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Inside the Beltway
Ten? A dozen? No, there are 19 possible Republican candidates for president, this according to a new Republican National Committee straw poll, now under way online. Along with all the regulars, the roster includes Texas Gov. Rick Perry, John Bolton, Rudolph W. Giuliani , New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Jim Demint of South Carolina, Donald Trump and of course Other. “There is no time to lose,” observes Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who warns that President Obama already has “dispatched his leftist moneymen across the country to start filling his campaign war chest.”
Maybe Air Force One should be left idling somewhere. On Wednesday, President Obama and first lady Michelle will board the big craft and jet to Chicago to tape a talk show with Oprah Winfrey. Then they race to New York City for twin fundraisers - a $35,800-a-plate private dinner for 70 donors at the Upper East Side home of former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, hosted by public relations heavyweight Michael Kempner and financier Orin Kramer. Then there’s a big fat campaign gala at the Waldorf-Hysteria Hotel. Oh, sorry. That’s Waldorf-Astoria. Later in the evening, the first couple will attend a Roots concert.
And Friday, Mr. Obama and family arrive in Florida for the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour; he’ll also deliver a commencement speech at a Miami Dade College. And lucky Mr. President. He returns home just in time to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which at this point plays host to some 2,000, uh, “correspondents” and a chaotic guest list that at this point includes Bristol Palin, Colin Powell, actor Steve Buscemi and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
OLBERMANN HAS LANDED
Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann goes back on the air for a nightly rant and commentary show June 20, courtesy of Current TV, the San Francisco-based cable channel founded six years ago by Al Gore and entrepreneur Joel Hyatt. Not much has changed since Mr. Olbermann left his old network in January.
The new show is still called “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” The host also has been given the title of “chief news officer” at the network, which appears eager to take on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and everyone else in the combative news landscape. “Keith will be back, speaking truth to power and calling them as he sees them, but this time, on Americas only independent news and information TV network,” Mr. Hyatt observes.
Not all potential Republican presidential candidates are dithering about a White House run. Herman Cain - who formed his exploratory committee in January - is in Washington on Wednesday to talk policy and ideas, specifically his own five-point tax plan and his reactions to the budget proposals of President Obama and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.
Mr. Cain, whose supporters have adopted the motto “Yes We Cain,” will appear at an on-the-record news conference at high noon, organized by Americans for Tax Reform and the American Spectator, moderated by the magazine’s publisher, Al Regnery.
As Capitol Hill’s Easter recess clock ticks, lawmakers are scurrying around their home districts trying to make nice with the locals. And what better time to confront them, suggests the Tea Party Patriots; the grass-roots group is asking its 15 million members to visit the home offices of House and Senate members Thursday, to demand they oppose an increase in the debt limit, to support the Full Faith and Credit Act and to oppose tax increases. The group will track the answers they get and post them online (teapartypatriots.org).
“As Congress enjoys its spring recess and ignores the vast problems facing our nation, we are faced with two more critical battles: the potential debt ceiling increase and the budget for fiscal year 2012,” says Patriots’ co-founder Mark Meckler. “We’re telling Congress that weve had enough of their meaningless backroom deals and fuzzy math.”
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