percent of Americans do not plan to go out to dinner with family or friends on New Year's Eve.

• 14 percent are not sure about their plans yet.

• 66 percent plan to say a prayer when the clock strikes midnight.

• 25 percent will not.

• 64 percent do not plan to attend a New Year's Eve party this year.

• 21 percent will attend one.

• 48 percent will not drink to celebrate the night.

• 42 percent will indulge.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 conducted Dec. 26 and 27.

Hoopla and ballyhoo if there is any to jharper@ washingtontimes.com.

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