- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 7, 2011

THE COMEBACK TRAIL

“I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.”

(Dialogue from a new campaign message titled “Strong,” released Wednesday by presidential hopeful Rick Perry, who has purchased $1.2 million in broadcast advertising to run on Fox News in the next three weeks.)

COMEBACK PT. 2

“People understand that I’m a man of steadiness and constancy. I don’t think you’re going to find somebody who has more of those attributes than I do. I’ve been married to the same woman for 25 — excuse me, I’ll get in trouble — for 42 years. I’ve been in the same church my entire life. I worked at one company, Bain, for 25 years. If I’m president of the United States, I will be true to my family, my faith and our country, and I will never apologize for the United States of America.”

(Dialogue from a new campaign message titled “Leader,” released Wednesday by presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who has purchased $1 million in broadcast advertising to run on Fox News in the next three weeks.)

TARGET PRACTICE

CBS News is reporting, based on official documents, that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives discussed using its covert operation Fast and Furious to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales, including Demand Letter 3, which would require 8,500 firearms dealers in four southwest border states — Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas — to report the sale of multiple rifles or “long” guns.

“If these reports are true, even by Washington standards this reaches a new level of arrogance and corruption,” says Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican. “Yet again, Attorney General Eric Holder has some explaining to do.”

PRO-LIFE PREMIERE

The campaign dynamic continues to tighten out in Iowa: All Republican presidential hopefuls have been asked to the premiere of “The Gift of Life,” a pro-life documentary hosted by Mike Huckabee and produced by Citizens United Productions. This is no Hollywood fete: The premiere is scheduled next week in Des Moines, and allows each candidate to address the audience on pro-life issues.

On the “yes” list so far: Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, who will join the Family Leader President Bob Vander Plaats and Citizens United President David N. Bossie onstage. No word from the rest.

FAUX DEBATE

Some pine to be Donald Trump now that the kajillionaire reality TV star has been named moderator of a Republican presidential debate scheduled at month’s end. Though it’s bound to draw much ancillary press coverage, the bout has drawn the interest of only three GOP hopefuls.

But alas. As serious political ritual, the Republican debate now is devolving into something called “Stephen Colbert’s South Carolina Serious, Classy Republican Debate.”

The Comedy Central comedian and fake newsman could be serious. Mr. Colbert insists he will moderate the event, presumably in South Carolina, “sometime in January.”

SHIRT PATROL

“Occupy a Desk. Get a Job”

“Occupy Sesame Street.”

“Go Occupy Yourself.”

(Three new T-shirt mottos from CafePress.com)

BASHING NEWT BASHERS

The big three networks tend to revisit the past, and ultimately use a “heavy brush” to paint presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich as “unethical,” says Media Research Center director L. Brent Bozell III, who is now calling on ABC, CBS and NBC to correct some 12-year-old misinformation.

“It has been 4,689 days since the IRS formally cleared Newt Gingrich of any violation of tax law. It’s been 4,689 days since ABC, CBS and NBC have had the opportunity to report it. What the heck. Why not today?” Mr. Bozell asks. “The networks owe it to the American people to report the fact that in 1999 the IRS completely vindicated Gingrich.”

The tenacious Mr. Bozell supplies the math, noting that the networks filed 244 stories in late 1996 detailing an IRS investigation into whether Mr. Gingrich violated tax laws when conducting a television history course called “Renewing American Civilization.” After a three-year investigation, the federal agency cleared Mr. Gingrich of wrongdoing.

“Total number of network stories on the news that [report] Newt was completely innocent? Zero. That’s beyond pathetic,” Mr. Bozell observes.

POLL DU JOUR

• 95 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa are following news of the 2012 presidential election.

• 82 percent want a GOP candidate with “new ideas” for the Republican Party.

• 71 percent have watched the previous Republican presidential debates.

• 66 percent say it is “too early” to say for sure who they support in the Republican primaries.

• 63 percent say the Republican Party is headed in the right direction.

• 53 percent say the tea party has the “right amount” of influence on the Republican Party.

• 43 percent have the same amount of enthusiasm for the 2012 election as in years past; 42 percent have more.

• 37 percent watch Fox News for their political news, 27 percent watch network news, 12 percent don’t watch TV news, 10 percent watch a “combination,” 8 percent watch CNN, 2 percent watch MSNBC.

Source: A New York Times/CBS News poll of 642 likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa conducted Nov. 30 to Dec. 5.

Hubbub, sly murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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