Inside the Beltway

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BOONE TOWN

Gentleman crooner and conservative stalwart Pat Boone is in the nation’s capital on Wednesday to be feted by no less than 40 members of Congress for his steadfast support of the 60 Plus Association, a non-partisan seniors advocacy group with a free enterprise, less government, lower taxes approach to myriad issues. Mr. Boone — a vigorous 77 — is politically in tune: He endorsed some 90 Republican hopefuls during the 2010 mid-term elections. His voice was heard on 7 million campaign robo-calls, he recorded 18 videos on behalf of Senate and House campaigns and contributed to 177 press releases.

Pat was a delegate to the 1976 Republican convention for his friend Ronald Reagan so he’s no newcomer to the political arena. He’s been national spokesman for 60 Plus for about 10 years now,” the group’s chairman Jim Martin tells Inside the Beltway. “When I asked Pat to be our national spokesman, his succinct response: ‘Jim, now that I fess up to being 60-plus, I’d be honored to be your spokesman.’ “

Mr. Boone has, in many ways, lived out the traditional American dream through hard work and good cheer. He’s been married to wife Shirley for 55 years, has four daughters and 15 grandchildren and has lived in the same Beverly Hills house for four decades. Mr. Boone also contributes to World Net Daily, belongs to the Beverly Hills Tea Party and will embark on a seven-city tour next month.

The casual event at a private Capitol Hill club is chaired by Republican Reps. Michael G. Grimm of New York and Brett Guthrie of Kentucky; dainties for the admiring crowd, a source says, include little Beef Wellington strudels, jumbo shrimp cocktail, Maryland-style crab cakes and herb-crusted tenderloin on ciabatta baguette.

CHICAGO-STYLE

It’s never a dull moment for South Korea President Lee Myung-bak when he arrives in the U.S. for a state visit Thursday. He’ll address a joint session of Congress, lunch with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, attend a White House State dinner, then jet off to Detroit on Friday to explore a General Motors plant with President Obama. No doubt Mr. Lee will also ponder the pending free trade agreement between the two countries that could yield a tidy $11 billion for the U.S. in the first year alone.

But Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also awaiting a visit from the leader to his city, which seems a whole lot windier these days. Mr. Emanuel is planning a mighty dinner of his own for his visitor, staged at the Chicago Cultural Center, an enormous and opulent beaux-arts landmark structure nicknamed “The People’s Palace” and boasting a 38-foot dome made entirely of Tiffany glass.

It’s all about the “close partnership and deep economic ties between Chicago and the Republic of Korea,” Mr. Emanuel says.

SHUTTLE FAREWELL

Though NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. still insists that “the next chapter in space exploration begins now,” he nevertheless has transferred title and ownership of the Space Shuttle Endeavour to the California Science Center, proving that the heroic craft is, well, a vehicle after all is said and done.

Once Endeavour has been prettied up and its operational systems ramped down, the space agency will deliver it on a 747 to Los Angeles next year, to be driven through the streets with much ado, then settled in at the center for static display and educational purposes. Three more shuttles will be doled out to science institutions elsewhere in the next year. Yes, well. At least they won’t end up on EBay.

THE BIG STASH

Presidential hopeful Herman Cain dominates the political polls, yes indeed. But he may garner some cachet of the hirsute variety as well. He has been declared a finalist in the American Mustache Institute’s 2011 Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year Award. Or something like that. The advocacy group points out that there has not been a president with a mustache in the White House since William Howard Taft.

Mr. Cain, the nominators declare, “represents a shining beacon of freedom and hope for people of Mustached American heritage everywhere.” One can vote at www.americanmustacheinstitute.org. Mr. Cain’s opponents for the title include former New York governor hopeful Jimmy McMillan and former Bears coach Mike Ditka.

THE BECKONING

Glenn Beck’s media prowess continues to flourish via his new online broadcast network endeavor known as GBTV. He’s drawn an ally of note from CNN. Texas attorney Will Cain, who is already a CNN contributor, has signed on to offer analysis of the 2012 presidential election and other major political events during Mr. Beck’s two-hour, late afternoon show; he’ll also write commentary for TheBlaze.com, the online news end of things. An interesting aside, though.

Cain will also continue his current position as a CNN contributor,” the network notes, further evidence that hybrid strategic alliances between seeming rivals are becoming the norm among forward-thinking media moguls.

POLL DU JOUR

• 23 percent of “likely Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus goers” support Mitt Romney in the 2012 election; 20 percent support Herman Cain.

• 41 percent of Iowa caucus goers who “strongly support the tea party” support Mr. Cain; 7 percent of that group support Mr. Romney.

• 31 percent who “support the tea party” also support Mr. Cain; 15 percent support Mr. Romney.

• 24 percent of conservative GOP caucus goers support Mr. Cain, 21 percent back Mr. Romney.

• 24 percent of evangelical Christian caucus goers support Mr. Cain, 23 percent back Mr. Romney.

• 33 percent of Mr. Cain’s supporters say they “strongly” support him, 20 percent “somewhat” support him.

• 20 percent of Mr. Romney’s supporters “strongly” support him, 31 percent of “somewhat” support him.

• 15 percent of Mr. Cain’s supporters say they “might vote differently” in the future; 37 percent of Mr. Romney’s supporters agree.

Source: NBC News/Marist Poll of 2,836 registered Iowa voters conducted Oct. 3-5.

Harmonious tunes, cacophony, murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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