- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

IN THE DETAILS

Now on bookshelves: “Deconstructing Obama: The Life, Loves and Letters of America’s First Postmodern President” by Jack Cashill, published by Simon & Shuster. The new book uncovers “major discrepancies in the accepted narrative” of President Obama’s life, particularly his earliest years. Mr. Cashill says the news media is indifferent to such information. He’s also convinced that former University of Illinois professor Bill Ayers — who co-founded the radical Weather Underground in 1969 — helped craft “Dreams From My Father,” the president’s much-acclaimed memoir.

“When I started this inquiry, I was less interested in President Obama’s birth certificate than I was in his SAT scores. As I got in deeper, I could see that we know more about the first few years of George Washington’s life than we do about Barack Obama’s,” Mr. Cashill tells Inside the Beltway. “This was the most comprehensive media failure in American history.”

THE JERSEY SURE

Oh, yeah. Jersey in the house. Well, not the House, but the American Enterprise Institute, which hosted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday. With a New Jersey lapel pin and that signature Garden State elocution, Mr. Christie charmed his audience. No droning. Wonk-free. He faulted the slow, unproductive grind of the government gods, and hammered on the fact that gusto pays. The governor now enjoys his highest favorability numbers (54 percent) in the heavily Democratic state, after consistently voicing dismay with bureaucratic doldrums.

“I think it is time for some impatience in America,” Mr. Christie advises.

TAKE FOR GRANITE

Yes, the New Hampshire presidential primary is a year away, and yes, 2012 hopefuls already travel the back roads of the small but feisty state. So far, Mitt Romney is leading the pack, says the just-released WMUR Granite State Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire. Among likely Republican primary voters, Mr. Romney has garnered a 73 percent favorability rating — with even higher numbers among conservatives (76 percent) and tea party supporters (77 percent).

Overall, 81 percent say they are “extremely interested” in Mr. Romney; 40 percent say they’ll vote for him — followed by Rudolph W. Giuliani at a distant 10 percent, Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee (7 percent each) and Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich (6 percent each).

“Romney is doing well in part because his brand of Republicanism fits with most New Hampshire Republicans, who can be characterized as ‘Rockefeller Republicans.’ New Hampshire is one of the least religious states in the country, and social conservatives have difficulty winning here. Fiscal issues are much more potent in the Granite State,” says survey director Andrew Smith.

CARNEYIZED

OK, White House press secretary Jay Carney has one briefing under his belt. How’d he do?

“Carney generally stayed on message and displayed the same ability to avoid a direct answer as his predecessor, Robert Gibbs.” (Tom Cohen, CNN)

“There was one constant: By the end of the hour, like Mr. Gibbs generally, Mr. Carney had provided a lot of quotes, but no news. (Jackie Calmes, the New York Times)

“Better than I ever could have imagined.” (Mr. Carney’s personal assessment)

ON THE RADAR

It all happened eons ago, on another planet, it seems. Actually, the year was 1991 when Paula Corbin Jones said, that former President Bill Clinton — then governor of Arkansas — propositioned her in a Little Rock, Ark., hotel room. Ms. Jones sued Mr. Clinton when he was a sitting president for sexual harassment three years later; the lawsuit was dismissed before trial and later settled out of court. The case, however, was later revisited during impeachment hearings against Mr. Clinton.

All that said, Ms. Jones will make a rare TV appearance, however. She’ll appear on ABC’s “The View” on Wednesday, part of a “where are they now?” series that will also update the public on Jessica Hahn and Kato Kaelin.

SCREEN GEMS

Time flies. Thursday marks the second anniversary of President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package — aka the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But woe is us, unemployment still tops the legendary 8 percent figure that the president once promised the nation. Did the public notice much?

Not if ABC, CBS and NBC had anything to do with it. The broadcast networks “nearly ignored the broken promise,” says a new analysis by the conservative Business & Media Institute: 98 percent of the financial stories skipped over the failed predictions during two full years of coverage; only nine network stories, in fact, included the administration’s guarantee that unemployment would stay below 8 percent with the enactment of the stimulus bill.

See the complete report here: www.mrc.org/bmi

POLL DU JOUR

• 68 percent of likely U.S. voters are concerned that “Islamic fundamentalists” will have too much power in Egypt now that President Hosni Mubarak has resigned.

• 88 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Democrats share the concern.

• 45 percent overall approve of President Obama’s response to the unrest in Egypt.

• 17 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of Democrats approve the response.

• 49 percent overall say Mr. Mubarak’s departure was “positive” for the U.S.

• 53 percent of Republicans say the ouster was negative for the U.S.

• 70 percent of Democrats say the ouster was a positive for the U.S.

Source: A Zogby Interactive poll of 1,823 likely voters conducted Feb. 14-16.

Details and more details to jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow the column at twitter.com/harperbulletin