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Inside the Beltway

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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A PRAYER FOR PERRY

Bashing Rick Perry has become real sport in the press. And no wonder. Journalists realize that the Texas governor could impinge on President Obama's re-election efforts and are acting accordingly. Mr. Perry, expected to announce his own White House bid later this month, is drawing scornful scrutiny from those pining to paint him as brash Texan rather than a successful public official with considerable prowess in the economic realm.

Now under way: endless carping over Mr. Perry's participation in the Response, a faith event in Houston on Saturday where about 8,000 people will pray for the nation. Critics claim he's mixing politics and religion, that the event is exclusionary and sponsored by "extremists" and that voters will disapprove. "Religious event may pose risks for Perry," proclaimed the Boston Globe. "A wingnut and a prayer," offered the Texas Observer.

The coverage does not mention that the Response — which is free — was never billed as a political event and has been endorsed by black, Hispanic and Asian-American clergy as well as by churches from as far away as Brooklyn, Los Angeles, New Orleans and even Switzerland. The media coverage also omits the fact that 1,000 churches nationwide plan to simulcast the seven-hour event.

"This will be a solemn occasion where people will gather to pray and repent, and seek God's blessing and provision. We gather in a spirit of unity, in opposition to no group or perspective, and we will pray for the good of the country as a whole," spokesman Eric Bearse tells Inside the Beltway.

PRIMAL PRIMARY FEAR

"Which liberals would give President Obama a run for his money in a primary?" asks the National Review, declaring that former White House czar Anthony "Van" Jones, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanueland former President Jimmy Carterare contenders. Along with one Josiah Bartlet, the president portrayed by actor Martin Sheen on NBC's "West Wing," which left the air in 2006. "Because liberals prefer fiction," the magazine explains.

THE COMB-OUT

"Big Hair Alaska."

(Title of a two-part reality series on TLC, showcasing the Beehive in Wasilla, Alaska, the hair salon that originated Sarah Palin's signature up-do and the shop "where the personalities of the owner and her staff are as big as the hairstyles they create," according to the cable network.)

HUCKABEE'S BACKBONE

In an ideal world, media coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 would be thoughtful and reverent but not sanitized. Wars are under way, though: MSNBC, the New York Daily News and other news organizations have accused Mike Huckabee of trying to "cash in" on the attacks by promoting an animated history lesson for children born after the events.

The cartoon, which tells young viewers that the nation was attacked by "anti-American Islamic terrorists," is part of a DVD series titled "Learn Our History" that offers a positive view of America. The production company was co-founded by Mr. Huckabee and former Wall Street financier Brad Saft.

"Martin Bashir of MSNBC is one of many who has attacked us, and has tried to make this nefarious. I don't know how to break it to him, but the people who flew the planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were Islamic fascist terrorists," Mr. Huckabee tells "America's Morning News," The Washington Times' daily talk-radio program.

"I won't be making a profit from this personally. I hope the company can get at least some return on its investments. But here's what I have to ask Mr. Bashir: Will MSNBC be selling advertising during the week of 9/11? I guarantee they'll be running specials on it. Will Bashir be collecting a salary? If so, will he be making a profit? Such hypocrisy, such typical liberal tripe," Mr. Huckabee observes.

CANDIDATE FINDER

Where, oh where are the Republic presidential hopefuls this weekend? Here's where:

New Hampshire: Gary Johnson, Rep. Thaddeus D. McCotter, Michigan Republican

Iowa: Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum.

South Carolina: Jon Huntsman.

Oregon: Herman Cain.

HAPPY DEPLOYED DAY

Safe boating, equal pay, hepatitis, Earth Day, Cesar Chavez — the White House issues all sorts of official proclamations for special days to recognize issues, activists, causes. There may be another day to consider if Sen. John Hoeven has anything to say about it. The Republican North Dakota has introduced a resolution in the Senate to designate Oct. 26, 2011, as Day of the Deployed, to honor U.S. troops far from home.

"We cannot do enough to thank them and their families for the sacrifices they willingly make," says Mr. Hoeven, who is already familiar with the cause.

As North Dakota governor, he declared a Day of the Deployed in 2006 to support Soldiers' Angels, a nonprofit that helps deployed military personnel and their families. By 2010, 40 states also had recognized the day.

POLL DU JOUR

• 76 percent of Americans say "Americans" are becoming ruder and less civilized.

• 12 percent say they're becoming "kinder and gentler"; 12 percent are not sure.

• 70 percent say Americans have become ruder to sales or service people.

• 61 percent say sales and service people have become ruder to their customers.

• 58 percent say they've confronted someone for rude behavior in public; 38 percent have never confronted anyone.

• 64 percent of men and 52 percent of women say they have confronted rude people.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted July 31-Aug. 1.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow the column at twitter.com/harperbulletin or facebook.com/harperuniverse.

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