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Inside the Beltway
Vilification has set in: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s marital infidelity was politicized the moment the news he had fathered a love child with a household employee hit public radar. In the past 48 hours, the former California governor issued multiple mea culpas while his wife, Maria Shriver, begged for family privacy. Breathless press reports have identified the mystery mother as former housekeeper and personal assistant Mildred Baena, 50; the son from the affair is said to be 14. Previous accounts claimed that Tammy Tousignant, a longtime attendant on Mr. Schwarzenegger’s private jet and mother to a college-aged son, was also a possible candidate. An obligatory DNA paternity test is in the works. Twitter is riddled with untidy jokes, and, of course, the habits and outcomes of other erring politicians have been revisited.
“Did Arnold Schwarzenegger’s governorship depend on keeping love child secret? Even if Schwarzenegger’s public persona was a macho rogue, adultery doesn’t play well with voters, especially Republicans,” says Christian Science Monitor writer Peter Grier.
“He put himself out here, knowing there was all this scrutiny on his personal life. That was a really risky thing he did in even getting into politics, knowing this,” James Carville told ABC morning host George Stephanopoulos, who replied, “It is pretty amazing.” Both were close advisers and vigorous defenders of former President Bill Clinton during the height of “bimbo eruptions” - including Mr. Clinton’s dalliance with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The former advisers show “supreme lack of irony or self-awareness,” Newsbusters analyst Scott Whitlock tells Inside the Beltway. “I think some journalists will continue to have no sense of irony when it comes to how they treated Clinton’s adultery and how they’re reporting on Schwarzenegger. Stephanopoulos certainly seems unconcerned with how his current comments contrast with an aggressive defense of Bill Clinton.”
Behold. Jon Huntsman has struck a presidential pose.
A spokesman for HPAC, the “leadership team” for the possible White House contender, says Mr. Huntsman heads to New Hampshire on Thursday, journeying to grass-roots house parties and VFW hall meetings in Hanover, Keene, Hancock and Concord, before delivering the commencement address at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester on Saturday. And Sunday? Six more towns in the Granite State, and six more meet-and-greets.
“The rise of pro-democracy movements has not led to an improvement for America’s image in the region. Instead, in key Arab nations and in other predominantly Muslim countries, views of the U.S. remain negative - indeed, in Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan views are even more negative than they were one year ago,” says a massive new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project (http://pewglobal.org), released just in time for President Obama’s massive new policy speech on the Middle East on Thursday.
“Obama himself remains unpopular in the Muslim nations polled, with the exception of Indonesia, and most disapprove of the way he has handled the calls for political change roiling the region,” the survey says. “In Jordan, just 28 percent express confidence in President Obama to do the right thing in world affairs; in Turkey, just 12 percent. And in interviews conducted before U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden, the survey finds just 10 percent of Pakistanis expressing confidence in President Obama.”
HURT LOCKER HEALER
He’s knee-deep in a film chronicling the death of Osama bin Laden. But Mark Boal, Oscar-winning writer and producer of “The Hurt Locker,” is taking time out to honor wounded military heroes, along with the medical stalwarts who tend them under the most dire circumstances. Mr. Boal joins U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis and other luminaries on Thursday for the PenFed Foundation Night of Heroes Gala - done up right, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington.
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