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Inside the Beltway
WHAT SUNDAY MEANS
Why, no golf for President Obama, of course. But maybe pizza, ordered in. Mr. Obama has issued a command appearance for eight lawmakers and five administration heavies at the White House for 1 p.m. on Sunday to confront the prospect of the debt ceiling and its raising, lowering or sidestepping. The deadline on this issue is just over three weeks away. And it's always prudent to remember the bumper sticker, "Don't tell Obama what comes after a trillion."
If anyone cares, it's a quadrillion. Meanwhile, a new Rasmussen Reports survey finds that just 23 percent of Americans are confident "U.S. policymakers know what they're doing" when it comes to addressing the nation's economic problems. Yeah, well.
"Negotiators should hopefully work toward an agreement that achieves at least $4 trillion in deficit reduction, stabilizes our debt by 2015 and addresses Social Security solvency to ensure that our nation remains financially strong for future generations," advise the president's former Fiscal Commission co-chairs Erskine B. Bowles and Alan Simpson, who now spread their message through the bipartisan Moment of Truth, a nonprofit group.
"Give me liberty not debt" and "I see debt people."
- Bumper stickers spotted on the same vehicle in Fredericksburg, Va.
DEMINT'S STRAIGHT AIM
Politics has become a flea market full of ideological knickknacks, punctuated by the bark of canny salesmen. But rest assured, there are still some who aren't peddling dazzling knockoffs to an unsuspecting public. Sen. Jim DeMint is one of those; the South Carolina Republican maintains a high profile but a straightforward mien. The U.S. is in for the "fight of its life," he says, revealed in "The Great American Awakening: Two Years that Changed America, Washington, & Me," his new book published on the Fourth of July, dedicated to "the tea parties" and prompted by the 2008 presidential election.
"Here is what we must do to help save our country," Mr. DeMint observes. "First, we must increase our sense of urgency, motivated by the knowledge that the 2012 elections could be our last chance to rescue America from disaster. This is not hyperbole. Our nation and many of our states are broke. America is dependent on unfriendly foreign countries for the energy and credit we need to run our economy. We are near the tipping point where America and its people could finally become too dependent to live independently and control their own destinies."
He continues, "Not surprisingly, this appears to be the goal of President Obama and most of the Democrat party. Almost every one of their policies and actions have grown the federal government and centralized more power in Washington. Interest groups such as government unions, trial lawyers, Wall Street bankers, international corporations and other such groups that want more money, more benefits and special treatment from the government have been able to get it."
THE MORMON MOVIE
Americans are already mulling "The Undefeated," a well-received, feature-length movie chronicling Sarah Palin's political career, due for nationwide release at AMC theaters later this month. Now comes "A Mormon President," a documentary released as presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr. hone their political images and ponder mixed public reactions to their faith as Mormons.
Film director Adam Christing - not a Mormon but a member of the Mormon History Association - says public opposition to the candidacies of Mr. Romney and Mr. Huntsman has historic roots.
"Most Americans don't know that the first U.S. presidential candidate to be assassinated was a Mormon. In fact, he was the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. The Mormon prophet was murdered a few months after he announced his candidacy in 1844," Mr. Christing says.
"You can't really understand the gigantic challenge facing Romney and Huntsman, until you understand the secret world of Joseph Smith, polygamy and Smith's political ambition to build a theocracy in the United States," he adds.
The film is due out on DVD on Aug. 15. See the filmmaker's pitch at http://amormonpresident.com.
"Public interest in the presidential campaign is as about high as it was four years ago, despite the fact that only one party currently has a competitive nomination contest," says the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press latest news interest index. "While the focus this year has been on the GOP's race, Democrats express about as much interest in 2012 candidates as do Republicans."
Interest may be on par with days of yore, but donations are not. The six Republican presidential contenders who have revealed their fundraising hauls so far this year have raised about $35.25 million. At the same point four years ago, the 10 active Republican candidates seeking the GOP presidential nomination had raised more than $118 million, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics.
POLL DU JOUR
• 81 percent of Americans are worried that increasing the federal debt will harm the financial future of children and grandchildren.
• 80 percent of Americans describe the nation's economy as "poor."
• 53 percent say it's "extremely/very likely" the U.S. would face a major economic crisis if the federal debt limit is not raised.
• 29 percent say a crisis is "somewhat likely," 16 percent say it is "not too/not at all likely."
• 43 percent say Congress should only increase the debt ceiling if it makes significant spending cuts at the same time.
• 41 percent "strongly/somewhat oppose" raising the federal debt limit.
• 38 percent "strongly/somewhat support" raising the limit.
Source: An Associated Press-GFK Poll of 1,001 adults conducted June 16 to 20.
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