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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 22, 2011

JOINT LEGISLATION

He does well in straw polls. Now he may do well in grass polls, too. Sure to add an interesting dimension to the White House derby on Thursday: presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, joins Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, to introduce the first-ever legislation to "end the federal war on marijuana and letting states legalize, regulate, tax and control marijuana without federal interference," says a spokesman.

The co-sponsors are all Democrats, including Reps. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Jared Polis of Colorado and Barbara Lee of California. The legislation would limit the federal governments role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or interstate smuggling.

SORRY STEWART

Aw, well gee. Jon Stewart has apologized after declaring that Fox News viewers were a "consistently misinformed" bunch, a notion challenged by the press watchdogs at PolitiFact, using statistical findings from several Pew Research Center media studies. After much ado, the watchdogs deemed the Comedy Central host's opinion "false," which seemed to make him penitent. Sort of. A little, maybe.

"Ultimately, PolitiFact declared my statement false. I defer to their judgment and I apologize for my mistake," Mr. Stewart says. "To not do so would be irresponsible, and if I were to continue to make such mistakes and misstatements and not correct them - especially if each and every one of those misstatements happened to go in one very particular direction on the political spectrum, well that would undermine the very integrity and credibility that I work so hard to pretend to care about."

PALIN'S REALITY

Forget the White House for a nanosecond. Sarah Palin is a candidate for something - and she's got much competition. Like, uh, "Ace of Cakes," "American Chopper," "Antiques Roadshow," "Celebrity Rehab," "Deadliest Catch," "Dog the Bounty Hunter," "Dirty Jobs," "Jerseylicious," "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List," "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and "Mob Wives."

Those are among the 92 reality TV shows in consideration for an Emmy Award in the "outstanding reality" category this year - along with "Sarah Palin's Alaska," a sweeping look at her beloved home state that premiered in November. The eight-episode series produced by TLC was well-received; the New York Times deemed it "a nature series for political voyeurs."

While her fans wait to see if she'll join the 2012 presidential race, they can at least root for her in the entertainment realm. The network also submitted her show in the cinematography, picture editing and music composition category. We'll know if the former Alaska governor gets a walk on the red carpet next month, when the nominations are announced.

GIPPER AT THE BALLGAME

Yes, Ronald Reagan still inspires big public moments. The Washington Nationals celebrates the 100th birthday of President Reagan in a big way Thursday during their game with the Seattle Mariners.

Rep. Aaron Shcock, Illinois Republican, throws out their first pitch, while Stewart McLaurin, executive director of the Reagan Presidential Foundation's yearlong centennial celebrations, ceremoniously delivers the lineup card to the umpires. Natalie Grant sings the "Star-Spangled Banner," there's a Major League Baseball video tribute to Reagan narrated by Fox Sports announcer Chris Rose and Reagan trivia on the jumbotron. Wait, there's more. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees will also throw Reagan birthday celebrations in July and August.

PRO-LIFER POLITICS

Weekly Standard co-founder and editor Fred Barnes, plus presidential hopefuls Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican; Rick Santorum and Herman Cain will address the National Right to Life's annual convention, which gets under way in Florida on Thursday.

The gathering is geared to "grassroots pro-lifers," activists, clergy, teenagers and fundraisers. The agenda includes"Planned Parenthood: The Hyper-Political, Under-Regulated, Out-of-Control Mega-Marketer of Abortion," "Understanding Abortion Polls" and "The Pro-Life Movement in Congress," among dozens of other topics. See details here: www.nrlc.org.

T-PAW EMERGES

"A lot of candidates will come to Iowa and say the same things. The question is, have they done it? In a liberal state, I reduced spending in real terms for the first time, took on the government unions and won, appointed a conservative Supreme Court, and passed health care reform the right way - no mandates, no takeovers. If I can do it in Minnesota, we can do it in Washington."

From Tim Pawlenty's first presidential campaign ad, "Results, Not Rhetoric," now airing in Iowa.

POLL DU JOUR

• 88 percent of U.S. voters are concerned Congress will take "no concrete steps" on the nation's fiscal crisis before their August recess.

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

• 83 percent overall say Congress should stay in Washington and work through their recess if they have no concrete solutions by Aug. 2.

• 86 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats agree.

• 57 percent overall say a compromise between congressional Republicans and Democrats is the best solution.

• 51 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A No Labels poll of 802 registered voters conducted June 16.

Big entrances, fast exits, trite press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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