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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Monday, October 4, 2010

STAGE LEFT

The nation's most senior military officer comes to town to deliver a speech on economic policy to the local business community. Great. The local Democratic congresswoman shows up and horns in with a campaign speech. Not so great. That is exactly what happened in Tucson, Ariz., recently when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen appeared as the keynote speaker at an annual business summit organized by Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, a development board.

Indeed, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made an "unscheduled" appearance at the summit, according to a source; her two-minute courtesy greeting turned into a 15-minute campaign speech before business insiders there for promising news about defense contracts or the state of nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

"Giffords was not scheduled to speak, but she showed up anyway and expected to be put right on the stage. That's really pushing the boundaries of her incumbency. The economic group received a phone call from the admiral's office after it was all over. They were not happy that the congresswoman essentially got up and gave a stump speech," the source says.

"And an officer of that stature has got to be very careful. He can't be onstage, in campaign season, with someone who's going to get her political message out, no matter what," the source adds.

PALIN PERSISTENCE

Tedious mockery of Sarah Palin, her causes and her family continues in the liberal press and Hollywood circles. But her good-natured appeal also continues, a bright, persistent phenomenon in a sea of mud: Mrs. Palin is the clear leader in a straw poll of potential Republican presidential candidates - this one from the American Spectator.

In a 21-nominee field, the former Alaska governor is No. 1, currently capturing 18 percent of the votes, followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 11 percent, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with 9 percent and Mitt Romney with 7 percent.

Mike Huckabee, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Newt Gingrich, John R. Bolton, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and a dozen others follow, each garnering diminishing percentages. Join the fray and vote online through Friday here: http://spectator.org/polls/2012-gop-straw-poll.

OH, THOSE REPUBLICANS

In the feedback loop of the perpetual media, a little tune called "Republican Town" is getting plenty of feedback. The ditty showcases "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarlane's vision of the Republican Party and debuted on Sunday's episode, sung in part by Rush Limbaugh during his much-ballyhooed guest appearance on the animated Fox series.

Curious about how the Grand Old Party emerges in McFarlane-scope? A sampling of the cheeky big Broadway lyrics in four-four time, which even tuck in a swift bash of conservative actor Jon Voight:

"I dream of Republican town, where men to the right of the aisle don't back down, where streets are aglow with the smell of apple pies - and babies come out of the womb in coats and ties."

"Nice place, huh. Rush?" chimes in Brian Griffith, liberal elite dog, baritone - and the voice of Mr. McFarlane.

"It's paradise, Brian," Mr. Limbaugh sings back. "Trees grow from Republican sod, and everyone prays to a right-wing God."

In the words of the sages, oy vey. Revisit the episode at www.fox.com.

RAHM WATCH

"Back off."

Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel's instructions to the assembled press as he embarked on his "Tell It Like It Is" listening tour of local neighborhoods.

LIMBURGER, ET AL.

"Big cheeses around here."

President Obama's comment after addressing his Economic Recovery Advisory Board on Monday.

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

Uh-oh. Night of the Living TARP could be upon us. While fans of the $700 billion bank bailout celebrated the "end" of TARP in recent days, taxpayers are not off the hook yet. The program intended to rescue financial entities deemed "too big to fail" has itself become a costly behemoth, say observers at Americans for Tax Reform.

Borrowing a page from Dr. Frankenstein, Congress nevertheless continues to resurrect the recently deceased TARP, passing the $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund, among other things.

"What TARP did was tell financial institutions - and later, other enterprises, such as the auto industry - that taxpayers will fund risks the private market refused to sustain," sighs Grover Norquist, president of the aforementioned ATR. "TARP is a state-sponsored vampire: It sucks the lifeblood from taxpayers to reward bad behavior. This Halloween, Americans have more to fear than goblins and ghosts."

POLL DU JOUR

- 68 percent of all adult TV viewers say "most political advertising" attacks the opposing candidate.

- 12 percent say the ads promote the candidate who pays for them; 21 percent are not sure.

- 56 percent say negative ads make them "less likely" to vote for the candidate who produced them.

- 53 percent say political ads should be banned from TV.

- 40 percent say there is more negative political ads this election year than in previous years.

- 31 percent say negative ads have no impact on whom they'll vote for.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Sept. 27-28.

Choruses, refrains and stage whispers to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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