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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 31, 2011

TRUMPED UP

It's billed as a "Birther Conference." Republican presidential hopeful Andy Martin will convene the "Third National Conference on PresidentBarack Obama's Missing Birth Certificate and College Records" this weekend at the Capital Hilton, just blocks from the White House. Naturally, Mr. Martin has asked Donald Trump — some call him a "birther," some a "proofer" — to speak at the conference, which begins Friday. The billionaire real estate mogul has vigorously questioned for weeks whether Mr. Obama is a U.S. citizen and has demanded that the president produce a birth certificate that meets with his approval.

"I am impressed by your intuitive grasp of the controversy. While there are many opinions on where Obama was born, the only reliable evidence still points to Hawaii. You correctly identified the source of his obsessive secrecy: embarrassment at something on the document itself. What it is, I dont know," Mr. Martin said in his invitation to Mr. Trump.

"We are notifying hotel security that a high-profile visitor may be arriving either Friday — less likely — or Saturday — more likely — and that's all I can say right now. We may not know until the last minute," Mr. Martin tells Inside the Beltway.

NOW HEAR THIS

"Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted," says a billboard motto on the South Side of Chicago from the pro-life group Life Always, emblazoned with a portrait of President Obama. The billboard is meant to "encourage reflection on the disproportionate number of abortions among African Americans," says the Texas organization, which plans to erect 30 more — though a similar project in New York City ended after Planned Parenthood issued a letter of protest and local residents complained.

"Our future leaders are being aborted at an alarming rate. These are babies who could grow to be the future presidents of the United States, or the next Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington or Maya Angelou," said the Rev. Derek McCoy, associate pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville and a Life Always board member.

TEA PARTY = 'EXTREME'

Funny, the phrase used to be "right wing conspiracy," but no matter. One New York Democrat — well, a lot of Democrats — have blamed partisan discord on the "tea party," villainizing the grass-roots group and incorporating it into talking points as a prime example of "extreme" Republican politics.

"Sen. Charles Schumer is busy telling anyone who will listen that Republicans should quit listening to the tea party and just do what the Democrats tell them to do. Other senators, anxious to curry Schumer's favor, are dutifully reciting his talking points," said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. "Blaming the tea party for the budget impasse is Washington's political game of the week. We get it. Blame everyone but yourself."

QUAYLE HAIL

It is a tale of two vice presidents. Rep. Ben Quayle had much to say about the foibles of the news media, politics and the Democratic Party during his recent jaunty speech before the Congressional Correspondents Dinner. Yes, he did imply that Politico was the worst news organization on the planet; the 1,500 guests tittered and almost choked on their delicate pan-seared sea bass and risotto cake.

But the Arizona Republican also came to the defense of his father, former Vice President Dan Quayle, and his minor spelling mishap — adding an "e" to "potato" — 19 long years ago.

"So he misspelled potato," Mr. Quayle told the still tittering audience. "In the words of another vice president, 'big f-ing deal.'"

See Mr. Quayle's seven minutes on camera — conveniently edited from a lengthier video — here: www.c-spanvideo.org/program/AssociationD.

BUMPER PATROL

"This year I listed the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT as a dependent on my taxes."

Bumper sticker spotted in Bel Air, Md.

'BUT ONE CHAPTER'

It's been almost 39 years since the White House "plumbers" paid a midnight call on the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. And the political saga has at long last arrived, warts and all, in the official version of the events.

The $500,000 "Watergate Gallery" is open at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif., organized around six themes that include "Dirty Tricks and Political Espionage" and "Why Watergate Mattered." There are interactive screens and previously unreleased interviews with key players including G.Gordon Liddy and Charles Colson.

"This exhibit inspires us to think about whether or not Watergate changed how Americans think about electoral politics, the presidency and the exercise of presidential power," said Archivist of the U.S. David Ferriero. "Watergate is but one chapter in the complicated legacy of our 37th President."

POLL DU JOUR

• 46 percent of Americans prefer President Obama's approach to reduce the budget deficit and maintain federal programs.

• 5 percent of tea party supporters, 11 percent of Republicans and 28 percent of conservatives agree.

• 85 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of liberals and 34 percent of independents favor Mr. Obama's approach.

• 45 percent overall prefer Republicans in Congress to solve the budget deficit.

• 86 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of tea party supporters and 67 percent of conservatives agree.

• 49 percent of independents, 10 percent of Democrats and 20 percent of liberals also favor Republicans.

• 34 percent overall say things are going "well" in the U.S.

• 56 percent of liberals, 54 percent of Democrats, 29 percent of independents, 22 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of conservatives and 13 percent of tea partyers agree.

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll of 1,012 adults conducted March 18-20.

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