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Inside the Beltway

MATTERA VS ZERNIKE

An appearance at CPAC launched a battle for Jason Mattera, spokesman for Young America's Foundation and author of the forthcoming book "Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation." He offered a spirited address before the conservative gathering last week, parsing out the disconnect between liberals and the youth vote.

But his words and style did not resonate much with New York Times writer Kate Zernike, who titled her review of his discussion "CPAC Speaker bashes Obama, in racial overtones," suggesting the Brooklyn native - who is of Latino descent - used the ethnic cadence of black comedian Chris Rock. But Mr. Mattera was just sounding like, uh, a typical Brooklynite, he says.

"Kate Zernike should be fired immediately. She has no business being in a newsroom. Her allegation is absurd and flatly not true," Mr. Mattera tells Inside the Beltway. "The racial stereotyping she speaks of was nothing more than my Brooklyn accent, something she could've figured out by doing a quick Internet search of me. Is it now the policy of the New York Times to allow its reporters to just make stuff up without any evidence? I bet Zernike's journalism role model was Jason Blair."

And Ms. Zernike replies:

"I was trying to describe the way he was suddenly dropping r's after enunciating them clearly throughout most of his speech, particularly as he borrowed a quote from the president: 'yes we can brothas and sistahs, yes we can!,' " she tells the Beltway.

"My friends and relatives from Brooklyn might have 'accents,' but they don't switch things up like that. It seemed he must have been going for particular effect," Ms. Zernike says.

See Mr. Mattera's appearance in the online video gallery of Young American's Foundation (www.yaf.org). See Ms. Zernike's story in the line-up here: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com.

IGNOBLE ROOSEVELT?

Tuesday is the 65th anniversary of the flag raising over Iwo Jima, an event that remains forever close to best-selling author and historian James Bradley, whose father was among those who hoisted Old Glory that day. Mr. Bradley, author of "Flags of Our Fathers," "Imperial Cruise" and other books, is wondering about the genesis of why his father was sent to the Pacific Theater, however, and has also thrown down a gauntlet to President Obama.

"On this anniversary, we now know that the problem my father and other American boys were out there to stop - Japanese expansionism - was green lit, anointed and approved by Theodore Roosevelt in a secret treaty made behind the State Department's and Senate's back. That's unconstitutional," Mr. Bradley tells the Beltway.

"The Nobel Peace Prize Committee never knew that in the summer of 1905 Roosevelt was acting as an agent of the Japanese. Based upon these revelations, I have contacted the White House to ask if they support maintaining Roosevelt's ill-gotten Nobel Peace Prize on the wall of the Roosevelt Room," he says.

IGNOBLE WASHINGTON?

From the Beltway's you-never-know bin: A CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday queried Americans: Did George Washington ever lie in public when he was president? Three-fourths - 74 percent - said "yes." And what about Abraham Lincoln? A near equal percentage - 71 percent - said Lincoln also lied.

Should we be upset at these revelations?

"This actually is a question we have been asking from time to time since the 1990s. It is fascinating to see that Americans' distrust of political figures is not limited to modern-day politicians, but historic ones as well, and that gives these numbers some important perspective. The percentages have remained consistently high over the years," CNN's polling director Keating Holling tells the Beltway.

If it is any consolation, 75 percent also said contemporary Washington officials are not honest either. The poll of 1,023 adults was conducted Feb. 12 to 15.

FROM THE COSMOS

Republicans who hope another prominent Democrat will drop out of politics are in luck, at least according to hypnotist and psychic Blair Robertson.

"Watch for yet another Democrat to throw in the towel," Mr. Robertson tells the Beltway, predicting that this event will happen by March 16.

Indeed, Mr. Robertson adds that "Democratic Party chaos" is also in the cards.

TAX ATTACK

The world's first "Online Tax Revolt" is now under way, led by the electronic avatars of "team leaders" Michael Reagan, Neil Boortz and other luminaries seeking tax reform as April 15 looms.

Visitors choose a snappy avatar of their own and "march" on a map toward the nation's capital; see it all at www.onlinetaxrevolt.com. So far, 35,000 have signed on for the virtual march.

"The Online Tax Revolt is open to every American who believes taxes and spending are out of control, harmful to our country and a threat to our nation's future," said chairman Ken Hoagland. "Our economic future and that of future generations is at stake. We need taxes that are lower and a tax structure that's fair. This march is a wake-up call to everyone in Washington that the American people won't be ignored."

State-based and veterans' teams are in the works, Mr. Hoagland says, with "other prominent team leaders" to come.

POLL DU JOUR

c 76 percent of Americans say it's likely the Federal Reserve Board will raise "other interest rates" this year.

c 54 percent expect interest rates to be higher a year from now.

c 15 percent say the Fed's decision to raise interest rates makes them "more confident" about the economy.

c 41 percent say the decision makes them less confident, 36 percent say it has no influence.

c 46 percent say Fed chairman Ben S. Bernanke has "too much power" over the economy.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Feb. 20 and 21.

c Hoots, hollers, curmudgeonly outbursts to jharper@ washingtontimes.com.

About the Author
Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

A graduate of Syracuse University, Jennifer Harper writes the daily Inside the Beltway column and provides additional coverage of breaking national news, plus long-term trends in politics, media issues, public opinion, popular culture, Hollywood foibles and “eureka” moments in health and science.

She has been a frequent broadcast commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Voice of America, Citadel Broadcasting, ...

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