Inside the Beltway

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DECENT AMERICA

Most likely voters - 67 percent - continue to believe U.S. society is “fair and decent”, but far fewer feel that President Obama agrees with them, says a Rasmussen Reports survey released Wednesday. The poll revealed that 43 percent say the president thinks American society is fair and decent. Thirty-six percent think Mr. Obama finds society generally “unfair and discriminatory,” 21 percent are not quite sure what the president thinks.

Naturally, there’s a partisan divide. A majority of Democrats (68 percent) think Mr. Obama views society positively, while almost as many Republicans (60 percent) think he views it as unfair and discriminatory, the pollster says.

AFTERBIRTHER

So many headlines, so little time. And now, the post-President Obama birth certificate release press roundup:

“Birthers Unmoved” (Politico); “Dear birthers, please go away now” (Boston Globe); “Dear Mr. President: what took you so long?” (Daily Caller); “If you think Trump will go away now …” (Salon); “Trump ‘so proud’, ‘so honored’ Obama released birth certificate (Fox News); “Obama slams birthplace claims as ‘silliness’ ” (Agence-France Presse); “Complainer-in-Chief” (National Review); “Obama fuels birtherism” (the Spectator); “Should Donald Trump apologise?” (the Guardian); “Congratulations, America: Donald Trump is the boss of you” (Time); “Maybe the birthers have missed the real threat” (Kansas City Star).

PRESIDENTIAL HUGENESS

Some say the office of president is just too much for one person to handle. A co-presidency has been suggested. But maybe we need a stunt president. Or a triumvirate.

When Haley Barbour dropped out of the White House derby this week, the Mississippi governor framed the enormity of the office as a “10-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else.” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who once said he could best President Obama in the 2012 race, apparently agrees. So does his wife, Mary Pat.

“We are moving inexorably not simply to news, but to politics 24/7/365. And what better example than our current part-time president who, with no primary challenger in sight, is already on the campaign trail,” wonders Roger Pilon, vice president for legal affairs at the Cato Institute.

“The presidency is too-large-for-life because the president is the head of a government that is simply too large. The too-large-for-life factor also reportedly is why Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who I’d place well above Barbour on my list, has been on the fence about running,” says Atlanta Journal Constitution political analyst Kyle Wingfield, adding, “I have to wonder who, exactly, could perform the job as it stands today, evolved and mutated in so many ways.”

Lots, apparently. As of Thursday, there are 19 possible contenders on the Republican National Committee’s online straw poll - Mr. Barbour, Mr. Christie and Mr. Daniels included.

ANCHORMAN SHEEN

Now in search of “multidimensional story telling,” Katie Couric has officially announced she’ll vacate her anchor chair at CBS News.

“Rumor has it that CBS is going to name Scott Pelley as Couric’s successor. But what’s the rush?” asks Media Research Center Brent Bozell, who says his group has launched its own search for her replacement.

“CBS likes people with charisma - like Charlie Sheen, maybe? He too is looking for work. Or someone with ‘CBS depth.’ How about Britney Spears? Or maybe someone who is sweet, perky and, oh wait a minute, you tried that already,” Mr. Bozell observes. “We urge you to postpone your decision and give us a chance to weigh in. But don’t wait too, too long. The ratings footsteps you hear are Current TV gaining.”

BURNING ISSUES

“The Central Intelligence Agencys practice of shredding and burning classified papers - often referred to in Hollywood as ‘burn after reading’ - is one of several ways the agency conserves energy, reduces its impact on the environment, and lowers costs through its sustainability efforts,” the CIA tells Inside the Beltway.

“Exhaust from the agency’s on-site incinerator generates steam to heat water at CIA headquarters. In addition to saving fuel, that process reduces the amount of waste, which would otherwise be destined for landfills by nearly 1,000 tons per year.”

Who knew?

“This is a moral responsibility,” says outgoing CIA director Leon E. Panetta.

READER’S CORNER

“I have an idea. Let Simon Cowell produce a new show called ‘American Ideologies.’ Perfect. Produced by a European with a bad attitude. All the candidates can debate topics suggested by the producers. Stuff like, ‘How can we increase Medicare coverage and let someone else pay for it,’ ‘Why it’s good to overpay public sector unions,’ and my favorite, ‘Oil, we don’t need no stinking oil, and the best way to dry up our supply,’ ” says Beltway reader Chuck Morse, who says he’s not “the” Chuck Morse, a Boston-based talk-radio host.

“Oh yeah. A bonus topic worth 100 points: ‘How will Obama’s birth certificate controversy affect Will and Kate’s wedding?’ By the way, Chicago residents have an extra vote, just in case,” Mr. Morse adds.

POLL DU JOUR

• 48 percent of Americans say Republicans in Congress will “do a better job” dealing with the federal budget.

• 86 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

• 36 percent overall say Democrats in Congress will do a better job.

• 73 percent of Democrats and 5 percent of Republicans agree.

• 44 percent overall prefer President Obama’s long-term plan for the federal budget deficit.

• 4 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats agree.

• 43 percent overall prefer House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s long-term plan for the deficit.

• 82 percent of Republicans and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,013 adults conducted April 20 to 23.

Trashy talk, big pronouncements, press releases to jharper@ washingtontimes.com.

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