- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

OBAMAFORNIA

Will California prove the “Golden State” for President Obama? A 48-hour West Coast fundraising tour includes six major events that could ultimately net $4 million for Mr. Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Is there some hopey-changey cooling, though? Hollywood elite, such as Matt Damon and DreamWorks founder David Geffen, are vexed by evolving White House policies on same-sex marriage, the economy and the war in Afghanistan. But the show must go on, namely a splashy Sony Studios “Obamajam” event hosted by actress Rashida Jones, comedian Jamie Foxx and singer Jason Mraz — with admission prices up to $2,500 a pop.

Then there’s the serious $35,800-per-plate private soirees — not one, but two dinners at the chichi Tavern in Los Angeles organized by Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon and Capital Group President John Emerson; guests include movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and recording executive Berry Gordy. Tavern fare is tasty and fancy, like “grilled lamb T-bone chops with saffron couscous, turnips, dates and citrus peel.” Among the cocktails? The kumquatini and ginger margarita.

An L.A. eatery, however, is determined to attract Mr. Obama’s attention. Tubs Fine Chili is lobbying to get a presidential visit, perhaps inspired by Mr. Obama’s penchant for the savory treats at Ben’s Chili Bowl and Five Guys in the nation’s capital. Tub’s is known for creative chili, not to mention deep-fried corn muffins stuffed with chili, cheese and onions.

“The president is a known chili lover and enjoys dining locally. As we are just two blocks from Sony, what better place for him to visit?” asks founder Rick Hodges.

WHO PAYS FOR IT?

“When there is travel like this that involves official travel and also political travel, this administration very diligently follows all the same rules that the Bush administration did. And as far as the specifics on how that breaks down, Ill have to get back to you. I don’t have that. But were very careful about making sure that all those rules are followed.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney, explaining who foots the bill when presidential activities and campaign events take place on the same trip, during a news conference aboard Air Force One on Wednesday.

TRUMPCENTRIC

Is Donald Trump’s 15 minutes of fame over yet? It doesn’t much matter, because Mr. Trump will start another 15 minutes of fame as soon as this one is over. The billionaire presidential hopeful has attracted the hoity-toity attention of the Pew Research Center. Americans, apparently, are not quite ready to let go of Trump fascination.

“Donald Trump has drawn a lot of attention in a slow-starting race for the GOP nomination. Roughly a quarter of all Americans (26 percent) name Trump as the possible Republican presidential candidate they have heard most about lately, far more than volunteer any other candidate,” Pew findings show. “Among Republicans, 39 percent name Trump as most visible — more than all other possible GOP candidates combined.”

The poll continues, “To be sure, Trump is standing out in a contest that has yet to draw much public interest or media coverage. In fact, about half of all Americans (53 percent) could not name anyone when asked which GOP candidate they have been hearing the most about,” the poll says.

TRUMP DEJA VU

“I am the American Dream, supersized version. … What’s happened over the last four years is disgusting, and I just think there’s a tremendous lack of spirit, and I think the spirit has to be brought back.”

Donald Trump on Oct. 7, 1999, previewing his new book, “The America We Deserve,” and announcing he had formed a presidential exploratory committee

THE BUSH CYCLE

Former President George W. Bush is still fit, still likes biking. From April 25-27, Mr. Bush will host the Warrior 100 — a 100-kilometer mountain bike ride in West Texas with 14 U.S. servicemen and women who were seriously wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Organizations represented on the ride include the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Ride 2 Recovery, World T.E.A.M. Sports and the Wounded Warrior Project. Details can be found here: www.w100k.com.

“I’ll be riding across the deserts of Texas with wounded warriors to show the unbelievable character of our men and women in uniform. It’s a 100-kilometer ride in the desert, and it’s not a leisurely ride. It’s a ride to herald people who were dealt a severe blow and said, ‘I’m not going to let it tear me down.’” Mr. Bush says.

CALLING ALL REAGANS

“Are you a Reagan? How many ‘Reagans’ are out there, literally? If your first, middle or last name is ‘Reagan,’ tell us why and share your story,” advises the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, which is collecting a surprising amount of stories via Facebook from mothers who named their babies — both boys and girls — “Reagan.”

It’s all a part of the ongoing observances of the Reagan centennial, and continues until May 2. Connect, in fact, through www.reagancentennial.com.

POLL DU JOUR

• 63 percent of likely U.S. voters say “gaining control of the border” is the most important aspect of immigration reform.

• 82 percent of Republicans agree.

• 61 percent overall say a child born to an undocumented worker should not automatically become a U.S. citizen.

• 77 percent of Republicans agree.

• 55 percent overall favor a “welcoming immigration policy” that bars entry only to national security threats, criminals and welfare recipients.

• 62 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats agree.

• 30 percent overall prefer to legalize undocumented workers already living here.

• 53 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted April 17-18.

Splashy events, hoity-toity findings to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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